"Albert Nobbs" (R, 113 minutes, Lionsgate)
We first meet Albert Nobbs (played by Glenn Close) as a meek, impeccably groomed butler at a modest but respectable hotel in Dublin, Ireland. Nobbs has worked there nearly 20 years, during which time the staff and guests have come to think they know him simply as a reserved keeper of secrets. But two people Nobbs encounters confront him with the secret he has held closest: that he's really a woman who long ago assumed a man's identity to survive and to this day doesn't know exactly who he/she is. That filmgoers can so easily slip into Nobbs' attenuated reality at all is due to Close's uncanny performance. She possesses the kind of transparent clarity and stillness that makes screen acting look easy.
Contains some sexuality, brief nudity and profanity. DVD extras: Commentary, deleted scenes.
"The Grey" (R, 118 minutes, Universal)
Within its first several minutes, Joe Carnahan's man-against- nature thriller takes on contours and shadings far more sophisticated than the usual pulp programmer. Liam Neeson plays John Ottway, a sharpshooter who works for an oil company in Alaska keeping gray wolves and other predators at bay. Soon Ottway and his fellow he-men are on a plane bound for civilization. The plane won't make it, leaving Ottway and six others marooned in an icy wasteland with packs of hungry wolves. Such pure, elemental motivations and obstacles could easily provide the makings of a brutish but viscerally effective B-movie, but Carnahan aspires to something more and he largely achieves it.
Contains violence and disturbing content, including bloody images, and pervasive profanity. DVD extras: commentary by Carnahan and editors Roger Barton and Jason Hellmann; deleted scenes.
"Chronicle" (PG-13, 96 minutes, Fox)
Movies that purport to be constructed from found footage usually do so to cloak a flimsy premise. That's not the issue with "Chronicle," in which a pretty good idea for a sci-fi thriller is undermined by hastiness. Amateur cameraman Andrew is a Seattle area high-schooler who is bullied at school and at home. Andrew's closest thing to a friend is his cousin Matt. One night, the two attend a rave, where they encounter Matt's longtime crush, who later serves as the movie's damsel in distress. In a development any superhero-origin buff will recognize, the boys crawl into a sinkhole and find a weird substance that alters them.
Contains violence, profanity, sexual situations and teen drinking. Extras: deleted scene, camera test.
"One for the Money" (PG-13, 91 minutes, Lionsgate)
Stephanie Plum (Katherine Heigl) has lost her job selling lingerie at Macy's and lost her car to the repo guys. She needs cash, so she hits up a relative for a piece of his bail bond business.
Bad screenplay structure, unsnappy "snappy" dialogue, bland characters blandly played, flat, tedious direction.
Contains violence, sexual references and language, some drug material and partial nudity. DVD extras: making-of featurettes, "Bond Girls: Kicking Ass in the Bail Bonds Industry" featurette, gag reel, deleted scene.
"Rampart," "Flashpoint: The Fourth Season," "The Bling Ring," "Descendents" (2008, Chile), "Michael" (Austria), "Golf in the Kingdom," "Dragonslayer," "The Devil Inside," "Kinyarwanda," "Freak Dance" (Upright Citizens Brigade?), "Scooby-Doo! 13 Spooky Tales Around the World," "Walking Tall Trilogy Collectors Edition," "Treasure Houses of Britain," "Time Team: Unearthing the Roman Invasion" and "Chained: Code 207."