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New on Disc: 'Animal Kingdom,' 'Piranha 3D' and more …

24 Jan, 2011 By: Mike Clark

Animal Kingdom

Sony Pictures, Drama, B.O. $1 million, $28.95 DVD, $34.95 Blu-ray, ‘R’ for violence, drug content and pervasive language.
Stars James Frecheville, Guy Pearce, Joel Edgerton, Luke Ford, Ben Mendelsohn, Jacki Weaver.
The Melbourne milieu here is on the scuzzy side, starting right off with an opening scene where central character Josh (James Frecheville) watches TV with his mother, who has died from a heroin overdose. Josh heads to his grandmother’s house, where he finds a bunch of thug uncles brandishing various levels of psychoses — a clan that Melbourne’s Armed Robbery Squad would like to bust for good reason. Jacki Weaver as the grandmother has exactly the right look for the part: If eyes are the windows to one’s soul, Weaver’s initially beckon one to bask in the glow of their perceived warmth — before a second look reveals the decay behind them.
Extras: In the 75-minute making-of documentary that’s included as a bonus, writer-director David Michod tells of his obvious worries that any young actor chosen for the Josh role might go on a growth spurt during the extended period between the film’s conception and shooting schedule, but he came to realize hiring an older teen would have its own advantages.
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Piranha 3D

Sony Pictures, Horror, B.O. $25 million, $28.95 DVD, $34.95 Blu-ray, $39.95 3D Blu-ray, ‘R’ for sequences of strong bloody horror violence and gore, graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use.
Stars Elisabeth Shue, Adam Scott, Jerry O’Connell, Ving Rhames, Steven R. McQueen, Jessica Szohr, Kelly Brook.
If you’re in the market for a movie where topless bimbos on spring break gyrate with such zest that their exposed breasts make discomfortingly obvious piranha targets, this one is on the higher end of crowd pleasers for that specialty demographic. The movie has a little of everything, as you can see by reading the specifics of its ‘R’-rating designation, which are longer than some novellas.
Extras: On the copiously detailed DVD/Blu-ray extras, director Alexandre Aja, a Frenchman, notes that the zeal he brought to the project was at least partly due to the fact that spring break is a concept alien to Europeans and, thus, was to him (my word, not his) exotic.
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Which Way Home

Street 1/25
Docurama, Documentary, $29.95 DVD, NR.
In Spanish with English subtitles.
Putting aside the politics of illegal immigration, a viewer might have to travel as long as some of the perilous train journeys in this Oscar-nominated documentary to find many more inherently dramatic subjects. Which Way Home deals with the arduous trek youngsters have to make even before they reach the U.S.-Mexico border — on their way (sometimes, but not always) to link up with a relative who is somewhere in the States. A product of HBO’s documentary arm, Which Way Home won an Emmy, in addition to its Oscar nomination (Outstanding Informational Programming — Long Form).
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Girl of the Night

Available via WBshop.com’s Warner Archive
Warner, Drama, $19.95 DVD, NR.
Stars Anne Francis, Lloyd Nolan, John Kerr, Kay Medford.
The late Anne Francis stars in this melodrama of prostitution adapted from a landmark psychoanalytical book called The Call Girl by Dr. Harold Greenwald. If not for Francis, it would be just a respectable curiosity, but she makes it a little more than that.
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