New-release week is starting to hit its stride again now that summer is basically over. We haven't yet hit the action-packed holiday onslaught, though, and this week, we've got a lot of fantastic and slightly off-the-beaten-path stuff to choose from, including autobiographies from Roger Ebert and Michael Moore, as well as this year's hockey game, a couple fantastic films and plenty more. Before we get into the blockbuster territory in the coming months, this is one of your last chances to pick up stuff without too many explosions in it.
Despite what you're probably thinking, Thor was, for the most part, an enjoyable, dumb movie. It was safe and didn't venture far from the story-explosion-explosion-punch-story atmosphere of most comic-book movies, but it did its job at conveying its narrative well. Plus, it has a hunky dude smashing shit with a hammer and smooching on Natalie Portman, so really, everyone should be able to get something out of it. Hesher Apparently Natalie Portman was in every single movie this summer, because here she is again. This time around, it's a hell of a lot different than Thor, though. Hesher is Joseph Gordon-Levitt running around being, well, a hesher, and popping into the life of a messed-up family only to take up residence in their garage. It's not a heartwarming tale, nor is it one that feeds you lines; it's subdued, odd, and will often make you slightly uncomfortable. It's weird, but remarkably satisfying in the end.
Here Comes Trouble: Stories From My Life, by Michael Moore
Michael Moore is a love-him-or-hate-him character, but despite how you feel about his politics and his films, it's always good to get the history and story of the people you love/hate. You should be able to do that with Here Comes Trouble, a collection of essays about his life, from childhood all the way up to his films. It looks to be a solid collection of both humorous and heartening stories, and mostly devoid of Moore's usual political slant. Life Itself by Roger Ebert You wouldn't usually want to read an autobiography of a film critic, but Roger Ebert is a little different. Not only has he been an insanely prolific writer and connoisseur of film, he also has survived and recovered from not just alcoholism, but also complications with thyroid cancer. In recent years, he has moved his views of films to critiques of the world at large, and it should be interesting to see how he views not only the world around him, but himself.
NHL 12 (Xbox 360, PS3)
For most people, purchasing the yearly updates to sports games is a time-honored but tedious task. Thankfully, NHL 12, and the NHL series as a whole has consistently delivered the best experience of all the sports titles. If you're a fan of hockey, this is a must-have, but even if you just want to pick up a sports game, any sport -- this is the one to get. Bit.Trip Complete/Saga (Wii/3DS) The Bit.Trip games have been incredibly underappreciated by the masses, probably because they've mostly only existed on the Nintendo Wii's under-used WiiWare service. Now the rhythm-based-retro games are available in a physical format for both the 3DS and the Wii, so you have no excuse to pass these up. It's six games in one package, all of varying genres. As long as you have a soul, you'll love what you get here.
Holy Terror, by Frank Miller
If there is one dude who likes to write and draw scenes about neck-breaking more than anyone else, it's Frank Miller. Holy Terror keeps up that trend, with a hero running down murderous zealots and smashing their skulls into the ground as much as possible. Everyone loves a good zealot-smashing, right? It was purposely set to be released on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks and is striving to offend everybody, so, you know, there's that. Daybreak, by Brian Ralph Yes, zombies are everywhere these days, but Daybreak looks to be a different approach to the formulaic "end-of-the-world mayhem" we've come to know as the zombie genre. Taking a more laid-back approach, Daybreak is more about the struggles of a silent observer as he attempts to understand and stay alive in the midst of the zombie threat. It's more of a character study than it is a gore-fest, something like The Road meets Mad Max meets Night of the Living Dead. Follow us on Twitter!