Chop Shop, The Ruins and Stop-Loss

BEER AND NOW Phillippe kicks back in Stop-Loss.

BEER AND NOW Phillippe kicks back in Stop-Loss.

* Recommended


* Chop Shop Koch Lorber Films, $26.98. You don’t have to be intimate with the “Iron Triangle” area of Queens to recognize the people who inhabit Ramin Bahrani’s sophomore feature. The oil-stained shysters who call this place home are the same faces you’d see on any city’s desolation row. Having already demonstrated a knack for capturing Manhattan’s street-vendor diaspora in Man Push Cart, Bahrani turns his keen eye toward another working-class subculture and again proves that he’s a virtually peerless New York neorealist.—David Fear

* The Ruins DreamWorks SKG; $34.99 (original and unrated versions), Blu-ray disc (unrated only) $39.99. Ultimately, a doozy of a leap has to be made with Scott Smith’s best-selling horror novel and this far-from-trashy adaptation. What are we leaping to? Flesh-eating, sentient, murderous…vines. They swirl atop an ancient Mexican ziggurat, upon which four American vacationers and a disabled German find themselves forcibly quarantined. Director Carter Smith does an unambiguous job of supplying the book’s implicit tramp-stamped hedonism, and you’re never suckered in by a false sense of heroics.—Joshua Rothkopf

Stop-Loss Paramount/MTV, $34.99. Kimberly Peirce follows up Boys Don’t Cry by addressing the damage done to American soldiers. Fresh from Iraq, Brandon (Ryan Phillippe) returns to Texas, ready for discharge. But he’s quickly stop-lossed—called back to active service. At first, the aggressive use of loud rock, handheld cameras and flashy shock-cut editing make for a refreshing change from the sober tones of In the Valley of Elah et al. But Peirce soon reverts to a more conventional, earnest style, drained of the initial energy that gives the opening minutes some punch.—Hank Sartin