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DESPERADO (1995). There's style to burn in Robert Rodriguez's enjoyable (if exceedingly violent) follow-up to his 1992 art-house hit El Mariachi. Antonio Banderas is positively magnetic as the tormented Mariachi, a musician seeking to avenge the death of his girlfriend, and he and co-star Salma Hayek (as his new lady love) immediately established themselves as one of the sexiest movie couples of modern times. Cold-blooded to a fault, the film is nevertheless packed with exquisitely staged showdowns, witty one-liners and quirky characters filled out by the likes of Steve Buscemi, Cheech Marin and Quentin Tarantino. DVD extras include commentary by Rodriguez and a sneak peek at the upcoming sequel, Once Upon a Time In Mexico. Also new to DVD is the enjoyable El Mariachi, and among its DVD features is Rodriguez's short film Bedhead, an early effort that proved to be an award winner at the 1992 Charlotte Film and Video Festival. Movie: / Extras: 1/2

HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES (2003). Abandoned upon its completion by Universal because of its NC-17-caliber content and picked up by Lions Gate (who managed to get it edited down to an R), rocker Rob Zombie's horror opus isn't nearly as offbeat or unsettling as its pre-release word-of-mouth suggested. In fashioning this tale of four dopey youths who encounter a murderous hillbilly clan with connections to a local legend known as Dr. Satan, writer-director Zombie clearly means to pay homage to such classic splatter flicks as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But much of the reason movies like TCM and Night of the Living Dead got under our skin was because their ultra-low budgets dictated a raw, grainy shooting style that worked in their grimy favor; given Corpses' slick production values, what's left is an overly familiar terror tale that's not significantly better or worse than such tired fare as Freddy vs. Jason and Jeepers Creepers. Extra credit to Zombie, though, for borrowing some of the characters' names from Marx Brothers movies. DVD extras include very animated menus, audio commentary by Zombie, audition and rehearsal footage, a few hidden items (a.k.a. Easter Eggs), and a feature titled "Tiny Fucked A Stump" (don't ask, and I won't tell). Movie: 1/2 / Extras:

INDISCRETION OF AN AMERICAN WIFE / TERMINAL STATION (1954). In an uneasy blend of Italian neo-realism and Hollywood glamour, director Vittorio De Sica and producer David O. Selznick teamed to present Terminal Station, an 89-minute melodrama about the final tryst between an American housewife (Jennifer Jones) and her Italian-American lover (Montgomery Clift) in Rome's sprawling train station. But an unhappy Selznick re-edited the film, cut it down to 63 minutes, and released it under the title Indiscretion of an American Wife. This Criterion edition presents both cuts of the film, and while the movies themselves are only partially successful, the fascination comes in comparing the two versions. De Sica's longer cut (the better of the two) spends much of the running time soaking up the local flavor (a large number of the movie's extras are given a close-up or a snatch of dialogue), while Selznick's version, which not only chops down the length but also substitutes different takes, camera angles and even characters, benefits from better technical accomplishments but emerges as more of a standard Hollywood star vehicle. DVD features include an insightful audio commentary by film scholar Leonard Leff and the original ads and trailer for Indiscretion. Terminal: 1/2 / Indiscretion: / Extras:

NATIONAL LAMPOON'S ANIMAL HOUSE (1978). Would it be overstating the case to contend that this box office smash was one of the most influential movies ever made? Sounds overreaching, but when one reflects on the ungodly amount of "slob comedies/teen sex farces" released by Hollywood over the ensuing years... nope, it's not overstating it one bit. But make no mistake: Director John Landis' riotous comedy ranks miles ahead of its pathetic imitators, thanks in no small part to an excellent cast headed by the inimitable John Belushi as slovenly frat boy Bluto. Endlessly quotable ("Christ, seven years of college down the drain!," "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son"), populated by endearing characters, and blessed with a great score that mixes Elmer Bernstein's orchestral maneuvers with catchy oldies (the "Shout" sequence is a standout), Animal House has lost none of its appeal over the past quarter century. Subtitled Double Secret Probation Edition, this DVD includes a "Where Are They Now?" feature (with the actors interviewed in character), optional anecdotes that appear throughout the film (such as the tidbit that Meatloaf was being considered for the role of Bluto if Belushi turned it down) and a retrospective documentary. Movie: 1/2 / Extras:

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