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'Duplicity'

Also: 'Adventureland,' 'The Last Days of Disco,' 'Sunshine Cleaning'

August 23, 2009|Noel Murray

Duplicity

Universal, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.98

"Michael Clayton" writer-director Tony Gilroy got this year off to a great start with his second film, "Duplicity," a labyrinthine corporate espionage comedy-thriller that doubles as a satire of high-powered people who mistakenly think they're in control of their fates. The dialogue sparkles, the soundtrack kicks and the supporting performances -- especially Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson as rival cosmetics magnates -- are every bit as compelling as Clive Owen and Julia Roberts' strong lead turns. "Duplicity" is funny, surprising and just a little cruel, the perfect movie for our roller-coaster times. The DVD and Blu-ray come with a jovial commentary track from Gilroy and his brother John, who edited and co-produced.

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Adventureland

Miramax, $29.99; Blu-ray, $44.99

Greg Mottola is a filmmaker with a rare eye for the texture of the everyday and the casual interactions between friends and relatives. His comedy "Adventureland" adroitly captures what it's like for a smart kid (Jesse Eisenberg) to work a cruddy summer job and find an otherwise rich interior life consumed by the petty relationship woes and clever goof-off strategies. "Adventureland" works better when it's about the hero's job at a Pittsburgh amusement park than when it covers his blah romance with an alt-rock-loving co-worker (Kristen Stewart). But for the most part it's a pleasant, low-key comedy, populated by likable characters. The DVD includes a Mottola-Eisenberg commentary track, deleted scenes and a comprehensive behind-the-scenes look; the Blu-ray adds three more featurettes.

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The Last Days of Disco

Criterion, $39.98

Writer-director Whit Stillman made three feature films -- "Metropolitan," "Barcelona" and "The Last Days of Disco" -- that bridged the '90s, establishing a distinctive take on a bygone culture of urbane young adults. "The Last Days of Disco" has been unavailable on DVD for the better part of a decade, which makes Criterion's new edition a real event for cinephiles. The movie holds up well too, putting Stillman's usual character types (moneyed professionals governed as much by Victorian literature and value systems as by pop culture) into the heady early '80s world of exclusive nightclubs and yuppie ascendancy. Criterion's DVD adds negligible deleted scenes, a short vintage featurette, a reading from Stillman's novelization and a very warm commentary track from Stillman with stars Chloe Sevigny and Chris Eigeman.

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Sunshine Cleaning

Overture/Anchor Bay, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.98

Amy Adams plays a former high school cheerleader reduced to taking a job as a crime scene cleaner in "Sunshine Cleaning," a low-boil dramedy more interesting for its unusual milieu than for its grinding redemption-through-stain-removal plot. Adams and Emily Blunt are quite good as sisters dealing with painful family memories, and the details of their odd occupation are frequently funny, but the movie stays safely dry and arch, hitting all the well-worn indie-quirk beats. The DVD and Blu-ray are quite good, thanks to a thoughtful commentary track from producer Glenn Williamson and writer Megan Holley and a fascinating featurette about two crime-scene cleaners.

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And...

American Son

Miramax, $29.99

Fighting

Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.98

Lie to Me

Season One

20th Century Fox, $49.98; Blu-ray $59.99

Patton Oswalt: My Weakness Is Strong

Warner, $14.98

Trouble the Water

Zeitgeist, $29.99

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