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'Persepolis' jumps off page; a fun 'Futurama'

June 22, 2008|Noel Murray


Sony, $29.95; Blu-ray, $38.96

Marjane Satrapi’s graphic-novel memoir “Persepolis” depicts her girlhood, from struggling with her secular family in post-shah Iran to jetting off to school in Vienna, where she faced a different set of prejudices. Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's animated feature-film version loses some of the digressive, impressionistic structure that made the book so charming, but it adds a sense of comic whimsy that a single drawing can't replicate. The DVD includes both French and English audio tracks, plus featurettes and commentary on select scenes.

Futurama: The Beast

With a Billion Backs

20th Century Fox, $29.99

The second straight-to-DVD "Futurama" movie weaves three episodes' worth of story lines into one relatively cohesive, frequently hilarious 90-minute feature. Picking up where 2007's "Futurama: Bender's Big Score" left off, "The Beast With a Billion Backs" deals with a rift in the universe, the world-domination plans of the League of Robots and the arrival of an enormous tentacle-creature that wants to mate with all humanity via a portal in the back of their necks. Like the best of the original series, "The Beast" riffs imaginatively on sci-fi and animation conventions, while also poking gentle fun at human delusion.

In Bruges

Universal, $29.98

After botching a job in London, a mob enforcer played by Colin Farrell is ordered to lay low in the historic Belgian city of Bruges with his mentor (Brendan Gleeson) while they sightsee, talk about religion and wait for the plot twist. "In Bruges" is a comedy with a heavy heart and a lot of existential chatter -- no surprise, given that its writer-director is playwright Martin McDonagh -- and while some might find the movie a bit too clever-for-clever's sake, it has a distinct mood and appealingly offbeat sense of humor. The DVD includes featurettes and deleted scenes.

The Spiderwick Chronicles

Paramount, $34.98/$39.99; Blu-ray, $39.99

Thanks to the recent preponderance of fantasy series adaptations, "The Spiderwick Chronicles" suffers some from "Didn't I Just See That Movie?" Syndrome, though preteens should still enjoy the fast-paced adventure and slapstick humor. And fans of Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi's "Spiderwick" books -- about three siblings and the magic tome that helps them locate and conquer goblins -- should enjoy the double-disc special-edition DVD, which contains copious featurettes about the Spiderwick mythology.

10,000 BC

Warner, $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99

Ah, for the days when spear-wielding cavemen took down mighty mammoths and ferocious saber-toothed tigers -- when men were men, beasts were beasts and movies about men and beasts were dopey, historically dubious and weighed down with wall-to-wall CGI effects. For those who wish to learn more about our possible past and the making of a spring blockbuster, the "10,000 BC" DVD comes with featurettes and deleted scenes.

-- Noel Murray

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