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New on DVD: 'Drive Angry' is just crazy enough to stay entertaining

Also reviewed: 'Biutiful,' 'Kaboom' and 'Queen to Play.'

May 29, 2011|By Noel Murray, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • David Morse, left, and Nicolas Cage in the movie "Drive Angry."
David Morse, left, and Nicolas Cage in the movie "Drive Angry." (Ron Batzdorf )

Drive Angry

Summit, $26.99; Blu-ray, $30.49/$34.99

The current wave of tongue-in-cheek grindhouse throwbacks tend to be more fun in theory than execution, but this supernatural car-chase flick is just crazy enough to stay entertaining for a good long while. Nicolas Cage plays a damned soul who breaks out of hell to avenge the death of his daughter. He hooks up with a waitress (Amber Heard) and zooms off in a 1970 Dodge Challenger to torment a satanic cult while being pursued by a demonic figure known as the Accountant (William Fichtner). There's not enough story here to sustain a 105-minute movie, but until it runs out of gas, "Drive Angry" provides a decent rush. The DVD and Blu-ray add deleted scenes, interactive featurettes and a commentary track by director Patrick Lussier; a 3-D Blu-ray is also available.

Biutiful

Lionsgate, $27.98; Blu-ray, $39.99

Anyone who'd hoped that talented director Alejandro González Iñárritu would lighten up once he separated from his "Babel"/"21 Grams" screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga will have those hopes dashed by this morose melodrama that's gorgeous to look at but crushingly depressing. Javier Bardem gives an excellent, Oscar-nominated performance as a single dad who works to help illegal immigrants in Barcelona while dealing with the burden of his unstable ex-wife. "Biutiful" is undeniably powerful, but the pile-up of misery and tragedy verges on overwhelming. The DVD and Blu-ray are similarly sober, adding only earnest behind-the-scenes material.

Kaboom

MPI, $24.98

Writer-director Gregg Araki's film might strike some as terribly silly — or just plain terrible — but those willing to surrender to Araki's deliriously sensual riff on sassy teen flicks and conspiracy thrillers should enjoy the film immensely. Thomas Dekker stars as a mostly gay college freshman whose dreams warn of some ominous mystical event due to happen on his 19th birthday. While the hero investigates the mystery — in between sexy romps with various half-dressed and undressed men and women — Araki revels in the cool music, cool clothes and cool dialogue of his impossibly good-looking cast. There's no real deeper meaning to "Kaboom"; just pure, unabashed sensation.

Queen to Play

Zeitgeist, $24.95

Caroline Bottaro's drama stars Sandrine Bonnaire as a maid who learns to play chess with the help of a misanthropic American doctor (Kevin Kline) and sees her professional and family life jeopardized as she becomes obsessed with the game. Based on a novel by Bertina Henrichs, "Queen to Play" sports beautiful locations, fine performances and a neat visual gimmick as the heroine begins to see chess moves everywhere. The "working-class woman makes good" story arc is a little too pat, but Bottaro smartly focuses the attention on Bonnaire, as her character comes to realize that she's indispensable, and thus has leverage in the game of life.

And…

"American Graffiti" (Universal, $19.98; Blu-ray, $26.98); "David Byrne Live: Ride, Rise, Roar" (Eagle/Fontana, $14.98; Blu-ray, $19.98); "Eddie Vedder Live: Water on the Road" (Universal, $14.99); "Legend" (Universal, $14.98; Blu-ray, $26.98); "A MusiCares Tribute to Neil Young" (Shout! Factory, $16.98; Blu-ray, $21.98); "Passion Play" (Image, $27.97; Blu-ray, $29.97); "Rookie Blue: The Complete First Season" (E1, $44.98; Blu-ray, $49.98); "SGU Stargate Universe: The Complete Final Season" (MGM, $49.98); "Stanley Kubrick Limited Edition Collection" (Warner Bros., $74.98; Blu-ray, $148.99); "Swamp People: Season One" (A&E, $24.95); "True Blood: The Complete Third Season" (HBO, $59.99; Blu-ray, $79.98).

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