This week’s top videos take viewers into the future and the past.
• “Prometheus,” Grade B-plus: The film is a feast for the eyes.
Director Ridley Scott elevates the visuals to a new sci-fi high in this tale of explorers following a map to the far reaches of outer space. From the holographic images on the ship to the massive beehive-like structures, the film is glorious in design.
The casting is nearly as perfect, with Noomi Rapace’s passionate performance balanced by the cold and methodical thinking of Charlize Theron’s character. There are a few minor flaws: Idris Elba, who plays the ship’s captain, is underused; and Guy Pearce works under mounds of makeup as the mission’s rich benefactor. There’s no reason a younger actor had to be cast and put through such extensive makeup.
Scott’s titanic effort in “Prometheus” yields such a visual triumph that small flaws can be overlooked.
• “The Raven,” Grade C-plus: The works of Edgar Allan Poe become a blueprint for a serial killer.
John Cusack plays the character with a wonderful balance of creative brilliance and madness. The role calls for Cusack to go from a pompous, self-absorbed writer to a truly caring person. It’s a masterful performance wasted on a standard murder mystery. Had this been a biopic, we might be hearing Oscar buzz for Cusack.
“The Raven” suffers from a host of melodramatic performances around Cusack. Luke Evans plays the lead investigator like a robotic Sherlock Holmes. There’s a fine line between being determined and dull, and Evans’ work falls to the latter.
• “Whitney: Season One,” Grade B: This was the best new comedy to launch in the fall season of 2011 and that’s because star Whitney Cummings found that perfect blend of being edgy but likable. The series didn’t maintain the solid writing of the first show, but it still remained funny.
Also new on DVD:
“Bones: The Complete Seventh Season”: Emily Deschanel stars in the procedural TV series.
“World Series: History of the Fall Classic”: A look at the battles for the Major League Baseball title.
“12 Dogs of Christmas: Great Puppy Rescue”: Puppy orphanage must be saved.
“30 Beats”: Lives of New Yorkers intertwine though sexual encounters.
“Yancy Derringer: The Complete Series”: Jock Mahoney stars.
“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Complete Season 7”: Charlie Day stars.
“Webster: 20 Timeless Episodes”: Selected shows from the TV comedy.
“The Courier”: A suitcase must be delivered to an assassin.
“Doctor Who: The Ambassadors of Death”: The Doctor looks into what happened to Mars Probe 7.
“Something Big”: Dean Martin stars in the story of bandit Joe Baker.
“Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”: Film’s now on Blu-ray.
“Rescue”: A look at saving lives in the face of a natural disaster.
“E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Anniversary Edition”: Re-released for the 30th anniversary.
“What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?”: Film celebrates 50th anniversary.