"New Year's Eve"A mash-up of actorly duets, this leaden effort from screenwriter Katherine Fugate and director Garry Marshall sags when it should shimmer, labors when it should glide and plops some otherwise attractive and even talented actors into roles that are completely outside their physical and psychic comfort zone.
Contains profanity, including some sexual references. DVD extras: commentary by Marshall and gag reel; also, on Blu-ray, "Jon Bon Jovi and Lea Michele Rock New Year's Eve" (the collaboration of the rocker and "Glee" star, with producer Don Was, from the recording studio to the set to a live Times Square performance); "The Magic of Times Square" (a history); and "New Year's Eve Secrets of the Stars" (cast members dish on their best and worst Dec. 31 celebrations) and deleted scenes.
"Joyful Noise"(PG-13, 118 minutes, Warner Home Video)
Times are tough for the citizens of Pacashau, Ga., and not just because the recession has shuttered most of the town's businesses. The director of the Divinity Church Choir has died, making the group's chances for top prize at the National Joyful Noise Competition look bleak. To make matters worse, the choir finds itself divided when Vi Rose Hill (Queen Latifah) is chosen over the choir director's widow, G.G. Sparrow (Dolly Parton), to helm the group. The movie revolves around keeping the faith through obstacle after obstacle, but the dramedy's ultimate feel-good nature proves infectious, even for non-churchgoers.
Contains strong language, brief violence and sexual situations. DVD extras: making-of featurette and "Leading Ladies" (in the recording studio with Parton and Latifah); also, on Blu-ray, the featurettes "Spotlight on a Song: Dolly Parton's 'From Here to the Moon and Back' " and "Inspiration of Joyful Noise" and extended songs.
"Haywire"(R, 93 minutes, Lions Gate)
Mallory Kane is the latest tough-girl movie heroine leaving a trail of carnage in her wake. Played by real-life mixed martial arts champion Gina Carano, Mallory is a steely, smoky-voiced creation. "Haywire" gives audiences what they came to see: bruising fight sequences set up and executed with economy, skill and one or two genuine jaw-dropping jolts. "Haywire" stays true to its low-rent B-movie principles, right down to the fast, strong and quietly competent heroine at its center.
Contains some violence. DVD extras: featurettes "Gina Carano: From MMA to 'Haywire' " and "The Men of 'Haywire.' "
"W.E."(R, 119 minutes, Anchor Bay Entertainment)
It seems like yesterday that "The King's Speech" and Colin Firth's stammering King George VI were taking movie fans by storm. What a difference a year makes. "W.E." portrays George and his wife, Elizabeth, not as heroes but as henpecked and scheming. "W.E." saves its sympathy for George's brother, King Edward VIII, who famously abdicated the throne in 1936 to marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Conceived and directed by Madonna, "W.E." is a gorgeous mess. Both frantic and inert, the strained effort to wring heroic meaning from two unheroic characters proves a task too daunting for even Madonna's flinty determination.
Contains profanity and domestic abuse. Extras: making-of featurette.
Also: "George Harrison: Living in the Material World," "The Front Line" (South Korea), "Pillow Talk: Universal 100th Anniversary Collector's Series," "The Dick Van Dyke Show: Carl Reiner's Favorites" and "American Experience: Jesse Owens" (PBS)