What’s new this week: big budget films and fall finales

This week features finales for several network shows, including two veteran singing competitions, The Voice and X-Factor. Movies on Demand brings a host of big ticket films to the small screen, including efforts from Hugh Jackman, Johnny Depp and Matt Damon.

New this week on Movies on Demand

prisonersPrisoners – This excellent fall 2013 release bristles with intensity and rage. Hugh Jackman play’s a father who takes matters into his own hands when his six-year old daughter goes missing. This is not a revenge/action film. This is a seething portrayal of what a good man will do when something very bad happens. Be warned, the subject matter and violence will turn off some, but it’s a first-rate film. Jackman does a nice turn as an everyman, but Jake Gyllenhaal steals the show as the detective working to track down the missing girl. A great supporting cast includes Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrance Howard and Paul Dano. Available Dec. 17.

The Lone Ranger – Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp star as the Lone Ranger and Tonto in Gore Verbinski’s take on the iconic western hero. The film bombed at the box office this past summer, but it does have some nice moments. It’s a bit wild, a bit wacky, and a bit muddled. Not everything works, but it’s an entertaining tale. Available Dec. 17.

elysiumElysium – Matt Damon and Jodie Foster star in director Neill Blomkamp’s sci-fi epic wanna be. The film centers around Damon, who lives on an overpopulated, crumbling Earth. When an accident gives him only five days to live, he must reach the utopian-like space station called Elysium in order be cured. The film offers a nice balance of action and message that will please science fiction fans. Available Dec. 17.

One Direction: This Is Us – Follow around the Brit boy band for a year on their world tour. This will appeal to the fans of the band, but outsiders won’t understand the fuss. Available Dec. 17 in Theatrical and Extended versions.

Don Jon – This adult comedy/drama features actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who writes and directs as well). Gordon-Levitt plays a hardworking New Jersey man who develops unrealistic expectations about women, romance and intimacy from watching too much pornography. It’s a unique mix of sexy, funny, sad and heartfelt. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re not afraid of a little challenge, don’t miss it. Also stars Scarlett Johansson. Available Dec. 24.

TV Highlights

hoeHow I Met Your Mother – The long-running sitcom is sputtering down the stretch, but rejoice that Jason Segal (finally) joins up with the rest of the gang in the fall finale. Monday, Dec. 16, CBS.

The Voice – The reality singing competition crowns its latest champion in a 2-hour finale. Tuesday, 12/17, NBC.

Michael Buble’s 3rd Annual Christmas Special – If you need some heartfelt Christmas tunes, this is the special to check in on. Guests include Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige and the Cookie Monster (that’s correct – the Cookie Monster). Wednesday, Dec. 18. NBC.

The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2013 – Barbara Walters unveils her annual list of who’s hot. Some guesses – Miley Cyrus, Pope Francis, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Lawrence, Rand Paul, Duck Dynasty cast. Wednesday, Dec. 18. ABC.

X-Factor – Simon Cowell and his crew get to pick their Season 3 winner. Thursday, 12/19, Fox.

Vivian Vance, left, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz and William Frawley in "I Love Lucy Christmas Special"I Love Lucy Christmas Special – Go a little old school for Christmas with a pair of classic Lucy episodes, both colorized for the occasion. Friday, 12/19, CBS.

The Rolling Stones Sweet Summer Sun Hyde Park 2013 – Enjoy the Stones in a feature length concert film shot this past summer. The granddads of rock can still bring. A must for classic rock fans. Friday, 12/19, Showtime.

Indiana Jones – Catch all four of the Indiana Jones films back-to-back, uncut. Saturday, 12/21, USA Network.

Saturday Night Live – Jimmy Fallon returns with Justin Timberlake as musical guest. We expect big things from this reunion. Saturday, 2/21, NBC.

About Matthew Breen

Based in Colorado, but from Madison, Wisconsin, Matt likes to blog about travel, auto, gadgets, food and entrainment. Follow author Matt Breen on Google + or read his recent stories on Pursuitist.

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