This Week In New Releases [Week Of 30th January 2012]

We all need a gentle reminder from time to time. This Week In New Releases from New Rising Media aims to do just that – remind you of the biggest, best and hottest new media releases to look out for this week. From the latest big screen blockbusters, to this week's most anticipated Blu-Ray discs, via details of the next big triple-A videogame to reach consoles. This isn't a total run-down of everything new this week, though, these are carefully hand-picked for your viewing/playing pleasure entirely by us, enjoy.

Pick of the Week: Drive (Blu Ray)

Since capturing teenage girls’ hearts in The Notebook, Ryan Gosling is now on course to becoming Hollywood’s most reliable rising star. Since deservedly picking up an Oscar nom for his portrayal of a drug-addicted high school teacher in Half Nelson, the effervescently cool Gosling has been drawing attention ever since. With roots largely in independent cinema, his filmography in the years since is as triumphant as it is obscure; from going up against George Clooney in last year’s The Ides of March, to falling for, yes, a sex doll in Lars and the Real Girl.

Drive, out this week on DVD and Blu Ray, happens to be Gosling's most understated, yet ironically his most confident and accomplished performance to date. Directed by Nicholas Winding Refn (Bronson, Valhalla Rising), Gosling plays a Hollywood stunt driver/garage mechanic/getaway driver known simply as 'Driver', a relative mute amongst the picture's wise-cracking LA gangsters (including an excellent Ron Perlman), brash criminal hard-types and Carey Mulligan's single mum. Put simply, Drive effortlessly exudes cool in every department; whether it be the way Gosling pulls off that beige-and-gold scorpion jacket, or the way in which Driver exacts his bloody revenge on those at fault when a job goes awry. Just go and watch it already.

Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene (In Cinemas Friday)

One of the surprise hits of Sundance 2011, Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene is the debut feature from film-maker Sean Durkin - who coincidentally won the Best Director award at the world-reknowned Utah film festival – about a young woman, Martha (newcomer Elizabeth Olsen, sister to Mary-Kate and Ashley), coming home to reconnect with her family and longing to lead a 'normal' life after fleeing from the cult she's come to know as her extended family.

Flicking between dream, reality and everything in-between, the film promises to deliver an unsettling yet observant and poignant picture as Martha's mental state begins to slowly deteriorate from confusion to severe paranoia and persecution to erratic and dangerous behaviour as she tries to forget the cult and its charismatic leader. 

Chronicle (In Cinemas Friday)

Teenagers with superpowers has been done umpteenth times within mainstream films, with everything from the Tim Allen-starring Sky High to I Am Number Four and last year's X-Men origin story X-Men: First Class seeing raging hormones swapped for muscle regeneration, super strength and unbridled power. Why then does Chronicle fill us with so much anticipation?

For one, it has one of the most suspenseful and mystery-coated trailers of 2012 so far, working its way in reverse from the three teenage friends getting to grips with their new powers, all the way to the cliff-hanger ending of how they earned them. Secondly, like The Blair Witch Project and [REC] before it, the story is told from its leads' point of view through handheld camera, giving it an air of authenticity and teenage reality - “Yes, it was the black guy this time” - amidst the other-worldly special effects; a technique used to terrific effect in Cloverfield.

With a cast of relative newcomers and a director largely untested in mainstream, big-budget cinema, Chronicle could so easily become another 'me-too' teenage action flick with a pay-off that fails to live up to the trailer's promise. Here's hoping it's not.