Ryan Gosling

“Drive” (R) — Ryan Gosling stars in this stylized thriller about a getaway driver who gets involved in a job gone wrong. Gosling’s man-of-few-words protagonist smolders opposite Carey Mulligan, the young mother next door who can never be rid of the trouble caused by her convict husband. The taciturn motorist takes an interest in pulling her out of danger, and becomes the target of some bad guys on the take.

Don’t assume this is another coulda-been-Statham, generic car-chase flick. “Drive” has an original look, masterful pacing and intense violence all to the tune of a buttery-smooth, pitch-perfect soundtrack. If you can handle the visceral shocks and escalating tensions, then this is a wild ride of current, cool and unforgettable cinema.

“In Time” (PG-13) — In a bluish near-future science-fiction world, time is literally money. Wealthy people stay young and live forever, while the working sods have to scrape by just to make it another day. It’s a nifty idea for a Bonnie and Clyde, upset-the-system type of adventure. Too bad the whole thing falls flat and runs out of time while the film is still rolling.

Justin Timberlake plays a blue-collar guy who gains a windfall when a wealthy man decides he’s sick of immortality and gives all of his time to Timberlake, thus killing himself. By this point, the movie has just begun to preach loud and clear through its thin metaphor for wealth inequality. The movie gets dull as the plot limps along, the characters stay flat and the heavy-handed speeches continue.

“The Thing” (R) — In a remote facility in Antarctica, a few cabin-fevered researchers find something not of this world. A grotesque shape-shifting alien is making its way though their roster, and nobody knows whom to trust or where to run. It’s a prequel that plays it so close to the original that it’s almost a remake.

For a pointless prequel, it sure tries its best. Unfortunately for this Thing, John Carpenter’s 1982 “The Thing” casts a long, cold shadow as one of the best American horror films. The thing about the new Thing (sorry folks), is that it has thrills based around gore and things jumping out at you, but it never learns to walk on its own, and instead relies on mimicking the exact characteristics of the original without getting the real hang of it.

“The Big Year” (PG) — Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin are three comedy steeds hitched to this cart that goes nowhere. This lukewarm flick about competitive bird watchers has its three-dimensional characters, but the comedy never really takes flight. It’s on a small-scale, but there is some enjoyment in the movie if you’re patient and gentle-tempered with it.

“Into The Universe With Stephen Hawking” [Blu-ray]
“Hey Dude: Season Two”
“Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Series 1”
“Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Series 2”
“Frontline: A Perfect Terrorist”

© 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.