AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures
George Clooney in scene from the well-written and directed thriller "Michael Clayton." Clooney is nominated for an Oscar for the role.
The following DVDs were released this week:

"American Gangster" —** 1/2 — Denzel Washington's performance is terrific, but this crime thriller takes too long trying to find the center of its story. Running time: 157 minutes, R (violence, drugs, profanity, gore, nudity, sex, slurs, torture), Universal

"In the Valley of Elah" —*** — The performances (especially by Tommy Lee Jones) redeem Paul Haggis' Iraq war mystery/drama. Running time: 121 minutes, R (violence, profanity, gore, vulgarity, nudity, drugs, brief sex, slurs), Warner

"Lust, Caution" —*** — Despite all the early furor about its graphic sex scenes, Ang Lee's latest is curiously sedate and unexciting. Mandarin with subtitles, running time: 157 minutes, NC-17 (sex, violence, nudity, gore, profanity, slurs, vulgarity, brief drugs), Universal

"Margot at the Wedding" —** 1/2 — An at-times grueling, dysfunctional family comedy-drama. Nicole Kidman stars. Running time: 92 minutes, R (profanity, vulgarity, brief sex, brief nudity, violence), Paramount

"Michael Clayton" —*** — Well-written and directed thriller that provides a quality vehicle for Oscar nominee George Clooney. Running time: 119 minutes, R (profanity, drugs, violence, vulgarity), Warner

"Rendition" —** — Even this political thriller's top-notch cast doesn't seem too excited about it. With subtitles, running time: 120 minutes, R (violence, torture, profanity, nudity, gore, brief sex), New Line

Among DVDs planned for release on Feb. 26:

"Beowulf" —** — All the digital bells and whistles in the world can't conceal how hollow this animated adventure is at its core. Running time: 114 minutes, PG-13 (violence, gore, nudity, vulgarity, profanity, brief sex), Paramount

"The Darjeeling Limited" —*** — It's a little warmer and more dramatic, but Wes Anderson's latest is still rather quirky and goofy. Running time: 92 minutes, R (profanity, drugs, violence, brief sex, brief partial nudity), Fox

"Death at a Funeral" —** — A series of good jokes followed by bad jokes followed by really awful jokes. Running time: 91 minutes, R (profanity, drugs, vulgarity, nudity, violence, slurs), Fox/MGM

"30 Days of Night" —** — This comics-based vampire yarn is a real mess. Running time: 110 minutes, R (violence, gore, profanity, drugs, vulgarity), Sony


(AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures)** NO SALES **