Video on Demand Report: Better Late to the Zero Dark Thirty Debate Than Never

The Headliner

Zero Dark Thirty

Director Kathryn Bigelow and co-screenwriter Mark Boal’s follow-up to The Hurt Locker — an Oscar winner in the categories of Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture, among others — is, depending on your interpretation, a gritty, almost journalistic dramatization of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, or a propagandistic endorsement of torturing detainees. One thing is for sure: Zero Dark Thirty is the only movie newly available On Demand this week to have elicited criticism from actual lawmakers. (Better luck next time, Bilbo.)

Zero Dark Thirty is worth seeing not only so you can decide whether you agree with Senators Feinstein et al., but also for the performances of Jessica Ehle, Jason Clarke, and a super-cut Chris Pratt, who barely seems to be from the same species as the role that made him famous, Parks & Recreation‘s Andy Dwyer. Above all, though, the film is a showcase for Jessica Chastain, the agent who found bin Laden (though she has a more colorful way of describing the achievement in the film). If you haven’t seen Chastain since her last Oscar-nominated performance, you … will be very surprised that The Help‘s sweet housewife from Sugar Ditch could be a total badass.

New and Notable

Les Misérables

Watch the film that won Anne Hathaway her first Oscar and rightly earned Russell Crowe the disgust of musical fans the world over.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

If you’ve spent your life wishing you could watch Hobbit dinner parties in real time, this movie is for you.

This Is 40

Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann reprise their Knocked Up roles for this sort-of spinoff about middle age.

Rust & Bone

Marion Cotillard plays a woman who works with a killer whale at an aquatic theme park, and then something just terrible happens to her.

The Collection

Christopher McDonald hires some guys to rescue his daughter, who’s being held by a sadist in a booby-trapped hotel.

Starlet

When a young woman finds cash in a garage-sale Thermos, she strikes up a friendship with the old lady she bought it from.

Shadow People

A radio host and a CDC public health agent join forces to determine the truth about sudden unexplained nocturnal death syndrome, and why not?

About Sunny

Single mother Lauren Ambrose, barely getting by in Las Vegas, has to make hard choices about improving her situation.

The Big Picture

A successful French businessman abandons his life after … well, killing someone, is what I would surmise from the trailer.

4 Minutes

Two buddies attend a speed-dating event. “Hilarity ensues.”

Deep Dark Canyon

A small-town sheriff’s sons accidentally kill the mayor, which is bad news for obvious reasons, but also because the mayor was crooked and his family’s pretty mad.

True Nature

The daughter of a wealthy family disappears for a year and, when she returns, seems pretty screwed up.

Polish Bar

An aspiring DJ (Boardwalk Empire‘s Vincent Piazza) gets into some trouble because of an expensive watch from his uncle’s jewelry store.

Horrid Henry the Movie

This seems to be Britain’s answer to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, only crappy. For some reason, Anjelica Huston, Richard E. Grant, and Parminder Nagra are involved.

24-Hour Love

Former ’90s sitcom kids Tatyana Ali and Darius McCrary are among the cast of this anthology about relationships.

Neighboring Sounds

Private security guards start patrolling a middle-class Brazilian neighborhood where all kinds of crazy stuff seems to go down.

The Other Son

Imagine how much more awkward Switched at Birth would be if one kid were Jewish and the other Palestinian! Actually, you don’t have to imagine it; that’s the premise of this movie.

Opportunistic Backlist Revival Theme of the Week: March Madness

In honor of the NCAA basketball tournament, TWC has assembled this list of basketball movies, of which there are way more than I would have thought: Blue Chips, Space Jam, Love & Basketball, White Men Can’t Jump, More Than a Game, Like Mike, and the undisputed best basketball movie ever, Hoosiers.

Weird Indie of the Week

An Awkward Sexual Adventure

This story of a nebbishy guy trying to learn how to be good at sex so his girlfriend will marry him purports to be “the funniest Canadian sex comedy ever.” Your move, Porky’s franchise.

Early VOD Premiere of the Week

Dog Pound

Four boys get sent to juvie, which seems like it’s absolutely no fun at all.

Masochist’s Choice

The Baytown Outlaws

Eva Longoria hires a trio of dirtbag brothers to get her godson back from her ex-husband, Billy Bob Thornton.

Filed Under: Jessica Chastain, Judd Apatow, Kathryn Bigelow, The Hobbit, This Is 40, VOD OCD, Zero Dark Thirty