DVDs of the Week

Andrew Bujalski's Mutual Appreciation and other new releases.

The Infernal Affairs Trilogy: Special Collector's Edition

Genius, $39.99

If you enjoyed the boiling mass of crime-movie fun that was The Departed (now also on DVD), you'll want to check out its Hong Kong source material. Though Martin Scorsese's version benefited from the comic relief of Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg, the original was even better when it came to stunning visuals and bloody theatrics. But today's question is, should a fan of The Departed invest in the entire Infernal Affairs trilogy? Short answer: Nope. Much like their Hollywood counterparts, Hong Kong producers are perfectly willing to slaughter golden geese while they can, and this goose got minced beyond recognition. JORDAN HARPER

Marie Antoinette

Sony, $28.95

Sophia Coppola's third feature grabs you by your frilly lapels from the jump, with Gang of Four's "Natural's Not in It" showering guitar chords all over the credits as Kirsten Dunst nods to the audience, as if to say, Hang tight—this thing's gonna be a gas. Only it never is: This tale of Marie's ascension from Austrian blue blood to French rock-star royalty feels as though it was shot in a bank vault and encased in amber; there's little life to the movie, about a woman living it to the fullest once she ditches her disinterested hubby for a new-wave score, champagne cocktails, couture gowns, and a lover on the side. Sadly, Coppola doesn't offer a commentary track. There's only a so-what making-of, a few deleted scenes, and a "Cribs With Louis XVI" featurette. Now that's a gas. Gaseous, too, just a little. ROBERT WILONSKY

Mutual Appreciation

Image, $26.99

Here's a choppy hyperrealist black-and-white talkfest about artsy twentysomethings—hey, come back! Sure, Mutual Appreciation could have been a horrible film, and it undoubtedly will inspire some real clunkers. But writer-director (and co-star) Andrew Bujalski simply has the touch—the skills that allow him to waltz through this minefield of pretension unscathed. That same touch has fooled a lot of critics into making this a dangerously overhyped movie; it's smart, funny, and far more entertaining than it has a right to be, but there's no need to drag Godard and Cassavetes into it. Some people simply can't see blank spaces in cinema without filling them with brilliance. Then again, if you're the type who uses the term "hipster" as an insult, you may spend the entire film muttering "get a job" under your breath. JORDAN HARPER

Other Releases

The Oscar countdown continues with a no-frills version of Babel (expect bells and whistles for the holidays). Past Oscar winner Ben Kingsley stars in a 25th anniversary edition of Gandhi. If you're desperate for a Britcom, any Britcom, Rowan Atkinson, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Maggie Smith star in the middling Keeping Mum. Sony's putting out a Three Stooges collection of shorts including Beer Barrel Polecats (now there's a title that deserves a remake). Warner Bros. finally puts two old Steve McQueen titles on disc: the so-so The Getaway and the must-have Bullitt, with its classic San Francisco car chase. From Criterion, Nazis are on the loose in 1941's very enjoyable 49th Parallel, directed by Michael Powell (Laurence Olivier and Leslie Howard star). Oliver Stone puts out his director's cut of Alexander—does that mean more of Rosario Dawson romping around naked? Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale do battle—using magic!—in The Prestige. Then Jackman lends his voice to the underappreciated Flushed Away, the first CG effort by Aardman Animations. Robert Downey Jr. has little to do in A Guide to Recognizing Your Household Saints (also with Rosario Dawson), but he does it well. Since vindicated at the Grammys, the Dixie Chicks are profiled during their anti-Bush nadir in Shut Up and Sing. Don't trust the timorous, toadying MSM? Whenever we hear that complaint, we think of The Wall Street Journal's Daniel Pearl, to be the subject of June's A Mighty Heart (yes, with Angelina Jolie as his wife), whose murder is recounted in HBO's The Journalist and the Jihadi. Must to avoid: Robin Williams in the fizzled political satire Man of the Year.

dvd@seattleweekly.com

 
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