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Walk The Line

Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Wither-spoon walked the line to Oscar nominations playing country-western music legends Johnny and June Carter Cash. Filled with strong performances, pulsating musical numbers, and a great sense of time and place, this biography covers a lot of territory without ever shortchanging the subjects or the audience. Director and co-writer James Mangold discusses his artistic choices on a commentary track on the DVD, which also includes 10 deleted scenes. (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)

The Weather Man

At first it’s hard to warm up to Chicago weatherman David Spritz (Nicolas Cage), a man who has everything but wants more out of life. Then David’s life begins to unravel and we begin to see the human being hiding behind the facade, a man looking for acceptance from his Pulitzer Prize-winning father (Michael Caine), distant wife (Hope Davis) and a daughter struggling with her own identity. Writer Steve Conrad has a lot to say about father-son relationships, little moments of life perfectly etched by the cast and director Gore Verbinski. DVD extras examine character, artistic and writing choices. (Paramount Home Entertainment)

North Country

Director Niki Caro (Whale Rider) infuses this familiar tale of a woman miner who takes on the system over sexual harassment with intelligence and empowerment. Oscar-nominee Charlize Theron is strong as Josey Aimes, a Minnesota mother who just wants to make a living so she can take care of her family. Facing insurmountable odds, Josey signs on at the local iron mine, putting up with insults and harassment. When the threats begin to take their toll, Josey initiates a class action lawsuit, splitting the town and her fellow workers. Strong cast, powerful script and potent direction make this a riveting drama. DVD unearths documentary and additional scenes. (Warner Home Entertainment)

Yours, Mine and Ours

I liked the original, so it didn’t take much for this remake to win me over. Dennis Quaid is Frank Beardsley, Coast Guard admiral and widower with eight children. Rene Russo is Helen North, a widowed, free-spirited designer with 10 children (six adopted). When former high school sweethearts Frank and Helen bump into each other, it’s love at second sight, and by morning they’re married. Which means melding eight by-the-book kids with 10 do-what-you-want kids, leading to the usual complications and laughs. OK, shoot me, it’s predictable, silly and overly sentimental, and I loved every minute of it. DVD goes behind the scenes with commentary, deleted scenes, video diary, casting sessions, Coast Guard PR pieces. (Paramount Home Entertainment)

The Ice Harvest

Dark comedy about a lawyer and his partner who decide to steal $2 million from a mob boss on Christmas Eve. Director Harold Ramis finds plenty to laugh at in this offbeat comedy starring John Cusack as Charlie, a nervous wreck who can’t wait to leave Wichita Falls. Billy Bob Thornton is hilarious as Vic, his partner in crime, who is as cool as the ice storm preventing their escape. When mob enforcer Roy (Mike Starr) shows up, things really get chilly. Comedy caper with an edge lands on DVD with director commentary, alternate endings, outtakes, story and scene featurettes. (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)

Home movies

Bambi 2

Belated sequel picks up where the original left off. Bambi is now being raised by his father, the Great Prince (voice of Patrick Stewart), who helps Bambi (voice of Alexander Gould) overcome the loss of his mother and teaches him the ways of the forest. Great coming-of-age tale mixes strong father-son bonding with enchantment and heart. All of Bambi’s friends return, including Thumper, Flower and Owl. Filled with grand, vibrant scenery, well-defined character animation and constant adventure and fun, this direct-to-DVD effort exceeds all expectations. DVD includes making-of featurette, a Thumper game and Disney Sketch Pad for children. (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)

Domino

Exciting, nonstop, balls-to-the-wall action thriller starring Keira Knightley as Domino Harvey, daughter of actor Laurence Harvey. Bored with her privileged lifestyle, Domino decides to become a bounty hunter. Even though she grew up in Beverly Hills, Domino knows the ropes and is immediately hired by noted bounty hunter Ed Mosbey (Mickey Rourke). Director Tony Scott infuses the film with a strong undercurrent of suspense and reckless abandon where anything unexpected can happen. Knightley is tough as nails as Domino, driving her point home every chance she gets. DVD features deleted scenes, Domino Harvey and director featurette. (New Line Home Entertainment)

Memory of a Killer

Outstanding Danish thriller stars Jan Decleir as Angelo, an aging assassin suffering from the advances of Alzheimer’s. When his last assignment turns out to be a 12-year-old girl, Angelo refuses. After his superiors carry out the contract, Angelo vows to kill anyone and everyone who had anything to do with the girl’s death. Complicating matters are two detectives investigating his trail of murders and his fading memory, which clouds every judgment. Intense and smartly written. DVD includes behind-the-scenes featurette. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

MirrorMask

Dreams mix with reality in this visually stunning fantasy from the Jim Henson Company. Helena is a 15-year-old girl who lives with her family in a circus, but dreams of a normal life. Helena plans to leave when her mother falls ill. Overwrought with guilt, Helena finds herself in a magical world ruled by two queens. When the good queen falls ill, the MirrorMask is the only thing that can save her, forcing Helena on a journey of self discovery. Director Dave McKean, working from a fanciful script by Neil Gaiman, has created an alternate world where bizarre creatures catch and engage our imagination and whimsy. DVD serves up a healthy serving of extras, including a wealth of information on the development and creation of the film, commentaries, interviews and more. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Comedy Central Roast of Pam Anderson

Unlike the vanilla version which played on Comedy Central, the DVD includes the complete, uncensored roast of Pamela Anderson (Paramount Home Entertain-ment). Gone are the bleeps and cutaways, allowing us to hear each and every nasty, filthy and raunchy joke from the panel. I laughed my ass off. Rude to the point of being offensive, no one and nothing is off limits, and watching Courtney Love try and convince the audience she’s not high is a hoot. For anyone who ever wanted to see Anderson get screwed without having to hit the fast forward button.

Home movies

The Aristocrats

Once considered too obscene to tell in public, the joke The Aristocrats has been a private staple of comedians since vaudeville. This documentary examines the origins of the joke and follows its progress as it is handed down from generation to generation. Simple in premise, the joke about a family that auditions for a talent agent blossoms into a vulgar, filthy and frequently hilarious story which takes on a life of its own. The joke itself isn’t necessarily funny, it’s how each comedian tells it, trying to top what came before. This one-upmanship and the documentary’s take-no-prisoners attitude will make you blush, wet your pants or laugh uncontrollably. Two or more acts constitute a victory. The best examples are also the most animated: Gilbert Gottfried salvaging his career at a Hugh Hefner roast, and Eric Cartman telling the joke to the South Park kids. The DVD is packed to the edges with commentaries, highlights, contest winners, tributes and more favorite jokes. (ThinkFilm)

The Legend of Zorro

Even though most of the major players, both in front of and behind the camera, return for this belated sequel, what’s missing is the grand sense of spirit and adventure from original writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio. New writers Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman (The Island, need I say more?) paint the masked hero into a domestic corner, which reduces the franchise into a familiar series of arguments, misunderstandings and father-son hero worship. Not that those things are necessarily bad; it’s just that director Martin Campbell and his cast seem bored with the whole thing. Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones go through the motions as the legendary sword swinger and his feisty wife, now saddled with a son who never sees his father but worships Zorro. With the future of the United States and his marriage in jeopardy, Zorro rides to the rescue but can’t save this film. DVD slices up production commentary, deleted scenes, production featurettes and multi-angle scene deconstruction. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Oliver Twist

Director Roman Polanski has crafted a beautiful, moving adaptation of Charles Dickens’ beloved classic about young orphan Oliver Twist (Barney Clark), who bounces around 19th Century London from one bad situation to another. Fed up, Oliver takes to the streets, meeting pickpocket Artful Dodger (Harry Eden). Artful introduces Oliver to his mentor, the villainous Fagin (Ben Kingsley, appropriately evil), who welcomes the boy into his den of thieves. Often filmed, Polanski breathes new life into the story, transporting us to another time and place thanks to exquisite production design and a cast who embrace the characters and material. DVD bonus features explore the director’s artistic choices and provide an introduction to the talented young cast. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Supercross

For a film about motocross racing, this familiar tale of two brothers competing against each other to be the best just spins its wheels. It’s hard to believe this full-throttle cliché made it out of the starting gate and into theaters. Mike Vogel and Steve Howey play brothers Trip and K.C., living their late father’s motocross dreams. Trip is wild, out of control and doesn’t play by the rules. K.C. rides for the man, corporate America, and has to play by the rules. All that changes when an accident forces K.C. to put family ahead of fame and contracts. Been there, done that. DVD includes commentary, stunt footage, talking head featurettes and trailer. (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)

Next week we give romance a spin with our annual Valentine’s Day DVD Gift Guide

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