New DVDs: etc.

Jean Poiret stars as French police Inspector Jean Lavardin in Claude Chabrol's 1986 murder mystery, "Inspector Lavardin."
Jean Poiret stars as French police Inspector Jean Lavardin in Claude Chabrol's 1986 murder mystery, "Inspector Lavardin."
Posted: April 26, 2014

Claude Chabrol was an unstoppable force in French film: Born in 1930, he made films through his 70s, releasing his last feature, Bellamy, in 2009 just a year before his death at 80.

He was part of the New Wave movement of directors such as Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, and Éric Rohmer, but unlike them, Chabrol delighted in genre filmmaking, and he spent his career producing some of the most thrilling, original, spine-tingling, and often hilarious procedurals on film, earning him the monicker "the French Hitchcock."

The two-disc set The Inspector Lavardin Collection includes two of Chabrol's more droll mysteries, both featuring the wonderful Jean Poiret as one of the director's most memorable characters, Inspector Jean Lavardin.

Inspector Lavardin: Chicken with Vinegar ( Poulet au vinaigre) from 1984 has the cop investigate a series of horrific murders that has seriously cut down a small town's population. Its sequel, 1986's Inspector Lavardin, is set in a small coastal town. Lavardin is called in when a prominent Catholic writer is found dead on the beach. The victim has the word pig scrawled on his back.

Chabrol didn't go in for Pink Panther-type slapstick. His humor is dry. But both films provide plenty of chuckles to balance the chills. ( http://cohenmedia.net; $39.98 DVD; $49.98 Blu-ray; not rated)

Other titles of note

Special ID. Hong Kong martial arts star Donnie Yen never gained the level of fame enjoyed by Jet Li, but he has been beloved by martial arts fans since the '90s. Now 50, he's riding a wave of success that began half a dozen years ago with Flash Point and Ip Man. His latest spectacle, due May 13, features the star as an undercover cop stuck between a rock and a hard place. He may be middle-aged, but Yen has some mad ups. ( www.wellgousa.com; $24.98 DVD; $29.98 Blu-ray; rated R)

Möbius. French writer-director Eric Rochant distinguished himself in 1994 with Patriots, about a French Jew recruited into Israeli intelligence. He explores the world of financial espionage in his latest thriller starring Jean Dujardin ( The Artist) as a Russian spy who recruits financial genius Cécile De France to investigate a Russian oligarch played by Tim Roth. ( www.lionsgateshop.com; $19.98 DVD; $24.99 Blu-ray; rated R)

The Mr. Magoo Theatrical Collection (1949-1959). Who is Magoo? Is he a superhero? Is he a goofball wretch one should pity? We think he is Everyman, the average Joe 'n Jane. The bumbling half-blind antihero starred in dozens of cartoons screened in theaters throughout the 1950s. This four-disc collection includes 53 cartoons. ( www.shoutfactory.com; $34.93; not rated)

Laverne & Shirley: Eighth and Final Season. Take a trip back to 1983 for a look at the last season of this strange update of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz relationship starring Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams. It's due May 6 from Paramount. ( www.paramount.com/movies/home-mediacq; $39.98; not rated)

Murder on the Home Front. Set during the London Blitz, this mordant, beautifully shot murder mystery from PBS stars Patrick Kennedy as an iconoclastic pathologist out to solve a series of grisly sex murders. ( www.shoppbs.org; $24.99 DVD; $29.99 Blu-ray; not rated)

Bad Country. Due Tuesday, Chris Brinker's hard-edged crime thriller stars Matt Dillon, Willem Dafoe, and Amy Smart in a dark story set in 1983 about a detective desperate to persuade a contract killer to give evidence against an organized crime syndicate in Baton Rouge. ( www.sonypictures.com; $26.99 DVD; $30.99 Blu-ray; rated R)


tirdad@phillynews.com

215-854-2736

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