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FILM

DVDs Nuts!

Lesser-seen OW approved titles

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American:The Bill Hicks Story

This is one of the most affecting documentaries of the year, and it's because of what was left out, not what's crammed in. Eschewing celebrity testimonials and talking-head interviews (friends and family are heard off-camera and represented by moving, animated stills) the focus lies solely on Hicks, a child prodigy stand-up comedian who pushed boundaries and wasn't afraid to get political. Here's something else entirely refreshing: Very little time is spent on Hicks' protracted cancer fight and tragically early death. (He was 32.) Instead, through shockingly funny teen stand-up footage, home videos and HBO specials, it's as if co-directors Matt Harlock and Paul Thomas, with cooperation from the Hicks estate, capture the comedian's very essence, one that was heartfelt and enduringly wise. (available now)

Special Features: Extended interviews, deleted scenes, featurettes, rare stand-up material, audio journals

Carancho

If you think the term "ambulance chaser" is derogatory toward personal-injury attorneys, get a load of the title of this grim Spanish-language film. It means "vulture," and yes, it refers to attorneys like the disbarred lawyer Sosa (The Secret in Their Eyes' Ricardo Darín), who patrols emergency wards in Argentina looking for unfortunate souls to leech off of. That's pretty easy pickings in his country, where the leading cause of death for people under 35, the film tells us, is car accidents. When he meets his polar opposite - a beautiful but troubled (of course) young doctor (Martina Gusman) - he starts rethinking his career path. Corruption, hopelessness and snippets of redemption make this film a tough yet rewarding exercise in darkness. (available now)

Special Features: None

The Housemaid

The latest from Im Sang-soo, one of the most successful crossover directors in South Korea, is this very loose remake of one of the landmark 1960s Golden Age films about a successful business man (Lee Jung-Jae) whose affair with the housemaid (Jeon Do-yeon) risks shattering his perfect family life. It would seem to be open to interpretation as either a poker-faced lampoon of the "extreme" Asian cinema as erotic thriller trope, or as a straight up erotic thriller. Im often blurs the lines between the serious and the satire, and the film's finale is a polarizing example. And also one not to miss. (available now)

Special Features: None

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