Posts filed under ‘New on DVD’

New on DVD: Live Free or Hairspray This Thanksgiving

Good news, blockbuster fans: this week in home entertainment features a crowd-pleasing toe-tapper (Hairspray), the return of John McClane (Live Free or Die Hard), another harrowing star turn by Christian Bale (Rescue Dawn), and plenty more (Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, Ghosts of Cite Soleil, Chappelle’s Show Collection). Just watch out for that one early holiday dud (The Santa Clause 3: Escape Clause) — unless 14 percent Tomatometers are your cup of eggnog.


The movie musical is officially back, as evinced by this year’s Hairspray — a big screen version of a Broadway remake of the John Waters cult film, of all things. Newcomer Nikki Blonsky shines as the chubby yet effervescent teenager who teaches all of 1960s Baltimore about acceptance, equality, the mashed potato and the pony. If only impossibly teased hair and a megawatt smile were all it took to land a heartthrob like Zac Efron! Pick up the two-disc DVD release for an added behind-the-scenes documentary that charts the film’s journey from film to stage to film, song sing-along tracks, dance routine tutorials, and more. Then, go rent Waters’ original Hairspray to see what a real man (Divine) looks like in drag. (Take that, Travolta-in-a-fat-suit!)

Live Free or Die Hard

Bruce Willis has long had difficulty dying (not so his career – zing!) when it comes to this franchise, and the twelve years since Die Hard With a Vengeance have not taught him any better to let loose his mortal coil at the hands of evil thieves, terrorists, and the like. Enter Live Free or Die Hard, a John McClane joint for the 21st century, featuring the most terrifying of 21st century foes: Internet hackers! In line with this progressive techno-thinking, the 20th Century Fox release includes a digital copy of the film that you can download onto your computer or portable DVD player, or whatever other newfangled gadgets the kids are using these days. (Bonus for grown-ups: an unrated version of the film in addition to the theatrical PG-13 cut. Yippee-ki-yay!)

Rescue Dawn

In 1997, Werner Herzog documented the real-life prisoner of war experience of a German-born American pilot named Dieter Dengler in his acclaimed Little Dieter Needs to Fly; ten years later, Herzog reviss the inherently dramatic tale as a feature film starring Christian Bale. The result is not only another critically lauded film, but the director’s most commercial and accessible work to date. Watch it for a harrowing Vietnam War survival tale — and so you can finally drop some Herzog knowledge on even the snootiest of cinephiles at this year’s holiday party!

Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse
Much more than your average making-of feature, Hearts of Darkness — on DVD for the first time this week — gets up close and personal with director Francis Ford Coppola during the production of his 1979 Vietnam epic, Apocalypse Now. While Coppola was shooting the modern classic, about men going mad in the midst of war, his wife Eleanor took notes and shot on-set footage of the cast and crew; her documentation of how the overstuffed project, skyrocketing budgets, and production delays threatened the film and the sanity of Coppola himself became this award-winning 1991 documentary. Co-directors Fax Bahr and George Hickenlooper (who would go on to direct 2003’s Mayor of the Sunset Strip and last year’s Factory Girl) contributed extensive interviews, and the film went on to earn praise at Cannes. The DVD includes a new commentary track by Coppola as well as an hour-long accompaniment on his new film, Youth Without Youth.

A Bounty of Seasonal OfferingsAngel-A

Luc Besson (The Professional, The Fifth Element) takes his penchant for action down a notch in this light charmer about a down-on-his-luck con man saved from suicide by a chain-smoking statuesque blonde. Although critics were split, this Paris-set Wings of Desire-meets-It’s a Wonderful Life is worth a view, if only for the breathtaking experience of seeing the City of Lights shot in beautiful monochrome.

Manufactured Landscapes

Director Jennifer Baichwal filmed acclaimed photographer Edward Burtynsky as he traversed Asia shooting various industrial landscapes; her award-winning documentary captures not only the striking imprint of global progress on the earth, but provokes thought by using beautiful images composed, ironically, of industrial wastelands.

Ghosts of Cite Soleil

A few months before the 2004 military coup that deposed Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, filmmaker Asger Leth (son of Danish director Jorgen Leth) embedded himself and a small crew deep within the slums of Cite Soleil, filming the complicated relationship between two fatefully charismatic gang leader brothers. The result — a powerful and terrifying glimpse into lives dictated by violence, guided by American gangsta rap — is an incredibly intimate and surprisingly humanizing portrait of brotherhood, poverty, and the quagmire that is modern Haiti.

Chappelle’s Show Series Collection

Combining Season One, Season Two, and the “Lost Episodes” of Dave Chappelle’s masterfully amusing sketch comedy show, this six-disc box set is an arguable necessity for Chappelle enthusiasts. But while the Comedy Central release offers up all 28 episodes, audio commentaries, bloopers, unaired sketches, stand-up, and even two new True Hollywood Stories by Charlie Murphy, one wonders if any true Chappelle fan should put more profits in the pockets of a network that effectively cancelled all possibility of Chappelle’s return to the show by running the unfinished third season to begin with.

Enjoy The Thanksgiving Turkey The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause

Escape from this Clause.” “Ho Ho Hum.” The reviews write themselves, but just for added measure, here’s what else is in store should you pick up this new release: Jack Frost played with nuance by Martin Short as if the love child of Liberace and Liza Minnelli, Tim Allen phoning in his third performance as a reluctant Santa, and a plot shamefully derivative of such holiday classics as It’s a Wonderful Life and even The Nightmare Before Christmas.



November 21, 2007 at 4:57 pm 2 comments

New DVD Releases Include `Ratatouille’

Selected home-video releases:


A rat supplanted Mickey Mouse as the No. 1 rodent at Disney last summer with this latest cartoon from the studio’s partnership with Pixar Animation, the masters of computer-generated storytelling. Directed by Brad Bird (“The Incredibles”), “Ratatouille” is the story of a gourmet rat who teams with a bumbling human kitchen hand to whip up creations at a fine French restaurant. The DVD and high-definition Blu-ray releases include a handful of unfinished scenes with introductions from director Bird, who explains why they were discarded (one early story approach had the rat’s imaginary mentor, a dead French chef, still alive and running his restaurant). Bird also appears with chef Thomas Keller in a behind-the-scenes segment, and the disc has the short Pixar film, an alien-abduction comedy, that preceded “Ratatouille” in theaters along with an amusing new short on the pros and cons of rats. Available separately on DVD and Blu-ray disc is “Pixar Short Films Collection,” gather! ing 13 cartoons, including the ear ly ones that were training ground for Pixar animators as they worked toward the first feature-length computer-animated film, “Toy Story.” DVDs, $29.99 each; Blu-ray discs, $34.99 each. (Disney)


“I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry”

Adam Sandler and Kevin James are bridegroom and bridegroom in this comedy centered on how far friends will go to help friends. Sandler’s a womanizing firefighter who works with his best buddy (James), a widower worried about providing for his children in case he dies. So pal Sandler agrees to pose as his gay lover to insure that the kiddies will be eligible for life insurance, with Jessica Biel co-starring as the hot attorney defending their domestic-partner rights. Extras include deleted scenes with commentary from director Dennis Dugan, who also joins Sandler and James for commentary on the full movie. Along with the standard DVD release, the movie comes in a combination disc with both high-definition HD DVD and standard DVD versions. DVD, $29.98; HD DVD combo disc, $39.98. (Universal)



For his next act after the Academy Award-winning “Bowling for Columbine” and the documentary smash “Fahrenheit 9/11,” Michael Moore takes the pulse of America’s health-care system and finds it seriously ailing. Moore makes a pitch for universal coverage as he examines how corporations and government oversee health care, and he travels to Canada, England, France and Cuba to compare the systems in those countries to medical treatment in the United States. As usual, Moore’s critics claimed he’s a crusader with a one-sided agenda, but it’s tough to knock a movie with such priceless moments as Moore on a boat outside Guantanamo Bay, bellowing through a megaphone that sick Sept. 11 rescue workers deserve the same level of medical care as terrorism suspects held there. The DVD has seven deleted segments and a batch of extended interviews. DVD, $29.95. (Genius)



The Beatles and director Richard Lester quickly followed up on their big-screen success with “A Hard Day’s Night” crafting a giddy comedy that allowed John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr to goof their way around Europe and the Bahamas (with choice musical interludes, of course). What plot there is concerns a cult pursuing the boys over Ringo’s sacred ring. Besides the title tune, the songs include “Ticket to Ride,” “You’re Going to Lose That Girl” and “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.” The two-disc set packs a deleted scene, a making-of segment featuring Lester, and cast and crew interviews. DVD set, $29.98. (Capitol)


“Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who”

Also on the rock legends front is this two-disc set chronicling the band formed by four other Brits in the 1960s: Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle and Keith Moon. The main documentary presents a portrait of the four-decades-plus career of the Who, featuring musical footage of the band, plus interviews with Townshend, Daltrey and such collaborators and admirers as Sting, Eddie Vedder and U2’s The Edge. A companion film, “Six Quick Ones,” includes segments devoted to each band member, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at a 2003 recording session. DVD set, $29.98. (Universal)


“America’s Game: Super Bowl I-XL”

This is one for the ultimate football fan. The 40-disc set packs an hourlong documentary for every one of the 40 Super Bowls to date. The list of NFL stars offering insights and recollections is remarkable, among them Joe Namath, Bart Starr, Bubba Smith, Don Shula, Lawrence Taylor, John Elway, Brett Favre, Jerry Rice, Marcus Allen, Franco Harris and Roger Staubach. Joining them is an equally impressive lineup of marquee names as narrators, including Gene Hackman, Laurence Fishburne, Bruce Willis and Martin Sheen. The set also comes with an 88-page booklet packed with action photos. DVD set, $199.98. (Warner Bros.)


TV on DVD:

“Seinfeld: The Complete Series” Along with a four-disc set containing the 24 episodes from the ninth and final season, a mammoth 32-disc set arrives with the entire 180-episode run of Jerry Seinfeld’s sitcom about four Manhattan pals. The complete series set includes a 226-page book with photos, trivia and background on the show; commentary and other extras that were featured in single-season boxed sets; and an hourlong chat among Seinfeld, series co-creator Larry David and co-stars Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Michael Richards. “Complete Series” DVD set, $283.95; “Season 9” DVD set, $49.95. (Sony)

“Heeere’s Johnny: The Definitive DVD Collecton From the Tonight Show” A 12-disc package gathers hours of interviews, comedy routines and musical performances from Johnny Carson’s 30-plus years as king of late-night TV. Anchoring the set is a six-disc “Timeless Moments” collection, featuring an endless parade of stars. The set also has three previously released compilations focusing on country singers and stand-up comedians appearing on “The Tonight Show,” plus general highlights from the show. DVD set, $99.99. (R2)

“The King of Queens: The Complete Series” Also getting the complete-series treatment is Kevin James’ sitcom about a delivery guy, his brash (Leah Remini), and his live-in father-in-law (Jerry Stiller). The 26-disc set packs all 207 episodes from the show’s nine-year run. DVD set, $232.95. (Sony)

“Full House: The Complete Series” And Bob Saget’s comedy about a widower raising three daughters with help from his brother and his best friend returns with a four-disc set containing the 24 episodes of the eighth and final year and a 32-disc set with all 192 episodes. “Complete Series” DVD set, $169.72; “Eighth Season” DVD set, $29.98. (Warner Bros.)

“Dr. Who: The Complete Third Series” The newest incarnation of the venerable sci-fi cult hit stars David Tennant as the time-traveling, space-faring doc, now paired with a fresh companion, a medical student (Freema Agyeman). Season three’s 13 episodes come in a six-disc set that includes deleted scenes and commentary. DVD set, $99.98. (BBC)

“The Best of the Colbert Report” Stephen Colbert, the standard-bearer for truthiness, gets his own DVD compilation of prime moments from his Comedy Central parody of TV news and analysis. Among the bits: Colbert’s light-saber duel with George Lucas and a metaphor contest with Sean Penn. DVD, $19.99. (Paramount)


November 5, 2007 at 7:34 pm Leave a comment

New DVD Releases Include Spider-Man 3

Selected home-video releases:

“Spider-Man 3”

The year’s top-grossing hit swings onto DVD and high-definition Blu-ray disc on its own and in collections packaged with the two earlier installments of director Sam Raimi’s comic-book franchise. The main players return for the conclusion of the love triangle and friends-turned-foes saga among Spidey (Tobey Maguire), Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) and Harry (James Franco). The film also introduces two new enemies scheming against Spider-Man, the Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) and Venom (Topher Grace). A single-disc DVD has commentary with cast and crew, while two-disc DVD and Blu-ray releases are stuffed with extras, among them a look at one of the coolest effects the franchise has devised, the transformation of Church into Sandman. Further segments examine stunt sequences and the origins of the other villains. The latest film also comes packaged with “Spider-Man” and “Spider-Man 2” in DVD and Blu-ray boxed sets. Single-disc DVD, $28.97; two-disc DVD set, $36.95; two-disc Blu-r! ay set, $49.95; “Spider-Man” trilo gy DVD set, $38.96; “Spider-Man” trilogy Blu-ray set, $98.95. (Sony)


“License to Wed”

In this lame comedy, prospective spouses must meet the outrageous domestic demands of preacherman Robin Williams before they are allowed to exchange vows. Williams stars as a minister who puts the not-so-happy bride (Mandy Moore) and groom (John Krasinski) through an exercise in premarital torture before he’ll sign off on their nuptials, his methods including bizarre role-playing, parenting practice with robot infants and high-tech surveillance to make sure they follow his no-sex-before-marriage rule. The DVD has deleted scenes accompanied by commentary from director Ken Kwapis. Along with the DVD release, the movie is available in a high-definition Blu-ray disc and a combination disc with both standard DVD and high-definition HD DVD versions. DVD, $28.98; Blu-ray disc, $34.99; HD DVD, $39.99. (Warner Bros.)


“El Cantante”

This passion project for real-life marrieds Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony lives up to musical expectations with its buoyant soundtrack, but there’s little passion in the dour story of drug addiction, family tragedy and other adversity in the lives of salsa star Hector Lavoe and his wife. The film biography follows the rise and fall of Lavoe, who pioneered the musical style in the 1970s. The DVD has a behind-the-segments on the music and story behind the film, on which Lopez was a producer, plus commentary with director Leon Ichaso and his co-writers. DVD, $27.95. (New Line)


“Talk to Me”

Don Cheadle was born to gab his way through this film biography about Ralph “Petey” Greene, a former prison inmate who became an outspoken radio personality and activist amid the civil-rights movement of the 1960s. Cheadle leads a sturdy cast that includes Chiwetel Ejiofor as the station manager who gives Greene a shot on the radio, plus Martin Sheen, Cedric the Entertainer and Mike Epps. The film from director Kasi Lemmons is accompanied by deleted scenes, a featurette on Greene and his significance in black politics of the era and a segment on the movie’s re-creation of 1960s and ’70s style through music and fashion. DVD, $29.98. (Universal)


“Looney Tunes: Golden Collection Volume Five”

Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and other cartoon favorites return in a new gathering of classic “Looney Tunes” shorts. The four-disc set packs 60 cartoons, with one disc devoted to Bugs and Daffy’s adventures, one focused on spoofs of beloved fairy tales, one gathering prime “Looney Tunes” from master animator Bob Clampett and one packed with rare early cartoons from the Warner Bros. vaults. Many of the shorts come with commentary by filmmakers and animation experts, and the set has a documentary on Looney Tunes maestro Chuck Jones. Along with the four-disc collection, an abridged two-disc “Spotlight Collection” containing 30 cartoons is available. “Golden Collection” DVD set, $64.92; “Spotlight Collection” DVD set, $26.99. (Warner Bros.)


TV on DVD:

“Twin Peaks: Definitive Gold Box Edition” Fans of cherry pie and a great cup of coffee finally have easy access to the entire TV run of David Lynch’s darkly comic 1990s saga. The 10-disc set includes the two-hour pilot, previously available only as an import DVD, and all 29 episodes of the short-lived series, whose two seasons previously had been released by separate studios. Along with deleted scenes, the set has a look back at the show with Lynch and cast members, including Kyle MacLachlan, who starred as an FBI agent applying bizarre techniques to solve a teen’s murder in a small Northwest town. DVD set, $108.99. (Paramount)

“My So-Called Life: The Complete Series” Another beloved but short-lived ’90s show, whose earlier release was long out-of-print, returns to DVD. Claire Danes got her start here as a pensive teen whose circle of family and friends struggle with alienation, homelessness, abuse, homophobia and other serious issues. A six-disc set packs all 19 episodes, plus interviews with Danes and the show’s overseers and commentary from cast and crew. DVD set, $69.99. (Shout)

“Family Guy: Freakin’ Party Pack The Complete DVD Collection” The animated comedy, which was canceled and revived because of fan furor, centers on the demented Griffin clan, whose members include a whip-smart dog and a warped baby. The 18-disc set gathers about 90 episodes and comes in a cleverly designed box with such party essentials as playing cards, poker chips and pingpong equipment. DVD Set, $149.98. (20th Century Fox)

“Angel: Seasons 1-5” The spinoff of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” stars David Boreanaz as the vampire with a soul who tries to make amends for centuries of bloodletting. The set has all five seasons, with deleted scenes, commentary and other extras previously included in single-season DVD releases. DVD set, $139.98. (20th Century Fox)

“CSI: Miami The Fifth Season” David Caruso returns to the scene of the crime in the first spinoff of the franchise. The six-disc set has 24 episodes, along with commentary and featurettes. DVD set, $64.99. (Paramount)

“Scrubs: The Complete Sixth Season” Zach Braff and his hospital pals are back with a three-disc set packing year six’s 22 episodes, plus deleted scenes and commentary. DVD set, $39.99. (Disney)

“Benny Hill: The Complete Megaset” The British comedian’s bawdy escapades are captured in an 18-disc set with all 58 episodes of his sketch comedy show that aired from 1969 to ’89. The set also has a documentary on Hill and a handful of featurettes. DVD set, $149.95. (A&E)

“Family Affair: Season Four” The sitcom from the 1960s and ’70s stars Brian Keith as a bachelor caring for his late brother’s three kids. The fourth season’s 25 episodes come in a five-disc package. DVD set, $39.98. (MPI)


Other new releases:

“No End in Sight” Charles Ferguson’s acclaimed documentary offers a glimpse into the Bush administration’s motives and conduct in the Iraq war and examines why the conflict has lingered on in chaotic perpetuity. DVD, $26.98. (Magnolia)

“Captivity” A poor cousin of sadism for the “Saw” crowd, this horror flick stars Elisha Cuthbert as a cover-girl model who is abducted and subjected to bloody torture. DVD, $28.98. (Lionsgate)

“In the Land of Women” Meg Ryan leads the cast in this tale of a heartbroken screenwriter (Adam Brody) caught up in the lives of a single mom and her daughters. DVD, $27.95. (Warner Bros.)

“The Three Stooges Collection: Volume One 1934-36” After a series of random single-disc compilations, studio bosses finally begin releasing the Stooges the way fans want them: In chronological order, with a promise of all their comedy shorts eventually landing on DVD. The two-disc set has 19 slapstick farces featuring Curly, Larry and Moe. DVD set, $24.96. (Sony)


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October 29, 2007 at 10:25 pm Leave a comment

Young Indy Returns in DVD Adventures

Indiana JonesGeorge Lucas is emphasizing academics over adventure as he revisits the early years of his bold hero Indiana Jones.

“The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Volume One” arrives on DVD Tuesday, the first of three boxed sets gathering all of his youthful exploits from the 1990s TV series.

Along with seven feature-length adventures, the 12-disc set packs 38 documentary segments offering historical insight into the eras, events and illustrious figures Indy encounters, including Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, T.E. Lawrence and Sigmund Freud.

“If Indy just touches on it, sees it or hears about a major historical character, there’s a full half-hour documentary on every one of those people,” said Rick McCallum, Lucas’ producing partner on “Young Indiana Jones.”

“History for most kids starts with the release of `Transformers.’ There’s just no concept of the last century whatsoever,” McCallum said. “Kids aren’t even aware of World War II. They think the Germans were our allies and Martians were the bad guys.”

Along with historians, archaeologists and other scholars, noted politicians, statesmen, military leaders, filmmakers and cultural commentators are interviewed for the documentaries, among them Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger, Gloria Steinem, Barbara Boxer and Martin Scorsese.

“Hopefully, it’ll be used in schools. It’s a very fun way to introduce young people to historical events in the beginning of the 20th century,” Lucas said.

The academic approach is fitting, given that Harrison Ford’s adult Indiana Jones is an archaeology professor who moonlights as a globe-trotting adventurer in 1981’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and the sequels “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”

The DVD set includes a documentary primer about the realities of Indy’s profession, in which archaeologists stress that their work involves painstaking research and excavation, and rarely wild adventure or treasure hunts.

“There’s a significant difference between the life of Indiana Jones and what most Egyptologists or other archaeologists do,” Kent Weeks, an Egyptologist at American University in Cairo, said in the documentary. “You can’t go in there and say, `Today, I’m going to come back with gold and jewels beyond the dreams of avarice.'”

Volume two of “The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones” comes to DVD on Dec. 18 and volume three debuts next spring, serving as a buildup to the May 22 release of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” the first Indy film in 19 years.

Set in the 1950s, the film reunites Ford with producer Lucas and Steven Spielberg, who directed the three previous movies. The cast includes Cate Blanchett, Shia LaBeouf, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent, Ray Winstone and Karen Allen, reprising her “Raiders” role as Marion Ravenwood, who has a stormy romantic history with Indy.

Premiering in 1992, “Young Indiana Jones” pulled in only modest audiences, and ABC soon pulled the plug. The network had hoped for a young swashbuckling version of Ford’s character, akin to the action-packed prologue featuring River Phoenix as the teenage Indy in “The Last Crusade.”

Instead, the show alternated between Indy as a boy, played by Corey Carrier, and a teenager, played by Sean Patrick Flanery, on adventures that were much more subdued and family oriented.

“Young Indiana Jones” lived on in a series of two-hour movies for the Family Channel, and one-hour episodes of the TV show were spliced into feature-length movies, as well.

That’s how the three DVD sets package the series, with Indy’s adventures presented chronologically from his first journeys with his parents in 1908 through his experiences during World War I and shortly after.

The DVD sets feature a total of 94 documentary segments and undoubtedly will join the six “Star Wars” movies and three “Indiana Jones” films as must-haves for many fans.

“There’s a major group, millions and millions of hardcore `Star Wars’ and Indy fans. They see both of them as similar. They’re totally different worlds, but they see it all as part of the Spielberg-Lucas world,” McCallum said.

McCallum, who also produced Lucas’ three “Star Wars” prequels, is not actively involved with the new “Indiana Jones” flick. But being a Lucas insider, can he share any tidbits about the film, whose plot is under tight wraps?

“I cannot say a single word,” McCallum said.


October 23, 2007 at 5:26 pm Leave a comment

New DVDs Include `Meet the Robinsons’

Selected home-video releases:

“Meet the Robinsons”

A boy genius embarks on a time-traveling adventure to save the world in this sturdy animated hit. With a voice cast that includes Angela Bassett, Tom Selleck and Laurie Metcalf, the movie follows the exploits of a young inventor whisked into the future, where he teams up with a family of oddballs to take on a villain in a bowler hat, whose voice was provided by director Stephen J. Anderson. Among the extras on the DVD and Blu-ray high-definition disc are a handful of deleted scenes, a segment on how the film was developed from the work of children’s author William Joyce, and a featurette on Walt Disney and other visionaries whose advances changed the world. The disc also has commentary from Anderson and two music videos. DVD, $29.99; Blu-ray disc, $34.99. (Disney)


“Mr. Brooks”

If you’re a serial killer, what better cover than to be a civic booster and the local business community’s man of the year? Kevin Costner plays seemingly upright citizen Mr. Brooks, whose cozy family life and position as a bland but likable businessman belie his avocation: committing an unsolvable string of mass murders and taunting police by leaving behind his victims’ thumbprints. William Hurt co-stars as Brooks’ Jekyll-and-Hyde evil alter ego, with Demi Moore playing a cop on the killer’s trail and Dane Cook playing a witness who wants a taste of the perpetrator’s bloody glory. The DVD has deleted footage, three making-of featurettes and commentary with director Bruce A. Evans and his co-writer, Raynold Gideon. DVD, $29.98. (MGM)


“Hostel: Part II”

Lightning failed to strike twice for director Eli Roth’s horror franchise, whose grisly second chapter proved a box-office dud. The sequel terrorizes three American women studying in Europe as they meet up with an art-class model who baits them into a murder-for-pleasure den. The movie comes to DVD and Blu-ray disc in an unrated version with deleted scenes, commentary from Roth and collaborators including executive producer Quentin Tarantino, and featurettes on gory effects and production design. Also debuting in a two-disc DVD set and single-disc Blu-ray edition is Roth’s director’s cut of the original “Hostel,” with an alternate ending, four commentary tracks and a full disc of interviews and background featurettes. “Hostel: Part II” DVD, $28.95; Blu-ray disc, $38.96; “Hostel: Director’s Cut” DVD set, $19.98; Blu-ray disc, $28.95. (Sony)


“Stanley Kubrick”

Five Kubrick films get fresh boxed-set treatment and enter the high-definition age with HD DVD and Blu-ray releases. The 10-DVD set has remastered two-disc versions of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “A Clockwork Orange” “The Shining” and “Eyes Wide Shut,” plus a single-disc release of “Full Metal Jacket” and a disc with the documentary “Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures.” Stars of the films including Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, Malcolm McDowell and R. Lee Ermey provide commentary, and each movie is accompanied by interviews and featurettes, among them a segment on unfinished Kubrick films. The two-disc DVD sets also are available separately, though the new release of “Full Metal Jacket” comes only in the boxed set. All five films come in single-disc Blu-ray and HD DVD versions, as well. DVD boxed set, $79.92; two-disc DVD sets, $26.99 each; Blu-ray and HD DVD discs, $28.99 each. (Warner Bros.)


“Battleship Potemkin”

Nipped and tucked repeatedly over the decades, Sergei Eisenstein’s 1925 silent masterpiece is restored to what the overseers of this marvelous two-disc set say is the closest to the director’s original version since its premiere. Set in 1905, the film chronicles a naval mutiny that was a step on the road to communism as a ship’s crew rises up against its oppressive commanders and the popular rebellion is beaten down by thugs of the czar. The set features a 42-minute documentary examining the restoration of the film, which included new title cards both in Russian and English. The film is accompanied by a 55-piece orchestra’s rendition of a 1926 score authorized by Eisenstein. DVD set, $29.95. (Kino)


Criterion releases:

“Days of Heaven” Terrence Malick’s gloriously photographed 1978 film gets grand treatment from the cinephile DVD maestros at Criterion. Richard Gere, Brooke Adams and Sam Shepard star in the strange love triangle that develops among a farmhand, his girlfriend and a rich, ailing farmer. The DVD has interviews with Gere and Shepard, commentary with collaborators of the reclusive Malick and a chapter from cinematographer Nestor Almendros’ autobiography. DVD, $39.95. (Criterion)

“Breathless” Venturing into a loose, formless film style that broke with many stiff screen conventions, Jean-Luc Godard signaled the arrival of the French New Wave with his 1960 tale of a petty thief turned killer (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and the object of his romantic dalliance (Jean Seberg). This two-disc release has archival interviews with the director and stars, a 1959 short film by Godard with Belmondo and a making-of documentary. DVD set, $39.95. (Criterion)

“Under the Volcano” John Huston’s 1984 adaptation of Malcolm Lowry’s novel stars Albert Finney as a drunken British diplomat stumbling through his last tortuous day of life in a small Mexican town as World War II approaches. The two-disc set has a 1984 interview with Huston, a new interview with co-star Jacqueline Bisset, a documentary about Lowry and commentary with the director’s son, Danny Huston, and others. DVD set, $39.95. (Criterion)


TV on DVD:

“The Sopranos: Season Six, Part II” The final nine episodes of one of television’s most-acclaimed series ever arrive in a four-disc set, with James Gandolfini’s mob boss beset by fresh rivalries and taking shocking action to quell potential betrayal within his own ranks. The set has commentary on four episodes with supporting-cast members, a segment with series creator David Chase and others discussing their music choices, and a clever mock featurette about the show’s horror film made with mob money. DVD set, $99.98; Blu-ray and HD DVD sets, $129.95 each. (HBO)

“The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Volume One” The buildup to next year’s fourth “Indiana Jones” film continues with the first of three boxed sets gathering all of the adventurer’s early exploits from the early 1990s TV show. With 12 discs, this first collection begins at the beginning, reorganizing the episodes into seven feature-length installments that trace Indy’s roots chronologically as boy Indy (Corey Carrier) and teen Indy (Sean Patrick Flanery) encounter such figures as Teddy Roosevelt, Sigmund Freud, Pablo Picasso and Franz Kafka. Creator George Lucas has overseen 38 documentary segments to accompany these first episodes, with top filmmakers, military leaders and statesmen offering insights on the history lessons the show provides. DVD set, $129.99. (Paramount)

Other new TV releases:

“The L Word: The Complete Fourth Season,” DVD set, $69.99. (Showtime)

“Veronica Mars: The Complete Third Season,” DVD set, $59.98. (Warner Bros.)

“NCIS: The Fourth Season,” DVD set, $64.99. (Paramount)

“Mind of Mencia: Season 3,” DVD set, $26.99. (Paramount)


October 23, 2007 at 5:20 pm Leave a comment




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