The Human Stain
In this tepid adaptation of the Philip Roth novel, an older professor, played by Anthony Hopkins, is tempted by a troubled woman, played by Nicole Kidman—“whose idea of playing working class,” wrote New York’s Peter Rainer, “is to get all snarly and angular.” R; $29.99.
Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen
Lindsay Lohan fluff. PG; $29.99.
How’s Your News?
Lovable writer and camp counselor Arthur Bradford’s odd documentary about his Americana road trip with disabled campers, whom he encouraged to tape man-on-the-street reports about the towns they visited. Somehow, this sweet project doesn’t seem exploitative. NR; $19.98. early summer A masterly Criterion restoration of Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu’s melancholic film about a family attempting to marry off their impetuous daughter. NR; $39.95.
HBO’s only-intermittently-effective television experiment plopped Beltway regulars (James Carville, Michael Deaver, Mary Matalin) into fictionalized plots. NR; $24.98.
The cast of Lars von Trier’s three-hour, bare-bones epic—including Nicole Kidman, Paul Bettany, Patricia Clarkson, and Lauren Bacall—is undoubtedly A-list, wrote Peter Rainer, “but they are in the service of a punishing morality play. It all plays out like a neo-Brechtian cross between Our Town and Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Lottery.’ ” R; $26.98.
Australian director Gregor Jordan has quietly been crafting a record of solid films—from the violent bravado of 1999’s Two Hands to the devious mayhem of his underrated military satire Buffalo Soldiers. Though last year’s Ned Kelly, his mythmaking film about the Australian folk hero and bank robber, didn’t exactly reinvent the genre, it was surprisingly understated for such a chest-thumping tale. It isn’t an instant classic by any means, but it’s a demonstration of potential—of Jordan’s smart, populist touch and his talent for pulling relatively nuanced performances from swaggering male leads (this time, Orlando Bloom and Heath Ledger) even when the plot lines bulldoze straight ahead. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have Naomi Watts and Geoffrey Rush along for the ride. R; $29.98.
Extras: documentary about Ned Kelly in popular culture; short film The Real Ned Kelly Gang, trailers.