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DVDs In Brief: June 9, 2010

Martin Scorsese’s thriller Shutter Island (Paramount) polarized critics and audiences when it came out in February, but its failure to find consensus is also a testament to its go-for-broke intensity. Using all the tools in the box, Scorsese amplifies Dennis Lehane’s already-pulpy novel about a disappearance at a compound for the criminally insane, turning a common detective procedural into a full-on psychological horror film. Don’t get too caught up in the third-act twists; when the dust settles, Shutter Island adds to a host of other Scorsese classics about haunted men…

Pulp Fiction was credited with reviving John Travolta’s moribund career, but many filmmakers—not least of all, Travolta—took the wrong lesson from it, subsequently casting him as the avatar of cool, rather than the fumbling, uncertain, uncool Vincent Vega. Travolta can make swagger funny, as he did parodying Nicolas Cage in Face/Off, but he seems desperate in movies like From Paris With Love (Lionsgate), which casts him as a flamboyantly ridiculous secret agent. Taken director Pierre Morel keeps the action fast and trashy, but it’s not enough to mop the flopsweat pouring from Travolta’s brow…

Nostalgia is a bitch sometimes. Just because a generation of kids grew up watching ’80s garbage like The A-Team doesn’t make it any less garbagey 25 years later, but nostalgia for those wasted afternoons explains the surfacing of a new A-Team movie and the DVD set The A-Team: The Complete Series (Universal), which collects all five seasons and 98 mediocre episodes. The limited-edition packaging is diabolically alluring, too, with the discs encased in a cardboard replica of the A-Team van, and all your favorite characters beckoning you through the windows. Resist the temptation.