"The Artist" (PG-13, 100 minutes, the Weinstein Co./Sony)
A delectable homage to the silent movies of the 1920s, Michel Hazanavicius' romantic comedy plays like a sweet, airy confection. That "The Artist" is itself a silent movie in black and white, no less shouldn't deter viewers from giving it a whirl. "The Artist" opens in 1927, when the dapper star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) rules Hollywoodland. When George crosses paths with an eager newcomer named Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), he's cast in the role of mentor; but when talking pictures become the order of the day, she quickly begins an ascent up stardom's ladder, while George's fortunes begin their inevitable slide. Contains a disturbing image and a crude gesture. Extras: making-of featurette, Q&A with the filmmakers and cast, blooper reel, and Hollywood-on-location featurette.
"A Thousand Words" (PG-13, 91 minutes, Paramount)
Eddie Murphy's Jack McCall is a powerhouse literary agent who doesn't stop talking long enough to read the books he pitches. His latest target is a stadium-packing New Age guru who presents Jack with an unmarketably terse five-page book and a mystical Bodhi tree. The tree, it turns out, is psychically grafted to Jack. It loses a leaf every time he releases a word; tree and man will perish when the last leaf falls. More bland than bad, the film has a few nice moments. Sure, there are cheap sex gags and slapstick routines, but the movie seems sincere about its self-help-book moral. Contains sexual situations, including dialogue, language and drug-related humor. DVD extras: Six deleted scenes. Also, on Blu-ray: five more deleted scenes, alternate ending.
"Mirror Mirror" (PG, 106 minutes, Relativity Media)
Director Tarsem Singh has shown a gift for fantastical settings, and Snow White's kingdom is no exception. Unfortunately, actress Lily Collins as Snow White offers a pale reflection of her stunning setting. The fair Snow White is sequestered in her late father's castle by her pathologically vain stepmother, the Evil Queen (Julia Roberts). After sneaking out of the fortress for a visit to the village, Snow meets Prince Alcott of Valencia in the woods. He has been bound and burgled, and she, having no idea he is a prince, unties him and then blushes furiously. Contains some fantasy action and mild rude humor. DVD extras: making-of and "Prince and Puppies" featurettes. Also, on Blu-ray: deleted scenes, an alternate opening, a dance-along to the Nina Hart song "I Believe in Love" performed by Collins, and an interactive digital storybook.
"21 Jump Street" (R, 109 minutes, Sony)
A surly police captain (Ice Cube) tells two recruits the force has resurrected a program that sent undercover cops into high schools. The neophytes are Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum), a bumbling nerd and good-looking dullard, respectively, who were arch-opposites in high school but have become buds. Despite the edginess and vulgarity, the production is suffused by sweetness. Hill and Tatum work joyfully in harness, developing a chemistry reminiscent of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in "The Other Guys." This is "The Younger Guys," with more funny drug trips and amusing cameos. "21 Jump Street" might be another product of Hollywood recycling, but it deserves notice. Contains crude and sexual content, pervasive profanity, drug material, teen drinking and some violence. DVD extras: Director and cast commentary, behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted scenes. Also, on Blu-ray: gag reel and outtakes.
Also: "Wrath of the Titans," "The 39 Steps" (1935, Criterion Collection), "C'mon Man" (a.k.a. "The Last Laugh"), "Almost Kings," "Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham and Other Stories" (1973, remastered TV feature), "Law & Order: Criminal Intent: The Seventh Year," "Oranges and Sunshine" (2010, Britain/ Australia), "The Samurai Trilogy" ("Musashi Miyamoto," 1954; "Duel at Ichijoji Temple," 1955, "Duel at Ganryu Island," 1956,) (Japan; all directed by Hiroshi Inagaki and starring Toshiro Mifune), "Some Guy Who Kills People," "Best Laid Plans," "Sector 7" (2011, South Korea), "Bullhead" (2011, Belgium), "Identical," "Damages: The Complete Fourth Season," "Second-Story Man," "The Perfect Family," "Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns: Season 6," "Springtime in the Sierras" (1942, starring Roy Rogers and Trigger, Film Chest/American Pop Classics), "Dora the Explorer: Dora's Rescue in Mermaid Kingdom," "Earth From Above" (the first two installments in the travelogue series), "The Hedgehog (Le Herisson)" (2009, France) and three TCM Greatest Classic Legends releases (four discs each, on Joan Crawford, Humphrey Bogart and Kirk Douglas, Warner) and TCM Greatest Gangster Films (with Humphrey Bogart, Warner).