The Ides of March (Sony)
Writer-director-star George Clooney’s cynical look at the political circus can be talky, obvious, and a bit on the over-dramatic side. But as the press secretary who watches his idol’s campaign take some morally questionable turns, Ryan Gosling checks in with one of his best roles in a busy breakout year. Clooney is also good as the smooth-talking Democratic hopeful who you just know is hiding a secret or two behind his ever-present smile. Kinda smart, sometimes savvy, and occasionally numbing, the movie isn’t all that different from the real political arena. Extras cater to armchair pundits as well as to George Clooney fans.
The mannequin-like Taylor Lautner stars in this awful thriller about a kid on the run from bad guys who may be connected to the CIA and his own past. It’s like the Bourne movies, but without Matt Damon, suspense, or a decent story to hold it all together.
Belle de Jour (Criterion)
Even with an opening scene in which Catherine Deneuve is gagged, tied, and whipped in the woods, Luis Buñuel’s 1967 kinky fantasy is one of the surrealist master’s most accessible movies. And one of his best. This Blu-ray includes lots of movie-snob extras.
Mysteries of Lisbon (Music Box)
Chilean director Raoul Ruiz’s four-and-a-half-hour movie is epic in every sense of the word. A multitude of characters in 19th century Europe live through love, death, and war. It’s butt-numbing melodrama, but it’s gorgeous-looking butt-numbing melodrama.