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DVD Tuesday

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In Billy Madison, Adam Sandler always thought of Tuesday as "nudie magazine day." But on this blog, Tuesday means new DVD releases — if there's bare flesh, so much the better. Read on to learn what movies get our vote and which misbegotten piece of Hollywood crap earns the Leper's Bell for being so godawful you want to shout, "Unclean! Unclean!"

Top Pick: The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Who would have guessed that a documentary about gamers obsessed with scoring a world record at Donkey Kong would not only be roaringly funny but serve as a metaphor for the decline of Western civilization? Using Billy Mitchell's need to stay champ and Steve Wiebe's need to beat him, director Seth Gordon deftly manages to show how age, marriage, fatherhood and so-called ethical thinking will not stop man's need to go to war, no matter how stupid the reason. Bonus features are also terrific, and the fact that Oscar snubbed this baby in the Best Documentary category proves its worth. The film's honesty has been questioned. South Park teases the hell out of the movie in episode 1109, entitled "More Crap." Hollywood is planning to make it as a feature. I vote for Johnny Depp as Mitchell and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Wiebe.

Top Oldie: El Cid

The 1961 epic suffers from having Charlton Heston in the lead, playing the 11th-century braveheart who kicks the Moors out of Spain. Superbabe Sophia Loren supposedly shrunk from Heston as if he were Kryptonite. Who can blame her? Acting with a block of granite can't be fun. Still, director Anthony Mann stages battle scenes that will drop your jaw, unless you're watching them on an iPod.

Leper's Bell: The Invasion

They paid Nicole Kidman $17 million to costar with Daniel Craig (007, how could you?) in this umpteenth, upchuckable retread of the 1956 scare classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers. You know, the one where alien pods suck the humanity out of our bodies while we're sleeping. I defy you not to fall into a coma while watching this cinematic sedative. The studio stayed awake long enough to try to save the film from director Oliver Hirschbiegel's handywork. It hired the Wachowski brothers to rewrite the film with a Matrix twist and called on their protege, V for Vendetta director James McTeigue to do re-shoots that would cost $10 million. Nothing helped. This DVD is Exhibit A.

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Peter Travers

Rolling Stone senior writer Peter Travers has reviewed movies for the magazine for more than 20 years. Send your comments and questions to him here.

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