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DVDs in Brief

With Fox's 24 on between-seasons hiatus, now's the perfect chance to catch the political thriller The Sentinel (Fox) with Kiefer Sutherland. It's just like 24, only not as intricately plotted, suspenseful, or crisply produced. Oh yeah, and it costs money to see…

The phrase "character-driven" gets thrown around pretty often, but the term firmly applies to the films of writer-director Nicole Holofcener (Walking And Talking, Lovely & Amazing)—there isn't much to hold them together besides their characters. That's especially true of Friends With Money (Sony), which builds off the slight premise that Jennifer Aniston cleans houses for rent money while her friends (John Cusack, Frances McDormand, Catherine Keener) are nestled in bourgeois comfort. The men are poorly fleshed-out, but Holofcener gives the impression that she could write funny, observant scenes with these characters for days…

One of the year's most underrated movies, Albert Brooks' Looking For Comedy In The Muslim World (Warner Bros.) broaches the sensitive issue of Western-Muslim relations post-9/11 through cheerfully self-deprecating comedy. Digging up classic routines from his late-night repertoire, including the World's Worst Ventriloquist and a brilliant riff on improvisational technique, Brooks travels to the mosques of India to dazzle the locals with his meta-comedic stylings. Needless to say, they aren't amused…

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Ever wonder what Home Alone might have looked like had Jim Jarmusch been hired to direct it? Wonder no more, because the minimalist Spanish comedy Duck Season (Sony), about the high-rise adventures of adolescent boys left home for the afternoon, features the deadpan rhythm and rich black-and-white photography of early Jarmusch films like Stranger Than Paradise and Down By Law

Deepa Mehta's "elements trilogy," Fire, Earth, and now Water (Fox), challenges historical and modern prejudices in India, but always through the limiting lens of a predictable forbidden romance. Water is no exception: It's beautifully shot, and its initial plotline is a compelling look at the early-19th-century restrictions on Hindu widows, who were expected to retreat from society and quietly wait to die. But when it largely abandons its 8-year-old widow protagonist to follow another widow's bland love story, it squanders its unique perspective on a been-there-done-that premise.

Antonio Banderas dances his way into the hearts of inner-city teens in Take The Lead (New Line), a movie that's neither as bad as it sounds, nor good enough to, you know, watch…

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