Rental Central

Tom DotyTimes Columnist

October 11, 2012

A rare week saw four very different films hit the shelves, with the quartet being united in quality and worth a look.

“Prometheus” — Anytime Ridley Scott turns his attention towards science fiction, you are in for a treat. Fans of his earlier works will enjoy this effort, which is set in the “Alien” universe, but wrestles with the kind of ideas he explored in “Blade Runner.” The story finds a space exploration team dispatched to search for life in the universe. They find it on a planet that will eventually spawn the first “Alien” flick. There they encounter the occupants of a ship who might hold the answers to who we are and where we come from. Lots of heavy themes here, but there is also a lot of action and great eye candy. The sets are amazing and the cast is seasoned enough not to drown amidst all of the scenery. Noomi Rapace stars alongside Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender as the resident android.

“The Raven” — Audiences failed to find this thriller in theaters so here is a second chance. The story enters on Edgar Allen Poe (arguably the first writer to pen a detective story) and follows his participation in the investigation of a series of murders based on his stories. Good period stuff from James McTeigue (“V for Vendetta”). John Cusack makes for a believable Poe and the period atmosphere is genuine and a little spooky.

“The Courier” — When nobody was looking, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (“The Watchmen”) became a movie star. Here he is well used in the type of role that normally goes to Jason Statham. He is cast a as guy who delivers any package for no questions asked and rocks a better service record than Federal Express. He gets a million dollars for his latest mysterious package, but there are strings attached. If he fails, his family will be murdered. Turns out the guy getting the package is a very bad dude who nobody has survived meeting — a professional killer with a reputation for never missing a beat.

“Rock of Ages” — A young couple heads to L.A. in the late-1980s to pursue their dreams in this musical that was a hit on Broadway. This musical has a lot going for it. It is set in the age of big hair bands and boasts Tom Cruise as a fading star dealing with a young talent that is about to eclipse him. Fun nonsense that benefits from an authentic score and a great turn by Cruise, alongside Paul Giamatti as a promoter with an attitude.

Next week brings something for the kids with “Madagascar 3.”