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New Releases: '21 Jump Street' has fun with '80s nostalgia

Also: 'The Artist,' 'Bullhead' and 'Sound of Noise.'

June 22, 2012|By Noel Murray, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • Channing Tatum, left, and Jonah Hill are police officers in "21 Jump Street."
Channing Tatum, left, and Jonah Hill are police officers in "21 Jump… (Scott Garfield / Columbia…)

21 Jump Street

Sony/Columbia, $30.99;Blu-ray, $35.99

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

This raunchy comedy is a TV-to-screen adaptation that doesn't take its source material too seriously; it openly mocks its own premise, which sees Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum playing bumbling cops in their 20s who go undercover as high-schoolers. Yet between all the jokes about the heroes' ineptitude, "21 Jump Street" has something funny and true to say about how teen culture keeps changing, and how what was "cool" in one kid's day can be completely uncool just a few years later. The film gets a lot of its laughs from slapstick and vulgarity, but on the whole it's much smarter than an '80s nostalgia cash-in has a right to be. The DVD and Blu-ray come with the usual comedy extras: deleted scenes, bloopers, featurettes and a commentary track.

The Artist

Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

Michel Hazanavicius' multi-Oscar-winning silent movie is more a homage to Old Hollywood than a comedy — closer in spirit to "Singin' in the Rain"and "A Star Is Born" than to Chaplin or Griffith. Lead actor winner Jean Dujardin plays dashing movie star George Valentin, who falls in love with ambitious extra Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) and helps her launch her own career. Then talking pictures arrive, and Peppy's star rises while George's falls. The film's arc is way too predictable, and on the whole it's nowhere near as emotionally impactful as the movies it nods to. But throughout, director-winner Hazanavicius finds clever ways to illustrate the allure of Golden Age stardom, whether it's Peppy dancing with George's empty tuxedo or the couple falling in love while doing multiple takes of a scene. There's a reason why"The Artist" won best picture: There's real poetry here. The DVD and Blu-ray add featurettes.

Bullhead

Image, $27.97; Blu-ray, $29.97

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

Michael R. Roskam's quietly tense drama (an Oscar nominee for best foreign language film) is about "the hormone mafia," a Flemish criminal consortium that supplies cattle ranchers with drugs for their herds. Matthias Schoenaerts plays a muscular lackey who doesn't trust his uncle's new business partner, a man indirectly responsible for the painful childhood incident that's defined his life. "Bullhead's" commercial farm setting adds flavor to a familiar tale, perfectly setting the scene for the story of men who grunt and posture like animals. Roskam provides a commentary track to the DVD and Blu-ray, which also include interviews, a featurette and an earlier Roskam-Schoenaerts short film collaboration.

Sound of Noise

Magnolia, $26.98

A true original, this Euro-comedy stars Bengt Nilsson as a tone-deaf cop who becomes obsessed with an avant-garde artist/terrorist (Sanna Persson). The film is part quirky comedy, part existential mystery, part flash-mob musical. It's mainly about two misfits and their tumultuous relationships with different kinds of establishment. The movie works well just as an offbeat cops-and-robbers picture, with "capers" that are little more than astonishingly choreographed public performances. But what binds the entertaining crime movie to its YouTube-ready interludes is the unspoken yearning of its leads: he for the world of silence in which he'd rather live, and she for all the sounds that slip by every second, uncontrolled and unappreciated.

And…

Mirror Mirror

Relativity, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Cinema Guild, $29.95; Blu-ray, $34.95

Wrath of the Titans

Warner Bros., $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99/$39.98

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

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