Cinematical's Spin-ematical: New on DVD for 11/17

Star Trek

In rebooting the franchise, J.J. Abrams faced the daunting challenge of pleasing long-time Trekkies and roping in new viewers who think 'Live long and prosper' is a slogan for an insurance company. This is not your father's Star Trek, but he'd probably like it too (begrudgingly). Buy it. Also on Blu-ray (see Todd Gilchrist's review for more on that edition.)

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I'm not a big fan of the 'ridicule the clueless' school of humor, so I turn to Cinematical's review by Todd Gilchrist: "curiously ineffective, a sort of middling effort that fails to liberate itself from the stereotypes that provide the character's foundations, even if it also doesn't deliberately or harmfully reinforce them." Skip it. Also on Blu-ray.

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My Sister's Keeper
Despite a relentless barrage of scenes evidently designed with the sole goal of jerking tears, Nick Cassavetes' My Sister's Keeper did not make me cry. It is, however, one of the most glorious-looking terminal cancer pictures I've ever seen. Cameron Diaz, Jason Patric, Abigail Breslin, and Alec Baldwin star in a film I found entirely unsatisfying. (See my review for more.) In addition, fans of the novel by Jodi Picoult may not appreciate the changed ending. Skip it. Also on Blu-ray.

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Also out: How to Be (with Robert Pattinson), Wild Child (with Emma Roberts).

After the jump: Indies on DVD, more Blu-ray, and Collector's Corner.

'The Limits of Control' on DVDThe Limits of Control
Jim Jarmusch's latest film is more of the same, which means it's "cool, dark, mysterious, and altogether refreshing," as I wrote in my review. Isaach De Bankole plays a lone man on a mission throughout Europe, encountering the naked, voluptuous Paz de la Huerta, a blonde-wigged Tilda Swinton, an incredulous Bill Murray, a scruffy Gael Garcia Bernal. All those elements add up to another beautiful, haunting, hypnotic refrain in the Jarmusch playbook.

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The Exiles
Kent Mackenzie's 1961 film chronicles a night in the lives of young Native Americans living in the Bunker Hill district of Los Angeles. Exhumed and recently released theatrically for the first time, it was widely acclaimed as a lost gem. The DVD features a wealth of supplemental material.

Vampires get a new twist, courtesy of Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook. His transformation of a priest into a blood-sucking creature of the night met with a mixed critical reception, but anything from the man who made Oldboy deserves a look.

Our own Jenni Miller insists that Lynn Shelton's film is not a bromance (that's just for movies in the Judd Apatow universe), but is, instead, "funny, human, tender, and loving." Joshua Leonard and Mark Duplass star as "two straight dudes might have sex or might not for 'art.'"

Is Anybody There?
Michael Caine stars as a former magician living unhappily in a hospice for the elderly. A young, death-obsessed boy brings him out of his shell. Directed by John Crowley (Boy A).

'Fight Club' on Blu-rayFight Club
Edward Norton and Brad Pitt in a movie directed by David Fincher that's entered the popular culture for its famous "rules" -- "You do not talk about Fight Club," etc. -- while it's subversive messages about rampant commercialism and justifiable corporate terrorism have fallen by the wayside.

Perhaps that's for the best. What remains firmly lodged in the brain from any first-time viewing are the corrosive performances by Pitt and Norton, engaged in a fraternal battle for souls, as well as the seedy atmosphere and the supercharged, stylish visuals. The story always keeps you off balance yet somehow within the loop. Let's not forget the fairly dirty Helena Bonham Carter as a scampy fellow traveler or Meat Loaf as a devoted follower. Ooh, this is a good movie that never quite departs your mind entirely.

Also out: sex, lies, and videotape; The Professional (Jean Reno! Natalie Portman!); Galaxy Quest.

Gone With the Wind: 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition
Producer David O. Selznick's masterpiece in a new edition with three hours of new extras (eight hours total, which is fitting for a movie that lasts four hours). This edition includes a commemorative 52-page photo and production art book, ten 5'x7' watercolor reproduction art prints, archival correspondence from producer David O. Selznick, reproduction of 1939 original program, and bonus CD soundtrack sampler. Available on DVD ad Blu-ray.

Downhill Racer: The Criterion Collection
Robert Redford is the titular athlete in this wonderfully absorbing 1969 drama directed by Michael Ritchie. Gene Hackman plays his coach as the selfish skier prepares for the Olympic Games.