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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Home Movies/Out on Digital: July 30

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Welcome to the Punch

Perhaps the hand of executive producer Ridley Scott (Blade Runner) is discernable in the future-is-now backdrop for this British crime drama. Many cool visual moments—London in glass and steel and a man chasing motorbikes on foot—dress up an ordinary action tale with impossible violence and plot twists. The cast includes relentless cops (James McAvoy, Andrea Riseborough), corrupt politicians and an implacable super villain (Mark Strong) in a story where the very bad turn against the even worse.

A Boy and His Dog

Based on a Harlan Ellison story, this 1975 cult movie (out on Blu-ray) stars a young Don Johnson as a rifle-carrying sexual predator, not a good hero yet a survivor of an atomic war. With a telepathic talking dog as his traveling companion across the apocalyptic waste, he stumbles from the brutally sardonic into a farcical satire of heartland America when he discovers an underground city whose citizens have maintained their apple pie society—at a cost.

■ “The Jack Benny Program: The Lost Episodes”

Jack Benny was a king of deadpan comedy. His persona was a man who took himself too seriously, overestimating his talent and charm and half-oblivious to the derision that followed him. And yes, he was a miser who reused his coffee grounds to save a penny. Episodes from his late ’50s-early ’60s TV show, unseen since they were first aired, have been restored and issued along with other rare documents from his long career. Some of the gags have lost their humor, but many of the one-liners remain hilarious.