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Top picks

DVD set of the complete Quentin Tarantino films

Jonathan Wenk/CBS Films

Finally, all the waiting and the fidgety anticipation are over. That’s right – “Django Unchained” opens in just a couple of days. Can’t make it that long? Or, perhaps a smidge more realistically, need a last-minute “wow” gift for the cinephile on your holiday shopping list? There’s a good-size Quentin fix to be gotten from “Tarantino XX” (1992-2009), an eight-film Blu-ray set celebrating a career (so far) of schlock-cinema conventions elevated to indie art. It’s all here, from “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction” right through “Inglourious Basterds,” along with a happy surprise: the Christian Slater-Patricia Arquette crime flick “True Romance” (1993), directed by late, hyperkinetic stylist Tony Scott from Tarantino’s script. (“Romance” generally seems to be overlooked because of its collaborative nature, but we’ve always sparked to its mix of Tarantino’s dialogue and Scott’s visual flair. The mash-up is certainly tighter here than in Scott’s “Crimson Tide,” where Tarantino’s script-doc contributions – Silver Surfer?! – just don’t float.) The set’s copious extras include a new, two-hour career retrospective with producers and other Tarantino cohorts doing the talking for him, and a marathon five-hour critics’ round table. The disc menu segments the conversation by film, but it’s more free-form than that, with discussion about, say, the strong women of “Kill Bill” and “Jackie Brown” spilling into the section on “Death Proof.” Gift budget still not busted? Try another essential Blu-ray box, “Bond 50,” or Timeless Media’s brazen piggyback releases of vintage “Django” spaghetti westerns. (“XX,” Lionsgate, $119.99; available now)

DRAMA

THE WORDS (2012)

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Bradley Cooper plays an aspiring novelist (above left, with Jeremy Irons) plunged into moral

Jonathan Wenk/CBS Films

Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Irons star in "The Words.”

crisis when he takes credit for a brilliant, lost manuscript that drops into his lap. The film shuttles between Cooper’s situation, the WWII-era romance chronicled in the book, and an undercooked, open-to-interpretation framing device involving world-weary author Dennis Quaid. Some fallout scenes hold interest, but if you caught Cooper’s energetic work as a literary cheat in “Limitless,” this will feel like someone’s attempt to lacquer it over with Nicholas Sparks melodrama. Extras: A featurette details Cooper’s longtime involvement with the project – dating back years before “Limitless”; go figure. (Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99)

THRILLER

THE GOOD DOCTOR (2011)

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Continuing this week’s theme of tossing ethicality out the window, Orlando Bloom swaps his heartthrob image for lonely-hearted desperation as a hospital intern who rigs his treatment of an attractive patient (Riley Keough, “The Runaways”) to slow her recovery. The movie is deservedly low-profile, but has a demented streak that keeps it from just being a snooze. J.K. Simmons has some fun as a cop who, unlike everyone else here, seems to know the difference between someone being cutely shy and just plain creepy. Extras: Featurettes. (Magnolia, $26.98; Blu-ray, $29.98; available now)

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