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Blue Velvet (R) (Blu-ray)

MGM / 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

David Lynch never truly became the David Lynch we all know and love — the caustic surveyor and comedic perverter of old-fashioned small-town values — until 1986's Blue Velvet. Maybe it was the massive failure of Dune, originally marketed as the next Star Wars, that steered Lynch in this direction and gave us one of the most important movies ever. Focusing on an all-American kid (Kyle MacLachlan) and his Nancy Drew-ish descent into mystery, the director takes us into the seedy underworld of Mayberry after-dark, where scummy criminals led by a nitrous-sucking Dennis Hopper rule the streets. Lynch would later revisit this territory with Twin Peaks, but it was never as succinct and disturbing as it is here. From an ant-covered ear in a field to a Dean Stockwell lip-synch of Roy Orbison's "In Dreams," every shot is a fever dream that couldn't be more perfect. — Louis Fowler

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Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (PG-13) (Blu-ray)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Attempting to re-create the proto-Oprah's Book Club success of The Joy Luck Club, director Wayne Wang brings us another tale of the unbreakable bonds of friendship that women — particularly Asian women — create in times of patriarchy. He more or less succeeds with Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, especially once you get past the fact that you've seen this before. In two time periods — 19th-century China and modern-day Shanghai — sets of "sworn sisters" face obstacles together, at least until the mores of the time pull them apart. Whereas Joy Luck Club brought me to tears, much of Snow Flower feels derivative. It's a watchable movie, sure, but there's no magic to it, no honest emotion. The jumping around in time doesn't help, jolting the narrative just as you're starting to become engrossed in one story. — Louis Fowler

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13 (R) (Blu-ray)

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

An all-star cast (Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Michael Shannon and 50 Cent) headlines the bizarre thriller 13, a straight-to-DVD oddity that seems to have come out of nowhere. A young electrician (Sam Riley), in need of cash for his pop's operation, stumbles upon an enigmatic letter giving him a series of directions that will lead to a couple million bucks. The trail ends, however, at a creepy mansion where rich weirdos play a massive game of third-person Russian roulette. The contestants, usually drifter-types in need of quick cash, line up and put a gun to the head of the person standing in front of them. It goes something like this: Pull trigger, repeat until one man is left standing, collect a cool bag of cash, and be on your way. It's like Fight Club for the 1 percent, and just as silly — but that only fortifies my recommendation of this eccentric little gem. — Louis Fowler

  • Blue Velvet, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, 13


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