DVDs in Brief
Eli Roth's underrated Hostel Part II (Lions Gate) was condemned so stridently as the death of the torture-porn subgenre that people missed its considerable tongue-in-cheek wit and stinging metaphor about the buying and selling of lives that are supposed to be priceless. Rather than rehashing the Eurotrip adventures of ugly Americans in Slovakia, Roth turns the tables by spending as much time with the torturers as their victims, who are laid out like fruit baskets in a resort package. There's a lot of unsettling material here—poor, poor Heather Matarazzo—but the film shouldn't be entirely dismissed for being a little sick in the head
Disney's amiable time-waster Meet The Robinsons (Buena Vista) looks spectacular in 3D; instead of relying on gimmicky visual gags, it uses the format for an extraordinary depth of field that helps bring its candy-colored futuristic science-fiction world to life. It's one of the few instances where 3D has seemed like a viable moviemaking format, and not a diabolical means to leave audiences with splitting headaches. Of course, the 3D doesn't work at home, which means the film will have to work on its own modest but forgettable terms
With a bit more dry wit and a bit less Dane Cook, Mr. Brooks (MGM) might have been a high-camp classic. Kevin Costner plays a basically decent guy who has one serious problem: an alternate personality (embodied by William Hurt) who turns him into a serial killer. But can millionaire cop Demi Moore stop him before he kills again? On second thought, maybe it is a high-camp classic already
Producer-turned-director Irwin Winkler had a pretty clear model in mind when he set out to make Home Of The Brave (MGM), a life-after-discharge Iraq War drama in the mold of William Wyler's post-World War II classic The Best Years Of Our Lives. And if not for his grace-free direction, a dull performance by Jessica Biel as an amputee, overacting from Samuel L. Jackson and 50 Cent, and one unintentional laugh after another, Winkler might have gotten it done
One of 2007's biggest—and most surprising—arthouse hits, Philip Gröning's documentary Into Great Silence (Zeitgeist) spends more than two and a half hours recording the rituals of Carthusian monks in the French Alps. The idea is to plunge viewers into the contemplative, solitary state that the monks enjoy. Or perhaps endure.