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Stone's 'Natural Born Killers' tops modest list of Blu-ray titles

Doug Nye
McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

Director Oliver Stone's riveting "Natural Born Killers" (Warner, 1994, $28.99) leads the way for this week's small number of new Blu-ray releases.

Stone's film offers a vivid reflection of how our society has become obsessed with celebrity, scandal and even murder. It's poured into our homes 24 hours a day via television courtesy of so-called "entertainment" magazines and, yes, cable's news channels.

Here, Stone gives us Mickey (Woody Harrelson), as escaped convict who meets Mallory (Juliette Lewis), currently living in fear of her slob of a father (Rodney Dangerfield). The cold-blooded Mickey takes care of that problem. He kills her parents and the two take off on a cross-country killing spree, leaving more than 50 bloody bodies behind them.

Their flight and acts of violence become heavy fodder for the tabloid magazines and shows. When they are finally caught, Mickey and Mallory have become national celebrities. Robert Downey Jr. plays a sleazy journalist who all buts falls all over himself to get their story. Downey's character even displays some admiration for the couple.

Is Stone's indictment of society a bit over the top? No, the joke is on us. The fact that so many of us are fascinated by films such as "Natural Born Killers" seems to serve to prove Stone's point. Recommended.

Other Blu-ray releases:

"The Proposal" (Walt Disney, 2009, $49.98): A surprisingly effective romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. Surprising, because it covers familiar territory, but it is the performances of Bullock and Reynolds as well as Betty White as a 90-year-old- grandmother that make it all worthwhile. The film begins with Bullock playing Reynolds' demon of a boss, a situation that gradually changes as the story unfolds. Also in the cast are Mary Steenburgen and Craig T. Nelson. Recommended.

"How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (Universal, 2000, $29.98): Many who loved the animated version of this tale were turned off by the live-action take on the story directed by Ron Howard. The results, however, actually are quite good. It features a nifty performance by Jim Carrey as the green grumpy Grinch, who aims to steal Christmas from Whoville. Narrated by Anthony Hopkins. Included is a standard DVD version. Recommended.

"The Craft" (Sony, 1996, $28.95): Fairuza Balk, Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell and Rachel True star as four teenage girls, each with special powers, who wreak havoc on their classmates at St. Benedict's Academy. The movie obviously served as an inspiration for the TV series "Charmed."

"Drag Me To Hell" (Universal, 2009, $39.98): Alison Lohman plays Christine Brown, a woman who seemingly has everything going for her. Then she evicts an old woman from her house and Alison discovers an evil curse has been cast on her. She has three days to do something about it before she ... is... uh ... well... dragged off to hell. Directed and co-written by Sam Raimi.

"Adoration" (Sony, 2008, $39.95): When a teacher gives her classroom an assignment about a news story that concerns a terrorist planting a bomb in the luggage of his pregnant girlfriend (authorities found it before it went off), high school student Simon (Devon Bostick) imagines that might be the way his family history unfolded. Simon was only a babe when his American mother and Middle-Eastern father were killed. He puts "his" story on the Internet and sparks all kinds of reaction.

"Stop Making Sense: 25th Anniversary" (Palm, 1984, $34.99): Talking Heads concert documentary filmed over a three-night period. Among the selections are "Thank You For Sending Me An Angel," "What a Day That Was," "Psycho Killer" and "Burning Down the House." Directed by Oscar winner Jonathan Demme.

"South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut" (Paramount, 1998, $29.99): Stan, Kenny, Kyle and Cartman sneak in to an R-rated movie to see their favorite stars. This is strictly for those people who are fans of the poorly animated show.

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