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The Ghost in the Shell Blu-ray Trilogy (NR) (Blu-ray)

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

Have you ever been in a record store and asked for something you thought was obscure, only to have the clerk scoff at you for daring to only now discover it? That's kinda why I hate reviewing anime titles. Because I know so little about it, there's going to be those otaku a-holes who are going to give me grief because the only anime flicks I've ever watched are Akira and Ghost in the Shell. I'll take my chances though, because Anchor Bay has released three new Ghost-related Blu-rays — Solid State Society, Laughing Man and Individual Eleven — and all of them are actually must-buys, not only for anime nuts, but also for the many fans of well-written, deeply involved post-apocalyptic sci-fi. Set after World War 4, these movies are full of political intrigue and cyber-conspiracies, without ever having to resort to a single Pikachu or Dragonball. Because those are the only other anime references I know. — Louis Fowler

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Arthur (PG-13)

Warner Bros. / Release date: July 15

Russell Brand feels like ideal casting for the "fun drunk" lead in Arthur, even if it's just an excuse to recycle his blathering sybarite schtick. But after a frothy first half, Jason Winer's unnecessary remake of the 1981 Dudley Moore vehicle turns formulaic, growing tiresome at two hours and exposing Brand as a non-actor. The wealthy and irresponsible heir Arthur Bach is even more of a sleazy party animal in this version, yet he still gets pampered and protected by his brittle British nanny (Helen Mirren, slumming once again). While his emotionally distant mother tries to force him into a marriage of convenience, Arthur finds love with Greta Gerwig's quirky tour guide. The Gerwig character has been especially bastardized here, changed from a spunky shoplifter in the original to a cloying, doe-eyed nymph-twit in an unsuccessful attempt to make her more likeable. — Daniel Barnes

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The Warrior's Way (R)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Here's an incredibly complicated action film: not complicated in that it has a deep, layered story, but because it seems to defy every type of genre convention. It's no wonder why it was in and out of theaters with zero fanfare, because there's almost no proper way for this movie to be marketed successfully. That said, The Warrior's Way is a total masterpiece, a cross between Shogun Assassin and Moulin Rouge, only replacing the numerous can-can numbers with scads of samurai swordplay, all set against a highly stylized, beautifully realized Western movie background. Jang Dong Gun is the world's greatest swordfighter who, after refusing to kill a baby and end a clan-war, flees to America with the kid to start a new life. Dirty renegade outlaws and an army of ninjas follow him, returning him to the violence he tried to leave behind. The Warrior's Way can be a challenge to get into, but the rewards are bountiful. — Louis Fowler

  • The Ghost in the Shell Blu-ray Trilogy, Arthur, The Warrior's Way

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