New DVDs: Che, Henry Lee Lucas And A Boring Kate Beckinsale

Categories: Movies
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​There's one thing you should remember about Che, being released today: this is a movie, not a documentary. Keep that in mind and you should be okay. History and director Steven Soderbergh have both been kind to Che, the revolutionary, some might say too kind. But politics aside, Che the film is engrossing and weighty. Benicio Del Toro, who also produces, inhabits the spirit of the revolutionary Ernesto Guevara, known to the world simply as Che. Starting with the overthrow of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, the film shows Che and Fidel Castro maneuver a handful of peasants into a national movement that eventually ousts Batista. The win is a glorious moment. (That's the film. In real life of course, Castro went on to become the next dictator, so that actually didn't turn out so well.)

Less successful is Che's involvement in the Bolivian uprising. There the peasants not only abandon him, they turn him in to the Bolivian army who hunt him down and execute him. It's a sad ending to the life of a man who was committed to the idea of freedom, no matter what the cost. Che is long (more than 260 minutes), and entrenched in revolutionary politics, but also a solid study of a man who was complicated and committed to his ideals.

Kept to a limited number of screens, Che earned only $1.7 million at the box office, due more to its length and serious subject than Soderbergh or Del Toro's talents. Del Toro fans will definitely want this for their collection.

Read about more DVDs being released today after the jump ...

​On the other hand, everyone should put Whiteout on your "Do not buy" list. The murder mystery is set in the Antarctic with Kate Beckinsale as the U. S. Deputy Marshall tasked with finding a killer. Fighting the weather (think furious snow storms), the clock (she has just three days before the camp is evacuated and she's left alone in the six-month long winter darkness), and a bad script, Beckinsale doesn't have a chance.

Audiences are used to seeing Kate Beckinsale fight bad guys while she's wearing painted-on pants and thigh-high boots. Her bra always seems to be overflowing and her waist cinched into some impossibly small circumference (remember her curves in Underworld and Van Helsing?). So the decision to take the lead in a movie set in the Antarctic, where everyone is bundled up in huge parkas and bulky sweaters, must have seemed a relief to Ms. Beckinsale. Finally, her costume would be something other than a tortuous leather bustier. But she forgot to check the script. Slow-moving, predictable, and b-o-r-i-n-g, Whiteout was named the eighth worst movie of 2009 by the folks at Moviefone. Costing $35 million to make, Whiteout has recouped just $12 million in ticket sales.

Jazz aficionados are in luck today, as a slew of back-in-the-day performance videos are being released: Anita O'Day: Live in '63 & '70, Art Blackey: Live in '65, Art Farmer: Live in '64 and Elvin Jones: Jazz Machine, Coleman Hawkins: Live in '62 & '64, and Jimmy Smith: Live in '69.

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In the "so-bad-it's-good" camp, fans can't do better than Bikini Frankenstein. The tag line, "She'll love you to pieces," pretty much says it all. It's bloody, but in that giggle-inducing way where horror becomes hilarious because it's so badly done.  Equally tempting, especially for Houston audiences, is Drifter: Henry Lee Lucas with the mass murdering Lucas played by pretty boy Antonio Sabato, Jr. Sabato is a former underwear model who went on to soap operas and was last seen in the reality show My Antonio. A very handsome man, Sabato gets scruffed up for the role, even adding a lazy eyelid to add to his creepiness, but it doesn't work. He's still just a good looking guy with a two-day beard. In real-life Lucas admitted to thousands of murders, many of which supposedly happened in Texas, including Houston. His first victim was supposedly his mother. (Apparently she was a bit of a nag.) Drifter: Henry Lee Lucas even comes in widescreen (as if!).


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