Author

Nick Spagnoli

Revenge. Obsessive love. Death. Sex. Politics. All of the horror mainstays are covered in this exhaustive 14-disc set collecting 12 hour-long episodes (plus Takashi Miike’s unaired shocker ”Imprint”) from Showtime’s Masters of Horror: Season 1. The idea: Take 13 of the biggest names in horror — among them John Carpenter (Halloween), Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and Dario Argento (Suspiria) — and give them each $2 million, 10 days, and complete creative freedom.

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Tired of watching 90 painful minutes of SNL every week in search of just a few laughs? But not quite ready to give up on the show that’s given us so many classic comedy bits — from Dan Aykroyd’s ”Bass-O-Matic” to Will Ferrell’s ”Celebrity Jeopardy!” — over the years? Saturday Night Live: The Best of ‘06/’07 (sold at Starbucks) is the perfect solution.

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You know the story: Roy Hobbs. ”Wonderboy.” Shattered clock towers and stadium lights. For non-cynics, The Natural is a classic baseball tale. So why did director Barry Levinson make needless changes to his iconic film? It’s ”much closer to the original intention,” he says. Unfortunately, his original intention isn’t as good as his original movie.

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Writer-costar Ken Marino readily admits that he drew from such angst-driven classics as Breaking Away, The Last Picture Show, Diner, and Five Easy Pieces. Unfortunately, he forgot to add much originality to his own Diggers, an overly derivative tale of Hunt (Paul Rudd), a restless thirtysomething longing to escape from his blue-collar seaside town.

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Mild-mannered bank teller Miles (Gould) manipulates, steals, and covers up a murder — and he’s the good guy. Welcome to the morally ambiguous cinema of the 1970s. Taking advantage of a heist in progress, Miles tricks the robber (Plummer) and nabs $48,000 for himself, setting off a thrilling game of cat and mouse. Gould comes off as a bit too nebbishy, which leaves room for Plummer’s thief — a cold-blooded psychopath every bit as chilling as Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter — to steal The Slient Partner. EXTRAS

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Threesome etiquette, a Vegas road trip, and a nod to Tinseltown’s glory days are just a few highlights from season 3 of HBO’s Entourage. Piven still gets the best lines (hilarious, but unprintable here) as Ari, the delightfully unscrupulous agent to Grenier’s pretty-boy movie star, but Dillon (his struggling actor brother) is becoming the series’ scene-stealer.EXTRAS Dillon, costar Jerry Ferrara, and creator Doug Ellin begin a three-episode commentary with raucous enthusiasm but eventually run out of steam. A-

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A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints

It’s been done before, and done better (Mean Streets), but first-time director Dito Montiel brings an unorthodox, in-your-face style to this autobiographical, exceptionally well-acted drama. The story flashes between the teen Dito (Shia LaBeouf) looking to flee the often violent streets of Astoria, Queens, in 1986 and the adult Dito (Robert Downey Jr.) returning to visit his ailing father and make amends with those he abandoned.

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Director Edward James Olmos’ earnest empowerment film Walkout re-creates the little-remembered 1968 demonstrations in five East L.A. high schools. Inspired by a charismatic teacher (Peña), a group of Latino students lead a charge to abolish unfair practices (punishment for speaking Spanish, locked bathrooms during lunch). The most riveting moments come in a coda, which incorporates archival footage of the actual walkouts and affecting interviews with the participants.

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After exploring the euphoria and pain of love in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, director Michel Gondry delves into the wonder of dreams in The Science of Sleep. Gael García Bernal plays Stéphane, a man-child whose sleeping and waking lives blend and blur indistinguishably. The film is full of fantastical images (an animated city of toilet paper rolls, a stuffed horse galloping through an apartment), but there’s little story to wrap its whimsy around.

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