DVD releases

“Premium Rush”

The film would have been nothing more than a salute to Xtreme sports if director David Koepp hadn’t turned the idea into a white-knuckle thrill ride that’s a lean, mean biking machine.

The vastly underappreciated Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Wilee, a law school grad who has traded a life of gray suits for the challenges of being a New York bike messenger. He’s the kind of guy who lives life at such a breakneck speed, his bike doesn’t have brakes.

“Premium Rush” lives up to its name — it’s a real rush.

Grade: B+

“Arbitrage”

Richard Gere’s Robert Miller is a charismatic money maker who needs a big deal to go through to cover up some of his financial and sexual indiscretions.

The driving theme of director/writer Nicholas Jarecki’s movie is that the rich and powerful can get away with murder. There are times when the movie leaps on a glass-and-steel soap box.

Despite some good performances, Jarecki’s film falls apart because it just feeds into the theme it pretends to protest. That leaves it with no one worth rooting for and that always creates a down and depressing product.

Grade: C+

“The Words”

A writer’s drive to find success leads him to a dark decision. Bradley Cooper stars.

This is a literary nesting doll where each hidden layer is another author’s story. The problem is that the further the script by directors Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal moves from the center, the weaker the plot and characters get. What starts out as a poignant cautionary tale of the power and obsession that comes with the creative process slowly reveals itself to be little more than a so-so mystery with an unsatisfactory ending.

Grade: C+

Rick Bentley, The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.)

Also new

“Resident Evil: Retribution”: Alice (Milla Jovovich) continues to be the only hope for the human race.

“Killer Joe”: A man hires Joe (Matthew McConaughey) to kill his mother so he can collect her life insurance.

“Gabriel Iglesias Presents: Stand-Up Revolution Season 2”: Includes extended episodes with new material from Gabriel Iglesias, plus 12 other comedians.

“Snooki &JWOWW: Season 1”: Reality TV series with Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi.

“Cinderella”: Modern take on the fairy tale that’s set against the backdrop of the Wild West.

Rick Bentley, The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.)

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