Films that earned Oscar attention top this week's new DVD releases.
"Skyfall," Grade B-plus: Daniel Craig takes his third turn at playing 007 in "Skyfall" (a James Bond movie title that actually makes sense). It's not the world that's in danger this time; the challenge hits closer to home as MI-6 comes under attack. Bond must stop the mysterious Silva (Javier Bardem) before he destroys the British spy agency.
Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan have written one of the most understandable Bond scripts, given that some of the past movies have lost focus. They also created a story with some nice connections to the past. There's at least one major shocker to make "Skyfall" a beautiful gift to fans for the film franchise's 50th anniversary.
James Bond films usually feature a white-knuckle opening action sequence, a sexy credits montage, a world-threatening event, beautiful locations, cool gadgets, the exotic Bond woman and a superb villain. "Skyfall" has five of the seven.
It also has five Oscar nominations, including for cinematography, original score and original song.
"The Sessions," Grade A-minus: A man (John Hawkes) in an iron lung contacts a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt).
These are the kind of acting roles the Oscar voters love to honor and Hunt picked up a nod in the supporting actress category.
It's a worthy nomination because Hunt turns in the best performance of her career. She's playing a woman secure enough of herself to engage in the most personal of acts with a stranger, but not so clinical as to hide the painful realities that haunt her own life.
Hawkes is magnificent, despite being stripped of almost all his acting tools. All he has is his very expressive face and the emotion he brings to every word.
ALSO OUT THIS WEEK
"The Perks of Being a Wallflower": Emma Watson stars in this bittersweet coming-of-age drama.
"Gossip Girl: The Complete Sixth and Final Season": Includes 10 episodes.
"Bully": Documentary that looks at school bullies.
"Robot & Frank": A retired cat burglar gets a new friend. Frank Langella stars.
"Dora the Explorer: Dora's Butterfly Ball": Dora, Boots and Mariposa are back.