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New on DVD: 'Win Win'

Also 'The Beaver,' 'Henry's Game' and 'Troll Hunter.'

August 21, 2011|By Noel Murray, Special to the Los Angeles Times

Win Win

20th Century Fox, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99

Writer-director Tom McCarthy's "Win Win" is a wonderfully acted sports drama that hits all its expected beats with confidence. Paul Giamatti plays a small-town New Jersey attorney having trouble both with his practice and with the high school wrestling team he coaches. Then he takes on the well-paying guardianship of one of his elderly clients, and learns that the client has a grandson who's a championship-caliber wrestler. McCarthy doesn't do anything exceptional with this story, yet "Win Win" is hard to dislike, in part because McCarthy knows how to make his "schlub succeeds" stories go down easy, and in even larger part because Giamatti is so terrific as a decent man in over his head. The DVD and Blu-ray add two brief, largely pointless deleted scenes and a handful of interviews.

The Beaver

Summit, $26.99; Blu-ray, $30.49

Whatever one thinks of Mel Gibson as a human being, as an actor he's always been unafraid to make bold choices. In "The Beaver," Gibson plays a clinically depressed man who begins to turn his life around when he begins communicating with — and through — a beaver puppet. Gibson is game, and Kyle Killen's script teases the basic truth out of a weird premise, though director Jodie Foster takes a bit too tasteful an approach to the material, missing some of the dark comic potential. "The Beaver" delves into the realities of mental illness without becoming too difficult to endure. The DVD and Blu-ray add a typically insightful Foster commentary track, as well as a self-congratulatory featurette.

Henry's Crime

20th Century Fox, $22.98, $29.99

Keanu Reeves stars in "Henry's Crime" as a mopey tollbooth worker — consistently the job of choice for movie sad-sacks — who serves time in prison for a crime he didn't commit, then decides to rob a bank when he gets out. Too low-key to be effective as a comedy and too quirky to work as a drama, "Henry's Crime" succeeds largely because it keeps taking unexpected turns, not because of Reeves, who's way too passive and mumbly for a role that requires more passion.

Troll Hunter

Magnolia, $26.98; Blu-ray, $29.98

André Ovredal's Norwegian "found footage" creature-feature "Troll Hunter" follows a group of student filmmakers into the wild, where they encounter a gruff, eccentric hunter on a covert mission to control the country's troll population. The trolls are funny and creepy, and it's clever the way the heroes try to bait them (like when they put three billy goats on top of a bridge). But a good hour-plus of this movie is dedicated to short shots of the Norwegian landscape as seen from a moving vehicle, which quickly grows tedious. The DVD and Blu-ray don't bring much added value, containing only featurettes and deleted scenes.

And…

The Event: The Complete Series

Universal, $59.98

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99

Poetry

Kino, $29.95; Blu-ray, $34.95

Road to Nowhere

Monterey, $26.95; Blu-ray, $34.95

Secret Sunshine

Criterion, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.95

Sympathy for Delicious

Maya, $27.98; Blu-ray, $29.98

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