DVDs Nuts!

Lesser-seen OW approved titles

Another Earth In a fresh twist on the “parallel universes” concept, this gentle but impressive film puts a second Earth right in our own planet’s orbit – with obvious implications for the world at large, but more immediate and personal ones for a physics student (Brit Marling, also a co-writer) and a music professor (William Mapother in a breakout role). Somehow, Marling and director/co-writer Mike Cahill keep the sci-fi aspect deep in the background in order to focus on the personal drama at the fore without sacrificing an ounce of exposition or a sliver of propulsion. Famously shot on a shoestring $150K budget, the picture looks absolutely stunning to boot. (available now)

Special Features: Deleted scenes, featurettes, music video

Cave of Forgotten Dreams Director Werner Herzog narrates and, in a way, stars in this elegiac meditation on the relatively recent discovery of 30,000-year-old cave paintings in France. That’s an unimaginably long time ago, but Herzog’s dreamy narration and the way he shows these paintings – which look as fresh as if they were done yesterday – dance in the torchlight makes this a compelling, if at times unbearably slow, look at human existence as we’ve never known it. The best bit: An expert takes us through the cave while identifying one early man’s work that’s easily spotted because he had a disfigured pinky. He may be our first known auteur. (available now)

Special Features: Herzog short film Ode to the Dawn of Man

The Devil’s Double A De Palma-style plunge into the excesses, crimes and vainglorious, pseudo-rock-star life of Uday Saddam Hussein, as seen through the eyes of his official look-alike. Dominic Cooper’s performance as both the fake Uday and the real Uday is a marvel of schizophrenic acting; surrounding it is a slick, often funny piece of modern mythmaking from director Lee Tamahori (Die Another Day, Along Came a Spider) and screenwriter Michael Thomas (Ladyhawke). As its helmers’ credits suggest, The Devil’s Double isn’t exactly Syriana, but it is relentlessly entertaining. (available now)

Special Features: Featurettes

Our Idiot Brother Paul Rudd stars as lovable doofus Ned who’s plagued by meddling sisters, a prison term on his record (thanks to his self-destructive honesty) and a turn in life that’s left him without his girlfriend, his home and even his dog. Our Idiot Brother is heavy on situational ephemera but light on narrative thrust, though that’s a mostly forgivable sin on DVD. Even if the film’s basic structure – vagabond miscreant waltzes into the lives of fuddy-duddies and changes them forever while himself finding a purpose – hardly needs any decoration, its half-satire/half-sincere subplots feature occasional improv-esque diversions that pay dividends. (available now)

Special Features: Audio commentary, deleted scenes, featurette

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