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DVDs In Brief: January 26, 2011

The spies-leave-retirement action-thriller Red (Summit) is shamefully draggy, it shamefully underuses Morgan Freeman, and it lets Bruce Willis get away with a shamefully apathetic performance. That’s an awful lot of dishonor for what should be a shamelessly over-the-top slice of enjoyable adventure. The premise and cast are solid, but the execution is scattershot enough that viewers will have to pick out the enjoyable bits like nutmeats out of a crushed bag of walnuts…

The cheapest high in town, Gaspar Noé’s instant cult classic Enter The Void (IFC) hinges on a less-than-smart, less-than-subtle reading of The Tibetan Book Of The Dead and a vacant (though appealingly libertine) performance by Paz de la Huerta. But for experiential value, Noé’s hallucinogenic head-trip had no equal in 2010, swirling through the neon-drenched Tokyo night with a rigor that’s initially trying, but ultimately dreamy and hypnotic. Better still, the 161-minute version of the film has been made available on DVD, a full 20 minutes longer than the theatrical cut… 

The Swedish film adaptations of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy wrap up with The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest (Music Box), but with star Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) hospitalized or imprisoned for most of its runtime, the movie is a dull, distanced two-and-a-half-hour wait for her to get on her feet and tell a judge all the things viewers already know from the first two books/movies…

The announcement that Saw 3-D, now Saw: The Final Chapter (Lionsgate) on DVD, would be the last in the series is one of those showbiz fibs that will be forgotten in a few years when the franchise is inevitably rebooted. But the 3-D gimmick, combined with the last-one-we-promise lie, was enough to revive the franchise’s diminishing box-office fortunes. Creatively, however, it’s still a grim, hideous corpse…

Polished to a high gloss, Secretariat (Disney) recounts one horse’s unlikely ascent to a Triple Crown victory, but doesn’t find much of interest to say about it. Diane Lane is good in the lead, however. And the horse is pretty.