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DVDs In Brief: July 28, 2010

Clash Of The Titans (Warner Bros.) isn’t much of a movie, but the great thing about its DVD release is that viewers won’t have to watch it in 3-D—and won’t have to pay too high a charge, much less a surcharge. There’s some pleasure in watching Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes, as Zeus and Hades, get locked in a booming god-off, but the satisfying cheese of the 1981 adventure lessens significantly in CGI. Without Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion creations, it’s all pretty charmless…

Sometimes the difference between a great movie and a lousy one is a single vowel: No one will confuse Alex Cox’s beloved cult comedy Repo Man with the dumb science-fiction of Repo Men (Universal), but an accidental slip from singular to plural on the Netflix search engine will result in a much less gratifying experience. The concept of a future world where repo men collect mechanical-organ transplants from patients who can’t pay for them has satirical promise, but for a film about the delicacy of human life, Repo Men indulges in a lot of gleeful, gory ultraviolence…

As a forward-thinking art collector in the ’20s, Dr. Albert Barnes snapped up an extraordinary wealth of post-impressionist and modernist paintings from the likes of Matisse, Picasso, Renoir, and Cezanne. In his will, Barnes was very specific about what the trustees were to do with his assets, with the main goal to keep them in the town of Merion, Pennsylvania and away from Philadelphia. The fine documentary The Art Of The Steal (IFC) reveals how his wishes were systematically defied…

A movie about Benito Mussolini’s first marriage, before his rise to power, may sound like the stuff of a dull, dutiful biopic or an exercise akin to an entire feature about how Pol Pot used to smack his wife around. But Marco Bellocchio’s Vincere (IFC) unleashes an aural and visual assault so dizzying and unrelenting that it more or less recapitulates the birth of fascism in cinematic form…

The new IFC/Criterion deal has already yielded stellar editions of movies like Che and Hunger, and hopefully it will allow Abdel Kechiche’s subtle, sprawling, completely charming The Secret Of The Grain (Criterion) to gain a wider appreciation. Set in a French port town, the film follows a 61-year-old North African man and his family as they attempt to open a couscous restaurant on a repurposed ship. The events lead up to a Big Night-like unveiling that’s full of tension, joy, and in one unforgettable sequence, belly-dancing.