Cinematical's Spin-ematical: New on DVD and Blu-ray for 2/9

A Serious Man

Coen Brothers. Academy Award-nominated. Need more? "The culmination of their lives, reminiscent both of their own suburban childhoods in the '60s, and of their cinematic successes over the last twenty-five years." Michael Stuhbarg stars as "a man utterly at a loss to explain his life's severe turn for the worse; he is a man desperate for answers." (Monika Bartyzel, Cinematical.) Buy it.

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Couples Retreat
Shameless it may be, but "you end up laughing more than expected," I wrote in my review. Vince Vaughan, Jon Favreau, Jason Bateman, Faizon Love, Malin Akerman, Kristin Davis, Kristen Bell and Kali Hawk star. The comedy is broad and silly, but harsher truths occasionally emerge. Rent it.

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The Time Traveler's Wife
Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams star in an adaptation of the novel by Audrey Niffenegger. "Adds up to a mildly successful time-passer, though one too concerned with trying to target its audience rather than with trying to figure out where it's actually coming from." (Jeffrey M. Anderson, Cinematical.) Rent it.

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The Stepfather
"The most intense Lifetime Channel Original Movie that the Lifetime Channel never made. ... [It] just isn't enough." (Peter Hall, Horror Squad.) Skip it.

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Also out: Serious Moonlight, Free Style, Emma, Dante's Inferno: An Animated Epic.

After the jump: Indies on DVD, library titles on Blu-ray, and Collector's Corner!


Tom Hardy stars as a thug who earned the title of Britain's most violent prisoner. "Raw, blistering, harsh and compelling in the way that only a really good 'prison film' can be. ... This is a tight-fisted, bare-knuckled, and consistently challenging story about a man who's really very fascinating -- but damn, you really wouldn't want to stand in the same room with him." (Scott Weinberg. Cinematical.) Rent it.

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Peter and Vandy
Jason Ritter and Jess Weixler portray a relationship between two young New Yorkers in love; written and directed by Jay DiPietro. It "isn't rocket science and it doesn't really tell us anything new about relationships, but it's honest and sincere with its message that we're all a little f*cked up when it comes to loving and sharing ourselves with someone else." (Erik Davis, Cinematical.) Rent it.

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'The Pleasure of Being Robbed'The Pleasure of Being Robbed
David Lowery at Spout raved: "It's pure cinema, and as such it's one of the best films I've seen this year." The comedy revolves around a kleptomaniac, played by co-writer Eleonore Hendricks, with a philanthropic streak. The film debuted at SXSW in 2008 before taking a trip around the festival circuit and landing a theatrical release, generating considerably good buzz. Rent it.

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Emmy Rossum, Zach Gilford, and Ashley Springer star as "high school students that enter into an unusual triangle of friendship and love." Tim Grierson of Screen wrote: "As refreshing as it is legitimately sexy." Rent it.

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Also out: I Hate Valentine's Day, Endgame, The Song of Sparrows, Bushido: The Cruel Code of the Samurai, Shoot First and Pray You Live, The People Speak.

'The Running Man'The Running Man
Way back in 1987, Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in a reality TV show that was only slightly ahead of its time. Writing for another outlet, Cinematical's Scott Weinberg wrote: "it works even better nowadays than it did upon its original release. The Running Man is exciting, smart, colourful and periodically very funny."

"For a marginal catalog release of a low-budget movie," observes Joshua Zyber at High-Def Digest, "The Running Man looks decent enough in high definition. Lionsgate has certainly not spent any big bucks to restore the picture to pristine standards. But they didn't screw it up too terribly (as they have on other movies from the era) either." Zyber also notes: "The Blu-ray carries over most of the bonus features from the Special Edition DVD released back in 2004."

Also out: Drop Zone, Hard Rain, The Phantom.

'Bad Girls of Film Noir, Vol. 1'Bad Girls of Film Noir, Vol. 1
(The Killer That Stalked New York, Two of a Kind, Bad for Each Other, The Glass Wall)
Bad Girls of Film Noir, Vol. 2
(Night Editor, One Girl's Confession, Women's Prison, Over-Exposed)

A motley collection of eight films spread over two, bargain-priced, two-disk sets from Sony Pictures. "It's easy to recognize the Bad Girl," Dave Kehr begins at The New York Times. "She's usually a bottle blonde, stuffed into a tight sweater that outlines her oddly conical breasts. Her mouth is wide, painted and clamped on a cigarette. Her eyes burn a little too brightly, and her legs, planted in a pair of high-rise pumps, go on forever."

If that doesn't hook you on his wonderful article, nothing will! Kehr says that the little-known films are not all film noir, and not all the girls are even bad. Still: "What we have here are excellent transfers of hard-to-see films that provide fine showcases for some of the most provocative actresses of the postwar years."