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New on DVD: 'The Roommate' and more

Also: 'The Mechanic,' 'The Rite' and 'Vanishing on 7th Street.'

May 15, 2011|By Noel Murray, Special to the Los Angeles Times

The Roommate

Sony, $28.95; Blu-ray, $34.95

This magnificently awful thriller stars Leighton Meester as a mentally unstable college student who becomes obsessed with her roommate (played by Minka Kelly) and meddles in her life to an increasingly deranged degree. This is a high-camp affair, with ludicrous plot twists, histrionic performances and character motivations that set the women's movement back about 50 years. It's like that old saying: Those who don't know "Single White Female" are doomed to repeat it. Director Christian E. Christiansen attempts to explain himself in a commentary track on the DVD and Blu-ray, which also includes deleted scenes and featurettes.

The Mechanic

Sony, $28.95; Blu-ray, $34.95

Steely tough guy Jason Statham stars in a remake of Charles Bronson's "The Mechanic," about a hit man who takes his mentor's son under his wing, then ends up having to face off against his pupil. (Ben Foster is the youngster, a role played by Jan-Michael Vincent in the original.) Director Simon West emphasizes clever kills over the moody existentialism of Michael Winner's 1972 movie, but this is an effective enough thriller — lean and to-the-point. The DVD and Blu-ray add a featurette and deleted scenes.

The Rite

Warner Bros., $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99

The subdued supernatural horror film "The Rite" stars Colin O'Donoghue as a skeptical priest-in-training who gets called in to assist an aging exorcist on a case. Anthony Hopkins plays the elder priest and lends some gravitas to what is otherwise a fairly dreary, not-that-scary flick, pitched mainly toward connoisseurs of "devil movies." Those fans will want to check out the DVD and Blu-ray's deleted scenes and the featurette about a real-life exorcist.

Vanishing on 7th Street

Magnolia, $26.98; Blu-ray, $29.98

"Vanishing on 7th Street" stars Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton and John Leguizamo as survivors of a mysterious blackout that causes nearly everyone in the vicinity to disappear. The trio gathers in a dimly lighted bar and tries to stave off the encroaching darkness, while they talk, and talk and talk. "Vanishing on 7th Street" has a fine premise for a suspense film, and director Brad Anderson makes good use of unconventional light sources to set the scene, but the story's too slim and the thrills too dispersed. The movie's strongest element is its ending, which appears in multiple versions on the DVD and Blu-ray, along with a pair of featurettes.

And…

"Daydream Nation" (Anchor Bay, $26.97; Blu-ray, $34.98); "The Other Woman" (MPI, $24.98; Blu-ray, $29.98); "Pale Flower" (Criterion, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.95); "Red White & Blue" (MPI, $24.98); "Thor: Tales of Asgard" (Lionsgate, $19.98; Blu-ray, $29.99)

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