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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

new on DVD: nudity, violence, and Judi Dench

You’d hardly expect Dami Judi Dench to be appearing in a flick all about nudity and violence — though she has been in a bunch of James Bond movies, hasn’t she? — but dang if that isn’t exactly what the charming Mrs. Henderson Presents (not reviewed/buy at Amazon) is all about. Dench’s titular rich old widow buys up a West End theater on the eve of World War II, and finds herself contributing to the war effort — and the morale of soldiers on leave — with her revues full of tasteful, “artistic” nudity, ie: lovely English roses butt nekkid on stage. Heh: I said “titular.”

More twee charm — though with a lot more bite — arrives on DVD today in the shape of Neil Jordan’s Breakfast on Pluto (read my review/buy at Amazon). You’ve never seen Cillian Murphy like this before: all dolled up and refusing to let life drag him down, even if the idiots in his small Irish town don’t think too highly of men in dresses.

The last place on Earth you want to stay while backpacking across Europe is the fancy flophouse in Hostel (read my review/buy at Amazon). And you’ll want to keep the DVD away from your player, too, unless new and squishy ways of pretending to destroy human bodies on film greatly interests you.

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