Continuing his charitable quest to save other actors from taking roles from the worst scripts in Hollywood, Gerard Butler stars as a part-righteous/part-psycho vigilante in Law Abiding Citizen (Anchor Bay), a profoundly stupid thriller that plays like Saw gone legit. After his wife and daughter are killed by home invaders, and the local D.A. (Jamie Foxx) cuts a plea deal with one of the murderers, Butler decides to take down the whole justice system, one gimmicky death contraption at a time…

The biopic Coco Before Chanel (Sony) has one electrifying scene, when its famed French designer (played by Audrey Tautou) unveils a collection of simple yet stunning, elegant fashions. Of course, this is Coco after Chanel; the origin story is far less interesting. A look at Chanel’s humble roots, which began in a Catholic orphanage in the late 1800s, the film morphs into a drab love triangle that casts Chanel as one of those plucky, outspoken, conspicuously modern heroines who always ruffle feathers in a period piece…

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The deal struck between IFC Films and Criterion has already yielded a deluxe edition of Stephen Soderbergh’s Che—which helped fill in some context deliberately excised from the film—and now come two of the best films of 2009: Götz Spielmann’s Revanche, an understated, exceptionally precise Austrian thriller about a revenge quest with surprising complications, and Steve McQueen’s Hunger, a gut-punch of a docudrama about the Irish prisoners who staged a hunger strike in defiance of the Thatcher government’s refusal to grant them status as political prisoners, not terrorists…

When it debuted at Sundance to raucous laughter, the sharp blaxploitation spoof Black Dynamite (Sony) looked destined for cult success. Audiences stayed away from the film during its theatrical run, but it nevertheless merits a robust second life on DVD thanks to Michael Jai White’s hilariously deadpan performance as the titular badass. The filmmakers get all the details right, from a boom mic wandering into the frame to a comically convoluted overarching conspiracy…

Chris Rock proves a delightful tour guide as he leads audiences through the wild, weird, wonderful world of black hair in Good Hair (Lionsgate), a featherweight comic meditation on the infinite permutations of African-American hair culture. Rock’s exploration takes him from India, where most of the world’s hair is sold, to a climactic hairstyling throwdown in Atlanta that’s 90 percent gaudy spectacle, 10 percent test of skill.

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