By Noel Murray, Special to the Los Angeles Times
July 3, 2011
Das Boot: The Director's Cut Sony Blu-ray, $35.99
One of the most popular foreign-language films of all time, Wolfgang Petersen's "Das Boot" adapts Lothar-Günther Buchheim's novel about a German submarine crew fighting to survive WWII. The film is as exciting now as it was 30 years ago, combining nail-biting combat sequences with rich character detail about the ideological differences between the career sailors and the young Nazis. The new Blu-ray edition contains Petersen's 209-minute cut, with cleaned-up image and sound, plus a commentary track and lengthy retrospective featurettes (with fascinating behind-the-scenes footage).
Hobo With a Shotgun Magnolia, $26.98; Blu-ray, $29.98
Jason Eisener's intentionally trashy "Hobo With a Shotgun" stars Rutger Hauer as a drifter who tries to clean up a dirty town run by a sadistic millionaire. With the title object on his hip and a teenage hooker by his side, Hauer's hobo blasts the holy hell out of thugs, perverts, rich jerks and the armored warriors known as "The Plague." "Hobo With a Shotgun" is never as clever as its title, but Eisener delivers what he promises. The movie is imaginatively perverse, with gore galore and plenty of quotable dialogue. The DVD and Blu-ray are just as generous, offering two commentary tracks, deleted scenes and featurettes.
13 Assassins Magnolia, $26.98; Blu-ray, $29.98
Prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike has made some of the most shockingly violent movies of the last two decades, but his "13 Assassins" is far more mainstream: a rousing, old-school samurai actioner about a group of warriors and hunters who band together to fight off hundreds of guardsmen and slay a wicked nobleman. The movie is hardly family fare, but it's nowhere near as kinky as the typical Miike. Fans of the samurai genre will love the way the assassins first construct, then deploy, their elaborate defenses against the guards in a battle sequence takes up almost all of the thrilling second hour of the movie. The DVD and Blu-ray add deleted scenes and a Miike interview.
Of Gods and Men Sony Blu-ray, $38.96
Based on a true story, "Of Gods and Men" follows a group of Trappist monks who live and work in an Algerian Muslim community and have their lives threatened during a 1996 civil war. Writer-director Xavier Beauvois takes pains to emphasize the monks' lives before the trouble starts, showing how people of different faiths — however devout — can share fellowship, resources and even religious counsel. Beauvois develops the characters and the situation masterfully, with leisurely scenes of everyday interactions, but he shies away too much from the politics and history of France and Algeria, robbing "Of Gods and Men" of some scope. The DVD and Blu-ray provide some more context, via a pair of thoughtful featurettes.
The Cape: The Complete Series
Empire of Assassins
Kino, $34.95; Blu-ray, $39.95
Victorious: Season One, Vol. 1
Dark Sky, $27.98; Blu-ray, $34.98
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