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New on Disc: 'Solitary Man,' 'Seven' and more …

13 Sep, 2010 By: Mike Clark

Solitary Man

Anchor Bay, Drama, B.O. $4.3 million, $29.98 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray, ‘R’ for language and some sexual content.
Stars Michael Douglas, Susan Sarandon, Mary-Louise Parker, Jesse Eisenberg.
Solitary Man is Michael Douglas’ best role and best performance since 2000’s Wonder Boys — one in which his character’s underlying seediness is (for a while) camouflaged in huckster’s veneer. Whether you like (or can forgive) the guy or not, Douglas makes him real.
Extras: Co-directors Brian Koppelman and David Levien, who previously co-wrote Rounders, Ocean’s 13 and The Girlfriend Experience, are joined on the commentary by Douglas McGrath, whose essays on various screen subjects (including a dead-on appreciation of Doris Day not long ago) often appear in the New York Times.
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Seven (Blu-ray)

Street 9/14
Warner, Thriller, $34.99 Blu-ray, ‘R’ for grisly afterviews of horrific and bizarre killings, and for strong language.
Stars Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow.
So many people have seen Seven that there’s no point wasting much time on how dark (in one meaning of the word) it is. But “dark’s” other meaning is germane to the visual success of the Blu-ray. Happily (if that’s the word), a movie that’s a stranger to solar power until its climactic scene has been given a rendering that enables us to pick up all the details director David Fincher wants us to see.
Extras: Seven is one of those getting-to-be-frequent Blu-rays for which distributor Warner goes the extra mile, complete with a hardback booklet and an array of stills on glossy paper. The copious Blu-ray extras have been carried over from New Line’s 2000 “Platinum Series” two-DVD set and were extraordinary for their day. They cover every subject under the sun that rarely shines in the film, including the labors that went into adapting Seven to the home experience.
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3 Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg

Criterion, Drama, $79.95 DVD, NR.
Stars George Bancroft, Evelyn Brent, Emil Jannings, Betty Compson, William Powell.
Criterion’s magnificent new box of three late-1920s Josef von Sternberg silent films — definitely a candidate for DVD of the year — opens the vaults to a trio of titles mostly relegated to museum showings in a handful of lucky cities. The remastered films here include Underworld (1927), The Last Command (1928) and The Docks of New York (1928).
Extras: Criterion has provided two musical scores for each film; a Swedish TV interview with Sternberg; a visual essay from writer/scholar Tag Gallagher’s visual essays; UCLA film professor Janet Bergstrom’s own visual essay on Underworld; plus a 96-page booklet.
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It’s a Small World

Available via WBshop.com’s Warner Archive
Warner, Drama, $24.95 DVD, NR.
Stars Paul Dale, Anne Sholter, Todd Karns, Will Geer.
A small movie about a small guy with an eye for flashy women of all sizes, this unearthed obscurity from cult director William Castle is a required stop-off for connoisseurs of strange cinema. World examines the plight of a rural male youth destined not to grow and the verbal/psychological abuse he takes from all but a few.
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