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DVDs In Brief: September 15, 2010

It was another busy, loud, explosion-filled summer at the box office, and a number of pricey projects were lost in the shuffle, including Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time (Disney), which didn't even make back half its $200 million production cost domestically. It's an agreeable enough time-waster, with Jake Gyllenhaal galloping around protecting a magical MacGuffin and navigating a lot of splashy special effects. But if producer Jerry Bruckheimer wants to recapture the Pirates Of The Caribbean magic, he needs a character as memorable as Captain Jack Sparrow in the mix, not a bunch of generic fantasy players going through generic fantasy motions…

Amanda Seyfried’s unnervingly ethereal presence doesn’t fit well into the romantic-comedy machinery of Letters To Juliet (Summit), however ostensibly highbrow its gimmick. Seyfried plays a budding journalist on a pre-honeymoon with a neglectful fiancé; she soon falls in with a group of Verona women who’ve charged themselves with answering letters addressed to Shakespeare’s doomed hometown heroine. Much of the action involves an attempt to reunite Vanessa Redgrave with a lost lover. It’s diverting enough, and the scenery’s nice, but there isn’t much else going on…

First-time writer-director Marc Forby tries to shoehorn the story of Hawaii's last monarch into a familiar sunlit romantic-drama form in Princess Kaiulani (Roadside), but Victoria Ka’iulani Cleghorn’s short life lacks the necessary details, and this pretty but undistinguished biopic spends so much time on familiar signifiers that it misses out on the chance to study what was unique about her situation, her personality, and her life.