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Django! Double Features

Django! Double Features (NR)

Timeless Media Group

As Quentin Tarantino's spaghetti western re-imagining Django Unchained hits theaters (see p. 31), numerous DVD companies are releasing the sequels, spinoffs and rip-offs of the original Django. The best of the lot is Timeless Media's dynamic duo of double-features, which presents A Man Called Django! and Django and Sartana's Showdown in the West on the first volume, then Django Kills Silently and Django's Cut Price Corpses on the second. All four films are fun blasts of bloody mozzarella cheese and beautifully cover the vast history of how the Italian film industry exploited every hit idea to death, with each subsequent flick being more outlandishly inventive than the next, copyright laws be damned. Watching these, you can see why Tarantino was inspired by them and felt no need to maintain the traditional narrative to make his film succeed. None of these ever did, and they didn't need to. — Louis Fowler

Collision Earth

Collision Earth (PG)

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

Congratulations! You survived the end-of-world false alarm, meaning you're still around to watch the action-packed sci-fi thriller Collision Earth, which, in light of what didn't happen, may be an unreliable warning of things to come. The setup: A massive comet hits the sun, and the force of the blast knocks Mercury out of orbit. While that sucks, what sucks even more is that Mercury is — get ready for it — heading straight for Earth! As we try to deal with the fear of what's about to happen, things go from bad to worse: The planet gets magnetized and causes all kinds of gravitational wackiness. It's up to a ragtag group of aeronautical misfits to save the population, with so much cheesy CGI outer-space death and destruction green-screened all around them. Collision Earth is an alternate-reality idea of what could still happen to take out our planet, but honestly, are you buyin' it? — Louis Fowler

The Portrait of a Lady: Special Edition

The Portrait of a Lady: Special Edition (PG-13)

Shout! Factory

Nicole Kidman is the lady in Jane (The Piano) Campion's darkly atmospheric retelling of the classic Henry James novel, delivering a powerhouse performance that should have been nominated for an Academy Award in 1996. Kidman is Isabel Archer, a daringly independent proto-feminist heiress in the late 1800s. On vacay in Europe, she sets off on a quest to find herself, turning down numerous suitors only to fall under the spell of Madame Merle (Barbara Hershey, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress) and her pal Gilbert Osmond (John Malkovich). While this adaptation tends to stray from the book, with plenty of psycho-sexual erotic fantasies that distract from the story, overall the film is Merchant-Ivory fare for people who like their classic-lit adaptations dark and brooding, lush and melancholy. Even at 144 minutes, the enthralling story keeps this epic from feeling like one. — Louis Fowler

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