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More DVD releases: Week of October 17, 2007

  • Film

Time Out says

Crazy Love. Dir. Dan Klores and Fisher Stevens. 2007. PG-13. 93mins. Magnolia Pictures. $26.99. Documentary. In an attck notorious in its day, Bronx beauty Linda Riss was blinded in 1959 by her jealous boyfriend, high-rolling attorney Burt Pugach. Decades later, she still knows to play up the drama, as does Pugach, who went to jail and, shockingly, managed to woo Riss into marriage after his release. Crazy Love assembles their testimony in a chronological fashion, even amping up the tale’s wildness with histrionic scoring. But as with all banner-head stories, you tire of being screamed at, yearning for a deeper appreciation of the vicissitudes of romance. —Joshua Rothkopf

Transformers DVD review

Transformers (recommended). Dir. Michael Bay. 2007. PG-13. 144mins. Paramount Home Entertainment. $26.99, two-disc edition $36.99, HD DVD $39.99. Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox. “Freedom is the right of all sentient human beings,” declares a towering red-white-and-blue robot. Of course, sentient human beings don’t see Michael Bay films: The proceeding clangorous metal-on-metal makes for the most brainlessly thrilling CGI climax in motion-picture history. The dictates of proper criticism require I mention our hero (LaBeouf), that his 1976 Camaro turns out to be a robot from outer space, Autobots are friendly and Decepticons evil. Find a 15-year-old (or a 35-year-old) to explain it to you. Rarely has popcorn entertainment been so deafeningly loud or, dare I say it, deliciously dumb. —JR

The Hoax. Dir. Lasse Hallström. 2006. R. 116mins. Miramax/Buena Vista Home Entertainment. $29.99. Richard Gere, Alfred Molina. Though he hasn’t done so in a while, Richard Gere is perfectly capable of holding the center of a movie. So consider it the ultimate irony that Gere’s comeback—as a perfectly cast Clifford Irving, notorious peddler of a fake Howard Hughes autobiography—is stolen by the consistently excellent Alfred Molina. As Irving’s partner in crime, Dick Suskind, Molina frequently saves the day, furiously gulping down water and ad-libbing brilliant anecdotes. Molina plays him like a more desperate version of Gere’s Irving; suddenly this second banana becomes our moral center. —JR

Mighty Heart DVD review

A Mighty Heart (recommended). Dir. Michael Winterbottom. 2007. R. 108mins. Paramount Home Entertainment. $29.99, HD DVD $39.99. Angelina Jolie, Dan Futterman. Taking his cue from Mariane Pearl’s memoir, Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People) wisely structures A Mighty Heart like a procedural. The hunt to find Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl (Futterman) unfolds as a rapid-paced accumulation of information added to the dry-erase board of his wife Mariane (Jolie). For all those who were highly skeptical about casting globe-trotting mama Jolie as the astoundingly dignified figure: The actor is more than good. The wig, the skin bronzer and brown contacts quickly diminish in their weirdness after the first ten minutes, when we’re completely won over by Jolie’s conviction. —Melissa Anderson

Planet Terror DVD review

Planet Terror. Dir. Robert Rodriguez. 2007. N/R.. 105mins. The Weinstein Company/Genius Products. $29.99. Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Bruce Willis. Robert Rodriguez’s contribution to the Grindhouse diptych is the runt twin of Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, despite the fact that Mr. El Mariachi’s goopy, loopy zombie romp nails the ’80s New World Pictures aesthetic. The casting of bona fide B actors like Rose McGowan is genius; the rest of his tribute could be titled If I Were John Carpenter. Nonetheless, it’s always fun to watch Bruce Willis slumming. The DVD includes the “missing reel” absent from the theatrical cut, as well as Rodriguez’s brilliant trailer for Machete, a nonexistent political thriller starring Danny Trejo. —David Fear

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