You won't get any major Oscar winners in this week's batch of new DVDs, but that doesn't mean these new releases are light on acclaim. On the contrary, two of the year's best reviewed films arrive this week alongside the latest installment in a beloved franchise, making for a strong and broadly-appealing week in home video releases. First off, the movie many critics circle groups called the best of the 2012 can now be brought directly into your living room:
"Though it seemed from a distance a return to the physical and psychological territory of 'The Hurt Locker,' 'Zero Dark Thirty' finds Bigelow working with bold new tools and textures, asserting herself as a masterful observer of talk and action, her gaze as keen and unblinking as that of her distant protagonist." -- Guy Lodge, HitFix
The first film in the prequel trilogy to one of the most successful franchises of all time also arrives this week:
"'Unexpected Journey' is not the intense, transporting experience you’re probably looking for. It's drawn-out and long, every event in Tolkien's novel turned into some sort of grand spectacle." -- Eugene Novikov, Film Blather
Marion Cotillard dazzles in "Rust And Bone," Jacques Audiard's accessible follow-up to the Grand Prix winning "A Prophet:"
"The narrative lurches from highlight moment to highlight moment, and it's up to you to decide if Audiard is skimming the surface of this relationship or simply skipping the boring stuff...What [makes] her change her mind? Who knows? But we can guess based on the many other films we've seen on this subject. Do we really need it spelled out for us?" -- Scott MacDonald, Toronto Standard
Fans of "Bridesmaids" may want to check out the similarly themed "Bachelorette:"
"Headland...is great at snappy dialogue, but seems to have lost a touch of ambition. For the film debut of someone with a Dante-inspired seven-play cycle to her credit, isn’t it natural to expect something a bit loftier than yet another goofy wedding comedy?" -- Andrew Lapin, DC Theatre Scene
Lastly, the lesser-seen Israel-Palestine drama "The Other Son" earned strong reviews in its theatrical release:
"Though lacking subtlety in the conveying of its intricate plots points, the story, not unlike the families involved, is infused with a rare sensitivity and compassion." -- Prairie Miller, Long Island Press