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DVDs In Brief: August 17, 2011

So much of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre is about the eponymous protagonist’s subjective interpretation of her experiences that it’s a difficult book to bring to the screen, and while the umpty-jillion adaptations to date have each gotten various elements right, there’s never been a really definitive version. And Cary Fukunaga’s 2011 Jane Eyre (Universal) doesn’t buck the trend, with its tame, largely passionless, pretty-but-staid execution…

The premise of Something Borrowed (Warner Bros.) has the potential for high drama: Ginnifer Goodwin stars as a lonely flibbertigibbet who pines for a law-school chum (Colin Egglesfield) she foolishly set up with his childhood best friend, played by Kate Hudson. Does she follow her heart, or honor the friendship? It’s a tough question this craven romantic comedy makes easy by casting Hudson as a narcissistic monster who shouldn’t be with anyone, and who thus deserves betrayal…

Robert Redford hit the peak of his directorial career with the snappily entertaining Quiz Show, but much of the rest of his output has been a slow drive to Snoozeville, with attractive, slightly somnambulant fare like A River Runs Through It and The Horse Whisperer giving way to out-and-out snorefests like The Legend Of Bagger Vance and Lions For Lambs. Redford’s latest history lesson, The Conspirator (Roadside Attractions), profiles the one woman indicted for the Lincoln assassination, and winds up treating moviegoers like fidgety schoolchildren…

Though John Carpenter hasn’t made anything approaching a great movie since 1988’s They Live, there was reason to hope the great cult filmmaker would return from a decade-long absence refreshed and revitalized. Instead, he coughed up The Ward (Arc), a pedestrian shocker about a young woman (Amber Heard) committed to a haunted Oregon mental institution in the early ’60s. Carpenter goes through the motions competently, but he seems more inclined to ape 21st-century horror conventions than to reassert his former mastery…

There was a time when a post-apocalyptic Western adapted from a series of Korean graphic novels about a vampire-hunting killer priest might have possessed some small element of novelty, especially if it was projected in the once-anachronistic medium of 3-D. But in the age of ComicCon and Fantastic Fest, when such ain’t-it-cool flourishes are more the norm than the exception, Priest (Sony) looks pitifully conventional, going about its dark business with joyless proficiency.