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Chris Hicks: New DVDs offer a few gems

Angelina Jolie gives a stellar performance as Mariane Pearl in Paramount's "A Might Heart."
Angelina Jolie gives a stellar performance as Mariane Pearl in Paramount's "A Might Heart."
Peter Mountain, Paramount Vantage

There are a few good films among this week's DVD releases, though you may have to dig for them. Best are "A Mighty Heart," recently in theaters, and the 2001 TV movie "And Never Let Her Go."

Recent films

"A Mighty Heart" (Paramount, 2007; R for language; $29.99). This is the true story of journalist Mariane Pearl's agony over her missing journalist husband, Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and later executed in Pakistan. As Marianne, Angelina Jolie gives an excellent performance, reminding us that she is a fine actress, whatever one may think of her personal exploits. Of course, we know the outcome going in, but the film still manages to be fairly gripping.

Extras: Widescreen, featurettes

"The Hoax" (Miramax, 2007; R for language; $29.99). Richard Gere is good, albeit completely unlikable, in this interesting but off-putting true story of Clifford Irving, who pretended to have Howard Hughes on the hook in the '70s for an autobiography. Nice support from Alfred Molina, Marcia Gay Harden, Hope Davis and Stanley Tucci.

Extras: Widescreen, deleted/extended scene, audio commentaries, featurettes

"Planet Terror" (Dimension/Genius, 2007, two discs, $29.95). Way over the top sci-fi action from Robert Rodriguez ("Sin City"), with Rose McGowan as a woman with a machine gun for a leg who battles flesh-eating zombies. Bruce Willis makes an appearance in this film, which was originally part of the "Grindhouse" double-bill in theaters.

Extras: Widescreen, extended/unrated version, audio commentary, featurettes, poster gallery, trailers

"The Reaping" (Warner, 2007; R for violence, sex, language; $28.98). Double Oscar-winner Hilary Swank is slumming in this pretentious tale of a nonbeliever encountering biblical plagues in Louisiana.

Extras: Widescreen/full-frame options, featurettes

"The Invisible" (Hollywood/Spyglass, 2007, PG-13, $29.99). Dreadful supernatural yarn about a high school kid who is "killed" and whose spirit tries to solve his own murder.

Extras: Widescreen, deleted scenes, audio commentaries, music videos

Foreign films

"My Best Friend" (Genius, 2007, PG-13, $24.95). Daniel Auteuil stars as a self-centered antique dealer with no friends who scrambles to win a bet by hiring a cabbie to be his pal. Interesting French comedy never quite builds a head of steam.

Extras: Widescreen, in French with English subtitles, featurette, trailer

TV movies

"And Never Let Her Go" (Genius/RHI, 2001, $14.95). This Hallmark two-part movie (nearly three hours here) is a true-story chiller, dominated by Mark Harmon's expert return to Ted Bundy territory as he oozes lethal charm. (He played Bundy similarly in the 1986 TV movie "Deliberate Stranger") He's a married powerhouse lawyer who takes delight in dominating fragile women, his primary victim being an insecure Kathryn Morris (TV's "Cold Case"), with Rachel Ward as an older woman he leads on for nearly 20 years.

Extras: Full frame

"In the Lake of the Woods" (Genius/RHI, 1996, $14.95). This confused, unfocused Hallmark thriller stars Peter Strauss as a politician with a dark past who is suspected of killing his loyal wife (Kathleen Quinlan).

Extras: Full frame

"Mary Higgins Clark's Remember Me" (Genius/RHI, 1995, $14.95). Overplotted, lightweight Hallmark thriller with Kelly McGillis as a writer who feels guilt over the death of her young son, and who may or may not be going crazy in a rented seaside home with a haunted history. (Clark makes a cameo appearance.)

Extras: Full frame

DVD reissues

"Jingle All the Way: Family Fun Edition" (Fox, 1996, PG, $19.99). The Arnold Schwarzenegger holiday comedy. This reissued DVD boasts (if that's the word) an extra 20 minutes of footage.

Extras: Widescreen, extended director's cut, featurettes, interactive games

"Hollow Man: Director's Cut" (Columbia, 2000, $19.94). "The Invisible Man," exploitative Paul Verhoeven-style (he's the guy who gave us "Basic Instinct," among others; 'nuff said). Kevin Bacon stars.

Extras: Widescreen, featurettes

Straight to DVD

"Believers" (Warner, 2007, $24.98)

"Killer Wave" (Genius/RHI, 2007, $19.95)

"Kings of South Beach" (Sony, 2007, $24.96)

"The Last Sentinal" (Echo Bridge, 2007; R for violence; $26.99)

"Murder Party" (Magnet, 2007, $26.98)

"Return to House on Haunted Hill" (Warner, 2007, $27.99)

"Shattered City: The Halifax Explosion" (Genius/RHI, 2003, $12.95)

"The Woods Have Eyes" (Echo Bridge, 2007, $26.99)