The new year is off to a modest start with a few gems that deserved more eyeballs, but mostly middle-of-the-road fare that was forgettable at theaters and should remain so at home. Check out our picks for January 3rd's DVD releases.

MOVIEFONE'S PICKS FOR THE WEEK'Contagion'What's It About? Steven Soderbergh directs an all-star cast of Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne and more in this creepy thriller. An unidentified new virus strain breaks out and quickly becomes a global epidemic, killing off huge scores of the population.

See It Because: The film keeps the soap opera drama in check to document the cold, calculating reality of a horrible disease wiping out the increasingly-connected world community. With frightening accuracy, we see how fear, panic and misinformation spread as fast as germs. It's also one of Moviefone's choices for the best movies of 2011.

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'The Guard'What's It About? Brendan Gleeson plays the titular Guard, a police sergeant in a small Irish little town, who has his own unique way of fighting crime. He is paired up with an FBI agent (played by Don Cheadle) that has descended on their town to bust a massive drug deal -- and Gleeson's particular approach will either end up saving the day or getting them both killed.

See It Because: It's a funny, foul-mouthed, non-PC crime comedy. If you liked 'In Bruges,' then you'll probably like 'The Guard' as it was made by John Michael McDonagh (brother of 'Bruges' director Martin). It's another one of our picks for 2011's best movies.

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'Don't Be Afraid of the Dark' A little girl moves into a creepy old mansion and is terrorized by tiny, little demonic creatures, in this remake of the cult TV movie from 1973. Not an awful redo, but just kind of there -- despite being co-written and produced by Guillermo Del Toro. See It Or Skip It? Skip It.

'I Don't Know How She Does It' In this adaptation of the best-selling novel, Sarah Jessica Parker stars as a career woman trying to have it all as the loving wife, perfect mother and successful bread-winner. A charming cast is wasted on a lot of the cliche easy jokes that come with the most shallow chick-lit; there are better versions of this story out there. See It Or Skip It? Skip it.

'The Last Lions' Jeremy Irons narrates this documentary from National Geographic, concerning a lioness named Ma di Tau, struggling to raise her cubs after their natural habitat is taken away from them. The film may upset some viewers -- both in its accurate depiction of the laws of the jungle and its focus on the population crisis affecting the lion kingdom -- but the beautiful cinematography and universally-relatable story make it compelling. See It Or Skip It? See it.

'Puncture' Action star Chris Evans plays a drug-addicted ambulance chaser, who gets caught up in the biggest court case of his life involving money-driven health organizations, the AIDS scare and a new kind of needle. Don't see it for the execution (considering the unique true subject matter it was based on, 'Puncture' feels like a standard underdog legal thriller) but see it for Chris Evans' drugged-out, twitchy performance -- a performance he considers to be one of his very best.See It Or Skip It? See it.

'Shark Night' College kids staying at a lake house are terrorized by killer sharks. Then the movie gets dumber. The whole thing is a bloodless PG-13 fare, and the home edition is missing the cheap gimmicky 3D effects that conned people into seeing in theaters. See It Or Skip It? Skip it.

The Last Lions Movie Poster
The Last Lions
Based on 15 critics

When a rival pride attacks and kills her mate, lioness Ma di Tau faces an arduous battle to preserve... Read More

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark Movie Poster
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
Based on 35 critics

Lonely and introverted, young Sally (Bailee Madison) has just arrived at the 19th-century mansion that... Read More

Contagion Movie Poster
Based on 38 critics

When Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns to Minnesota from a Hong Kong business trip, she attributes... Read More

Shark Night Movie Poster
Shark Night
Based on 15 critics

Newly arrived at her family's lake-island cabin, college student Sara (Sara Paxton) and her friends prepare... Read More

The Guard Movie Poster
The Guard
Based on 29 critics

A vulgar Irish cop (Brendan Gleeson) and a straight-laced American FBI agent (Don Cheadle) uncover police... Read More

I Don't Know How She Does It Movie Poster
I Don't Know How She Does It
Based on 31 critics

As an employee at a Boston-based financial firm, Kate Reddy (Sarah Jessica Parker) struggles daily to... Read More

Puncture Movie Poster
Based on 17 critics

A lawyer who is a drug addict fights a medical-supplies corporation in court while battling his personal... Read More

categories Movies