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At least he wears a fedora

October 12, 2008|Noel Murray

Indiana Jones and

the Kingdom of

the Crystal Skull

Paramount, $34.99/$39.99; Blu-Ray, $39.99

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas' fourth trip to the world of everyone's favorite swashbuckling archaeologist took so long to arrive that its silly plot twists, corny dialogue and garish special effects seem more egregious than they might've if Indiana Jones films weren't so scarce. But even though the sight of an aged Harrison Ford fighting off communists and questing for space aliens is at times too ludicrous to bear, "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" sports a handful of genuinely exciting set pieces and a fun supporting turn by Shia LaBeouf (playing a sort of Indiana-in-training). The DVD should reward lowered expectations. Or at the least, the full complement of behind-the-scenes featurettes on the double-disc DVD and Blu-Ray editions should reward those who enjoy listening to Spielberg and Lucas geek out about the latest moviemaking technology.

Hammer Films Icons

of Horror Collection

Sony, $24.96

In Hammer Films' '60s heyday, the British horror studio pumped out reel after reel of entertaining B-movie fare with Victorian settings, gothic trappings, rich color, lush scores, philosophical ruminations and gratuitous (but tame) sex and violence. The Icons of Horror Collection includes three fine creature features -- "The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll," "The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb" and "The Gorgon" -- that play off English colonial guilt and sexual repression. But the highlight of this special-features-free set is "Scream of Fear," a stylish and tense black-and-white thriller about a woman tormented by her father's ghost.


New Line, $27.98; Blu-Ray, $35.99

Sergei Bodrov's "Mongol" is the first of a proposed trilogy about Genghis Khan and became a surprise art-house hit in the wake of its Academy Award nomination for best foreign-language film. Less a character study than a sweeping action epic, "Mongol" follows Genghis Khan from age 9 to his late 40s, when he united the nomadic clans to form the army that would go on to conquer much of central Asia. It's all very rousing and exotic, if not exactly historically accurate. The lone extra on the DVD is a digital copy of the film.

Standard Operating Procedure

Sony, $28.96; Blu-Ray, $38.96

There hasn't exactly been a paucity of documentaries about the current Iraq war and its after-effects, but "Standard Operating Procedure" is the only one directed by Errol Morris. In his latest film, Morris examines the use of extreme interrogation techniques at Abu Ghraib, using interviews, reenactments and photographic evidence to consider the unreliability of memory, especially as it relates to military orders. The standard DVD includes a Morris commentary and nine deleted scenes; the Blu-Ray adds extended interviews and a series of panel discussions on the film from various film festivals.


"Chaplin: 15th Anniversary Edition" (Lionsgate, $19.98); "The Edge of Heaven" (Strand, $27.99); "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A Veggie Tales Movie" (Universal, $29.98); "Short Cuts" (Criterion Collection, $29.95); "War, Inc." (First Look, $28.98; Blu-Ray, $34.98)

-- Noel Murray

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