Armchair Cinephile

PICK OF THE WEEK: This chestnut’s arrival on high-def gave me an excuse to see it for the first time, and it holds up mighty well as a deeply ambiguous civilization-vs-nature yarn.

Imagine the Shaun of the Dead crew tackling The Office, subtract a bit (but not all) of the charm, and you’d get this inventively gory, sometimes hilarious, little slasher flick.

After underwhelming critics in its truncated form, Tarantino’s half of Grindhouse was lengthened and shown at Cannes, where crowds adored it. Ready for another try?

Misery-loving Dane Lars von Trier does the unexpected, delivering an all-out comedy that he openly declares won’t be worth thinking about once it’s over. It’s funny while it lasts, though, even if non-Trierheads will despise a goofy automation system that randomizes the way scenes are photographed and recorded.

IN ZEUS WE TRUST: Two movies that longed to resuscitate the moribund sword-and-sandals genre, Oliver Stone’s Alexander and Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy have each had another pass through their tinkering directors’ hands. Each arrives from Warner not just on DVD but on both high-def formats. I am Spartacus!