DVDs In Brief: July 11, 2012 
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DVDs In Brief: July 11, 2012 

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DVD round-up

Stifler’s back! Finch? He’s back, too! Eugene Levy? He never left. Just in time for their, um, 13th reunion, the cast members of American Pie have come together for American Reunion (Universal), which arrives after four straight-to-DVD spin-offs buried the franchise in the dirt. The story (and the cast) offers a deflating vision of adulthood’s disappointments, with Jason Biggs’ hero having gone from the sexual humiliations of adolescence to the sexual frustrations of being married with kids. It tries to balance gross-out jokes and sweetness, but eight films in, the cast seems bored and the mythology doesn’t hold up… 

The critical feel-good story of 2011, Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret (Fox) was mired in post-production and legal battles for years, before Fox Searchlight dumped it with little fanfare. Thanks to a small but passionate cadre of film critics, who rallied under the #teammargaret banner, Lonergan’s extraordinarily ambitious follow-up to You Can Count On Me enjoyed a second life, albeit in a messy, contractually obligated 150-minute version. The new DVD/BD includes the full three-hour cut, which won’t necessarily resolve the messiness inherent in the story, but will doubtless flesh out some of the sketchier plot points… 

The Flowers Of War (Lionsgate), a melodrama set around the 1937 Rape Of Nanking, was financed by China and served as its 2011 Academy Award submission for Best Foreign Language Film. But in a play for international appeal, the film stars Christian Bale as a self-serving, insensitive American who gets caught up in the attempt to protect a mixed group of adolescent girls and hide prostitutes from the rape-crazed Japanese invaders. Director Zhang Yimou (Raise The Red LanternHouse Of Flying Daggers) gives the film a beautiful look and a great deal of emotion, but it’s an exhausting, histrionic wallow in the victims’ fear and misery. 

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