Spin-ematical: New on DVD for 5/5

No skipping this week! Bump a couple of these up to "buy" if your budget allows.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story of a man who ages backwards becomes a staggering, three-hour demonstration of superb make-up and seamless computer effects under the direction of David Fincher. Despite the length, only one note is played -- everyone else's pity for "poor Benjamin" -- while the man himself (Brad Pitt) remains a frustrating cipher. With Cate Blanchett and Taraji P. Henson. Also on Blu-ray. Rent it.

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Last Chance Harvey
While in London for his daughter's wedding, New York jingle-writer Dustin Hoffman romances Emma Thompson. "A movie for grown-ups, but not in that clammy, Oscar-craving way that would make it untenable; it's a movie about people that takes place in the real world," said James Rocchi in his review for Cinematical. Directed by Joel Hopkins. Also on Blu-ray. Rent it.

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Wendy and Lucy
Michelle Williams stars as "a down-on-her-luck girl who's hoping to turn things around for herself with a summer job at a fishing cannery in Alaska," wrote Kim Voynar in her Cinematical review. When her car breaks down and her beloved dog goes missing in a small town in Oregon, she is "forced to make a series of increasingly difficult choices, and to rely upon the kindness (or not) of strangers to resolve her plight." Directed by Kelly Reichardt (the superb Old Joy), who "excels at capturing these small, very human moments in the overall stories of her characters' lives." Rent it.

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After the jump: Indies on DVD, Blu-ray, and Collector's Corner!



'Chandni Chowk to China'Chandni Chowk to China
The great Gordon Liu is the best thing about the movie, billed as the first ever Bollywood kung fu comedy. It's a pleasantly goofy diversion that too often slows to a narrative crawl, but it definitely has its moments, as when a couple jumps off a very tall office building to escape the clutches of an evil villain and falls hundreds of feet before the woman opens an umbrella to halt their fall, leading to a deliriously silly and romantic dance, as the couple implausibly proves to be lighter than air. (My review.) With Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone, Roger Yuan, and Ranvir Shorey. Directed by Nikhil Advani.

Just Another Love Story
A twisted, dramatic version of While You Were Sleeping, in which a crime scene photographer / family man pretends to be the boyfriend of a hospitalized woman in a coma. Before it goes completely off the rails, it's vividly effective in depicting a life of quiet desperation given a glimmer of hope. With an intense Anders W. Berthelsen, Rebecka Hemse, and Nikolaj Lie Kaas. Directed by Ole Bornedal.

Momma's Man
Azazel Jacobs' critically-acclaimed drama about a man who is forced to move back home with his parents. "It's an incredible portrait of the final phase of coming of age, the transition from being parented to parenting," according to Karina Longworth at Spout. With Matt Boren and the filmmaker's parents (Ken and Flo Jacobs) as the parents.

Look
Shot entirely from the POV of hidden surveillance cameras, the film "requires a considerable suspension of disbelief," wrote Robert Koehler at Variety. Still, it is "Unexpectedly amusing and inevitably disturbing ... the sort of talking-point movie that energizes" film festivals. With Rhys Coiro, Hayes McArthur, and Jennifer Fontaine. Directed by Adam Rifkin.

Also out: Chris Marker's A Grin Without a Cat, plus horror flicks End of the Line and Mum & Dad.

'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' on Blu-rayFerris Bueller's Day Off
Sheer pop pleasure that radiates from beginning to end with unbridled joy, featuring Matthew Broderick's finest performance. With the divinely beautiful Mia Sara and faithful sidekick Alan Ruck. Directed by John Hughes.

Dog Soldiers
British solders in the Scottish highlands stumble upon werewolves. Terrific, razor-edged entertainment: bloody and morbidly funny. With Sean Pertwee and Kevin McKidd. Directed by Neil Marshall.

Roxanne
Steve Martin wrote the screenplay and stars as a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac, the chief of a volunteer fire department in the Pacific Northwest. Witty in the extreme and jammed with gags both rude and gentle, this picture never gets old. With Darryl Hannah, Shelley Duvall, Michael J. Pollard, and Fred Willard. Directed by Fred Schepisi.

Saturday Night Fever
Almost lost in all the dated fashions and disco insanity is a pretty good class drama about a guy from Brooklyn who dreams of Manhattan but has only vague notions how to get there. Featuring a classic, star-making performance by John Travolta and more Bee Gees on the soundtrack than you can shake a stick at. With Karen Gorney. Directed by John Badham.

Grease
With their relentless choruses, the songs drive me batty, but if you're looking for a musical fantasy about 30-something adults pretending to be high school kids, it's hard to think of a better alternative. With John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Directed by Randall Kleiser.

Also out: It Could Happen to You. and a little movie you may have heard about: Twilight (see below).

Twilight: Ultimate Collector's SetTwilight: Ultimate Collector's Set
"Remarkably faithful to the spirit of its source material, the film version of Twilight crams most of the key episodes from Stephenie Meyer's novel into its breathless, 122-minute running time ... Twilight may not add up to much more than the sum of its parts, but those parts can be mighty entertaining." (From my review. Eric D. Snider reviewed it too.) With Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke.

Collector's Set includes the Blu-ray disc, soundtrack CD, individually-numbered jewelry box, exclusive watch, limited edition charm bracelet, six glossy photo cards, bookmark, and certificate of authenticity.

TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection
Six themed, bargain-priced box sets are released today, each including four classics:
American Musicals (The Band Wagon / Meet Me in St. Louis / Singin' in the Rain / Easter Parade)
Broadway Musicals (Show Boat / Annie Get Your Gun / Kiss Me Kate / Seven Brides for Seven Brothers)
World War II - Battlefront Europe (Kelly's Heroes / Where Eagles Dare / The Dirty Dozen / Battleground)
John Wayne Westerns (The Cowboys / Fort Apache / Rio Bravo / The Searchers)
War - Battlefront Asia (Bataan / Back to Bataan / The Green Berets / Destination Tokyo)
Western Adventures (The Wild Bunch / McCabe & Mrs. Miller / Jeremiah Johnson / The Train Robbers)