Recommendation of the Week:
District 13: Ultimatum (800($10) HD, 480($6) SD, to rent)
It's Mirror's Edge, the movie! Well, sort of. There's a hell of a lot of Parkour in both, but District 13: Ultimatum has much more plot, explosions and general ass-kickery. Written and produced by Luc Besson, D13:U is set several years after the original District 13 (and no, you don't have to have seen that to enjoy this one), and takes place within the same walled-off Parisian ghetto. This time around, some of the residents of D13 are falsely accused of murdering some cops, which sets up a race against time to contain the situation before the rival gangs blow it out of hand and mass hysteria reigns. Which wouldn't be so bad, would it? Everyone is so anti-mass hysteria. I say bring it on. Especially when there's a ton of Parkour involved, even though the word itself sounds so pretentious. Let's just agree to call it crazy running and jumping.
Also, just a reminder that today is the day that The Dungeon Masters is available on Amazon VOD. Go find your lucky 20-sided die, plunk down the $3.99 to rent this (or $14.99 to buy it) and enjoy.
Read on after the break for the rest of our recommendations, and let us know what you're watching!
Xbox Live Video Marketplace (Xbox 360)
A Serious Man (480($6) HD, 320($4) SD, to rent, 1200($14.99) to own in SD)
Can you make yourself into a serious man? The Coen Brothers return to comedy in this movie that attempts to answer that question. It's also the Coen Brothers at their finest, working with a cast of near unknowns, and returning to their taut style of filmmaking that they exhibited in Fargo. Like that movie, it's a dark comedy with stellar performances, and it surprises you at every turn. This one flew under a lot of radars when it was released, which is unfortunate. I enjoyed it a heck of a lot more than Burn After Reading. Not that Burn is a bad movie, but this one just kicked me in the Coen solar plexus and caught me off guard. It's not quite as good as Miller's Crossing or The Hudsucker Proxy, which are two of my very favorite Coen movies, but it's up there. Plus, it has a hot neighbor who sunbathes nude. Even high art isn't above a little titillation.
Netflix Watch Instantly (Mac/PC, Xbox Live, PS3, subscription required: starts at $8.99 per month)
The Man With Two Brains
Netflix has made many a nerd happy recently by adding an entire boatload of Voltron episodes to Watch Instantly, but this week my money is on Steve Martin's excellent The Man With Two Brains. I'd wanted to pick The Wolf Man (Netflix has it on a double disc with Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man) in homage to Universal's The Wolfman which comes out this weekend, or the Teen Wolf / Teen Wolf Too double disc, but neither of those are on IW. Instead, you get Steve Martin mucking around with his screw-top brain replacement technique, and falling in love with a brain that needs a new body. This is vintage 1983 Steve Martin, and he's full of the good stuff. There's no full moons or people changing into wolves, but you gotta make do where you can. Besides, this movie is a hell of a lot funnier than Teen Wolf.
PlayStation Store (PlayStation 3 or PSP)
Bronson ($19.99 HD, $14.99 SD, to own)
This film will knock your teeth out. First of all, it's not a biopic about the legendary Charles Brosnon, however it is a biopic about Britain's most legendary prisoner, who actually changed his name from Michael Gordon Petersen to Charlie Bronson so he'd appear more badass. And he is most definitely badass. At it's darkest, this film apes some of the insanity and violence of A Clockwork Orange, yet it's not a slasher picture. It's the true story of a man who was sentenced to seven years for armed robbery when he was a young man, yet that grew into 34 years, 30 of which have been spent in solitary confinement. There's nothing really redeeming about this guy, yet he's infinitely watchable for some reason. You just wouldn't want him to babysit your kids or anything. Tom Hardy gained 100 pounds of muscle to play this role, and this film is very worth your time.
Blu-ray Disc (PlayStation 3)
The Time Traveler's Wife ($28.98, lower at many retailers)
Okay, so Valentine's Day is on Sunday, and you had to expect that a little sappiness would creep into this week's JBO. At least this one has a science fiction edge with a little chronal displacement, right? I remember the days when every woman on a plane was reading this book, complete with little tears in their eyes, and thinking "There is no way in hell I'll ever enjoy this book, and if they turn it into a movie, I'll boycott it." Well, it's actually pretty good. So, I was wrong. I'll admit it. Granted, the time travel saved it for me, and it's not quite a treacly as The Notebook. The film looks gorgeous in high-definition and has a great DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. The extras are slim, but there are a pair of good documentaries about the film here, each about a half hour in length. Plus, you'll win some brownie points if you bring this home instead of the Dante's Inferno Blu-ray. (Seriously, skip it.)