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Two For The Money

Director D.J. Caruso turns this familiar story of big league sports gambling into a tense, tightly wound cautionary tale. Matthew McConaughey stars as Brandon Lang, whose ability to pick winners attracts the attention of Walter Abrams (Al Pacino), a major player with his own infomercial. Together, Brandon and Walter ride a wave of success until Brandon begins to drown in his own glory and greed. Writer Dan Gilroy pegs the banter and nature of the beast, while the cast (including Rene Russo as Walter’s dubious wife) fuel the drama with incendiary performances. DVD takes viewers behind the scenes and into the world of high stakes gambling, and includes deleted scenes. (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)

Flightplan

Audiences bought into this airborne thriller starring Jodie Foster as a recently widowed woman escorting her young daughter to the United States from Germany. When her daughter mysteriously disappears during the flight, Kyle Pratt (Foster) begins a routine sweep of the jumbo jet, creating tension among the passengers and the crew. Stakes are elevated when officials claim Kyle is hallucinating, forcing Terminator Mom to take matters into her own hands. Those willing to abandon logic at the boarding gate will appreciate the histrionics. Director Robert Schwentke discusses his art on the commentary track, while the DVD also includes production and behind-the-scenes featurettes. (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)

Transporter 2

Jason Statham returns as the professional driver chosen for his amazing defense skills and sharp wit. Frank Martin (Statham) has left the business and now works as chauffeur and bodyguard for Jack (Hunter Clary), the young son of Miami drug czar Jefferson Billings (Matthew Modine). When Jack is kidnapped and Frank is implicated, the former Transporter shifts gears and becomes the kidnapper’s worst nightmare. Like the original, the sequel packs quite a punch, delivering one pulsating action sequence after another. DVD continues the fun with bloopers, deleted and extended scenes, and informative featurettes taking the viewer behind the scenes. (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)

Junebug

Amy Adams delivers a colorful, heartfelt performance as Ashley, a young, pregnant woman who sees opportunity and hope in her visiting sister-in-law, an art dealer from Chicago. Director Phil Morrison and writer Angus MacLachlan paint a touching, funny, and occasionally absurd portrait where cultures clash in the most unexpected ways. Davidtz is excellent as Madeleine, the fish out of water traveling to North Carolina to sign a new artist, who agrees to make a pit stop at her new in-laws’. Adams is equally engaging, turning a simple role into a tour de force. The filmmakers weave numerous story threads into a beautifully realized comforter, ending up with a film that’s warm and fuzzy but not smothering. Feature-length commentary, production featurettes and deleted scenes add to the experience. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Saraband

Legendary filmmaker Ingmar Bergman returns to his classic Scenes From A Marriage for his last film, a haunting, touching and ultimately soulful look at a family in various stages of pain. The luminous Liv Ullmann reprises her role of Marianne, who returns to ex-husband Johan’s (Erland Josephson) villa thirty years after their divorce. Living with Johan is son Henrik, recovering from the death of his wife, and granddaughter Karin. Bergman masterfully peels back the layers of this family in distress, exposing their wounds and desperate attempts to heal themselves and each other. Powerful. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Home movies

Red Eye

Rachel McAdams is no-nonsense Miami Beach hotel manager Lisa, anxious to return home after a family death in Texas. She finds comfort in handsome seat partner Jackson (Cillian Murphy), who distracts her through a rough take-off. Lisa’s life spirals out of control when she learns that Jackson is a professional hit man who needs a favor and threatens to kill her father if she refuses. What begins as a by-the-book late night flight turns into a real page-turner as Lisa makes every attempt to free herself, save her dad and stop Jackson. Director Wes Craven soars with this airborne thriller that constantly keeps you glued to your seat. McAdams and Murphy are excellent as the gutsy damsel in distress and her tormenter. DVD includes hilarious bloopers, fact-filled featurettes and an informative commentary by Craven. (DreamWorks Home Entertainment)

Venom

The bayous are alive with the sound of screaming. A group of teen-agers find themselves on the run from Mr. Jangles, the incarnation of 13 damned souls. Trapped in the Louisiana bayou, the teen-agers are scooped up one by one by Jangles as he attempts to fill his tortured soul. Director Jim Gillespie (I Know What You Did Last Summer) and three different writers can’t seem to come up with an original idea among them, turning Venom into nothing more than an extended chase involving petulant teens and one pissed-off dead dude with a crowbar. DVD includes cast auditions and making-of featurette. (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)

The Chumscrubber

Outstanding debut by director Arie Posin features an all-star cast in an extremely twisted fable about disenfranchised youth and their self-absorbed parents. Everything is seemingly picture-perfect in Hidden Hills, a sparkling cul-de-sac where adults act like children and children find themselves wading in a pool of happy pills. It’s here that Dean Stiffle (Jamie Bell) finds his best friend, Troy, hanging from the rafters of his pool house hideaway. Unsure how to react or what to say, Dean just walks away, leaving Troy’s mother (Glenn Close) to discover the body. How this act ricochets through the lives and loves of those living in Hidden Hills makes for outstanding viewing. Writer Zac Stanford creates numerous character and plot threads, all woven into a tapestry perfectly reflecting the reality of these people. DVD includes featurette. (DreamWorks Home Entertainment)

The Fog

Director John Carpenter produced this remake of his 1980 thriller about a cursed small coastal town celebrating its centennial. Director Rupert Wainwright, working from a faithful but extended screenplay by Cooper Layne, has created a better film by digging up more back story to give the anniversary haunt more weight (especially in the unrated edition). Stolen gold has been replaced by stolen promises, forcing the current citizens of Antonio Bay to pay for the misdeeds of their ancestors. Tom Welling (Smallville), Maggie Grace (Lost) and Selma Blair (Legally Blonde) make strong leads, playing previously established characters, this time outrunning better visual effects and scarier ghosts. DVD includes director’s commentary, featurettes, visual effects documentary and deleted scenes with commentary. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

The Man

A case of mistaken identity teams up a mild-mannered dental supply salesman (Eugene Levy) and an ATF Agent (Samuel L. Jackson) intent on finding out who killed his partner and clearing his name. When Andy (Levy) walks into the middle of a sting operation, agent Vann (Jackson) has no choice but to recruit him in order to capture an arms dealer. You won’t bust a gut, but you will find some laughs in this innocuous, silly comedy. DVD includes deleted scenes, bloopers and featurettes. (New Line Home Entertainment)

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