Life as We Know It — Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel star as an unlikely pair forced to move in together to raise the baby daughter of their deceased friends in director Greg Berlanti’s glossy first feature since 2000’s The Broken Hearts Club. Berlanti, among the most LGBT-inclusive writer-directors working today, unobtrusively includes a gay couple among the neighbors who lend support to the unexpected parents.
Nowhere Boy — The complicated, pre-Beatles years of angry teenager John Lennon and the influential women in his life is the subject of this finely rendered feature debut by director Sam Taylor-Wood. Gorgeous cinematography (by The Hours’ Seamus McGarvey) and exceptional performances (Aaron Johnson as a swaggering, handsome young Lennon, Anne-Marie Duff as his often-unhinged mother, Julia, and especially Kristin Scott-Thomas as his determined Aunt Mimi) highlight this insightful look into the future icon.
My Soul to Take — Wes Craven hasn’t directed a film since 2005’s Red Eye (and he hasn’t written one since Wes Craven’s New Nightmare). But the horror master is in fine form with My Soul to Take, which is reminiscent of the great horror films of the ’80s. An attractive cast will surely help pack bodies in the theater, and it’s the perfect appetizer for Scream 4, which hits screens next April.
Tamara Drewe — Director Stephen Frears’s résumé reads like a master class in art films — Dangerous Liaisons, The Grifters, Dirty Pretty Things, The Queen. But with Tamara Drewe he gets decidedly less serious for a fun romp through the English countryside. In the story of a newspaper writer (Gemma Arterton, charming) who returns to her hometown just as her family home is being put up for sale, the colorful ensemble cast makes this an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon at the movies.
In And Out of Consciousness: The Greatest Hits 1990-2010 by Robbie Williams — A comprehensive collection of nearly four dozen tracks culled from the best of the former Take That-er’s solo material. Included here are the acclaimed single “Angels”; “Kids,” his sizzling duet with Kylie Minogue; the retro-flavored cover of “Something Stupid” with Nicole Kidman; and “Shame,” his collaboration with former bandmate Gary Barlow, which inspired the popular Brokeback Mountain-themed video.
Hello Tomorrow by Dave Koz — After 20 years and a dozen albums, Dave Koz shakes things up a bit on Hello Tomorrow. The guest artists on his latest CD are aplenty, and Koz writes in the liner notes that his goal is for this album to serve as a “musical survival guide for these unfamiliar times.” The out saxophonist and songwriter achieves his goal with this inspired and deeply catchy collection of tunes, and he surrounds himself with a collection of hit-makers who give Hello Tomorrow a contemporary edge.
The Exorcist on Blu-Ray — Director William Friedkin’s best-known film (he’s known among gay audiences for directing The Boys in the Band and Cruising) gets benefits from tons of added bonuses on this two-disc set, including the film’s director’s cut, a feature-length documentary on the making of the movie, and commentary from Friedkin and screenwriter William Peter Blatty. The film, of course, stands the test of time — it’s a true classic at a time of the year when the cheap imitations get dumped into theaters.
Pretty Maids All in a Row — Rock Hudson stars as a randy gym coach who seduces his students in another campy cinematic time capsule from Barbarella director Roger Vadim — this one a pitch-black high school murder comedy from 1971. Roddy McDowall, Telly Savalas, and Angie Dickinson costar and deliver some of the most sexually provocative and risible dialogue of the era.
Score — Respected exploitation director Radley Metzger became one of the first filmmakers to explore bisexual relationships in this adaptation of an off-Broadway play that starred Sylvester Stallone. The uncensored version of the film contains several minutes of gay sex scenes between actors Gerald Grant and Cal Culver that were excised during the film’s initial release in 1972.
Oceans — Disney Nature’s slate of documentary films have make for some stunning home viewing, and none quite so much as the French made Oceans, which explores the earth’s five oceans and looks every bit as rich as the estimated $60 million price tag. Narrated by Pierce Brosnan, whose voice is the perfect companion for some of the most beautiful footage you’re likely to see all year.