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New on DVD: 'The Debt,' 'The Help,' 'The Hangover II,' 'Cowboys & Aliens'

The Debt Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson and Ciaran Hinds play retired secret agents who have a Great Big Secret involving something that happened when they were tracking a Nazi war criminal back in the '60s. When one of their kids writes a book about their supposed heroism, old scabs get scratched and not everyone's happy about it.

It's solid enough, as far as thrillers go, but the stories seem to go in separate directions, something made even more obvious with the awkward flashbacks between present day and the past (when the agents are played by Jessica Chastain, Marton Csonkas and Sam Worthington). In a story about tragedy that involved the entire world, how much do we really care about these three trying to cover their tracks? Extras: A look at Helen Mirren in her role, the story's dramatic triangle, feature commentary, "A Look Inside The Debt" (DVD/BD).

The Help Emma Stone stars as Skeeter, a wanna-be journalist who writes a tell-all book of tales from her Mississippi town's "help," the various black women employed as maids and housekeepers at the very time the Civil Rights movement was getting underway in the '60s. The movie is based on Kathryn Stockett's book of the same name. Look for Viola Davis to earn an Oscar nod for sure as the maid Aibileen. Extras: Deleted scenes, Mary J. Blige music video (DVD/BD); the BD adds a making-of, a tribute to the real maids of Mississippi.

The Hangover Part II Though it aped practically the exact plot (only this time in Thailand) as the first Hangover, somehow this version falls flatter than a drunk groomsman and not from alcohol, either. Another wedding is involved, Ken Jeong is even more foul (and unnecessary) this time around, and instead of a tiger there's an obnoxious monkey in the hotel room. Even the guys (Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper) seem like they hated being in this movie as much as I hated watching it. Extras: Gag reel (DVD/BD); the BD adds an action-scene mash-up and deleted scenes.

Cowboys & Aliens Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford as bad-ass cowboys, techno-aliens and Olivia Wilde naked? What could possibly go awry? Well, just about everything: the dialogue is clunky, the goofy script makes no narrative sense, the characters seem completely confounded by what's going on around them while Harrison Ford is just angry at being there, and somehow even the cinematography of the Wild West is blah. And Olivia Wilde? I won't spoil the story's twist, but the cowboys' reaction to seeing her in the buff is a perfect example of how boneheaded Jon Favreau's movie is. Extras: Making-of that includes how the set pieces were created, the story behind it, the alien design and more (DVD/BD); exclusive to the BD is a Jon Favreau profile and re-creating the Old West.

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Next Article by Derrick Deane

Universal Studios Confirms 'Harry Potter' Park for Hollywood, Expands Orlando Attraction

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