THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES, Ryan Gosling, 2012. ph: Atsushi Nishijima/©Focus Features/Courtesy Everett CollectionFocus

Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week
"The Place Beyond the Pines"
What's It About? In "A Place Beyond the Pines" Derek Cianfrance ("Blue Valentine") weaves together three vignettes starring Ryan Gosling as a bleach blonde, motorcycle-riding bank robber, Eva Mendes as a tough single mother, and Bradley Cooper as a conflicted cop. The first part of the film follows Luke (Gosling) as he robs banks to support his unexpected child and to win back the mother Romina (Mendes). Halfway through "Pines" breaks off to tell the story of Avery (Cooper), a wounded cop who discovers corruption in his department.
Why We're IN: While "Pines" breaks off suddenly in various directions, the film's audacious screenplay and structure are what make it so powerful and compelling. Cianfrance's drama is one of novelistic proportions and definitely worth its long running time.


Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week
"The Earring of Madame de..." (Criterion Collection)
What's It About?
A masterpiece from French filmmaker Max Ophuls stars Danielle Darrieux as Louise, who sells her earrings, a gift from her general husband (Charles Boyer), to pay off her debts. The earrings are bought back by the general, given to his mistress, then bought by an Italian diplomat (Vittorio de Sica) only to land back in the hands of Louise.
Why We're In: This turn-of-the-century tale is one of romantic despair and loss that continues to be one of the most elegant love stories captures on film. With unforgettable performances from Darrieux, Boyer, and de Sica and a subtle, yet moving story "Madame de..." is a French classic always worth revisiting.

New on DVD & Blu-ray
"Adventures in Zambezia"
What's It About? This direct-to-DVD animated family film features an all-star cast of voices including Samuel L. Jackson, Abigail Breslin, Jeff Goldblum, and Leonard Nimoy. The story follows a young falcon named Kai who ventures out to the bird city of Zambezia to join a pack of brave, crime-fighting birds. But when an evil lizard captures Kai's father (Jackson), the young bird must use his courage and the help of his new friends to save him. This animated adventure film would be fun for the family, but would be best for young children and toddlers.
IN or OUT: IN.

"Aftershock"
What's It About? Blood, guts, and earthquakes are what you get in "Aftershock," produced, co-written by, and starring Eli Roth (the "Hostel" series). Set in Chile, a group of travelers are trapped inside of an underground nightclub when an earthquakes hits, making way for bloody disgusting chaos. While "Aftershock" fails in its predictability and lulls at times with its slow pacing, it still works as a fun, kitschy, B-movie gore fest. There's also a weird Selena Gomez cameo, which makes us say, why not?

WATCH: Go behind the scenes on "Aftershock's" gruesome special effects! Aftershock - DVD Clip No.1

IN or OUT: IN.

"Care Bears: A Belly Badge for Wonderheart The Movie"
What's It About?
In the world of Care-a-Lot Wonderheart desperately wants to join the Cub Bouts, but since she doesn't have an active Belly Badge she fakes having magical powers. This only leads to Wonderheart getting stuck in the Moody Mountains in the middle of a Stardust Storm. With the help of friends Wonderheart learns the importance of honesty and caring.
IN or OUT: IN.

"Magic Magic"
What's It About? In Sebastian Silva's ("Crystal Fairy") psychological drama Juno Temple plays Alicia, an insomniac traveling through Chile whose nightmares begin to fuse with reality. On a trip to the countryside with her sister Sarah (Emily Browning), Sarah's boyfriend, and a sadistic friend Brink (Michael Cera), the group of friends begin having bizarre, disturbing experiences. With brilliant acting from Temple, "Magic Magic" is both a deranged and delightful thriller.
IN or OUT: IN.

"Mud"
What's It About? When two young boys, Ellis (Tye Sheridan from "The Tree of Life") and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), meet Mud (Matthew McConaughey), a proclaimed fugitive on the run, they make a pact to help him reunite the love of his life. Mud's stories of killing a man begin to come true when bounty hunters arrive in the small town he's hiding out in with the two boys. Jeff Nichols' ("Take Shelter") "Mud" is a modern day fairy tale with rich, heartfelt characters reminiscent of those from the stories of Mark Twain. Both Sheridan and McConaughey, along with Reese Witherspoon, shine in brilliant performances in this beautiful film that is one of the best of the year.
IN or OUT: IN.


"Oblivion"
What's It About? This sci-fi epic stars Tom Cruise as Jack, a repairman stationed on an abandoned future Earth to collect important resources after a years-long alien war. Before his mission is complete Jack saves Julia (Olga Kurylenko), a stranger who triggers events that cause Jack to question everything he knows. From director Joseph Kosinski ("TRON: Legacy"), "Oblivion" does fall ill to mimicking many classic sci-fi stories and cliches, but it still a fast-pasted, full-throttle adventure.
IN or OUT: IN.

'Oblivion' Giveaway: Win a Copy of Tom Cruise's Latest & A Sci-Fi Movie Pack!

"On the Road"
What's It About?
Walter Salles's ("The Motorcycle Diaries) adaptation of Jack Kerouac's novel of the same name follows Sal Paradise (Sam Riley), Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund), and Marylou (Kristen Stewart) on a cross-country road trip. While "On the Road" stays true to the book, it remains a timid and self-indulgent attempt that is wholly unforgettable. Kerouac's story is one best reserved for the pages.
IN or OUT: OUT.

"The Sapphires"
What's It About?
Inspired by a true story, "The Sapphires" follows four Austrailian Aboriginal girls who are discovered by Motown-loving talent scout Dave Lovelace (Chris O'Dowd). When formed into the group The Sapphires, the girls travel to Vietnam to perform for the first time for the U.S. troops. While the film feels like many music-driven true stories we've seen before it's still sweetly enjoyable, like a guilty pleasure pop song you can't stop listening to.
IN or OUT: IN.

"To the Wonder"
What's It About?
The latest from cherished, poetic filmmaker Terrence Malick ("The Tree of Life," "Days of Heaven"), "To the Wonder" follows the troubled romance between Marina (Olga Kurylenko) and Neil (Ben Affleck). While Malick's films are loved for their meditative naturalism and spiritual pondering, "To the Wonder" is but an excercise in over-indulgence. The story swirls nowhere (and much swirling it certainly does), leaving behind several disjointed, although beautiful, moments that are best enjoyed as a trailer. To experience the full breadth and transformative power of Malick refer to his earlier work.
IN or OUT: OUT.

"West of Memphis"
What's It About?
This documentary from director Amy Berg and producers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh) examines the failure of justice in the West Memphis Three case in Arkansas. The notorious case of believed wrongful conviction found three teenagers guilty for the murders of three children in 1993. While the story is already know, "West of Memphis," similar to HBO's "Paradise Lost" films on the subject, reveals the shocking story with powerful suspense, emotion, and sincerity.
IN or OUT: IN.

New to Blu-ray
"Ishtar"
What's It About? One of the biggest box office flops of its decade, "Ishtar" stars Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman in a road movie comedy that was a modern spin on a Bing Crosby-Bob Hope picture. When two terrible songwriters book a gig in a Moroccan hotel they get sidetracked and caught up in an international power play between the CIA and the country's emir. While "Ishtar" is a failed attempt at comedy, it has become a topic of date for the last several years as its Blu-ray release has been continually pushed back. The notorious flop finally arrives this week, but won't hold up to the anticipation.
IN or OUT: OUT.

"The Man Who Knew Too Much"
What's It About?
The 1956 Alfred Hitchcock classic (and remake of Hitchcock's 1934 film) star Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day as American tourists traveling in Morocco when they learn of an assassination plan for the Prime Minister. Yet the couple is prevented from going to the police when their young son is kidnapped to keep them silent. The 1956 film has only ever been released on Blu-ray as a part of the bundle set "Alfred Hitchcock: The Master Collection." While it's still debated whether the remake is better than the original, Hitchcock himself claimed that his first was the work of an amateur while his 1956 version was that of a professional -- either way, we're in.
IN or OUT: IN.

"My Little Pony: Equestria Girls"
What's It About? In this feature film addition to the My Little Pony brand, Twilight Sparkle travels to an alternate world chasing a crown thief where she is transformed into a teenage girl. She juggles the challenges of high school while searching for the stolen crown and changing the fate of both parallel worlds. This is a fun-packed adventure for every My Little Pony lover.
My Little Pony: Equestria Girls - DVD Clip No. 1

IN or OUT: IN.


"Passenger 57"
What's It About? This 1992 Wesley Snipes action film is best summed up as "Die Hard" on a plane, just nowhere near as good. When a lethal terrorist (Bruce Payne) seizes control of a plane transporting him, anti-terrorism expert John Cutter (Snipes) is luckily onboard to take him down. The utterly cheesy "Passenger 57" is forgettable and dull in comparison to other great action films of the 90s.

IN or OUT: OUT.