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New to DVD this week

Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III (Adult Swim)

You gotta love the way Family Guy reworked the venerable sci-fi trilogy to fit in its own universe, but the Robot Chicken tributes/parodies are even better. The third outing takes a more ambitious, narrative approach to its hilarious stop-motion sketches, which span all six Star Wars movies. Emperor Palpatine (voiced by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane — how's that for synergy?) looks back on his rise to power, with appearances by Boba Fett, Max Rebo, and C-3PO. The funniest bits involve Gary the Stormtrooper, just an ordinary guy doing his job. The bounty of Blu-ray extras is for fans only.

Battle Beyond the Stars (Shout! Factory)

Producer Roger Corman, short on funds and long on washed-up TV stars (like the guy who played John-Boy on The Waltons), came up with this Star Wars/Seven Samurai ripoff/tribute. It celebrates both its 30th anniversary and long-awaited return to home video with this Blu-ray debut. Cheap, but loads of fun.

Brazil (Universal)

Terry Gilliam's 1985 dystopian nightmare doesn't paint a very pretty picture of the future, but it looks a little brighter on its Blu-ray debut. Unfortunately, all the cool stuff on the old DVD box (including a different cut of the film and tons of extras) is MIA here. Guess we'll have to wait for the Criterion version to get those.

The Lincoln Lawyer (Lionsgate)

Matthew McConaughey, in his best role in years, plays a super-smooth L.A. attorney who does business out of the back of his old car. Once you get past the cluttered exposition, the movie settles into a twisty little courtroom drama. The best extras are some deleted scenes with McConaughey oozing charm.

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More by Michael Gallucci


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