Retail dvd (metrodome distribution, widescreen)

Donnie Darko: The Director’s Cut

One of the most original debuts of the past 20 years, Richard Kelly's mesmerising head trip from '2001 gets an extra 20 minutes and some soundtrack tweaks. The extra scenes slow the narrative momentum, but Jake Gyllenhaal's breakthrough role as disturbed teenager Donnie still captivates, while Kelly's astute meditations on life, death and mental illness in '80s small-town America demand your attention.

Monster

Charlize Theron earns her Oscar as confused Florida serial killer Aileen Wuornos, not just for looking less attractive but because, after 20 minutes, you forget she's even a woman. So macho is her white-trash lesbian aggressor that you believe Christina Ricci is 'her' arm candy. Both excel as fuck-ups, and Patty Jenkins' script and direction are grim and gristly. Superb.

The Company

112 minutes of Robert Altman's floaty, wispy ambient eavesdropping in the company of Chicago's Joffrey Ballet, with producer/star Neve Campbell drifting into dance numbers, performing a few grands jetes, drifting out again, snogging non-dancing co-star James Franco, then it's back to the real troupe, dancing, rehearsing, then dancing again. A test for even the most ardent Altman fan.

Northfork

The epitome of love-it-or-hate-it cinema, Mark and Michael Polish's surreal account of a mid-'50s Montana town about to be submerged by dam waters has absolutely no hook for the viewer other than sheer admiration for the beauty of the landscape, a gutsy disregard for narrative pacing and the detached Lynchian performances. Proudly unique, nonetheless.

The Hard Word

Aussie heist thriller about crooked Guy Pearce's relationships with his two partner-in-crime brothers and his wayward wife, Rachel Griffiths. The team scheme to rip off the bookies, but Pearce and Griffiths are in top gear and make roadkill of any flaws in the plot. Bitter, tough and funny.

Tape – Chelsea Walls

Two Ethan Hawke films. In Richard Linklater's Tape, Hawke's a drop-out, returned to his home town to confront arty high-flier Robert Sean Leonard over old girlfriend Uma Thurman. Confined to Hawke's motel room, it's a pressure cooker. Hawke directs the digitally-shot Chelsea Walls, set in the timeless New York hangout. A good attempt at apeing the kind of meandering independent movie that appeared in the late '60s—but just as trying. Great cast of chums, though, notably Little Jimmy Scott (singing "Jealous Guy") and Kris Kristofferson (trying to be Hemingway).

Bleeder

Though opening with a rocking Trainspotting-style intro and plenty of Tarantino-type cult film buffery, Bleeder gradually morphs into a truly horrifying psychodrama. Kim Bodnia delivers a stunning performance as reluctant dad-to-be Leo whose frustration begins a cycle of sickening abuse and ingeniously cruel revenge on the grim and seedy streets of Denmark.

The Wash

Hip hop's finest double-act, Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg, pay loose, improvisational homage to the 1976 comedy classic Car Wash with this amiably inert tale of two roommates scheming, scamming and "busting suds" at the local LA 'wash. There's a kidnapping subplot, consistent casual misogyny, and cameos from Ludacris, Eminem and Tommy Chong. Overall, patchy, but not entirely pointless.
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