Coming May 21
"Parker" (R, 118 minutes, Sony): Parker, the antihero of Taylor Hackford's serviceable action thriller, is an odd duck. Partly, it's the quaint code of ethics espoused by this gentleman thief (Jason Statham), who shoots a guy in the leg before robbing him and then calls him an ambulance. It's unusual enough that Parker will only steal from those "who can afford it" and hurt those "who deserve it," as he puts it. Shooting in an extremity, presumably, doesn't count as hurting. That's understandable, considering that Parker himself seems to have a congenital insensitivity to pain. Covered in scars from previous injuries, Parker is shot -- twice -- and left for dead early in the film, when four accomplices in a robbery (Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce, Micah Hauptman and Clifton Collins Jr.) decide that they don't want to split the proceeds with him. After being rescued by a farmer and self-medicating with a quick dose of stolen Demerol, Parker sets about hunting down the double-crossers, who are planning another heist, so he can enforce his Robin Hood-ian moral code on them. Although the outcome is never in doubt, it's satisfying, like pot roast and gravy. Although the reliably rocklike Statham lacks Hugh Jackman's zest, he makes for a dependably watchable warrior. Contains violence, obscenity and brief nudity. Extras: Commentary with Hackford, making-of short and "Who Is Parker?" featurette. Also, on Blu-ray: featurettes "The Origin of Parker" and "Broken Necks and Bloody Knuckles."
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"Beautiful Creatures" (PG-13, 123 minutes, Warner): This movie is so schizoid in its extremes of pleasure and pain that it's hard to know how to weigh its contradictions. On the plus side, this "Twilight"-esque tale of paranormal teen love -- which centers on the relationship between a human high schoolboy and a 15- year-old witch, or "caster" -- is anchored by two surprisingly solid and sweet performances from Alice Englert, as Lena, and Alden Ehrenreich (Adam). The bad news is that director Richard LaGravenese just doesn't know how to rein in the film's more fantastical plot elements. As she approaches her 16th birthday, Lena must face the possibility that she could be "claimed" by the unwholesome side of her powers, unless she's strong enough to resist it. Her mother suddenly shows up with Lena's cousin, the evil witch Ridley (Emmy Rossum), to advocate for the more unsavory side of necromancy. At this point, the movie isn't just over the top; it's cray-zay. The screenplay for "Beautiful Creatures" is sharp and witty, the cast is stellar and the chemistry between the young stars is magical. But too much of rest of the movie is an unholy mess. Contains obscenity, sensuality, scary images and some violence. Extras: deleted scenes, "ICONS by Margaret Stohl" book trailer. Also, on Blu-ray: six featurettes including "Book to Screen," "The Casters," "Alternate Worlds" and "Designing the Costumes."
"Side Effects" (R, 106 minutes, Universal): Like a gel capsule in a sip of orange juice, this psychopharmacological thriller goes down easily. A medical thriller wrapped around a social-issue picture suspended within a potboiler, Steven Soderbergh's cautionary drama glides along at a brisk clip. From the swooping crane shot that opens the film to the moment when the camera settles on a trail of bloody footprints, the audience's interest is suitably piqued. The film, written by Scott Z. Burns, cannily portrays the epidemic of overprescribing currently at play in America. Soderbergh handles the switching of gears with characteristic smoothness even if the result is a movie composed of one part "Thank You for Smoking," one part "The Snake Pit," one part "Spellbound" and a dash of "Basic Instinct" for titillating good measure. If "Side Effects" does prove to be Soderbergh's swan song, that's a shame: Rooney Mara is just the kind of cool, opaque-yet-transparent leading lady with whom he could embark on the next chapter of a masterfully versatile career. Contains sexuality, nudity, violence and profanity. Extras: "Aliza website Experience" and behind-the-scenes featurettes, commercials for the fictional drugs Ablixa and Intenin.
"Stand Up Guys" (R, 95 minutes, Lionsgate): The degree to which the film succeeds is dependent on Christopher Walken, who elevates everything around him by seemingly doing nothing at all. Walken plays Doc, a retiree waiting for his partner in crime, Val (Al Pacino), to finish a 28-year prison sentence for a crime they committed together. As "Stand Up Guys" opens, Val is just being released -- much the worse for wear. This film both makes fun of old age and seeks to valorize it in a story that's overstuffed with preposterous set pieces. Primarily, "Stand Up Guys" serves as scaffolding for Walken and Pacino to be Walken and Pacino together. It's Walken who grounds every scene with the kind of watchful honesty that has become his brand in late-career. Even when "Stand Up Guys" succumbs to slack pacing, schematic storytelling and the most cliché grand finale in cinematic history, he keeps it real. Contains profanity, violence, brief drug use and sexual content. Extras: commentary with director Fisher Stevens, making-of featurette, deleted scenes, "American Muscle" stunt driving scenes and "The Stand Up Songs of Jon Bon Jovi."
Also: "The Last Stand," "Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn," "Yossi" (Israel), "Open Road," "The ABCs of Death," "Soldiers of Paint ," "Dark Circles," "A Common Man," "Medium Cool" (1969, The Criterion Collection), "The Royal Collection" (BBC), "Nightfall" (Hong Kong), "Ultimate Gangster Collection Contemporary" (five films, plus booklet, Warner), "American Masters Mel Brooks: Make a Noise (PBS), "N.A.S.A. The Spirit of Apollo," "Best of Warner Bros. Cartoon Collection -- Hanna-Barbera" (90th anniversary two-disc sect of 25 Hanna-Barbera classics), "Barney: Dance With Barney" and "The Adventures of Bailey: A Night in Cowtown."
Television series: "True Blood: The Complete Fifth Season" (HBO), "Perception: The Complete First Season" (Disney), "Laverne and Shirley: The Sixth Season," "Saving Hope," "Teen Wolf Season 2" and "The Aquabats! Super Show! Season One."