The horse that galvanized the racing world in the early 1970s gets reverent Disney-studio treatment in this drama, well-directed by Randall Wallace, the screenwriter of Braveheart. Diane Lane gives a fine performance as Penny Chenery, who became Secretariat’s owner and defied doubts about her potential — and the animal’s — to triumph. John Malkovich plays the trainer who does much to advance her quest. Scott Glenn, Dylan Walsh, Dylan Baker and James Cromwell also star. DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; deleted scenes; music video. (Rated PG)
Bruce Willis certainly is no stranger to action tales, but much of the fun of this comic book adaptation is in seeing some other veteran performers — namely, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich — play tough. All of the performers play ex-CIA operatives who reunite to defend themselves against assassins sent to make sure they never reveal secrets from their spying days. Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds) plays a former Willis flame reluctantly drawn into the mayhem. Richard Dreyfuss, Ernest Borgnine, Julian McMahon, James Remar, Brian Cox and Karl Urban also appear. DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; audio commentary by ex-CIA agent Robert Baer; deleted and extended scenes. (Rated PG-13)
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Shortly after the 30th anniversary of his death, this drama recalls the younger years of John Lennon, who was destined to become one of modern music’s genuine icons. As played here by Aaron Johnson, the Liverpool lad is at the crux of an emotional tug of war between his mother and his aunt (Kristin Scott Thomas, Anne-Marie Duff). He finds respite from his home problems in music, especially with the camaraderie of a fellow talent named Paul McCartney (Thomas Brodie Sangster). DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; deleted scenes. (Rated R)