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New on DVD: 'The Town,' 'Despicable Me'

Posted 11:39am on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010

The Town

Four men in spooky Skeletor masks force their way inside a bank and then force the assistant manager (Rebecca Hall) to open the safe. When the cops show up, the robbers -- led by longtime Boston-born friends Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck, who also directed and co-wrote the screenplay) and Jem Coughlin (Jeremy Renner) -- take the bank manager hostage. But even after they release her, their paranoia becomes hard to shake: Doug starts trailing her, strikes up a conversation and soon falls in love. As wildly melodramatic as it might sound, The Town, based on the novel Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan, feels entirely plausible and naturalistic. Affleck also turns out to be a shockingly good director of action. The result is purely pleasurable, old-school entertainment that never once insults your intelligence.

Despicable Me is an animated comedy about a mediocre super-villain (voice by Steve Carell) who has concocted a plan to steal the moon. The film seems especially attuned to the silly things that make little kids giggle; what's most surprising, though, is how well the movie works for grown-ups.

The A-Team, a big-screen adaptation of the '80s action TV show, is just a series of confusing false starts. The actors -- and the iconic characters whom they're supposed to be reinventing -- steadily get lost in the noise.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work is a fascinating, fly-on-the-wall documentary that shows us a year in the life of the legendary comic; it's one of the most insightful films made about the blood sport that is show business.

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