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Memphis Heat (NR)

Off the Top Rope Productions

Before the WWE turned wrestling into just another trash commodity, the good ol' boys in Memphis had their own pre-cable dynasty that was more entertaining, more dangerous and more real than anything Vince McMahon and his goons could ever come up with. Memphis wrestling was no-holds-barred fun, and this pile-driving documentary captures it all. Director Chad Schaffler tackles everything from the early carnival days of the sport, to legendary heel Sputnik Monroe leading the charge to integrate the audiences, to Jerry "The King" Lawler and Andy Kaufman putting on the greatest comedy bit of all time, to the franchise's demise with the growth of the WWE. It's all enthralling, and if there were any justice in this world, Memphis Heat would win this year's Oscar for Best Documentary. Or at least slam it in the head with a folding chair. — Louis Fowler

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Carlos (NR)

The Criterion Collection

Originally made as a three-part French mini-series, Olivier Assayas' vast biopic about 1970s terrorist Ilich Sánchez, aka Carlos the Jackal, is finally getting released to DVD in its full, 339-minute form. The film challenges the viewer not just with its length, but with its intensely intricate script, which sets what must be a record for the most interstitial titles in a single film. Carlos literally spans several continents in a matter of minutes, introducing and dismissing characters with such breathlessness that we barely have time to register their significance. Assayas tracks Carlos' ascension from armchair revolutionary to rock-star terrorist to facelifted fugitive with copious detail and academic precision, but it's all anchored by a brilliantly cold yet magnetic lead performance from Edgar Ramirez. Even at 5½ hours, Carlos is a film you can't look away from. — Daniel Barnes

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Fox World Cinema (Various Ratings)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

20th Century Fox, in an ongoing effort to bring international movies to you in a more accessible fashion, has created the Fox World Cinema label. With its first three releases, it's off to a great start, eschewing boring old costume dramas in favor of more kinetic genre fare. The first release, Dum Maaro Dum (R), is a visually exciting super-macho Bollywood crime flick that would be hard to differentiate from anything Tarantino's recently done. Next up is the Italian crime story Angel of Evil (R), which is less eye-popping, but full of subversive coolness. Finally, from China comes my favorite, The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman (PG-13), an insane and unrestrained tale of greed and revenge that balances out the extreme action with hilariously brutal comedy. With selections like these, Fox World Cinema may change how we look at foreign films. And it's about time. — Louis Fowler

  • Memphis Heat, Carlos, Fox World Cinema

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