IN THEATERS

Nebraska
We love a good underdog. Nebraska - currently the least-seen nominee for Best Picture - is a low-key, tragicomic look at Midwest familial generations & the American dream. Director Alexander Payne (Sideways, The Descendants) deftly leavens his signature misanthropy with sincere pathos; Bruce Dern astounds in the lead role.

    NEW ON DVD

Rush
Like its rival Formula 1 drivers, Rush is all about forward momentum, treating story developments like the galvanizing sprints & swerves of the race track. The movie gets two solid protagonists in James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) & Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) - hot passion vs. calculating intellect, roughly speaking, but equally dignified & worth rooting for.

    FROM THE VAULTS

Boyz N the Hood
The box office success of Ride Along has us looking back at Ice Cube's film career, now a couple years shy of 25. We suggest starting with his debut as Doughboy in Boyz N the Hood as it's one of his most impressive performances. Much of the movie's complexity rides on this role & it's Cube's mixture of charisma & menace which makes it work.

    FROM THE VAULTS

Drop Dead Gorgeous
Not terribly well-received at the time, Drop Dead Gorgeous - a mockumentary about a Minnesota beauty pageant - has since grown into something of a cult item for its acerbic black humor & uniformly game performances. Cast includes Kirsten Dunst, Denise Richards, Kirstie Alley & Amy Adams in her film debut.

    FROM THE VAULTS

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Essential viewing for anybody even remotely interested in the thespian tumult that is Nicolas Cage. Werner Herzog puts his idiosyncratic spin on the crime-thriller genre, creating something unaccountably tense, trippy & riotous out of what could have been mere potboiler fare. Cage: not bad meaning bad or even bad meaning good but something else entirely.

    FROM THE VAULTS

Antichrist
CHAOS REIGNS. With Nymphomaniac revealed as the secret screening at Sundance last week, it's high time to revisit Lars von Trier's grueling, horrifying & rather beautiful Antichrist. Shock value may be skin-deep - and this film has its undeniable share of it - but there's a dark & primal power to this parable which works even with the eyes covered.


    IN THEATERS

2014 Oscar Nominees
January doesn't have to mean a slow stretch at the box office. With this year's Oscar nominations just announced, what better time to catch some of last year's most accomplished movies on the silver screen? Be sure to swing by the Trailerpop app as well to play our featured Oscars 2014 trivia section.

    NEW ON DVD

Blue Jasmine
In keeping with the above, Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine landed nominations for Best Lead Actress, Best Supporting Actress & Best Original Screenplay. Cate Blanchett - never failing to astonish - gives a masterful performance which bristles with complexity & compelling detail. See it for her but also strong supporting turns from Sally Hawkins, Bobby Cannavale & Andrew Dice Clay.

    FROM THE VAULTS

After Hours
After Hours follows office drone, Paul (Griffin Dunne) through one singularly terrible Manhattan night involving sculptors, burglars, punks, an angry mob & epic amounts of bad luck. Watch it to see how Scorese's gifts for dark comedy, gleeful excess & chaotically tall tales were already in abundance almost 3 decades ago. Possibly his most underrated film.

    FROM THE VAULTS

Waitress
A refreshing rom-com which rarely hits a false note despite its warm & optimistic depiction of trying circumstances. Jenna (Keri Russell) waits tables, endures an unhappy marriage & bakes delicious pies as a cathartic/culinary kind of diary-writing. Co-stars include Nathan Fillion, Cheryl Hines & director/writer Adrienne Shelly (missed dearly).

    FROM THE VAULTS

A History of Violence
After a gruesome diner confrontation, small town everyman Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) begins to show signs of being somebody other than who his community thought he was. David Cronenberg's uniquely gripping thriller taps into the disavowed brutality laying dormant below surface appearances. Who is this family man & why is he so proficient at killing?

    FROM THE VAULTS

The Curse of Frankenstein
While we're being treated to I, Frankenstein this weekend, why not revisit some of the monster's classic movie appearances? Boris Karloff & James Whale may have created the most iconic version in 1931, but Terence Fisher's take opened a new chapter in Gothic horror cinema & gave us the legendary pairing of Peter Cushing & Christopher Lee.


    IN THEATERS

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
The latest Jack Ryan release - a reboot following such films as The Hunt for Red October and Clear and Present Danger - tumbles through C.I.A. intrigue, vehicle chases & other reliable hallmarks of the spy thriller genre with a welcome degree of panache. Chris Pine & Keira Knightley star.

    NEW ON DVD

Enough Said
Charming, nuanced & excellently performed, Nicole Holofcener's latest brims with lived-in credibility and gentle insights into the intricacies of human relationships. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is exceptional as is James Gandolfini, whose touching performance is a bittersweet reminder of the talent we've lost.

    FROM THE VAULTS

Short Cuts
Based on no less than 9 short stories & a poem by Raymond Carver, Robert Altman's momentous ensemble drama takes a panoramic view of life (and some death) in Los Angeles. With 22 characters - all memorable - this is a film which finds strength in its sprawl & universality in its divergent walks of life.

    FROM THE VAULTS

It Happened One Night
The square root of all romantic comedies? Frank Capra's screwball classic tells the story of a pampered heiress (Claudette Colbert) and her unlikely pairing with a down-on-his-luck newsman (Clark Gable). The famous hitchhiking scene alone has been referenced numerous times, most recently in the film Rush.

    FROM THE VAULTS

Summer Wars
A dazzling polychromatic spectacle, Mamoru Hosoda's Summer Wars manages to excel as both rural family drama & visionary sci-fi parable. If only our wired age of cyberspace avatars, virtual worlds & second lives also resembled a Takashi Murakami painting come to life…

    FROM THE VAULTS

Jacob's Ladder
One of the great horror films of the '90s, Jacob's Ladder ventures deep into the psyches of traumatized war veterans to spawn some of the most intensely nightmarish scenes put to celluloid. Traces of the film can be found in such fare as American Horror Story: Asylum, The X-files & the Silent Hill video game series.

    IN THEATERS

Her
Spike Jonze's evocative, beautifully detailed vision of the near-future explores the relationship between a man (Joaquin Phoenix, stellar) and his computer operating system (Scarlett Johansson, in one of her best performances). A melancholic fable for our times & one of the top films of 2013.
    NEW ON DVD

Act of Killing
A documentary with an unbelievable premise - Anwar Congo, a man who murdered approximately 1,000 people as part of an Indonesian death squad, is invited to re-enact his killings in the kitschy style of his favorite film genres (crime thriller, horror, western, musical). Unnerving, unreal & unmissable.

    FROM THE VAULTS

American Psycho
It was a great year for Christian Bale with exceptional performances in Out of the Furnace & especially American Hustle. Picking a favorite role has grown increasingly difficult over the years but our vote might still go to his master class in sociopathic creepiness as Patrick Bateman.

    FROM THE VAULTS

Chocolate
Behold, as the awesome Yanin Vismitanada pummels through scores of gangster henchmen! Only twenty-four at the time & a black belt in Taekwondo, Vismitanada followed Tony Jaa (Ong-bak) as the latest phenomenon in Thai martial arts cinema. Watch it for kicks.

    FROM THE VAULTS

Charade
As the trailer promises - suspense, comedy, romance! - an effervescent genre concoction spun around the charming chemistry between Cary Grant & Audrey Hepburn. Witty banter, fun plot twists, fabulous clothing & one of the all-time best opening credits sequences - you can't go wrong with this one.

    FROM THE VAULTS

Mommie Dearest
A deranged cult classic which also happens to be a biopic of golden-age Hollywood actress Joan Crawford. Faye Dunaway plays Crawford with searing intensity, whipping up a torrential downpour of maternal rage. Brace yourself for the wire hangers scene; an instant classic in scenery-chewing lunacy.
    IN THEATERS

The Wolf of Wall Street
For 2014's first trip to the theaters, you could do a whole lot worse than Martin Scorsese's uproarious 3-hour portrait of stockbroker greed & corruption. Not in 3D but it may as well be with all the mania & swagger you'll see flying off the screen. Also, career apex for DiCaprio?

    NEW ON DVD

Don Jon
This week's Weekly Wrap is all about resolutions for the new year. Eat healthy. Stay fit. Be a better friend, sibling, parent, co-worker. Or in the case of Don Jon - played & directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt - stop being such a cad!

    FROM THE VAULTS

Julie & Julia
A fusion platter of two biopics about determination & delicious dining. While this may be Streep's movie - with a great assist from Stanley Tucci - it's also plain to see why Amy Adams has become one the finest actresses of this generation.

    FROM THE VAULTS

Groundhog Day
Draws incredible mileage out of its simple premise - essentially Bill Murray stuck in a single-day time loop, reacting with a plausible mixture of opportunism, despair & self-reflection. Both hilarious & profound, heartwarming & existential, it might be a perfect comedy.

    FROM THE VAULTS

Jerry Maguire
One of the defining underdog stories of recent times & a deft balancing act between rom-com, drama & sports movie, Jerry Maguire brought us Tom Cruise's oft-quoted ("Show me the money!") Academy Award-nominated performance as a sports agent who persevered when the chips were down.

    FROM THE VAULTS

Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Jiro Ono is 85 years old & considered by many to be the best sushi maker on the planet. This documentary explores his indefatigable drive to master the art of sushi even further. In the spirit of the new year, let us all take steps towards mastery in 2014.

    IN THEATERS

American Hustle
Bale. Adams. Cooper. Renner. Lawrence. How will we ever recover from a cast like that? Based on a true story about '70s con artists, the latest from David O. Russell boasts some of the best dialogue, performances & hair you'll see all year.

    NEW ON DVD

Prisoners
Hugh Jackman & Jake Gyllenhaal star in this sordid crime thriller about abductions, revenge, morality & *spoiler*. Check it out if your winter could use a few more chills. Just take care not to fall off the edge of your seat.

    FROM THE VAULTS

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch. You really are a heel. You're as cuddly as a cactus, you're as charming as an eel, Mr. Grinch. You're a bad banana with a greasy black peel! (Best animated Christmas movie ever).

    FROM THE VAULTS

Love Actually
10 years on & Love Actually has become a bona fide holiday classic - perfect time to re-watch! Richard Curtis assembled a cast of colorful characters who take a chance on love, delivering lots of laughs & leaving you feeling all warm & tingly inside.

    FROM THE VAULTS

Elf
A silly, charming fish-out-of-water story about Santa's little & not-so-little helpers. Ron Burgundy might be Will Ferrell's greatest role but his sweetly naive performance as Buddy the Elf isn't too far behind. Find your inner elf this week.

    FROM THE VAULTS

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
The type of comedy that inspires line-by-line recitation. John Hughes' script is a classic but it's Chevy Chase's hilarious, scene-chewing performance that puts it over the top. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas.


    IN THEATERS

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Last year, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) & a motley crew of dwarves went on an unexpected journey. This year, they face the desolation of the dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, making this film a reunion of sorts for fans of the BBC's excellent Sherlock series).

    NEW ON DVD

Fast & Furious 6
Yes, cars but also charisma & the epic bonds of highly specialized teamwork. This installment adds martial artist Gina Carano, a tank (see above) & the return of Michelle Rodriguez. Maybe the best of the franchise? Top 3, at least. Paul Walker, we'll miss you.

    FROM THE VAULTS

Far From Heaven
This exquisite, intelligent take on 1950s melodrama is an essential precursor to televised period dramas such as Mad Men, Masters of Sex, or director Todd Haynes' own Mildred Pierce miniseries. Julianne Moore stars in an Academy Award-nominated performance.

    FROM THE VAULTS

End of Watch
The amazing rapport between Jake Gyllenhaal & Michael Peña is but one of the many reasons to check out this invigorating, found-footage buddy cop movie. Roger Ebert called it "one of the best police movies in recent years" & we agree.

    FROM THE VAULTS

Tabloid
Master documentarian Errol Morris chronicles the deeply bizarre story of former Miss Wyoming, Joyce McKinney. Kidnap, sadomasochism, Mormons & South Korean dog-cloning are all involved. Really, that's just the tip of the iceberg...

    FROM THE VAULTS

Lair of the White Worm
A young Hugh Grant & Peter Capaldi - a.k.a. Malcolm Tucker a.k.a. the next Doctor Who - take on a monstrous pagan snake god & other odd happenings. Midnight-movie nirvana, in other words.


    IN THEATERS

Inside Llewyn Davis
An ode to '60s folk music, this already universally acclaimed film from the Coen brothers features a star-making turn from Oscar Isaac & great against-type performances from Carey Mulligan & Justin Timberlake. Easily one of 2013's best.

    NEW ON DVD

The Wolverine
A vast improvement over the first Wolverine film, this installment provides Logan with such entertaining activities as knocking Yakuza gangsters off a bullet train, avenging a grizzly bear & dueling a giant electromechanical samurai.

    FROM THE VAULTS

District 9
Elysium was fine but Neill Blomkamp's best & most incisive work remains 2009's District 9. This is scrappy, smart science fiction with a richly allegorical premise inspired by South Africa's history of apartheid. Amazing visual effects as well.

    FROM THE VAULTS

New World
This gripping crime-thriller from Korea deserves to be placed next to Infernal Affairs & The Departed as one of the best undercover cop movies out there. Highlights include a brutal elevator knife-fight & a series of devastating plot-twists which feel completely earned.

    FROM THE VAULTS

The Pink Panther
Peter Sellers was basically a genius comic performer & this madcap classic showcases some of his most brilliantly timed moments. Slapstick elevated to an art-form, plus the first instance of Henry Mancini's unforgettable theme music.

    FROM THE VAULTS

Blancanieves
We liked Mirror Mirror and Snow White & The Huntsman, but neither were our favorite Snow White adaptation from last year. If you're a fan of stylish fairy tales, silent cinema, Spanish matadors or all of the above, you might want to give this one a shot.


    IN THEATERS

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
From the sound of things, an even stronger movie than the first installment. We're certainly intrigued to see the world of Katniss Everdeen expand & deepen in this soon-to-be-hit sequel. Also, Philip Seymour Hoffman!

    NEW ON DVD

The World's End
At first blush, the story of old mates reuniting, the toll of aging & an epic pub crawl. Then something jaw-dropping & literally out of this world happens. A friendship drama in the guise of a loopy sci-fi escapade, it's another winner from Edgar Wright & team.

    FROM THE VAULTS

Frances Ha
A lovingly-detailed portrait of wayward "undateable" youth in New York & a must-see for anybody with even a passing interest in HBO's 'Girls', Woody Allen's Manhattan or the French New Wave.

    FROM THE VAULTS

Mud
Matthew McConaughey has been amazing in everything lately - Mud included - but it's the young Tye Sheridan & Jacob Lofland who steal the show here. A rich & nuanced coming-of-age film & one of the top dramas of 2013.

    FROM THE VAULTS

The Guard
This funny, foul-mouthed buddy-cop movie pairs a witty script with stellar performances from Brendan Gleeson & Don Cheadle. One of the best black comedies in recent years.

    FROM THE VAULTS

The Big Doll House
Essential viewing for any Quentin Tarantino fan, The Big Doll House is a landmark 'women in prison' grindhouse classic, featuring the incredible Pam Grier in her first major role.


    IN THEATERS

Thor: The Dark World
In a Dark World, where Dark Elves plot to destroy the universe, a Norse god, his adoptive brother & Nathalie Portman are all that stand between planet Earth & total annihilation. Will Thor & his hammer prevail, or will he get his thunder stolen?

    NEW ON DVD

Computer Chess
Probably one of the more eccentric explorations of man vs. machine, Andrew Bujalski's latest film dives into the rigorous & rarified milieu of computer chess enthusiasts. Fascinating, strange & quite funny.

    FROM THE VAULTS

Flight
Passengers who missed this Flight can catch the prestigious Denzel 'vehicle' right now on Netflix instant watch, iTunes & other destinations. Hope you enjoy your Flight!

    FROM THE VAULTS

Broadcast News
The great Broadcast News could be viewed as a precursor to HBO's Newsroom as well as 30 Rock's Liz Lemon character (Holly Hunter, amazing). Remember when rom-coms could net 7 Academy Award nominations?

    FROM THE VAULTS

Kung Fu Hustle
Stephen Chow's genius take on martial arts combines jaw-dropping special effects with unique and colorful characters that will make you laugh. Still one of the highest grossing Hong Kong films ever; we're keeping our fingers crossed for a sequel.

    FROM THE VAULTS

Silent Running
If you liked WALL-E, this environmentally-conscious sci-fi gem is a must-see. Bruce Dern & three R2D2-like buddies protect the last plants in existence to the folk songs of Joan Baez. Really something to behold.