Is it Valentine's Day again? Am I missing something? Did those sneaky folks over at Hallmark pull one over on us again? (I bet they're still laughing at me for buying all those Thomas Crapper Day cards.) How else do you explain this week's romance-heavy DVD slate? Music and Lyrics, Because I Said So, Catch and Release, The Painted Veil, Breaking and Entering... My advice? Forget the comedies and stick with the romantic tragedies of the bunch.

The Painted VeilThe Painted Veil
On the surface it screamed Oscar bait, but John Curran's follow-up to We Don't Live Here Anymore is much more Memoirs of a Geisha than Merchant Ivory, minus the lofty expectations and blatant disregard for ethnic accuracy. It's better than Geisha, don't get me wrong, but feels a little more syrupy and conventional than it probably should. And though the film is predictable, it still packs a solid punch. Kitty (Naomi Watts) is a 1920s Englishwoman who claims she doesn't want to marry "just any Tom, Dick or Harry," but when Edward Norton's buttoned-down bacteriologist Dr. Fane comes calling, it appears she's gone with the middle option. After Kitty quells her post-marital boredom with some fun-time adultery (that Liev Schreiber is irresistible), the doctor whisks her off to his new workplace, the epicenter of a nasty disease outbreak in a remote Chinese village, where we attempt to figure out if he's just plain evil, or just not handling scorn particularly well. Hey, why strangle the cheat when you can watch all of the liquids drain out of her at the hands of cholera?
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Breaking and EnteringBreaking and Entering
Anthony Minghella detours from directing films like the one above for more "personal" fare, and the result is an engaging drama, even if it's far from his best work. What it does share in common with the period piece Painted Veil? The heavily looming theme of adultery, a topic Jude Law should really try to avoid from here on in. Law plays a London architect who's just moved his office quarters into a shady square of town quickly gentrifying. Then he gets robbed. Repeatedly. He responds by staking out the joint, chasing the teenage thugs home, and eventually beginning a torrid affair with one of their mothers (Juliette Binoche, putting the "sexy" back into "Bosnian immigrant"). The scenario, at this point, obviously turns a little more complex. As a character study, the film succeeds... mostly. Its fatal flaw is that it's hard to believe some of the actions and motivations of its main characters. Luckily, its characters, and the actors playing them (including Robin Wright Penn as Law's wife), make it interesting enough to forgive.
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Other New Releases (May 8)
Music and Lyrics
Because I Said So
Catch and Release
Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus
Deliver Us from Evil
The Secret Life of Words
The Tiger and the Snow

To Catch a Thief: Collector's Edition
Donnie Brasco: Extended Cut

Revenge: Director's Cut
Dirty Dancing: Anniversary Edition