"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (PG-13, 122 minutes, 20th Century Fox): A blandly middling crowd-pleaser, this film follows a group of seven English retirees who have taken up residence in a seedy Indian boarding house. The entertainment is directly proportional to the appeal of each character. At the delightful end of the spectrum is Judi Dench's Evelyn, a recent widow whose loneliness and hard-won wisdom is rendered in an affectingly nuanced performance. At the other end is Maggie Smith's Muriel, a nakedly racist coot rendered in a strident, one-note caricature. Colonialist stereotypes also abound: India is dirty and inefficient, and the food will give you the runs. The film is neither terrible nor great. Contains brief obscenity and some sexual humor. DVD extras: behind-the-scenes and "Casting Legends" featurettes. Also, on Blu-ray: the "Real" Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, "Trekking to India: Life Is Never the Same" and Tuk Tuk Travels featurettes.
"The Cabin in the Woods" (R, 95 minutes, Lionsgate): Like its spiritual heirs, "The Cabin in the Woods" comes not only to praise the slasher-, zombie- and gore-fests of yore but to critique them, elaborating on their grammatical elements and archetypal figures even while searching for ways to put them to novel use. We come for blood and writer Joss Whedon and director Drew Goddard duly comply. As a playful departure from the torture porn it obliquely lampoons, the film marks a welcome return of cheap thrills and simple bump-in-the-night frights, with some stinging self-critical commentary on the side. Contains strong bloody horror violence and gore, profanity, drug use and some sexuality and nudity. Extras: commentary and Wonder-Con Q&A with Goddard and Whedon; making-of featurette; "The Secret Secret Stash," "Marty's Stash" and "Hi, My Name Is Joss and I'll Be Your Guide" featurettes; make-up and animatronic effects and visual effects featurettes. Also, on Blu-ray: "It's Not What You Think: The Cabin in the Woods" bonus view mode.
"Hysteria" (R, 95 minutes, Sony): Set in Victorian England, the loosely fact-based "Hysteria" is billed as the story of the invention of the electric vibrator. And it is that. The film also is a comedy about the discovery of the female orgasm. If the film never rises to greatness, it may be because it's also a fairly formulaic rom-com In the end, the film understands that what many women want as much as an endless supply of "paroxysms" is a man who really cares. Contains sexually suggestive material. Extras: commentary with director Tanya Wexler; interview with Wexler and co-stars; deleted scenes; behind-the-scenes footage and "Passion & Power: The Technology of Orgasm" featurette.
"Chico & Rita" (unrated, 94 minutes, in Spanish and some English with English subtitles, Flatiron Film Co./New Video): An Oscar nominee for best animated feature, this affecting, visually ravishing tale is a pure delight. The bittersweet romance about Chico, a Cuban piano player, and Rita, a singer who becomes his love, is told over nearly 50 years, and features an original jazz score by the great Cuban pianist and composer Bebo Valdés. Contains obscenity, gun violence, nudity and sex. DVD extras: commentary with Trueba and Mariscal; making-of featurette.
Also on DVD
"Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures" four-disc Blu-ray set includes "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and its three sequels, plus seven hours of bonus material, Paramount
"The French Connection Filmmaker Signature Series" (1971, Warner)
"End of the Road" (1970, with Stacy Keach and James Earl Jones, adaptation of John Barth novel makes its DVD debut, Warner)
"Children of Paradise " (1945, France, Criterion Collection)
"Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3" (direct-to-video sequel in the Disney series)
"The Magic of Belle Isle"
"Silenced" (South Korea)
"The Woman in the Fifth" (France)
"Oslo, August 31st" (Norway)
"American Experience: Death and the Civil War" (PBS)
"Halloween III: Season of the Witch 30th Anniversary Special Collector's Edition"
"The Mentalist: The Complete Fourth Season,"
"Modern Family: The Complete Third Season"
"Supernatural: The Complete Seventh Season"
"Steve Martin: The Television Stuff"
"Rawhide Season Five: Volume 1 & 2"