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Taking a drive in Bangkok in ‘Only God Forgives’

Radius-TWC

We’re not even a minute into the director’s commentary on the fever-dream drama “Only God Forgives” (2013) and Danish provocateur Nicolas Winding Refn confirms that he’s up to his old tricks with “Drive” star Ryan Gosling. “ ‘Drive’ was [meant] to feel like really, really good cocaine,” says Refn. “And ‘Only God Forgives’ would then be very, very strong acid.” Despite the newer film’s chilly reception at Cannes and in theaters, it’s worth a look on DVD, if only to get a load of the bizarre spell it wants to cast. Gosling plays Julian, an American expat running a Bangkok fight club as a front for his drug dealing. He’s all excruciating silences, a character who makes Gosling’s familiar screen persona seem downright effusive. When his criminally depraved brother is slain in a revenge killing, Julian finds himself confronted by two daunting figures: his mob-boss mother (riotously nasty Kristin Scott Thomas) and a sword-wielding, almost otherworldly police commander (Vithaya Pansringarm). Mom vocally demands more blood; the cop is frightening in his quiet, savage resolve to see the law upheld. From the uterus-gutting to the hell’s-waiting-room production design, Refn guides an underworld tour uniquely his own, dig it or ditch it. Extras: The director keeps up the mischievousness all through his audio track (not to mention an interview apparently conducted on his unmade hotel bed). A Cannes audience member was probably onto something, he laughs, when she called the film one big womb metaphor. (Anchor Bay, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.99)

COMEDY/DRAMA

THE WAY, WAY BACK (2013)

Writers-turned-directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (“The Descendants”) have welcomed the “Meatballs” comparisons they’ve garnered, but this one’s a whole lot deeper than that. Their first step toward getting it right was the deft casting, both on-the-nose and against type. Liam James (AMC’s “The Killing”) plays an introverted teen on a Massachusetts summer vacation with his divorced mom (Toni Collette) and her pompous-jerk boyfriend (Steve Carell). Fortunately, the kid finds a much-needed pal in water park manager Sam Rockwell, a subversive cutup with a knack for making ’80s pop sound like inspirational poetry. Extras: ensemble featurettes; water-park tour. (Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99)

COMEDY

THE INTERNSHIP (2013)

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Professionally stalled salesmen Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson try to jumpstart their careers in the newbie trenches at Google. Scoff at the premise if you will, but, oh, the video-fest opportunities: catching “Wedding Crashers” and “Starsky & Hutch” for a full survey of the Vaughn-Wilson
oeuvre . . . doing a corporate-plug double feature with FedEx-fixated “Cast Away” . . . tying in the foot-in-the-door themes of “The Devil Wears Prada” and maybe “Bright Lights, Big City.” Extras: unrated footage; commentary by director Shawn Levy (“Night at the Museum”). (Fox, $29.96; Blu-ray, $39.99)

Tom Russo can be reached at trusso2222@gmail.com.
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