DVDs in Brief 4216

Somewhere beneath the sophomoric frat-guy humor and grisly torture footage that comprises Hostel (Lions Gate), Eli Roth's dark follow-up to his '80s-style horror goof Cabin Fever, there lies a cutting statement about the blowback of American misbehavior overseas. Still, the film gets a lot of comic mileage out of Yankee revelers fleeing for Slovakia after finding Amsterdam insufficiently debauched, and genre junkies will probably appreciate its uncompromised grindhouse aesthetic…

Patrick McCabe's episodic novel about a transvestite from an Irish border town journeying through 1970s Ireland and England was never going to be easy to adapt to film, but Neil Jordan gives Breakfast On Pluto (Sony) his best shot. It's unwieldy, but deeply affecting, thanks largely to Cillian Murphy's great turn in the lead and a keen sense of time and place, both of which connect to Jordan's long-established concerns with sexual identity, politics, and how most of us need a little affection to get through the day…

No one does haughty imperiousness like Judi Dench, which makes her the ideal—possibly the only—possible casting choice for the lead of Mrs. Henderson Presents (Weinstein). In the first half especially, when Dench and stage director Bob Hoskins save a World War II-era West End musical revue by coaxing the ladies' chorus into removing their clothing, the good-natured naughtiness is hard to resist. Too bad the movie turns to mush when the bombs start dropping…

Once the last refuge for music videos, MTV2 has become a hot spot for inventive comedy, and its two signature shows have just hit DVD. Almost unavoidably hit-or-miss, The Andy Milonakis Show (Paramount) makes the most of its stars' prepubescent appearance in a show filled with absurdist blackout sketches. It simulates the kind of series a hyperactive 12-year-old with a budget might produce, sometimes all too well, but it's hard to look away. But the real gem is Wonder Showzen (Paramount), a not-for-kids kids' show in which puppets and children find the edge of good taste and gleefully ignore it. If it weren't so strangely sweet, it would be the most evil show on the air instead of one of the funniest.

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