Cold War Reheated

Red Dawn: Collector's Edition

Red Dawn: Collector's Edition(MGM)

John Milius' 1984 war pic was a mighty bonkers release even back then; not since the 1950s had something come down the pike so rife with Commie paranoia. Russian and Cuban forces invade the U.S. with tanks and choppers and the whole shebang, only to be met with Brat Pack resistance (Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Grey, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, and old man Patrick Swayze to the rescue, yeesh). Nowadays, you could read it as a metaphor for any instance in which liberation becomes occupation -- or as the camp classic during which Swayze and Grey fought like hell, only to wind up dirty dancing a couple of years later. Such are the gossipy tidbits found all over the second-disc extras, where the cast reunites to recall the day it got to kill some Russkies. It's John Hughes meets Ronald Reagan all over again. -- Robert Wilonsky

Ace in the Hole(Criterion)

A financial failure at the time of its release, Billy Wilder's 1951 film has languished in obscurity for years. But even for the director behind Some Like It Hot, Double Indemnity, and Sunset Boulevard, this is a top-notch flick -- and a welcome debut on DVD. Kirk Douglas is awesomely fiendish as a newspaper reporter who discovers a man trapped in a mine and sets out to build a media circus around him. Throw in a femme fatale (Jan Sterling) willing to sell out her husband for fame and fortune, plus thousands of voyeuristic citizens, and you have a cynical take on media frenzies that could've been made yesterday. As Spike Lee says in an extra, this thing feels dark for 2007, much less 1951. -- Jordan Harper

Dynamite Warrior(Magnolia)

What does it mean when the makers of the mighty Ong-Bak produce another blast of Muay Thai mayhem, this one involving a rocket-surfing Robin Hood, buffalo rustling, a porkpie-hatted cannibal, an effeminate bad guy who capers like Rip Taylor on The Gong Show, and a nefarious plot to dominate turn-of-the-20th-century Siam with . . . tractors? It means my prayers have been answered: This lunatic action yarn means to wipe out whatever brain cells survived all those sixth-grade viewings of Infra-Man. As a martial art, Muay Thai looks to these untrained eyes like the ol' knee-in-the-groin applied to every other part of the body, and the fights here are as sloppy as Ong-Bak's were exhilarating. But if it's goofy delirium you're wanting, this is equal parts TNT and nitrous oxide. -- Jim Ridley

Factory Girl (Genius)This biopic of Andy Warhol "superstar" Edie Sedgwick got clobbered by critics during its theatrical run, so this time around it's repackaged as "Sexy. Uncut. Unrated." But it fares the same as both highbrow smut and art -- which is to say, not very well. There's one flash-cut orgy and a protracted sex scene between Sienna Miller (as Sedgwick) and Hayden Christensen (as Bob Dylan, very badly), but it's nothing worth loaning to your teenage brother. The film's larger failures stem from the fact that Miller ain't much of an actress and that Sedgwick -- portrayed as a trust-fund drug addict -- isn't particularly sympathetic or interesting. Far more magnetizing is Guy Pearce as Warhol, presented here as a fey villain who manages to breathe life into the artist's cadaverous form. Otherwise, it's all pop-art production design and drugs-are-bad moping. And nothing particularly sexy. -- Harper

 
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