The Exterminating Angels
A better name for Jean-Claude Brisseau's X-rated apologia might've been The Guy Can't Help It. Following sexual-harassment charges brought by actresses who auditioned for his 2002 near-porn epic Secret Things, Brisseau counters with the tale of...a middle-aged director whose attempt to explore female sexuality on celluloid leads to police intervention and threats. But hey, don't blame him—it's not his fault he unlocks the libidos of incredibly hot women, who just have to strip naked and masturbate for him. No, blame those two troublemaking angels watching his affairs, whose heavenly bodies seem to have slinked right out of Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" video. The movie is faintly ridiculous, completely daring, almost De Palma–esque in its sinuous mood of eroticized suspense—and yeah, sensationally arousing. JIM RIDLEY
This biopic of Andy Warhol "superstar" Edie Sedgwick got clobbered by critics during its theatrical run, so this time around it's repackaged as "Sexy. Uncut. Unrated." But it fares the same as both highbrow smut and art—which is to say, not very well. There's one flash-cut orgy and a protracted sex scene between Sienna Miller (as Sedgwick) and Hayden Christensen (as Bob Dylan, very badly), but it's nothing worth loaning to your teenage brother. The film's larger failures stem from the fact that Miller ain't much of an actress and that Sedgwick—portrayed as a trust-fund drug addict—isn't particularly sympathetic or interesting. Far more magnetic is Guy Pearce as Warhol, presented here as a fey villain who manages to breathe life into the artist's cadaverous form. Otherwise, it's all pop-art production design and drugs-are-bad moping. And nothing particularly sexy. JORDAN HARPER
The Criterion version of John Woo's masterpiece, about two cops (the overworked Chow Yun-Fat and the undercover Tony Leung) gunning for the Hong Kong Triads, is still the "ultimate" collection. It has a better commentary track (with Woo and Pulp Fiction co-writer Roger Avary, among others) and better extras (a Woo student film and trailers for a dozen of his pics, as opposed to a few dull talking-head shorts here), and now sells for relatively little on eBay after once going for hundreds. But to own Hard Boiled in any incarnation is to own an essential action film—the best of the 1990s, if rewatchability's any gauge. Everything before this looks flimsy; everything after, overheated. Woo fused Dirty Harry and Bullitt's deadpan cool with Asian cinema's almost comedic excitability, and nobody's made a better shoot-'em-up since. ROBERT WILONSKY
Les Enfants Terribles
A collaboration between director Jean-Pierre Melville and writer Jean Cocteau, who wrote the novel and screen adaptation, Les Enfants Terribles maintains its icky-funny vibe 57 years after its release. The story of a brother and sister, almost hermetically self-sealed in their art-directed bedroom, it's also one big game—for the incestuous siblings and the bystanders who plunge into their web, and for a filmmaker intoxicated by claustrophobia. In retrospect, it's even funnier for its use of two actors (Nicole Stephane as Elisabeth and Edouard Dermithe as Paul) who look like thirtysomethings playing boarding-school-age kids. This being Criterion, of course, the extras will satisfy—especially the 2003 short about Cocteau and Melville, which suggests a relationship as twisted as that of Lis and Paul. ROBERT WILONSKY
This no-frills DVD is just a stopgap for a two-disc extended director's cut due next year. The good news: The theatrical version (to be available only on this disc) is an unusually rich and coldly absorbing true-crime drama—the story of how San Francisco's infamous Zodiac killer sucked the fear-stricken city, the cops chasing him, and the reporters on his trail into a decade-long vortex of go-nowhere leads and conspiracy madness. Applying a fine finish of Super Seventies grit and some of the most textured nighttime shooting ever seen, director David Fincher steers a marvelous cast (including Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr.) down one chilling dead end after another, producing a procedural that tunnels into a mountain of data and finds only darkness and empty hands. It'll leave you fidgety, frustrated, and thoroughly unsettled—the slightest approximation of how the real participants must have felt. JIM RIDLEY
Pot smuggling meets Gen X ennui in Everything's Gone Green (appropriately written by Mr. Gen X himself, Douglas Coupland). Grim historical footage is included in the HBO doc White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If you can't enough of Babs, she's on view in Inside the Actor's Studio: Barbra Streisand. A lesser collection of Elvis musicals from MGM includes Clambake, which could become fodder for one of those video karaoke nights. The documentary A Crude Awakening throws more fuel, so to speak, on the fires of global warming. From Korea, the monster movie The Host is scads of scaly fun. From France, Avenue Montaigne is an OK comedy. From the U.K., Cashback puts a high-art sheen on a convenience store. And from Kazakhstan—yes, that Kazakhstan, land of Borat—Nomad: the Warrior is one of those weird international epics starring Jason Scott Lee and Jay Hernandez because, well, they don't grow 'em like that in Kazakhstan.