Alejandro González Iñárritu’s follow-up to Amores Perros suffers from overindulgent sophomore syndrome but drew high-voltage performances from Benicio Del Toro, Sean Penn, and Naomi Watts. R; $26.98.
Kung Fu: The Complete First Season
David Carradine, recently revived for Kill Bill, in all his shaved-head and mumbo-jumbo-spouting 1972 foolishness. Three discs; NR; $39.98.
Peter Sarsgaard’s firm performance grounded Billy Ray’s too-sympathetic drama about fabricating journalist Stephen Glass. PG-13; $26.99.
The Magdalene Sisters
Peter Mullan’s drama about a prisonlike Irish institution for “fallen” girls was “stark and harrowing,” wrote New York’s Peter Rainer. R; $29.99.
Halle Berry’s awful mental-hospital thriller almost plays as a decent women-in-prison flick. R; $27.95.
Dirty Pretty Things
Stephen Frears’s grim drama about immigrants in London is strangely flat, despite a genre-breaking performance by Chiwetal Ejiofor. R; $29.99.
There’s plenty of jargony jabber about the globalization of youth culture right now, but few works render it with the stylish thrills and acid sting of Unknown Pleasures. Jia Zhang Ke’s Chinese feature, set in Beijing, builds outlandish expectations cultivated by flash-bang Western films and Chinese propaganda, then smashes them. In one scene, a floppy-haired, smoke-spewing teen peels off like Peter Fonda on his motorbike, then sputters to a halt. Later, three friends practically reenact the Pulp Fiction disco scene (complete with surf guitar) until a gun clatters to the floor—whereupon the trio panics and flees. Each time these impoverished kids strike cigarette-ad poses on color-saturated streets, it’s a confounding, complicit critique. NR; $29.95.