This week’s releases include: a Chinese legend about a knife; a reality-check; a Bollywood crime flick; a ‘70s saga; a series of get rich quick plans; a less sexy gigolo; a clash of belief systems; two sequels in a successful horror franchise; and a classic story brought to the screen.

The Butcher, the Chef & the Swordsman on DVDThe Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman (DVD)
The film recounts the journey of a mystical blade as it passes through the hands of three ambitious men and features a mix of diverse filmmaking styles, including black-and-white sequences, animation, split screen and a music video.

The variety of styles used results in some harsh transitions, but makes for an interesting viewing experience; in fact, the close-ups and rapid editing are more disorienting. The cleaver’s journey is mapped backwards at first, and then eventually moves forward from its current owner. Its tale is separated by three titles: desire, revenge and greed. The butcher is a comic character that often resembles a drunkard; the swordsman is a selfish murderer; and the chef is a cunning, patient man. However, there’s also a fourth man not listed in the title: the flutist.

Special features include: the theatrical trailer. (Fox Home Entertainment)

Call Me Fitz - Season 1 on DVDCall Me Fitz – Season 1 (DVD)
Handsome, substance-abusing used car salesman Richard “Fitz” Fitzpatrick (Jason Priestley) torments his naïve co-workers, sleeps with any woman who has a pulse, and thinks nothing of it. Then one day, after a stunt that puts his customer in a hospital, he finally meets his conscience – in the flesh.

Special features not available. (Entertainment One)

Dum Maaro Dum on DVDDum Maaro Dum (DVD)
An honest, tough cop in Goa sets out to eradicate the drug Mafia. Meanwhile, a college student turns to crime when his scholarship to an American university falls through. The film features a soundtrack from award-winning Mumbai composer Pritam Chakraboty.

Special features include: “Movie in the making” featurette; and the theatrical trailer. (Fox Home Entertainment)

Frisson des Collines on DVDFrisson des Collines (DVD)
In order to see her idol, Jimmy Hendrix, a twelve year old girl attempts a journey from her Quebec village to Woodstock.

There are no special features. (Entertainment One)

How to Make it in America - Season 1 on DVDHow to Make It in America – The Complete First Season (DVD)
In the bohemian subculture of downtown New York City, two 20-something friends (Bryan Greenberg and Victor Rasuk) plot a series of entrepreneurial strategies to short-circuit the traditional route to success – and achieve the American Dream on their own terms.

The series starts a little slow, but as the characters develop and the audience gets to know them better, the story begins to take hold. It’s definitely not a runaway success like many of the other shows HBO has launched, but it has endearing qualities – they just take a little longer to uncover. And at less than 30 minutes an episode, it doesn’t give you much time to do so. Greenberg and Rasuk make a good team, and hopefully in the second season they’ll be even more comfortable in their roles. The spectacular photography that separates sequences in each episode is also something for which to look forward.

Special features include: eight audio commentaries; “The Get By: Making it on the streets of NYC,” a peek into the lives of skateboarders, and how they survive and thrive in New York City; “The Legend of Wilfredo Gomez,” the story of the elusive skateboarder; “Hustle Stories,” including interviews with cast and crew; and deleted scenes. (Warner Home Entertainment)

HUNG - Season 2 on blu-rayHUNG: The Complete Second Season Two (Blu-ray)
Set in the (still) recession-plagued suburbs of Detroit, Hung continues to revolve around the unorthodox efforts of divorced teacher/coach Ray Drecker (Thomas Jane) to generate extra cash – by selling his “winning tool” to desperate women.

This season focuses less on the sex and more on the relationships of the characters. Ray is trying to earn back his wife’s affections (Anne Heche), while his assistant coach thinks he’s fallen in love. Tanya (Jane Adams), meanwhile, is attempting to assert her authority as a pimp. The complexity increases, but the narrative’s appeal doesn’t follow. This coming season will be a test of the show’s longevity.

Special features include: five audio commentaries; “HUNG: Inside the Series” featurette; and deleted scenes. (Warner Home Entertainment)

The Ledge on DVDThe Ledge (Blu-ray)
In this race-against-time, the opposing philosophies of two men embroiled in a complicated love triangle with a beautiful woman (Liv Tyler) escalate into a lethal battle of wills. Ultimately, Joe (Patrick Wilson), the believer, forces Gavin (Charlie Hunnam), the non-believer, onto the ledge of a tall building. He gives him one hour to make a choice between his own life and someone else’s, while a policeman (Terrence Howard) tries to convince him to come down safely from the edge.

Unlike Buried, this film doesn’t just focus on a guy standing on a ledge (though that could be interesting). Instead, as Gavin explains to the cop what led to his current predicament, the audience is shown his story. The philosophical battle that occurs between the two men sounds somewhat superficial, digging no deeper than the most frequent arguments on either side regarding the existence of God and the pros and cons of faith. Unfortunately, what should be a very intense dialogue often tends to drag forward slowly. Nonetheless, the acting from all the stars is on target; but it would be nice to see Tyler in a less vulnerable role.

Special features include: interviews with cast and filmmakers. (Entertainment One)

Nightmare on Elm Street 2&3 on blu-rayNightmare on Elm Street 2 & 3 (Blu-ray)
Nightmare on Elm Street 2 – Freddy’s Revenge – When teenager Jesse Walsh (Mark Patton) moves to Elm Street, Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) starts appearing in his nightmares. This time Freddy takes possession of Jesse’s body whenever the teenager falls asleep, using a helpless Jesse to kill his victims.

Nightmare on Elm Street 3 – Dream Warriors – Freddy Krueger (Englund) is invading the minds of a new group of teens. When local teenagers start dying, only Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) knows the truth. Now a doctor at the local psychiatric hospital, she is the lone survivor of one of Freddy’s previous killing sprees. Now, it’s a fight against her co-workers’ disbelief and a race against time to stop Freddy before he kills again.

Most fans of the Nightmare franchise are very fond of the third chapter. The female hero from the first film returns to lead a new group of kids in their battle against Freddy. Moreover, there are a lot of memorable lines and inventive deaths. The second installment, on the other hand, is more contentious. It, to some extent, reinvents the story to explore a teenage boy’s struggle with identity and sexuality. The possession narrative did not satisfy admirers of the first picture, even though it was very socially progressive. So the next film began as if the events of the sequel never took place.

Special features include: Nightmare 2: four featurettes: “Freddy on 8th Street”, “Heroes and Villains”, “The Male Witch” and “Psycho Sexual Circus” and the theatrical trailer. Nightmare 3: seven featurettes: “Burn Out”, “Fan Mail”, “The House that Freddy Built”, “Onward Christian Soldiers”, “Snakes and Ladders”, “That’s Show Biz” and “Trading 8s”; Dokken’s “Dream Warriors” music video; and the theatrical trailer. (Warner Home Entertainment)

Treasure Island on DVDTreasure Island (DVD)
In this adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic adventure novel, a young Jim Hawkins (Christian Bale) finds a treasure map and sets sail for the tropical island shown on the map. He does so aboard a ship captained by pirate Long John Silver (Charlton Heston), who is eager to double-cross the boy and steal the riches buried on Treasure Island.

Special features include: commentary by writer/director/producer Fraser C. Heston. (Warner Home Entertainment)

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