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Video & DVD 

For your inner science geek: The Way Things Go (First Run Features) is a 30-minute meditation on cause and effect. Like a cinematic version of a Rube Goldberg cartoon, all the film does is follow a chain of weird physical events: a rolling tire knocks over a chair, which spills a chemical that bubbles up and dislodges a ball, and so on. With no onscreen humans and no sound but "klank, fizz, bang," it's like installation art crafted by Mr. Wizard.

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More on the science/art interface: the gorgeous new Man Who Wasn't There disc (USA Home Entertainment) features a few things we're not used to seeing on Coen Brothers discs, such as a filmmaker's commentary (all right!) and a deleted scene, in which Tony Shalhoub does his best William Shatner impersonation. But science geeks will freak for the very detailed interview with cinematographer Roger Deakins, which, at 45 minutes, is half as long as your average feature film.

Some films are a lot shorter: two new collections of music videos show nearly opposite approaches to the art form. Hype Williams: The Videos (Palm Pictures) is chock full of gloss and T&A, as the famed director uses his talents for the sole purpose of glamorizing the artist (TLC, Nas, et al) at hand. You could probably count the hip-hop videos not influenced by Hype on one hand. Massive Attack, on the other hand, seems less concerned with self-aggrandizement than with making little bits of art cinema. On their Eleven Promos (Virgin), a handful of top directors craft evocative micro-dramas, most of which feature the band in seedy settings to match their grit-and-electronica sound. Standouts like the psychedelic "Sly" and the giddily artificial "Protection," though, keep the lineup diverse.

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Finally, there's a new edition of Memento out (Columbia/TriStar), and it's a hell of a toy. The conceit of the thing is that it's a psychological evaluation file for Leonard Shelby, the film's protagonist: It's packaged in a file-like slipcase complete with little notes and Post-Its as clues to the contents. Once you put the discs in, you have to navigate through vaguely creepy psychological tests to get to the film or bonus material. Fear not: Some cool content is buried in there, and if you don't want to work for your entertainment, you can always pick up the movie-only edition.

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More by John DeFore

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January 13, 2020

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