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New Releases: 'Quartet,' Dustin Hoffman's love letter to the arts

Also reviewed: 'Stoker,' 'Rectify: Season One,' 'How to Make Money Selling Drugs.'

By Noel Murray

3:05 PM EDT, June 16, 2013

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Quartet

TWC/Anchor Bay, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

Dustin Hoffman makes his directorial debut with this heartwarming dramedy, an adaptation of Ronald Harwood's play about a retirement home for accomplished musicians. Maggie Smith plays a difficult diva who might be able to help save the home if she can get over her pride and perform at a benefit concert with her old troupe (played by Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins). Plotwise, "Quartet" is pretty predictable and strikes a tone that ranges from overly staid to overly kooky, similar to Smith's 2012 surprise hit "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." But Hoffman has a feel for the deeper resonances of Harwood's play, which is really about how the arts can bring people together and keep them engaged with the world. The DVD and Blu-ray expands on that idea further via a Hoffman commentary track and featurettes.

Stoker

20th Century Fox, $22.98; Blu-ray, $29.99

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

Less than two months after Korean director Kim Ji-woon made his Hollywood debut with Arnold Schwarzenegger's "The Last Stand," the even more accomplished Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook arrives with his first English-language movie, starring Mia Wasikowska as a young woman who learns disturbing facts about her affable Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) before discovering that she has a dark side of her own. Wentworth Miller's screenplay riffs on the Alfred Hitchcock classic "Shadow of a Doubt," taking that movie's "mild-mannered niece and sociopathic uncle" dynamic to an even grimmer place. As for Park, he brings the same keen eye for violence and perversity to "Stoker" that he did to his films "Oldboy" and "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance." The film is as gorgeous as it is shocking. The DVD and Blu-ray add deleted scenes and featurettes.

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Rectify: Season One

Starz/Anchor Bay, $29.98

Following the recent success of "Top of the Lake," Sundance Channel continues to prove itself as a player in the original cable series market with this superb Southern drama about a man named Daniel Holden (Aden Young), who gets released from prison pending a retrial on a rape and murder charge, and after nearly 20 years returns to his hometown, where everyone believes him to be guilty. The six episodes of the first season — available on DVD accompanied by a handful of featurettes — tell the story of Daniel's attempts to adjust to a world that's dramatically different, while he also tries to make sense of what he did and didn't do as a teenager. "Rectify" creator Ray McKinnon deals sensitively and intelligently with how people and places change over time, producing a series as much about the mysteries of life as about crime and punishment.

How to Make Money Selling Drugs

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

Matthew Cooke's snappy advocacy doc takes the form of an old-timey instructional film to explain, step by step, how the illegal drug business works and why Cooke feels "the war on drugs" is hurting more than it's helping. Like a lot of these kinds of agitprop documentaries, "How to Make Money Selling Drugs" tries so hard to be entertaining and persuasive that it comes off at times as glib, and it does feel as though Cooke is dealing from a stacked deck. But there's valuable information here that Cooke's trying to get across, and the faux-lighthearted tone makes it stick.

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And…

The Brass Teapot

Magnolia, $26.98; Blu-ray, $29.98

Jack the Giant Slayer

Warner Bros., $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99/$44.95

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

Marketa Lazarová

Criterion, $29.95 Blu-ray, $39.95

Movie 43

20th Century Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99

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