Features

‘Sex’ has some laughs, happy ending

‘Summer Heights High’

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Reality shows became mockeries of themselves five minutes into their existence, which explains the success of such shows as “The Office” – both the British and U.S. versions – and the Australian-produced series “Summer Heights High,” which showed on HBO. It’s written by Chris Lilley, who casts himself in the eight-part series’ three major roles – the self-absorbed drama teacher Mr G, the self-styled mean girl Ja’mie and the breakdancing Tongan teen boy Jonah. The Australian setting may seem a bit foreign, but the ridiculous, politically incorrect nature of the show should connect with anyone tired of one more trip into the “real world” of so-called TV entertainment. DVD, which features all eight episodes on two discs, includes deleted scenes, outtakes and bloopers. (4:00; not rated)

‘The Last House on the Left Collector’s Edition’

It was only a matter of time before this 1972 Wes Craven offering, supposedly a take on Ingmar Bergman’s 1960 film “Virgin Spring,” would come out in a special edition. That’s because with films such as “Saw” and “Hostel” hitting the theaters over the past few years, going back to the origins of torture porn was a logical marketing step. Whatever. This nasty little film (an update of which is scheduled for theatrical release on March 13) is still best described by San Diego Reader film critic Duncan Shepherd as something best stuffed under a rotting log. DVD includes cast commentaries, interview with director Craven, making-of featurettes, outtakes. (1:24; rated R for brutal images, violence, rape)

‘The Haunting of Molly Hartley’

A teenage girl survives a near-fatal attack only to be haunted by mysterious forces. “The story’s a snooze, so the filmmakers punch it up with smash cuts and thunderclaps that turn the most laughably banal items into cheap jack-in-the-box shocks.” DVD includes cast and crew interviews. (1:26; rated PG-13 for strong thematic material, violence and terror, brief strong language, teen drinking)

‘What Just Happened’

A movie producer (Robert De Niro) struggles to deal with the problems of his job. “The title of Barry Levinson’s movie, ‘What Just Happened,’ is not phrased as a question, but if it were it would demand another question in response: ‘Who cares?’ “ DVD, which is available on Blu-ray, includes commentary by director Levinson, making-of featurettes, deleted scenes, audition sessions. (1:44; rated R for language, violent images, sexual content, drug material)

Also available: “Cyclops,” “Einstein,” “FTA,” “Hell on Wheels,” “Lullaby,” “Red Sands,” “Yella”

– Dan Webster – Dan Webster – Adam Markovitz, Entertainment Weekly – A.O. Scott, The New York Times


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