DVDs In Brief: June 13, 2012
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DVDs In Brief: June 13, 2012

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DVD round-up

Being the Oscar frontrunner—and eventual winner—did The Artist (Weinstein) no favors: Michel Hazanavicius’s deft tribute to the silent era isn’t the type of movie that holds up well to the scrutiny given to more self-serious contenders, and the extra attention didn’t inspire many people to check it out. But now, nearly half a year after its Oscar triumph, the film should play nicely as a charming homage along the lines of Hazanavicius’ spy-movie spoofs OSS 117: Cairo, Nest Of Spies and OSS 117: Lost In Rio… 

Thanks to a clever script and a revelatory, self-deprecating turn by Channing “The Big Brisket” Tatum, 21 Jump Street (Sony) soared above the exceedingly low expectations that greet most cinematic updates of ’80s television shows to become a surprise critical and commercial hit. More a glib parody than a proper adaptation, 21 Jump Street keeps only the core of the ’80s cop show that ostensibly inspired it, but it’s nevertheless a winning deconstruction of the buddy-cop genre and a surprisingly smart commentary on shifting social mores among the high-school elite…

After less than a week in release, the fairy-tale retelling Snow White And The Huntsman had already made $4 million more at the box office than 2012’s other Snow White story, Tarsem Singh’s Mirror Mirror (Relativity), made during its entire American box-office run. That’s a pity, since while Mirror Mirror is far from perfect, it has a few charms Huntsman lacks, namely humor and a general lack of oppressive self-importance…

As a sequel to a remake of a film based on Greek mythology, the dull Wrath Of The Titans (Warner Bros.) is even further removed from even the fuzziest notion of originality than most contemporary would-be blockbusters. Danny Huston, Liam Neeson, and Ralph Fiennes are among the heavyweight thespians prostituting their gifts for a gaudy paycheck, but Wrath Of The Titans fails even as broad camp and mindless spectacle. It’s a tedious, washed-out mess that never comes close to justifying its mercenary existence…

Whose idea was it to wrap an entire family comedy around the idea of Eddie Murphy realizing he can’t talk, or he’ll die? Didn’t whoever cast him realize that his nervy chatter is most of his charm? But that’s far from the only thing wrong with the corny slapstick fable A Thousand Words (Paramount), which largely centers on Murphy trying and failing to compensate for his magical-tree-enforced silence by flapping, straining, and making faces…

Rereleased for Father’s Day—it comes with a baseball cap!—the complete 30 For 30 (ESPN) is a formidable collection of sports documentaries, and definitive proof that personal stories and an idiosyncratic, director-driven approach yields far more than ESPN’s usual cookie-cutter style. Highlights include Albert MayslesMuhammad And Larry, about a sad and dangerous late-career comeback by Muhammed Ali; Dan Klores’ Winning Time, a thrilling remembrance of the Knicks-Pacers rivalry; Steve James’ No Crossover: The Trial Of Allen Iverson, a sophisticated breakdown of race in sports and society; Brett Morgen’s brilliant day-in-the-life montage movie June 17, 1994; and Jeff and Michael Zimbalist’s The Two Escobars, which looks at the cocaine-fueled soccer culture of Pablo Escobar’s Colombia.