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New on Disc: 'A Prophet' and more …

16 Aug, 2010 By: Mike Clark

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman

Kino Lorber, Romance, $29.95 DVD, $34.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars James Mason, Ava Gardner, Nigel Patrick.
Along with writer-director Albert Lewin’s better-known 1945 screen adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, this is the signature work of a filmmaker who didn’t make many movies but had a flair for portraying the rich (or well-off, at least) and infamous. The film opened in the United States about three weeks before star Ava Gardner married Frank Sinatra.
Extras: Pandora was previously issued in a DVD version taken from a 35mm print source. The earlier release’s limitations are dramatically evident in a before-after comparison included with this version, which visually swamps just about any normal movie.
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A Prophet

Sony Pictures, Drama, B.O. $2.1 million, $27.96 DVD, $38.96 Blu-ray, ‘R’ for strong violence, sexual content, nudity, language and drug material.
Stars Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, Adel Bencherif.
When the evidence runs a consistently intriguing two hours 35 minutes despite taking place predominantly indoors amid oppressively grubby settings, there can’t be much doubt about the degree of vitality left in the prison picture, whose heft as a genre goes back to the earliest days of the talkies. France’s recent nominee for foreign-language Oscar is as good as Argentinian winner The Secret in Their Eyes and German nominee The White Ribbon.
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Disinformation, Documentary, $19.98 DVD, NR.
Director Stephanie Soechtig’s polemic has to do with the scourge of drinking water out of plastic bottles — a heavily marketed habit that started in about 1989 after the first wave of bottled water (Perrier in glass, circa 1973) ran its course. A lot of the material here was previously covered in Flow: For Love of Water, but the presentation in this one-sided but convincing exposé seems more dynamic with its trenchant visuals (ill people; oceanside views that look like landfill; oceanic water samples littered with chunks of plastic) that are hard to shake. Less speculative are the corporations that pump water out of local communities without offering any remuneration — which is especially nice when there’s a drought and consumers are ordered to curtail their own use while the water companies are not.
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The Locket

Available via WBshop.com’s Warner Archive
Warner, Drama, $19.95 DVD, NR.
Stars Brian Aherne, Gene Raymond, Henry Stephenson, Laraine Day, Ricardo Cortez, Robert Mitchum, Sharyn Moffett.
The Locket is the twisted telling of a twisted story via one of the messiest time structures ever. The film’s biggest claim to fame is that it contains a flashback within a flashback within a flashback. The story is also psychologically compelling. Director John Brahm pulls out the stylistic flourishes for the finale, a scene that ultimately puts over the movie. It’s grown-up, tantalizingly ambiguous and, in its way, credible — not the usual melodramatic comeuppance scenario (say, falling off a cliff) that screen women like Laraine Day’s character often have to endure. The actress’s performance (very good) is served by an array of changing hairstyles but doesn’t lean on them. This is, after all, a character who’s always reinventing herself — remaining unflappable throughout constant accusations of duplicity by men going down for the count.
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