All movies are 2012 releases unless otherwise noted. Availability: DVD | Blu-ray | Both Blu-ray and DVD
The winner of awards at Sundance and Cannes, and the recipient of four Independent Spirit Award nominations—including one for best picture—this week, the debut feature from Benh Zeitlin is also one of the best-reviewed films released in 2012. This unique fantasy/drama follows a six-year-old girl named Hushpuppy (breakout star Quvenzhané Wallis) and her father Wink (Dwight Henry), who live in an abstract water-world in Louisiana known as "The Bathtub." There, they struggle to survive when their community is threatened by a devastating flood and an approaching herd of beasts known as aurochs. Critics found Beasts to be magical, poetic, distinctive, and emotional, though a few found that the visuals worked better than the narrative.
Possibly the bleakest film released this year, Rises serves as the concluding chapter in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, with a Metascore exceeding that of the first film but falling just below The Dark Knight's 82. This installment returns stars Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman, while adding Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a young cop, and Tom Hardy as menacing (mumbling?) bad guy Bane, who is not adverse to ruining a good football game. Sadly, despite early rumors about a ton of content left on the cutting room floor, the DVD/Blu-ray releases do not contain any deleted scenes, though there are plenty of making-of featurettes.
In this summer comedy for the slightly older demographic, Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones play Kay and Arnold Soames, a husband and wife of 30 years who attempt to reignite their relationship during a weekend in a small town in Maine under the watchful eyes of a marriage therapist played by Steve Carell. Director David Frankel previously worked with Streep on The Devil Wears Prada, and directed the heartwarming family hit Marley & Me 53 as well as last year's birdwatching flop The Big Year 53; this one scored a bit higher with critics, though reviewers found that it worked better as a drama than as a comedy.
|More movie releases on December 4, 2012|
|81||Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry Documentary||Add to Queue|
|69||Alps Greek drama from the director of Dogtooth||Add to Queue|
|88||Brazil (1985) Criterion Collection (previously released on DVD)|
|40||Butter Jennifer Garner, Ty Burrell, Olivia Wilde, Hugh Jackman||Add to Queue|
|76||Catch Me If You Can (2002) Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks|
|68||eXistenZ (1999) Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jude Law|
|89||Finding Nemo (2003)Blu-ray 3D release and other rerelease packages|
|Lady Antebellum: Own the Night World Tour Concert film|
|11||Last Ounce of Courage Marshall Teague, Fred Williamson||Add to Queue|
|48||The Odd Life of Timothy Green Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton||Add to Queue|
|Purple Noon (1960) Criterion Collection|
|Suddenly (1954) Frank Sinatra|
|66||Unforgivable French drama from director André Téchiné||Add to Queue|
|88||Up (2009) Blu-ray 3D release and other rerelease packages|
|54||V/H/S Horror anthology||Add to Queue|
|55||Wild Horse, Wild Ride Documentary||Add to Queue|
|TV on DVD/Blu-ray|
|49||Angry Boys Complete series|
|Cagney & Lacey Season 2|
|83||Eastbound & Down Season 3|
|The Game Season 5|
|Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Web series|
|Hell's Kitchen Season 8|
|Hotel Impossible Collection 1|
|Mannix Season 8|
|86||Men of a Certain Age Season 2|
|My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic Season 1|
|Mystery Science Theater 3000 Vol. XXV|
|The Simpsons Season 15|
|Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 2|
|55||Titanic: Blood and Steel Complete miniseries|
|World Without End Complete miniseries|
With star Matt Damon unwilling to return for a fourth film in the lucrative (and critically acclaimed) Bourne series, the franchise was reborn (though not re-Bourned) with Jeremy Renner stepping in as the lead, playing Aaron Cross, an operative spawned from the same system as Jason Bourne. Returning to the Bourne universe are Joan Allen, Albert Finney, and Scott Glenn, while Edward Norton and Rachel Weisz appear for the first time. Though Tony Gilroy, who shared writing credit on all three previous Bourne films and directed the excellent Michael Clayton 82 (and much less excellent Duplicity 69), handles both writing and directing duties here, critics found that Legacy added little in the way of originality, while Renner proved a less captivating action star than Damon.
This year's most-hyped new television comedy is the creation of writer/director/star Lena Dunham, previously best known for the not dissimilar mumblecore dramedy Tiny Furniture 72. The Judd Apatow-produced Girls revolves around a group of four struggling (though perhaps still a bit spoiled) twenty-something friends in New York, sort of like an indie, less glamorous Sex and the City for a younger generation. The HBO series (which returns with new episodes in January) earned five Emmy nominations, though it won only for casting.
The fourth film in the animated Ice Age series follows Manny, Diego, and Sid as they try to reunite with their family and friends after they are separated by the dividing continents. Continental Drift is actually the lowest-scoring film in the franchise to date, though the others weren't that much better. Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, and Jennifer Lopez head the vocal cast.
Could Seth MacFarlane's (Family Guy) raunchy, quick-fire, pop-culture-referencing humor translate from the small screen to the big screen in a live-action setting? Could an adult, R-rated movie featuring a talking teddy bear ever be a success? Surprisingly, the answers to both of those questions were "yes" when Ted earned solid reviews and became a major box office hit this summer. MacFarlane himself voices the cursing, smoking bear (which is motion-capture animated)—which came to life as a result of a wish made by a small boy, who is now forced to deal with the repercussions as an adult—while Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Giovanni Ribisi, and Joel McHale star.
|More movie releases on December 11, 2012|
|Babes in Toyland (1961) Annette Funicello|
|43||Backwards James Van Der Beek, Sarah Megan Thomas||Add to Queue|
|55||Beloved Catherine Deneuve, Chiara Mastroianni, Ludivine Sagnier, Paul Schneider||Add to Queue|
|Death Valley (1982) Catherine Hicks, Paul Le Mat, Peter Billingsley|
|62||Dreams of a Life Documentary||Add to Queue|
|Following (1999) Criterion Collection; first feature directed by Christopher Nolan|
|58||Gayby Matthew Wilkas, Jenn Harris||Add to Queue|
|Heavyweights (1995) Ben Stiller, Tim Blake Nelson|
|The Island (1980) Michael Caine, David Warner|
|The Joy Luck Club (1993) Kieu Chinh, Tsai Chin, France Nuyen, Ming-Na, Andrew McCarthy|
|Les Miserables (1998) Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush|
|35||Mansome Documentary directed by Morgan Spurlock||Add to Queue|
|56||Miami Connection (1987) Recently rediscovered "lost" 1980s action film||Add to Queue|
|My Career As A Jerk Circle Jerks documentary|
|61||The Portrait Of A Lady (1996) Special edition rerelease||Add to Queue|
|The Qatsi Trilogy Criterion set includes Koyaanisqatsi (1983), Powaqqatsi (1988), and Naqoyqatsi (2002)|
|The Story of Film: An Odyssey Documentary|
|29||Trade of Innocents Mira Sorvino, Dermot Mulroney||Add to Queue|
|65||Unraveled Documentary||Add to Queue|
|36||Why Stop Now Isiah Whitlock Jr, Jesse Eisenberg, Melissa Leo, Tracy Morgan||Add to Queue|
|TV on DVD/Blu-ray|
|Chiller Complete series|
|Futurama Vol. 7|
|Gunsmoke Season 7 Vol. 1|
|History Detectives Season 10|
|JAG Complete series|
|Law & Order: Criminal Intent Season 9|
|Survivor Cook Islands / Fiji (separate season sets)|
Think of it as Glee meets Bring It On. Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, and Brittany Snow star in this comedy about an all-girl a cappella group battling the reigning boys champions for singing superiority. Jason Moore makes his feature directing debut after being nominated for best director (musical) at the 2004 Tony Awards for Avenue Q, and the script is an adaptation of Mickey Rapkin’s book Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory by 30 Rock writer Kay Cannon.
A stand-up comedian and regular contributor to NPR's This American Life (whose host Ira Glass is a producer here), Mike Birbiglia adapts his own book and one-man show of the same name. He also stars as Matt Pandamiglio, a comedian struggling with his stand-up act, his eight-year relationship, and increasingly dangerous bouts of sleepwalking, all based on Birbiglia's real life. Lauren Ambrose, Carol Kane, and James Rebhorn co-star, while Kristen Schaal, David Wain, Wyatt Cenac, and Marc Maron also make appearances.
Total Recall (2012) 43 Add to Netflix Queue
While it did raise the energy level a bit, Len Wiseman's remake of Paul Verhoeven's 1990 film (an adaptation of a Philip K. Dick short story) was sorely lacking in the fun department. Colin Farrell stars as Doug Quaid—the role originally played by Arnold Schwarzenegger—while Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel are also along for a sci-fi story about implanted memories that says earthbound, rather than venturing to Mars as in the first film. But not even the joy of seeing Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston playing the evil Vilos Cohaagen was enough to prevent critics from labeling the film as dull.
Clint Eastwood's first starring role in four years finds him playing an aging baseball scout with failing eyesight who reluctantly brings his daughter (Amy Adams) along on his final assignment for the Atlanta Braves. Justin Timberlake and John Goodman also star for first-time director Robert Lorenz, who has produced many of Eastwood's recent films. While the acting earned praise, critics found the film as a whole fairly bland and predictable.
|More movie releases on December 18, 2012|
|61||10 Years Channing Tatum, Rosario Dawson, Chris Pratt||Add to Queue|
|Death Ship (1980) George Kennedy, Richard Crenna|
|54||Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days Devon Bostick, Zachary Gordon||Add to Queue|
|Fred & Vinnie (2011) Written by and starring Fred Stoller||Add to Queue|
|Hans Christian Andersen (1952) Danny Kaye|
|55||Liberal Arts Directed by and starring Josh Radnor||Add to Queue|
|Sometimes A Great Notion (1970) Directed by and starring Paul Newman|
|TV on DVD/Blu-ray|
|Army Wives Season 6 Part 2|
|Californication Season 5|
|Funny or Die Presents Season 2|
|Here's Lucy Season 6|
|63||House of Lies Season 1|
|The Life and Times of Tim Season 3|
|66||Mankind: The Story of All of Us Documentary miniseries|
|Quincy Season 4|
|The Sarah Silverman Program Season 3|
|76||Shameless Season 2|
December 21 (Friday)
Think of it as the Margin Call of 2012. Richard Gere, Tim Roth, Susan Sarandon, and Brit Marling star in this story of a hedge fund billionaire trying to avoid financial ruin amidst a Madoff-like scandal. Nicholas Jarecki's tense thriller earned positive returns from critics, with a lot of praise aimed at Gere's performance.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a bike messenger with an envelope that dirty cop Michael Shannon desperately wants in this late summer action thriller from writer/director David Koepp. It's nothing really more than the premise suggests, but critics found that it more than delivers on the action front.
Spike Lee's relatively low-profile but controversial Sundance entry centers on a 13-year-old boy sent to stay with his bishop grandfather (Clarke Peters) in a Brooklyn housing project. Shot secretly on the streets of New York in a few weeks, the drama left critics divided, with many finding it an out-and-out failure.
The fifth film in the videogame-turned-movie franchise returns director Paul W.S. Anderson and star Milla Jovovich. While that 39 might look like a low Metascore (probably because it is a low Metascore), it actually makes Retribution the second-best film in the series to date.
|More movie releases on December 21, 2012|
|62||Killer Joe Matthew McConaughey, Gina Gershon||Add to Queue|
December 24 (Monday)
An author (Bradley Cooper) runs into trouble when he plagiarizes another man's work in this poorly reviewed drama from first-time directors Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal. The cast is good—Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde, Zoe Saldana, and Jeremy Irons also star—but critics mostly hated the story-within-a-story-within-a-story structure, and found that none of those stories amounted to much of anything.
|More movie releases on December 24, 2012|
|67||The Well Digger's Daughter French drama directed by Daniel Auteuil||Add to Queue|
December 31 (Monday)
While season 3 lacked the previous season's breakout star (and Emmy-winner) Margo Martindale, the FX drama once again impressed critics and viewers with a terrific string of episodes revolving around a complex new villain played by Neal McDonough. Mykelti Williamson also joined the cast in the third season, along with returning stars Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins, and Nick Searcy. Catch up now before the fourth season kicks off on January 8, 2013.
One of the best-reviewed sci-fi films in recent years, Looper comes from writer-director Rian Johnson, previously known for the highly stylized dramas Brick 72 and The Brothers Bloom 55. Set in the near future, this thought-provoking, action-filled though inconsistent time-travel tale centers on a mob hitman (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who kills people sent back in time from the even more distant future, only to hesitate when one of those targets turns out to be his older self (played by Bruce Willis). Shane Carruth, the director of the time travel cult classic Primer 68, served as a consultant, while Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and (an excellent but underused) Jeff Daniels round out the cast.
January 1, 2013
Robert Pattinson's first attempt to branch out, post-Twilight, into brainier fare was a mixed bag, at best. An adaptation of Don DeLillo's novel of the same name (which itself received mixed reviews), David Cronenberg's film traces a day in the life of a billionaire as he travels throughout Manhattan in a limousine. If that sounds to you like it doesn't amount to much of a movie, well, that's what many critics thought, too.
|More movie releases on December 31, 2012 and January 1, 2013|
|41||Little Birds Juno Temple, Kay Panabaker||Add to Queue|
|52||Putin's Kiss Documentary||Add to Queue|
|38||The Trouble With Bliss Brie Larson, Lucy Liu, Michael C. Hall, Peter Fonda||Add to Queue|
|TV on DVD/Blu-ray|
|Being Human Season 2|