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New on Disc: the 2010 World Series film, 'Restrepo' and more …

13 Dec, 2010 By: Mike Clark

2010 World Series Champions: San Francisco Giants

Shout! Factory/Vivendi, Sports, $19.93 DVD, $29.93 Blu-ray, NR.
Though five-game series must be the bane of DVD marketers’ existence, there are nifty infield plays and keen dugout reaction shots here (from both teams) to what their opponents were doing. The Giants’ win over the Texas Rangers was the franchise’s first Series win since they were in New York and broke the backs of the 1954 Cleveland Indians in a four-game sweep — permanently traumatizing several of my best childhood Ohio friends and causing them severe emotional problems as adults. Not counting bonus extras, this overview documentary runs about 85 minutes, even though it was a short match-up in which the Rangers won only game 3 (their first after returning to home turf in Arlington). Thus, much of the drama is on the periphery. My key gripe with this release — which is otherwise enjoyable, and no more so than in the final victory parade — is the musical soundtrack. The canned music Major League Baseball Productions uses is generically terrible in the first place, but here it frequently drowns out the narration and game action.
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Virgil, Documentary, B.O. $1.3 million, $19.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray, ‘R’ for language throughout including some descriptions of violence.
Way up on the list of the year’s “and you think you have it tough” screen achievements is this narrowly but searingly focused Afghanistan war documentary that’s on the short list of 15 for the feature award to be presented on the next Oscarcast. While admiring the brave men here and being ever-thankful not to be among them, it’s also important to remember that it also took an unseen crew to follow and photograph them in one of the globe’s most desolate hot spots. Named for Juan Restrepo, a beloved medic, sage and impromptu guitar instructor who was just 20 when he was killed, Restrepo chronicles 15 months with members of the Second Platoon, Battle Company, 173rd Airborne Brigade — whose survivors are interviewed in stark close-ups (in Italy, after the fact).
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Trouble in Mind

Street 12/14
Shout! Factory/Vivendi, Drama, $19.97 DVD, ‘R.’
Stars Kris Kristofferson, Keith Carradine, Lori Singer, Genevieve Bujold.
Filmed in Seattle and set in a compatibly fictional metropolis called Rain City, writer-director Alan Rudolph’s flaky noir conceit was at the time among my favored movies of 1985. The movie has an elusive “something” going for it, which is mostly potent chemistry between its romantic principals plus some ticklish gonzo casting — also a Mark Isham score that gets under your skin. Rudolph was a protégé of Robert Altman’s, and the movie plays like one of the latter’s more “winging it” projects (which is mostly what Altman himself was doing in the 1980s).
Extras: The look-back features all five surviving leads (it’s obvious that they all enjoyed the experience) plus a sit-down between Rudolph and Isham to discuss the music.
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Madam Satan

Available via WBshop.com’s Warner Archive
Warner, Drama, $24.95 DVD, NR.
Stars Kay Johnson, Reginald Denny, Roland Young.
This movie from Cecil B. DeMille is a heavily qualified must if you’ve never seen it, but it’s also often an exasperating grind. It’s one of the definitive “it is what it is” movies — one where cinematic competence matters less than the fact that these two hours of film exist at all. DVD, of course, makes it an easier chore to watch the picture in increments, which is the only way you’ll ever get through the first half.
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