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Soldiering on with Stallone

May 25, 2008|Noel Murray

Rambo

Lionsgate, $29.95/$34.98; Blu-Ray, $39.99

Who could've guessed that moviegoers would flock to see Sylvester Stallone strap on the headband again for the fourth entry in a dormant series? Those who did were treated to a "Ramboā€¯ that's brisk and undemanding, holding to a simple story in which everyone's favorite mercenary frees missionaries from Burmese rebels. The single-disc DVD includes Stallone commentary and multiple featurettes; the double-disc and Blu-Ray versions add a digital copy of the film.

Cassandra's Dream

Weinstein Company, $24.95

If Woody Allen hadn't made "Match Point," then "Cassandra's Dream" might've been hyped as Allen's "comeback." Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor play brothers who become indebted to their criminal uncle, and while both actors struggle with their Cockney accents, the twisty plot and puckish take on luck and destiny carry the day. "Cassandra's Dream" is entertaining and even rich, though the DVD, like Farrell's acting style, is featureless.

Grace Is Gone

Weinstein Company, $24.95

The phrase "well meaning" was practically invented to describe movies like "Grace Is Gone," an Iraq war-themed tear-jerker that considers the effect of one soldier's death on her husband, played by John Cusack.Colin Farrell Writer-director James C. Strouse aims for a sensitive sketch of real American life, but his emphasis on everyday folks' simplicity comes off as insulting. The DVD's special features are every bit as earnest.

Holocaust

Paramount, $39.99

In 1978, NBC dedicated eight hours (minus commercials) to examining the Nazi "final solution" through the perspective of one fictional Jewish family and one German one. The narrative beats of "Holocaust" are more familiar now than they were then, but the nightmarish march from high society to ghettos to concentration camps still brings chills, and the miniseries' cast of soon-to-be-knowns -- including Meryl Streep, Michael Moriarty and James Woods -- captivate.

The Walker

ThinkFilm, $27.98

Woody Harrelson overdoes his Virginia lilt in Paul Schrader's "The Walker," but otherwise his performance as a gay escort for congressmen's wives is sterling. Sadly, his work is undercut by Schrader, who focuses on a wonky homicide investigation rather than the more compelling D.C. demimonde. The DVD extras are equally disappointing.

And...

"Absolutely Fabulous: Absolutely Everything" (Warner, $129.98); "Cleaner" (Sony, $24.96); "What Would Jesus Buy?" (Hart Sharp, $24.95)

-- Noel Murray

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