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New releases: 'Polisse' takes sensitive approach to bleak issue

In docudrama from Maïwenn, police diligently pursue child-abuse cases. Also new: 'Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection' and 'Ruby Sparks.'

October 27, 2012|By Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times
(Sundance Select )

Polisse

MPI, $24.98

Inspired by real child protection unit cases that French writer-director-actress Maïwenn either observed or researched, the docudrama follows a group of cops who investigate child abusers and molesters. The subject matter is bleak, but Maïwenn's approach to the material is smart and sensitive, showing how these officers, men and women, work diligently and carefully, trying to exact the truth about crimes when the victims often can't adequately explain what happened to them. "Polisse" is less compelling when Maïwenn focuses on the cops' private lives, but the film's procedural elements compare well with the best of American television — which is some of the best drama being produced in any medium today.

Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection

Universal Blu-ray, $299.98

With the holiday season approaching, the first wave of big box sets is starting to hit stores, but it's going to be hard for any of them to top this 15-disc set containing features-packed Blu-ray editions of "The Birds," "Family Plot," "Frenzy," "The Man Who Knew Too Much," "Marnie," "North by Northwest," "Psycho," "Rear Window," "Rope," "Saboteur," "Shadow of a Doubt," "Topaz," "Torn Curtain," "The Trouble With Harry" and "Vertigo." These are some of the greatest films ever made, and they come packaged with a 50-page book containing more behind-the-scenes material. It's a must for cinéastes.

Ruby Sparks

20th Century Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $29.98

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

Directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris finally follow up their 2006 hit debut feature "Little Miss Sunshine" with the fantastical romantic comedy "Ruby Sparks." Screenwriter Zoe Kazan also stars as a fictional character who steps out of the pages of a novel by a nebbishy author named Calvin (Paul Dano). Calvin soon finds that his Ruby will behave in any way he wants; all he has to do is write it. "Ruby Sparks" is slow-paced and a bit too obvious, but Kazan's script is very wise about the difference between real women and men's fantasies about women, and whether men would really be satisfied with what they think is their "ideal." The DVD and Blu-ray contain featurettes.

Safety Not Guaranteed

Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

This unusual indie comedy begins with a magazine intern named Darius ("Parks and Recreation's" appealingly deadpan Aubrey Plaza) joining her boss on a trip to find a man who placed an ad looking for a partner to travel back in time with him. Mark Duplass plays the prospective time-traveler, whose reasons for wanting to go back are both romantic and sad, which appeals to Darius, who knows a lot about loss and regret. "Safety Not Guaranteed" has a poignant idea at its center, about how we all travel back in time daily in our memories; but the movie is low-key to a fault, adopting a casually whimsical tone that saps the story of much of its energy. It eventually recovers from a fumbling start, though, thanks to the strength of its story. The DVD and Blu-ray add two short featurettes, one of which is about the real ad that inspired the film.

And…

The Campaign

Warner Bros., $28.98; Blu-ray, $29.98/$35.99

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

Copper: Season One

BBC Warner, $49.98; Blu-ray, $59.98

Elena

Zeitgeist, $29.99

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