What are you renting this week? Let us know in the comments! To get you started, here's our look at more than a dozen new releases.
Joss Whedon's TV series Firefly inspired a rabid fan base, myself included. The sci-fi Western featured good-looking, likable characters, witty dialogue, and a breezy pace. The 2005 movie was a thrilling, fitting capstone for a series that ended far too soon, but stands on its own just fine. Previously released on DVD and HD-DVD, the Blu-ray version adds several new features (detailed by Peter Bracke at High-Def Digest). Serenity is buoyant entertainment and rewards repeat viewings. Buy it.
Woman on the Beach
A sublime tale, Woman is a leisurely, dramatic battle of the sexes that's funny and insightful. J. Hoberman of the Village Voice described it as "a rueful tale of karmic irony, self-deceived desire, squandered second chances, and unforeseen abandonment." He noted director Hong Sang-soo's affinities with Eric Rohmer and Albert Brooks "in his deadpan presentation of absurd antics." In Korean with English subtitles. The DVD includes a "making of," interviews, and a trailer. Woman on the Beach is an ideal choice for date night. Rent it.
Directed by Alan Ball (American Beauty, Six Feet Under), this "controversial and polarizing" drama relates what happens to "a 13-year-old Lebanese-American girl living in Texas during the first Gulf War," per our own Eric D. Snider, who was writing in response to an Islamic group's call for a title change. The DVD includes a two-part featurette, "Towelhead: A Community Discussion." Sight unseen (by me), it sounds like a sure cure for a New Year's Day hangover. Rent it.