Rock 'n' roll, spies and sports -- what more could one want from this week's slate of DVD releases? First off there's 'Nowhere Boy,' a stirring bio-drama about one of the great legends in music history, John Lennon, and his struggle to find his way in life while being torn between the love of his aunt and mother. Next up is the action-thriller 'Red' -- based on a graphic novel -- about a group of middle-aged black ops agents who -- nod nod wink wink -- take on their ex-CIA masters in a life-or-death battle. And finally, there's 'Secretariat,' an uplifting family film about one of the greatest race horses of all time and the housewife who guided him to win horseracing's greatest achievement: the Triple Crown.

'Nowhere Boy'

What It's About: Imagine this: A biodrama about a rock icon growing up as teen in Liverpool, torn between his free-wheeling exciting mother (who abandoned him as a youngster) and his straight-laced, staid aunt (who raised him). The teen turns to music to escape from the jumbled-up world around him, joining with a couple other rockers to form a late-1950s group called The Quarreymen. That rebel, of course, was John Lennon, and The Quarreymen went on to become, of course, The Beatles.

It's Kinda Like: 'Backbeat' meets 'The Leather Boys'

What We Say: Even if you're not a John Lennon-Beatles fan, this touching "coming-of-age" drama will keep your attention with its fine direction and talented cast -- Aaron Johnson as Lennon, Kristin Scott Thomas as aunt Mimi, Anne Marie Duff as Lennon's mom, Julia -- and slice-of-slice peek into British pop culture in the late 1950s. It harks back to the golden days of British filmmaking in the 1960s, when so many movies centered on working-class stiffs trying to make it in a world of class conflict and social stratification. Ah, rebellion.
• Extras: A behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted scenes.
Rotten Tomatoes Reviews | Buy DVD | Save DVD to your Netflix queue
Watch 'Nowhere Boy' trailers and clips


'Red'
What It's About: A retired CIA black ops agent (Bruce Willis) gets framed and marked for assassination when a reporter uncovers a decades old cover-up and conspiracy that threatens the U.S. government. On the run, the agent enlists the help of four other retired agents -- Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren and Brian Cox -- who must use all of their collective cunning, experience and teamwork to stay one step ahead of their deadly pursuers and stay alive.

It's Kinda Like: 'The Expendables' meets 'The Over-the-Hill Gang'

What We Say: Tongue-in-check, slam-bang actioner that -- fortunately -- doesn't take itself seriously. There's too many lapses in reality and continuity to try to puzzle out how these "old fogies" can fend off more savvy, better equipped and fiercer modern black-ops killers. We'll suspend disbelief to root for the old guys. Based on the DC Comics graphic novel -- and it shows.
• Extras: Deleted and extended scenes, a "CIA Exposed" featurette, commentary with a retired CIA field officer. The Blu-ray Disc adds "Access Red," an immersive six-part interactive feature including pop up trivia, videos, interviews and more.
Rotten Tomatoes Reviews | Buy DVD | Save DVD to your Netflix queue
Watch 'Red' trailers and clips
'Red' Sequel Brings Writers Back for More Action


'Secretariat'

What It's About: Based on the story of Secretariat, the 1973 Triple Crown-winning racehorse and its owner, Penny Chenery (Diane Lane). Chenery was a mother and housewife who knew little about horses when she took over her ailing father's horse farm in Virginia. She restructured the farm, hired a new trainer, and raised Secretariat from a foal to become one of the winningest horses in the sport: the first thoroughbred to win the Triple Crown in 25 years, taking the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

It's Kinda Like: 'Seabiscuit' meets 'The Blind Side'

What We Say: This old-fashioned family film has a lot going for it -- a fine turn by the always reliable Diane Lane, sturdy supporting roles by John Malkovitch and Margo Martindale, and a stirring story about an underdog (or rather dark horse) that defies the odds and becomes one the greatest race horses of all time. That it's predictable and sentimental doesn't detract from its charms.
• Extras: Behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes, commentary, a conversation with the real Penny Chenery.
Rotten Tomatoes Reviews | Buy DVD | Save DVD to your Netflix queue
Watch 'Secretariat' trailers and clips
10 Best Family Movies of 2010 (And 6 Worst)

Best in Blu-ray: 'Enter the Void,' 'Broadcast News,' 'Red,' 'Santa Sangre'

Other New January 25 DVD Releases:
'Enter the Void': Director Gaspar Noe's ('Irreversible') latest exercise in cinematic envelope-pushing: A brother and sister are trapped in the hellish night time world of Tokyo, where he deals drugs and she works as a stripper
'The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest': The final chapter in the Swedish Millennium Trilogy of crime thrillers about the endangered young computer hacker -- the girl with the dragon tattoo -- and the journalist who saves her life.
'Inspector Bellamy': Director Claude Chabrol's last film, a leisurely mystery about a legendary police inspector (Gerard Depardieu) whose vacation is upset by a local murder.
'Red Hill': An Australian thriller about a constable who arrives in a small town looking for the quiet life, only to have to face an escaped murderer on a killing spree.
'Santa Sangre': (1989) Cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky's ('El Topo') long-unseen surrealistic epic about a young circus performer, the crime of passion that shatters his soul and the macabre journey back to the world of his armless mother and deaf-mute lover. Disturbing and exhilarating.
'Saw 3D: The Final Chapter': This is the 'Saw' SOS -- you know what that means. Is this series finally over? We hope so.


Check out other new January 25 DVD releases at OnVideo.

More about movies on Blu-ray DVD
CATEGORIES DVDs