In this publicity file photo provided by HBO, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister are shown in a scene from HBO's "Game of Thrones." / AP Photo/HBO, Paul Schiraldi, File
If it’s big, flashy blockbusters you’re looking to rent or download this week, check back here again next week. The offerings detailed below came and went quietly during their theatrical release, but there are some real pleasures to be found here. And if you’re one of those people who uses video to catch up on talked-about television series you haven’t had the time for, there’s something for you, too.
"The Deep Blue Sea." Don’t let 2012 go by without tracking down this period romance, although “romance” hardly begins to describe the sensuality that fills every frame of this film. Rachel Weisz, a fine British actress who doesn’t work nearly as often as she should, stars as a woman caught in a pair of unfulfilling, ultimately destructive, relationships. It’s not a happy story, but it’s a commendable one for raising issues most motion pictures never go near. Wrote New York Magazine’s Bilge Ebiri, “'The Deep Blue Sea’ is not a showy or pronounced movie. Open yourself up to it, however, and it might destroy you.” Rated R for a scene of sexuality and nudity. 98 min.
“Silent House.” Horror movies that get every element right are few and far between, and “Silent House,” alas, belongs in the majority. But the flick, about a young, blond woman who finds herself alone in a house she can’t escape, begins exceptionally well, and actress Elizabeth Olsen is a good screamer. Directors Chris Kentis and Laura Lau, who put out a disturbing shark thriller nine years ago, understand the value of the long take, particularly in this genre. “'Silent House’ feels relentless, suffocatingly tense and almost unbearable. And that’s a very good thing,” wrote The San Francisco Chronicle’s Mick LaSalle. Rated R for disturbing violent content and terror. 85 min.
“Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season.” Only a premium cable network like HBO seems to be willing and able these days to spend the money for a lavish fantasy series like this one. Were this a motion picture, even a film franchise, the emotional connection with the characters that audiences deserve would likely be sacrificed for spectacle. Make no mistake, “Games of Thrones” has plenty of medieval thrills, not to mention sex and violence, and the production values are top of the line. But the performances are truly exceptional; Peter Dinklage may have landed the role of his career here. “Game of Thrones” fans -- and there are lots of them - are passionate about this series. Five discs, 561 min.
“Metropolitan.” If F. Scott Fitzgerald were alive today and a filmmaker, it’s easy to imagine him making this movie. Or perhaps director Whit Stillman, who gave us this picture 22 years ago, was just overly familiar with Fitz’s “The Great Gatsby.” But Stillman deserves more credit than that. This little indie, now getting the Criterion treatment, remains a fascinating window onto the debutante culture of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, a world that was quickly disappearing in 1990 and now only exists in
New York’s suburbs, if anywhere. “Metropolitan” serves as a reminder that while money may buy a lot of things, maturity has no price. Blu-ray, 99 min.
“The Last Days of Disco.” By the time Whit Stillman got around to helming this film, out this week in another Criterion edition, he was fast on his way to becoming a one-trick pony. “Disco,” set in the New York nightclubs of the early 1980s, again features pretty, young people uttering sparkling, literate dialogue in a scene fast on its way to become endangered. Unlike “Metropolitan,” which featured a gaggle of unknown actors who are still unknown, “Disco” stars Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny, just starting out. But if this place and time intrigues, the now-forgotten, admittedly flawed 1998 movie “Bright Lights, Big City” serves as a better cinematic time capsule. Blu-ray, 113 min.
This week’s most popular home video releases, as compiled by Rotten Tomatoes: “21 Jump Street,” “American Reunion,” “The Three Stooges,” “Mirror Mirror,” “Wrath of the Titans,” “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” “Safe House,” “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,” “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” and “The Woman in Black.”
Email entertainment writer Todd Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ToddHillMNJ