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New on DVD: 'The Expendables,' Eat Pray Love' and more

November 21, 2010|By Noel Murray, Special to the Los Angeles Times

The Expendables

Lionsgate, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.99

Some obnoxious movie styles improve with age, once they're recast as nostalgia. Sylvester Stallone brings back the big, dopey, '80s-style shoot-'em-up with "The Expendables," a film he cowrote, directed and stars in as the leader of a team of mercenaries. Between the winking appearances by legendary action stars (including Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke and Arnold Schwarzenegger) and the proliferation of explosive standoffs in armed military compounds, "The Expendables" plays just enough like a good-natured homage to old blockbusters that its sins against good taste are largely forgivable. The DVD and Blu-ray are pretty fun too, adding behind-the-scenes featurettes and a Stallone commentary.

The Disappearance of Alice Creed

Starz/Anchor Bay, $29.97; Blu-ray, $34.98

Writer-director J Blakeson's feature film stars Gemma Arterton as the title character, a millionaire's grown daughter who gets abducted by two ex-cons (played by Eddie Marsan and Martin Compston), then tries to exploit their weaknesses to work herself free. The movie toys with the audience's sympathies, subtly and cleverly altering our rooting interests, while making good use of three actors, a few locations and a script that springs a new twist every 10 minutes or so. The DVD and Blu-ray add featurettes and a Blakeson commentary.

Eat Pray Love

Sony, $28.95; Blu-ray, $34.95

Like the Elizabeth Gilbert memoir on which it's based, the movie "Eat Pray Love" tells the story of a restless writer (played by Julia Roberts), who spends four months in Italy, four months in India and four months in Bali looking to rekindle her passion and spirituality. Also like the book, the movie has taken some knocks for being one long wallow in the trifling problems of the overprivileged. But writer-director Ryan Murphy actually works that criticism into the movie, acknowledging that the heroine has advantages that others can't afford. With that out of the way, viewers should feel free to enjoy the scenery and Roberts' charms. The DVD and Blu-ray throw in a few featurettes — equally shallow, equally agreeable.

I'm Still Here

Magnolia, $26.98; Blu-ray, $29.98

Casey Affleck and Joaquin Phoenix's mock- documentary means to explore the actors' own experiences as famous people by having Phoenix pretend to quit the business to become a full-time rapper. But Phoenix's misadventures in nightclubs and on late-night talk shows got more publicity than he and Affleck might have intended, and a lot of the more dramatic real-life moments have already been seen by millions on YouTube. What's left are the two friends' attempts at staged mayhem, which come off like a cross between "La Dolce Vita" and "Jackass." The movie's still fascinating, but maybe not as revelatory as it was meant to be. The DVD and Blu-ray bring some necessary perspective, via commentary tracks and bonus footage.

And...

"Batman Beyond: The Complete Series" (Warner, $99.98); "Countdown to Zero" (Magnolia, $26.98; Blu-ray, $29.98); "Flipped" (Warner, $27.98; Blu-ray, $35.99); "LennoNYC" (A&E, $24.95); "Luther" ( BBC Warner, $34.98); "The Pillars of the Earth" (Sony, $59.95; Blu-ray, $69.95)

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