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DFW.com DVD Drawer: Week of Aug. 3

Posted 2:50pm on Wednesday, Aug. 04, 2010

Welcome back to the DFW.com DVD Drawer. Although we make mention every week of the new releases, some of the more esoteric discs slip through the cracks. I’ll still throw a little light on the blockbusters, but hopefully, I can draw your attention to flicks that might otherwise pass you by. Let’s get started, shall we?

Aug. 3
Lots of high-profile and, surprisingly, worthwhile titles on shelves this week. Kick-Ass is a lot more fun than you might think, particularly given the hyper-violent and nigh-flippant way its characters interact with and kill each other. The blurb on the DVD's cover likens it to Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, a stylistic fit, although Tarantino's film felt a lot more soulful. The Blu-ray is packed to the gills with bonus features, including -- weirdly -- D-Box demos. Are there really home theaters outfitted with that niche product? DFW.com’s Christopher Kelly says the film is "called getting your cake and eating it, too, and for the most part Kick-Ass is able to pull it off."

Another must-see highlight from the week's releases is director Jacques Audiard's A Prophet, a grim epic that follows a young man's rise from inconsequential prisoner to crime lord. I first became acquainted with Audiard via 2001's Read My Lips, an underrated little thriller that holds up well. A Prophet is something else entirely; a muscular, confident piece of filmmaking that ranks him alongside greats like Martin Scorsese and recalls equally immersive, foreign tales of crime like 2008's Gomorrah. DFW.com's Kelly says "this is pulp fiction with extraordinary depth of feeling and purpose."

Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer has its moments, but can't overcome a weirdly disjointed feeling. Perhaps it was the jarring (and poorly done) dubbing over profanity, or the fact that his legal troubles prohibited him from filming in the United States, where this thriller is set, but the movie never quite clicked for me. Ewan McGregor stars as the titular scribe, tasked with completing the memoirs of controversial prime minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan). As with nearly every Polanski film, circumstances are not what they seem and the ghost writer soon finds himself in over his head. Kelly felt that "it's wonderful to see director Roman Polanski display some of the brazen, merciless wit of his early thrillers."

Other new releases on DVD include Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the fourth season of Heroes.

New on Blu
Lots of big titles -- including the three above -- making their debut on Blu-ray this week. Among the catalog offerings include a brand new edition of Sam Mendes' period gangster drama Road to Perdition; the often-overlooked Dominic Sena thriller Kalifornia; The Breakfast Club's 25th anniversary edition; a maddeningly skimpy edition of Bull Durham and the featherlight blockbuster Charlie's Angels.

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