Elite Squad: As ambiguous in its accused fascist leanings as the original Dirty Harry--and yet as reflective of its homeland's domestic turmoil as America's cop dramas and Italy's poliziotteschi were in the 1970s--this pounding Brazilian slice-of-thug-life thriller packs the same cinematic firepower as City of God, only on the other side of the law. This time it's the cops who are trailed with grainy urgency by anxious hand-held cameras: They're members of a killer-elite strike team that wages war on the drug lords who rule the favelas while Rio's corrupt cops look the other way. The jabbing tone, point-blank violence and jittery visual syntax will be familiar to any fan of The Shield, as will the simultaneous attraction/repulsion to locked-and-loaded law enforcement. But Bus 174 director Jose Padilha pitches the squad's brute force as less a necessary evil than the outgrowth of an existing evil--a no-win situation that mocks liberal ideals and warps conservative pragmatism into domestic terrorism. Also arriving this week in stores:
-This summer's well-reviewed period piece Kit Kittredge: An American Girl.
-A pair of wannabe instant cult movies: the Quentin Tarantino-produced biker-movie retread Hell Ride and the self-explanatory Zombie Strippers.
-Three low-priced sets devoted to the complete runs of Sanford & Son and Good Times (both far better and more interesting than their reputations, especially as 1970s time capsules) and the wonderful NewsRadio, which features gems such as the "Macho Business Donkey Wrestler" episode.
Mondays-Sundays. Starts: Oct. 28. Continues through Nov. 4, 2008