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DVDs: 'Superhero Movie,' 'Mon Oncle Antoine,' 'The Ruins' and 'Stop-Loss'
Weinstein Co., $29.95
The proliferation of parody films with the word "Movie" in their titles has cheapened the noble tradition of making fun of pop culture, but "Superhero Movie" proves that there are still a few -- if only a few -- laughs left in the old formula. The jokes mostly flop, but the atmosphere is amiable, and every five minutes or so, writer-director Craig Mazin hits his target. The "extended cut" DVD contains the usual assortment of featurettes, commentaries and deleted scenes, as well as what might be Mazin's best gag: The disc is actually three minutes shorter than the theatrical cut.
Mon Oncle Antoine
Widely regarded as the best French Canadian film ever made, Claude Jutra's 1971 drama "Mon Oncle Antoine" re-creates life in a Quebec mining community in the late '40s from the perspective of a teenage boy who learns that adults aren't always so assured and upstanding. Criterion has given this masterpiece the treatment it deserves in a double-disc edition that includes a moving 80-minute documentary on Jutra's life and another comprehensive 45-minute film about the making of "Mon Oncle Antoine."
Paramount, $34.99; Blu-Ray, $39.99
Scott B. Smith's 2006 novel, "The Ruins," follows a group of tourists' cruel demise at the hands of a mysterious entity. The main problem with the movie version? Mysterious entities ain't so mysterious when there are cameras around. The DVD adds a commentary, deleted scenes and featurettes.
It took director Kimberly Peirce almost nine years to follow up her acclaimed debut, "Boys Don't Cry," but she clearly hasn't lost her interest in controversy. "Stop-Loss" stars Ryan Phillippe as an honorably discharged soldier who's ordered to return to Iraq, and as he wrestles with whether he'll obey, he also begins to question the values of his Texas hometown. The movie comes out a little soft, but Peirce remains a filmmaker of rare intelligence -- some of which she shares on the DVD's commentary track.
And . . .
"Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten" ( Sony Legacy, $19.98); "Soul Food: The Complete Series" (Paramount, $184.98)
-- Noel Murray