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180° South: Conquerors of the Useless (Blu-Ray) (NR)

Magnolia Home Entertainment

At one time, documentaries were journalistic surveys of the human condition, delving into the psyche of a story in a way that a TV news never could. Today, they've devolved into nothing more than ego-driven attempts to create name recognition, or at the very least, a show-reel to get laid. The mountain-climbing dude-doc 180° South is an example, featuring a grating, pseudo-philosophical Jack Johnson-wannabe at the helm. It's all about his beach-bum attempt to make it to Patagonia to climb Corcovado after watching footage of a crew who scaled it in 1968. That should be interesting, but between his coffee-shop musings and the constant acoustic twee-indie soundtrack, watching the movie becomes a bigger endurance challenge than climbing the damn mountain. Louis Fowler

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Showgirls: 15th Anniversary Sinsational Edition (Blu-Ray) (NC-17)

MGM/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Director John Waters once noted that cult films can't be made, they just have to happen. And that is exactly what has happened with Showgirls. Fifteen years on, it has shaken its bomb-status albatross and become a campy trash-classic that, like a cheap box-wine, is only getting better with age. Saved By the Bell alumna Elizabeth Berkley vamps it up and takes it off as a trampy sociopath who moves her way up the glittery ladder of Vegas showgirl-dom, with all the melodramatic missteps of a 1930s STD scare-film. Paul Verhoeven directs with a vulgar eye for the garish while notorious screenwriter Joe Eszterhas has struggled finding work ever since. The Blu-Ray continues the nasty tradition, with tutorials on stripping and lap-dancing, as well as a drinking game. Classy! Louis Fowler

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The Stranger (R)

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

I'm pretty sure this is the 253rd "Stone Cold" Steve Austin straight-to-DVD movie I've watched this year, and really I can't complain; for all their many, many faults, overall they've been entertaining enough action films. Now, Austin's latest, The Stranger, is no different. He plays a hulking amnesiac on the run from the FBI types who want the information that is trapped in his meaty bald head. One moment he's a hero, helping Mexicans cross the border or rescuing little girls from crazed gunmen, the next he's plowing federal agents out of three-story motel windows like a badass. The tight script does a great job of throwing around the red herrings, even adding a last-minute twist that makes the whole thing worthwhile, though the direction can be pretty hard to watch. Enough with the slow-motion shaky-cam tricks! Louis Fowler

Elvis: The 75th Birthday Collection (NR)

MGM/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

In celebration of Elvis's 75th birthday, MGM and 20th Century Fox are releasing this snappy little box-set, containing seven of the King's musicals, which in hindsight really ain't that much when you learn he made over 30 movies throughout his career. Still though, these seven are some of his best: Clambake, Flaming Star, Follow That Dream, Frankie and Johnny, Kid Galahad, Love Me Tender and Wild In the Country. While upon original release these were looked at by critics as easily dismissible teeny-bopper fluff, now they are fun little ditties with great music and a cool vibe that is sorely missing from today's musical stars. High-energy, silly, simple, unpretentious and above all, iconic, these flicks are a rockin' good time that deserve a fresh look among rock fans. Louis Fowler

  • 180° South: Conquerors of the Useless, Showgirls, The Stranger and more.

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