Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

DVDs in Brief

By far the best horror film released in 2006—and surely one of the scariest white-knucklers of the past decade—The Descent (Lions Gate) wasn't the Blair Witch Project-like phenomenon it deserved to be, but an audience will no doubt accumulate now that it's on DVD. The premise (six women exploring an unmapped cave system in the Appalachian mountains) yields plenty of claustrophobic scares even before bat-like humanoid creatures terrorize them…

A spirit of gleeful prankishness reigns over Jackass: Number Two (Paramount), the long-awaited sequel to 2001's smash-hit orgy of homoeroticism, comic sadomasochism, and sexual humiliation. Bigger and better, Number Two is pretty much the Citizen Kane of cinematic testicular abuse, for whatever that's worth…

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Brian De Palma tries to be too faithful in his adaptation of James Ellroy's über-pulp novel The Black Dahlia (Universal), and the result is a movie too caught up in digressions and plot twists to be as operatic as De Palma can be at his best. But it's a passable piece of sophisticated noir, with a few masterful sequences (a boxing match, a stairway showdown, a wacky dinner party) that can go on the De Palma master reel…

Impeccably grunged-up star Matt Dillon and Norwegian writer-director Bent Hamer uncover the sad, understated core of Charles Bukowski's boozy life and legend in Factotum (IFC). Hamer's melancholy adaptation of the barstool bard's novel, plus several short stories, ekes dry comedy out of its booze-sodden anti-hero's half-hearted efforts to secure temporary employment and short-term female companionship…

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Tony Goldwyn's The Last Kiss (Paramount) adapts a 2001 Italian melodrama for American audiences with its navel-gazing whininess intact. Goldwyn's grating angst-fest pushes Zach Braff's doe-eyed, sensitive emo-dreamboat shtick far beyond the limit in its tale of a Gen-Xer forced to choose between a hot pregnant girlfriend (Jacinda Barrett) and a hot, non-pregnant college co-ed (Rachel Bilson). Ah, adulthood: It totally forces you to make decisions and shit. And also stare soulfully into the distance.

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