New DVDs this week

Published: Friday, Jun. 21, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 15TICKET

"Stoker" (R, 92 minutes, 20th Century Fox): With Park Chan-wook's first English-language film, the Korean director of the 2003 cult hit "Oldboy" makes the transition to Hollywood without losing any of his visual verve. This violent psychological thriller looks fantastic, even when an attack with garden shears spurts blood onto a cluster of Queen Anne's Lace flowers. But "Stoker" is so in love with fetishizing creepiness that it forgets to be creepy. The images may be haunting, but the events aren't. Terrible, terrible things start happening, but none of them is very frightening because the perpetrators are so darn affected. "Stoker" plays out like a Kabuki "Macbeth": gallons of style slathered on a story you already know by heart. Contains violence, obscenity, nudity and sexuality. Extras (on Blu-ray only): "A Filmmakers Journey" featurette; deleted scenes; behind-the-scenes featurettes on "Mysterious Characters," set design and creating the music; "Red Carpet Premiere: Emily Wells' performance of 'Becomes the Color,' " with free song download.


"Quartet" (PG-13, 97 minutes, The Weinstein Co./Anchor Bay): This movie, set in a retirement home for musicians, features delectable British veterans Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins and professional force-of-nature Maggie Smith. A passel of real-life musical stars populate the home's colorful cast of supporting players. The sensitively attuned writer Ronald Harwood ("The Pianist," "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly") started with Italy's Casa di Riposo per Musicisti, chronicled in the 1984 documentary "Tosca's Kiss," turned that concept into a stage play, then adapted his own script for the screen. "Quartet" could have been condescendingly dotty, soupily maudlin or misplayed in every manner. Instead, everyone and every theme harmonizes sweetly. This subtle delight is made all the more enjoyable by the fact it was directed by a 75-year-old first-timer named Dustin Hoffman.

Extras: commentary with Hoffman and behind-the-scenes featurettes.


"Jack the Giant Slayer" (PG-13, 117 minutes, Warner): Much like the imaginary floating land called Gantua, situated halfway between heaven and Earth, and populated by a race of CGI giants, this fairy tale-inspired film is stuck between two extremes: Too scary for very young children, yet too silly for most older fans of director Bryan Singer. Loosely based on the English folk tale about a boy who discovers a magic beanstalk that leads to the realm of an evil giant, the film includes scenes of pitched battle that resemble "Lord of the Rings" outtakes, as well as the kind of belching-and-flatulence humor kids love. Couple that with man-eating giants and the question is: Who is this for?

Contains bloodless but intense fantasy violence and brief crude language. Extras: deleted scenes, gag reel. Also, on Blu-ray: "Become a Giant Slayer" interactive experience. Also available in 3-D.


Also: "Justin Bieber: Always Believing," "Safety Last!" (1923, The Criterion Collection), "Prank," "American Idiots," "Heroin King of Baltimore: The Rise and Fall of Melvin Williams," "Gibsonburg," "Understanding Art: Hidden Lives of Masterpieces" (Acorn Media).

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