THE FINAL TAKE:

Overall, the box office was down more than 7 percent versus the same weekend last year, when “Hotel Transylvania” and “Looper” (above) opened in the top two spots at the box office. “This was a solid, post-summer weekend,” said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for Hollywood.com. “We’re heading into a time where some of the most challenging and best films of the year are going to be released, like ‘Gravity’ and ‘Runner Runner.”’

New DVDs this week

Published: Friday, Dec. 28, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 24TICKET
Last Modified: Sunday, Sep. 29, 2013 - 11:07 am

"Looper" (R,118 minutes, Sony Home Video):

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, a laconic young man living in Kansas City in 2042, where as the film opens he is in a wheat field consulting his pocket watch. Another man suddenly appears and – blam! – Joe blows him away. He explains in a voiceover that his victim has come from the 2070s, when the mob uses time-traveling assassins such as Joe – called loopers – to dispose of bodies that technically don't exist. It's a living, and a pretty good one, until the mob boss decides to "close the loop" and sends the older version of the hit man back to be killed. Contains strong violence, profanity, some sexuality/nudity and drug content. DVD extras: Commentary with director Rian Johnson, Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt; featurettes "Looper: From the Beginning" and "Scoring Looper"; five deleted scenes. Also, on Blu-ray: "The Science of Time Travel" featurette and 17 additional deleted scenes.


"The Words" (PG-13, 96 minutes, Sony Home Video)

The first-time directorial effort from Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, who also collaborated on the screenplay, is a well-acted but narratively limp indie that's undermined by a failure to connect emotionally with its audience. The central plot revolves around Rory Jansen (played by Bradley Cooper), a determined writer who discovers an anonymous manuscript of a spectacular novel. Rory reads the manuscript, then decides to peck out the whole thing on his laptop just to know how it feels to have typed such brilliant sentences. But then hot wifey (Zoe Saldana) reads it, thinks her husband has finally found his gift, and the next thing everyone knows, a novel is published and Rory becomes the Man of Letters. Of course, the novel's actual author tracks him down. Contains brief, strong language and smoking. DVD extras: extended special edition with an alternate ending, behind-the-scenes featurette and "A Gentleman's Agreement" production featurette. Also, on Blu-ray: "Clay and Daniella" and "The Young Man and Celia" character featurettes.


"The Well-Digger's Daughter" (not rated, 105 minutes, in French with English subtitles, Kino Lorber)

A remake of a 1940 film by French novelist and filmmaker Marcel Pagnol, "The Well-Digger's Daughter" feels old-fashioned, but not necessarily in a bad way. Its theme of the fallen woman – the 18-year-old unwed mother referenced in the title – feels quaint and out of sync, not just with many of today's movies, but with the modern world in general. Still, the melodrama is classy and convincing, even if the scandal feels somewhat antique. Set just before the start of World War I, the movie is the directorial debut of actor Daniel Auteuil (who plays the widowed well-digger, Pascal, with a mixture of rustic dignity and cuddly curmudgeonliness). Contains sexual themes and brief vulgarity.


ALSO

"Something Better Somewhere Else," "Morning," "The Wiggles Celebration," "Veronica Mars: The Complete First Season," "Veronica Mars: The Complete Second Season" and "Veronica Mars: The Complete Third Season," "Cinderella" (animated).

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