Home Entertainment Release Recap for Sept 28, 2010.

This week’s releases are a varied bunch. Criterion offers up an older gem in MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE, while Acorn Media delivers a couple of entertaining British mysteries in LORD PETER WIMSEY and MIDSOMER MURDERS. Edgy is an understatement when talking about Michael Winterbottom’s film verion of Jim Thompson’s THE KILLER INSIDE ME.

My own personal picks for the week are MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE and MIDSOMER MURDERS.

C.S.I.: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION: The Tenth Season (2009-10) Laurence Fishburne, Marg Helgenberger, George Eads, Paul Guilfoyle, Eric Szmanda. $79.99. (Paramount).

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is a fast-paced drama about a passionate team of forensic investigators trained to solve crimes the old-fashioned way – by examining the evidence. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is on the case 24-7, scouring the scene, collecting irrefutable evidence and finding the missing pieces that will solve the mystery.

ELLERY QUEEN MYSTERIES: The Complete Series (1975-76) Jim Hutton, David Wayne, Tom Reese, John Hillerman, Nina Roman. 59.98. Extras: Series pilot, Ellery Queen interview with co-creator William Link, collectible booklet with essays and episode summaries.(E1 Entertainment).

From the creators of Columbo and Murder, She Wrote… Match wits with Ellery Queen (Jim Hutton) in all 22 digitally restored, uncut and unedited episodes of this classic NBC series following the exploits of the famed writer as he assists his father, Inspector Richard Queen (David Wayne), in solving the mysteries that baffle the New York City police force.

THE KILLER INSIDE ME (2010) Dir.: Michael Winterbottem Stars: Casey Affeck, Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba, Simon Baker, Bill Pullman. DVD: $19.98 Blu-ray: $29.98 (IFC/MPI).

Oscar-nominated actor Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone) gives his most chilling performance yet in the controversial crime drama The Killer Inside Me. Co-starring Jessica Alba (Fantastic Four), Oscar nominee Kate Hudson (Almost Famous), Emmy nominee Simon Baker (TV s The Mentalist) and Bill Pullman (Independence Day), this modern-day film noir shows a small town sheriff up to his neck in murders: his own. When Affleck s sheriff is asked to railroad a talkative prostitute out of town before she makes trouble, he realizes it s easier to just get rid of her for good. Unfortunately, covering up that murder means eliminating more and more people as his problems and complications spiral out of control. Even worse, he s starting to enjoy committing the crimes a lot more than he ever enjoyed dishing out the punishment. Based on the pulp fiction classic by Jim Thompson (The Grifters), The Killer Inside Me is an assured, stylish film [Guardian UK] that reveals the danger when a lawman s badge is hiding a cold, cold heart.

THE LORD PETER WIMSEY Mysteries, Set 2 Ian Carmichael. Contains: Murder Must Advertise, Five Red Herrings and The Nine Tailors. $49.99. Extras: Interviews with Ian Carmichael, production notes, and biographies of Dorothy L. Sayers and Ian Carmichael. (Acorn Media).

Ian Carmichael stars in the original BBC adaptations of the Dorothy L. Sayers crime thrillers. Hailed by critics as one of the finest mystery series ever filmed, its success on PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre inspired the spin-off Mystery! Running at least three hours each, these dramas do full justice to Sayers’s vivid characters, trenchant wit, and lavish 1920s settings.

MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE (1983) David Bowie, Tom Conti, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Takeshi Kitano, Jack Thompson DVD: $29.95 Blu-ray: $39.95 Extras: “The Oshima Gang,” an original making-of featurette; video interviews with producer Jeremy Thomas, screenwriter Paul Mayersberg, actor Tom Conti, and actor-composer Ryuichi Sakamoto; “Hasten Slowly,” an hour-long documentary about author and adventurer Laurens van der Post, whose autobiographical novel is the basis for the film; original theatrical trailer; booklet featuring an essay by film writer Chuck Stephens and a 1983 interview with director Nagisa Oshima by Japanese film writer Tadao Sato. Also available on Blu-ray Disc. (The Criterion Collection).

In this captivating, exhilaratingly skewed World War II drama from Nagisa Oshima (In the Realm of the Senses, Empire of Passion), David Bowie (The Man Who Fell to Earth, Basquiat) regally embodies the character Celliers, a high-ranking British officer interned by the Japanese as a POW. Music star Ryuichi Sakamoto (who also composed this film’s hypnotic score) plays the camp commander, who becomes obsessed with the mysterious blond major, while Tom Conti (The Duellists; Reuben, Reuben) is British lieutenant colonel Mr. Lawrence, who tries to bridge the emotional and language divides between his captors and fellow prisoners. Also featuring actor-director Takeshi Kitano (Sonatine, Fireworks) in his first dramatic role, MERRY CHRISTMAS MR. LAWRENCE is a multilayered, brutal, at times erotic tale of culture clash that was one of Oshima’s greatest successes.

MIDSOMER MURDERS, Set 16 (2009) John Nettles, Jason Hughes. Set 16 conains “Midsomer Life,” “The Magician’s Nephew,” “Days of Misrule” and “Talking to the Dead”; $49.99. (Acorn Media).

The cozy villages of Midsomer County reveal their most sinister secrets in these contemporary British television mysteries. Inspired by the novels of Caroline Graham, modern master of the English village mystery, the series stars John Nettles (Bergerac) as the unflappable Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby, with Jason Hughes (This Life) as his earnest, efficient protégé, Detective Sergeant Ben Jones. Guest stars include Tim Pigott-Smith, Ronald Pickup, Pooky Quesnel, Simon Williams, Anton Lesser, Tom Goodman-Hill, Niamh Cusack, and Judy Parfitt.

SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE (2010) Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy, Andre Braugher, Summer Glau, Susan Eisenberg DVD: $19.98 , Blur-ray: $29.99 Extras: “DC Showcase: Green Arrow” short, featurette: “Supergirl: The Last Daughter of Krypton,” two bonus episodes from the animated television series. (Warner).

When a spaceship splashes down in Gotham Harbor, Batman and Superman encounter a mysterious Kryptonian with powers as great as Superman’s. When Darkseid gets wind of this, he has the Kryptonian abducted and brought under his control on Apokolips. It’s up to Batman and Superman to retrieve the Kryptonian, forcing them to infiltrate Darkseid’s hostile world where superpowerful threats lurk around every corner. This story is based on Jeff Loeb’s popular mini-series from the Superman/Batman comic books.