Cinematical's Spin-ematical: New on DVD and Blu-ray for 7/27

Clash of the Titans

I'd heard terrible things about the 3D version, so I decided to see the 2D version instead, and discovered to my consternation that it's still a pretty rotten picture. Check that: it's mired in mediocrity rather than any kind of so-bad-it's-good vibe. Give me the cheesy original flick any time, thank you very much. On the other hand, Cinematical's Scott Weinberg thought it was a "perfectly mindless, bombastic, colorful, and enjoyable piece of matinee-style popcorn entertainment." We have a split decision, so you decide on this one. Rent it?

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Repo Men
The movie "looks sleek and powerful, like a big, well-groomed cat whose every strand of hair is lit gloriously (and improbably) from within," I wrote in my review for Cinematical. It's "exclusively concerned with looking good and bleeding profusely." Jude Law and Forest Whitaker repossess organs from hapless folks who can no longer make their monthly payments. Repo Men "will make you want to bring an artificial brain along to watch it, while you do something useful, like read." Skip it.

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Ip Man
As I've written before, biopics are always better with martial arts, aren't they? Teaming again with director Wilson Yip (SPL, Flash Point), Donnie Yen is perfectly suited to play the stoic, peaceful titular character, a Wing Chun master who refused to buckle under to imperial rule after Japanese invaded China in 1937. The great Sammo Hung choreographed the action scenes, which are pretty terrific. Buy it.

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Also out: Batman: Under the Red Hood, Operation: Endgame.

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

'The Secret of the Grain'The Secret of the Grain (The Criterion Collection)
Habib Boufares stars as a divorced 60-year-old man, recently laid off from a longtime job, who is determined to convert an old boat into a restaurant in order to provide for his children.

The movie "unfolds with a Cassavetes-like disregard for conventional cinematic time," says Michael Tully at Hammer to Nail. "Here, scenes are extended beyond their normal length to create a more lived-in and realistic air. ... It is also a poignant family drama convincingly set inside France's ever-changing cultural borders, as well as a profound universal commentary on the curse of being poor and uneducated in this, or any other, era."

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The Art of the Steal
"My primary reason for being such a big fan of The Art of the Steal," writes our own Christopher Campbell, is that it "contains an arousing David versus Goliath narrative with a fascinating ensemble of protagonists -- my favorite being art dealer Richard Feigen, who's one of the most awesome snobs I've ever seen -- and villains."

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Our reviewer Todd Gilchrist reports: "The story of Mussolini's first wife, Ida Dalser, [Marco] Bellocchio's film examines not only the story, but the psychology of a tormented woman whose persistence to acknowledge her relationship with the Italian dictator eventually drove her mad. It's heartbreaking and slightly harrowing at the same time, but bolstered by amazing performances."

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Also out: Kites.

More Blu-ray Picks

'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Ang Lee's lyrical martial arts romantic drama tries to have it both ways, with one foot in the art house and one in the grindhouse. Here's the shocker: it succeeds!

Lee admits that he deliberately began with 15 minutes of exposition, just to make it clear that he wasn't make a traditional "chop socky" flick. The opening scenes serve to introduce us to Chow Yun Fat, as a martial arts master, and Michelle Yeoh, as an impressive warrior in her own right. Zhang Ziyi is an impulsive, spoiled young woman of privilege. Each of the women yearns for what the other has, and the master seems to stand in the way of both.

When the action, choreographed by Yuen Wo Ping, finally kicks in, it's thrilling to watch. (Yes, they're running up -- and across -- walls!) Each sequence bears watching multiple times, especially the face-off between the master and the young would-be-warrior balanced on the branches of bamboo trees. And the restaurant destruction scene, and on and on.

The movie was released on Blu-ray last year, but only as part of a three-disc set with unrelated Asian films (House of Flying Daggers and Curse of the Golden Flower). Now it's finally available on its own. High-Def Digest reviewed the disc when it came out last year and has many more details.

Also out: Johnny Handsome, Fanboys, G. I. Joe: The Movie (Special Edition), Prowler, Puppet Master.

'Rambo: The Complete Collector's Set'Rambo: The Complete Collector's Set
Available on DVD and Blu-ray, the new set Includes John Rambo: Special Edition, plus the original trilogy: First Blood, Rambo: First Blood II, and Rambo III. But if you've already purchased the first three films, you may want to save your pennies and just pick up Sylvester Stallone's latest turn as the Vietnam War veteran turned reluctant warrior.

That's because the new, "complete" set does not include the extended cut of the latest Rambo flick, which is also out today on Blu-ray. It's rather a bizarre decision; the set is also missing some of the special features that were previously made available with the DVD set. So, buyer beware.

Also out: Crack in the World, Dark City, Appointment With Danger, Union Station, Hannie Caulder, Eclipse Series 22: Presenting Sacha Guitry (The Story of a Cheat / The Pearls of the Crown / Desire / Quadrille) (Criterion Collection).
categories Features, Dvds, Cinematical