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DVDs In Brief: August 8, 2012 


DVD round-up

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The Lorax (Universal) doesn’t get much better than its opening number extolling the joys of living in an artificial city and not caring where all the pollution goes; it’s a bright, bouncy sequence with a disquietingly dark core. But the film mostly skips that darkness, the hallmark of the Dr. Seuss book it purportedly adapts. It’s more focused on chase scenes, slapstick, and lovely design than on a coherent story or the book’s heartbreaking environmental message…

Clocking in at nearly three hours, Kevin McDonald’s Marley (Magnolia) isn’t the definitive statement on Bob Marley that its expansive running time would suggest. The involvement of Marley’s family and Island Records give it an “official story” whiff. But it’s hardly a hagiography, either, finding the human story behind the icon and exploring the roots of the music that made him a star…

Blue Like Jazz (Miramax/Lionsgate) is a glorious anomaly: a Christian film characterized by nuance, subtlety, and respect for cultural and religious differences. Adapted from Donald Miller’s word-of-mouth bestseller, the film chronicles the mind-expanding experiences of a disillusioned Christian teenager at an aggressively secular hippie college and the gradual reconciliation with his faith, and does so with smarts, sensitivity, and a keen grasp of the tricky emotions of adolescence…

Taking shrewd advantage of the looks that have fluttered many a Twilight fan’s heart, Robert Pattinson stars in Bel Ami (Sony) as an ambitious, know-nothing scoundrel who works his way up the social strata of 19th-century Paris by sleeping with one aristocratic woman after another. Based on Guy de Maupassant’s novel, the film features plenty of sex and straight talk, but it’s a failed test case for whether such things are an intrinsic virtue…