NEW ON THE SHELF
“BAD WORDS,” Jason Bateman, Kathryn Hahn. Omnipresent comic actor Bateman tries his hand at directing with overwhelmingly favorable results in this unapologetically vulgar character study, finding Bateman portraying Guy, an exceedingly rude fortysomething who takes advantage of a series of loopholes to allow him entrance into spelling bees across the country, trash-talking and manipulating his way to victory after victory, but forming a surprisingly sincere friendship with young Chaitainya (scene stealer Rohan Chand) along the way. It’s yet another celebration of charmingly unredeemable protagonists a la “Bad Santa” or “Bad Teacher,” but the wickedly witty screenplay and the excellent performances across the board place it several notches above similar fare. Special features include deleted scenes and a commentary from Bateman. Rated R. Running time: 1:29. Suggested retail price: $29.98; Blu-ray $34.98.
“NYMPHOMANIAC: VOLUMES 1 & 2,” Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard. The latest brilliantly orchestrated mindjob from writer-director Lars Von Trier (“Melancholia”) is the four-hour saga of Jo (Gainsbourg), found battered on the side of the road by Seligman (Skarsgard), who then takes her to his apartment, where she begins regaling him with tales of a life lived as a “nymphomaniac,” and how it led her here. Never one to take it easy on his audience, Von Trier pulls out all the stops here, so it may be wise to visit the talented but controversial filmmaker’s back catalog before diving right into this ambitious drama. Not rated. Running time: 4:01.Suggested retail price: $34.98; Blu-ray $39.98.
NEW TO DVD
“DON PEYOTE,” Dan Fogler, Josh Duhamel. Cheerfully incoherent, drug-fueled curiosity is a labor of love for its star, professional comic sidekick Fogler (“Take Me Home Tonight”), who has successfully fashioned a vehicle fitting to his unique presence and talents, having thus far roundly failed to do so in Hollywood. He’s thoroughly entertaining here as Warren, a not especially motivated graphic novelist whose interest in conspiracy theories and drugs compounds dangerously in the face of impending marriage and domesticity with his long-suffering fiancé (Kelly Hutchinson), landing him in more than a few amusingly surreal situations. Abandoning the very concept of plot from the get-go, “Don Peyote” is unavoidably uneven but quite fun in its own bizarre, psychotropic way. Not rated. Running time: 1:38.Suggested retail price: $14.99.
NEW TO BLU-RAY
“SOUTHERN COMFORT,” Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe. One of celebrated action director Walter’s Hill’s (“48 Hrs”) lesser-known efforts, this way underrated cult fave from 1981 follows the rough-and-ready members of the Louisiana National Guard as they get themselves lost in the frigid, unforgiving bayou, thereby making the unfortunate decision to steal a canoe or two from locals, Cajun hunters and trappers who use their familiarity with the terrain to deadly advantage. You can’t go wrong with Hill, and the uniformly excellent cast (which also includes Peter Coyote and Fred Ward) brings the grisly story to vivid life. Special features include a new interview with Hill. Rated R. Running time: 1:46. Suggested retail price: $29.93.
“LE WEEK-END,” Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan. Viewers looking for a light-hearted, elderly-people-living-it-up comedy may come away from “Le Week-End” a bit stunned, as director Roger Michell (“Notting Hill”) pulls no punches in his representation of a longtime married couple (wonderfully portrayed by Broadbent and Duncan) struggling to maintain a loving relationship after years of miscommunication and compounding grudges, staking it all on a last-ditch vacation to France, the site of a previous and fondly remembered getaway. Suffice it to say that youthful romance is not instantly rekindled, and the conversations and situations that ensue radiate with burning honesty and very believable hurt and love. No sappiness to be found here, just human nature and great writing, and a third-act Jeff Goldblum appearance to boot. A wonderful surprise for viewers who don’t mind a little realism mixed into their rom-coms. Rated R. Running time: 1:33. Suggested retail price: $29.95; Blu-ray $34.95.
“MAIDENTRIP,” documentary. One’s own life accomplishments may seem meager indeed after spending some time with Laura Dekker, the subject of this fascinating doc from Jillian Schlesinger. Dekker’s goal, and one she pursues with zeal and professionalism, is to sail around the world alone, a lofty enough aspiration even before one takes into consideration the fact that Laura happens to be a mere 14 years old. Consisting partly of footage taken on her cellphone mid-voyage, “Maidentrip” in the end becomes really more character study than travelogue. Though Laura encounters the expected storms and other such difficulties, nothing is trumped up for dramatic effect, and it quickly becomes clear that Ms. Dekker is star material whether she’s sailing around the world or not, with her refreshingly independent outlook and complete disinterest in glory or public attention. She’s doing it for herself, a quality all too rarely showcased in this day and age, rendering “Maidentrip” inspirational from several standpoints. Not rated. Running time: 1:22. Suggested retail price: $24.95.
– Courtesy of Videoport