Dear John
Lasse Halstrom brings us another Nicholas Sparks romance. Channing Tatum is a soldier on leave who falls for a college student (Amanda Seyfried). They meet, they love, and then spend the next seven years meeting only briefly in between deployments and sending a long sea of love letters. William Goss gave the film a favorable review, noting that it's not "nearly as saccharine or heavy-handed as any movie about autism, cancer and a love divided by duty inherently threatens to be. In fact, in director Lasse Hallstrom's hands, the material comes off with some measure of grace and restraint, as do the performances of Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried, and it's all enough to have even us certain cynics rooting for their eventual reunion." Rent it on DVD or Blu-ray.

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The Road
The apocalypse has hit earth, and Viggo Mortensen journeys across the U.S. with his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee), hoping to find some semblance of a civilization. In his review, Eugene Novikov wrote of the "relentless, pervasive grimness" of John Hillcoat's film, but in all the film's bleakness, he also noted that "The Road may be the most profoundly optimistic and life-affirming film you will see this year." Buy it on DVD or Blu-ray.

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Mystery Team
Three kids play real-life kid detectives growing up, but when the trio (played by the comedy troupe Derrick) are primed to graduate, they turn their talents to adult detective work and get in over their heads. Erik Davis raved from Sundance in 2009: "It's Encyclopedia Brown meets Napoleon Dynamite with a pinch of Ace Ventura ... and it's hilarious." Buy it on DVD or Blu-ray.

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Also out: Tell Tale, Rain Fall, Voyager, White Wall, Costa Rican Summer, The Crimson Mask, Yesterday Girl, Sandok



Owl & The Sparrow
A dramedy from Vietnam, Owl and the Sparrow centers on a Candide-esque story about an orphan girl who stays optimistic in the face of difficult life. After losing her parents, she works in a factory for her uncle before running away to Saigon and teaming up with fellow street orphans who make ends meet by selling flowers. Reviewing the film from LAFF, Kevin Kelly wrote: "Owl and the Sparrow is one of those movies that you hope you'll run into at a film festival. The kind that you wander into, not knowing much about, maybe something from the logline in the festival guide caught your eye, maybe you liked the poster, or maybe it just filled a time slot nicely and you thought you'd check it out." Buy it on DVD.

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Also out: Alice Neel, All My Friends are Funeral Singers, The New York of Bob Dylan and John Lennon, Sunsets




Django
Sergio Corbucci's classic Italian spaghetti western is hitting Blu-ray today. The film focuses on a mysterious man named Django, who enters a Mexican border town dragging a coffin, tries to save a damsel, fights Mexican gangsters and Yank thugs, and faces other classic Western tropes. High-Def Digest gives the release great marks for video and sound, and low marks for supplements and high-def extras. But ultimately, you're watching this one for the movie, not the features.

Stagecoach (Criterion)
Criterion is offering up another western, John Ford's Stagecoach starring Claire Trevor and John Wayne. The film was Ford's first foray into western flicks with sound, one of Wayne's first films, and a blueprint for the western cinematic future. This release grabs great marks in everything but high-def extras, according to High-Def Digest. Their final thoughts: "Stagecoach remains as entertaining as ever, with a matinee idol-making turn by John Wayne and impeccable, ahead-of-its-time direction by the grouchy master John Ford. While I have some reservations about giving the video a complete pass, the AV is adequate and is more than compensated by the plethora of wholly engaging special features. This release is highly recommended, for sure. Yee-ha!"

Also out: Babysitter Wanted, City of the Living Dead, Clash of the Titans, Class of Nuke 'Em High, Fullmetal Alchemist: Part 1, It Waits, Merlin and the Book of Beasts, Pep Squad, Possession, The Shortcut, Spartacus 50th Anniversary Edition, By Brakhage: An Anthology, Volumes One and Two



Ultimate Machine Girl: Collectors Tin
If Rose McGowan left you wanting more girls with machine gun appendages, look no further than the Japanese flick The Machine Girl, about a high school girl who has a high-powered machine gun where her arm should be. With a chainsaw mamma, they aim to bring down sinister ninja yakuzas. The special collector's tin release includes a whole slew of extras on the discs as well.