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ALSO THIS WEEK / NEW RELEASES

Smart, dapper and nasty

August 31, 2008|Noel Murray

Married Life

Sony, $28.96; Blu-Ray, $38.96

Fans of TV's "Mad Men" and “Swingtown” ought to take a look at "Married Life," a period drama adapted by indie filmmaker Ira Sachs from John Bingham's novel "Five Roundabouts to Heaven." Set in the late '40s, the film stars Chris Cooper as a middle-class family man who begins dallying with a young lady played by Rachel McAdams. Soon he's plotting to kill his wife (Patricia Clarkson), while behind his back, his best friend (Pierce Brosnan) has taken his own interest in the younger woman. "Married Life" is loaded with style and atmosphere and is as much about spending time in the company of erudite, well-dressed people as it is about the nasty things they do.

How to Rob a Bank

IFC/Genius Products, $19.95

Give writer-director Andrews Jenkins credit for coming up with a novel twist on the heist movie and for making smart use of a small budget. Jenkins' "How to Rob a Bank" takes place mostly in a bank vault, where an irritable slacker played by Nick Stahl is trapped with a tech wiz played by Erika Christensen. Through dialogue, cheap digital effects and a few flashbacks, Jenkins shows how this odd couple got there and how they're going to get out, building tension out of two people yakking away in a room. The story ultimately dead-ends, but "How to Rob a Bank" is still a snappy, amusing time-waster.

Lagerfeld Confidential

Koch Lorber, $29.98

Chanel artistic director Karl Lagerfeld is one of those iconic figures who's invested so much in his persona -- from his stark-white ponytailed hair and oversized dark glasses to his imperious manner -- that he seems to have forgotten how to be ordinary. Even the "inside look" documentary "Lagerfeld Confidential" shows the designer as prone to making oblique statements about life while rushing from fashion show to photo shoot, revealing next to nothing about what drives or inspires him. Documentarian Rodolphe Marconi can't get the man to offer some basic historical perspective, and the DVD doesn't offer much either.

Then She Found Me

ThinkFilm, $27.98; Blu-Ray, $35.98

Maybe it's because Helen Hunt has been largely absent since the unfortunate "Pay It Forward," but it's nice to see her again -- both in front of the camera and behind it -- in the moving dramedy "Then She Found Me." Based on a novel by Elinor Lipman, the film, about a teacher who discovers she's pregnant at the same time she meets a new man and learns the identity of her birth mother, is soapy fare, elevated by the crackerjack timing of its director-star and her refreshing willingness to show her age. The DVD adds a commentary track from Hunt and cast testimonials.

And . . .

"Bright Lights, Big City" (MGM, $14.98); "Eli Stone: The Complete First Season" (ABC, $39.99); "Itty Bitty Titty Committee" (Wolfe, $27.95)

-- Noel Murray

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