Here's a trio of disparate DVDs released this week.
"TWISTED: A BALLOONAMENTARY" (WGBH, 2007, $24.95). Every now and then a quirky, semi-comic but straight-faced documentary comes along that is devoted to a peculiar subject such as this one about balloon-animal art.
The focus is as much on the artists as their creations, and they are a likable bunch, each with a compelling personal story to tell. Meanwhile, the balloons range from simple to extremely complex and time-consuming from a dog made from a single skinny balloon to a huge pair of soccer players (on the green, complete with ball and net) to a flying octopus to a gorgeous geisha.
Sadly, the film is marred by a midsection sequence devoted to obscene creations that exploit the balloon's natural phallic shape made even more tasteless by the decision to intercut these scenes with people who make religious imagery.
It's an unfortunate misstep in what is an otherwise an enjoyable look at a subject about which most of us know very little.
Extras: full frame, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes, trailer, instructional video, screen saver application
"ANGLO SAXON ATTITUDES" (Acorn, 1992, two discs, $39.99). This dark comic satire based on the novel by Angus Wilson stars Richard Johnson as a retired historian ruminating on his past, which includes dark secrets and an array of ill-fated romances (and features surprisingly graphic violence, sex and nudity).
You need to be into English sensibilities to go along with this one. Look for very young Kate Winslet ("Titanic") and Daniel Craig (the current James Bond).
Extras: full frame, three episodes, text biography/filmographies
"REBUS: SET 3" (Acorn, 2007, four discs, $49.99). John Rebus (Ken Stott) is a tough, troubled, alcoholic detective who bends the rules and follows his gut instincts to take down murderers. The twist is that all of this is set in Edinburgh and Rebus is a Scottish cop with a thick accent (thank goodness for subtitles which aren't marked, by the way, but came on when I used the "mute" button).
The four 70-minute mysteries have Rebus crossing paths with drug dealers, suspicious clergymen and corrupt cops, among others, with some surprising twists and turns.
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