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DVDs In Brief: August 1, 2012


DVD round-up

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The History Channel scored a massive hit with its three-part miniseries Hatfields & McCoys (Sony), starring Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton as the heads of those respective feuding families in post-Civil War Kentucky and West Virginia. But viewers tuned into a ham-fisted slog, with director Kevin Reynolds, who worked with Costner on Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves and Waterworld, unable to salvage a script that repeats its broad-brush themes ad infinitum…

Torque director—and Twitter provocateur—Joseph Kahn pays homage to/rips off virtually every Gen-X cult movie of the last 30 years for his hyperactive black comedy Detention (Sony), which begins like Scream before dropping references to everything from Back To The Future to The Breakfast Club to The Fly. When a slasher movie called Cinderhella becomes a sensation among the teenage set, its deranged killer takes his hacking off screen. What follows is an ice-cream headache of a movie-movie… 

Fans of Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki’s shaggy-dog romanticism found much to like about Le Havre (Criterion), his familiar but loveable attempt to feed the hot-button issue of illegal immigration through the Kaurismäki-o-matic. One of his favorite players, André Wilms, stars as a shoeshine man in a Normandy port who harbors an African boy illegally until the kid can slip away to England. The consequences are high for a couple like Wilms and his wife (Kati Outinen), who live hand to mouth, but Kaurismäki renders their sacrifice with humor and a touching sense of community…

No, the horror movie ATM (IFC) isn’t about a killer automated teller machine, but it wouldn’t be much dumber if it that were the case. Instead, it strands three twentysomethings in an ATM kiosk as a hooded killer waits outside patiently, occasionally murdering random passersby. The would-be victims prove to be not terribly resourceful… 

Don Argott and Demian Felton, who previously directed the fine documentaries Rock School and The Art Of The Steal, produce another winner in Last Days Here (MPI), an intimate and harrowing portrait of Bobby Liebling, frontman of the heavy-metal outfit Pentagram. Liebling’s band was once hailed as “a street Black Sabbath,” but his abrasiveness and decades-long drug addiction cost their shot at fame. Argott and Felton catch him still nurturing the dream…