DVDs Nuts!


The Girl by the Lake

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I can't tell you how heartening it is to see that Europe hasn't yet given up on the feature-length procedural crime drama. Unlike the oversaturated American market that's led the genre down the path of cynicism and perverse one-upsmanship, overseas audience are still appreciative of a well-told whodunit, and Girl is one of those. Melancholy but hopeful and beautifully shot even for a supposedly boring small town, the film takes all the crime-drama hallmarks – weary detective, pretty dead girl, town full of suspects – and treats them with care. There are no shouting interrogations or alcoholic cops; just townsfolk and inspectors alike who all wish they didn't have to endure the pain of the teenage girl's death. What a welcome surprise. (available now)

Special Features: None

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Psych: The Complete Fourth Season

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We don't cover a lot of TV in this column, and even less so the supposed summer fluffery of USA shows, but the fourth season of Psych, a comedy-mystery about a fake psychic (James Roday) and his investigative partner (West Wing's Dulé Hill), demands attention. Given time to find its voice, the uproarious hourlong program has evolved into a genuine jack-of-all-trades genre blender. Equally adept at slapstick, murder mystery and heartbreak, Emmy-nominated Psych has truly lifted its game. The season finale, co-written and directed by Roday, is a nail-biting Hitchcockian high point that ups the character stakes to a tear-jerking level. (available now)

Special Features: Video and audio commentary, deleted scenes, gag ;reels and more

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Saint John of Las Vegas

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A messy debut feature from Hue Rhodes, this road-tripping Dante allegory wisely casts schlubby Steve Buscemi as an insurance adjuster who encounters circus freaks, nudists and wheelchair-bound strippers on his quest to disprove a claim. Joining him is The 40 Year Old Virgin's Romany Malco in a breakthrough performance that showcases his considerable range and attention to character detail. He's enough to forgive the film its many quality gaps. (available now)

Special Features: none

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