Mel Brooks film-turned-Broadway musical-turned film is a tune-filled comic romp, a perfectly cast send-up of the Great White Way and those who give it a black eye. Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick are outstanding as scheming producers Max and Leo, who conspire to get rich by staging the ultimate flop, a musical called Springtime for Hitler. After dealing with the play’s nutty writer (Will Ferrell), a sexy assistant (Uma Thurman) and a parade of blue-haired investors, the producers get the shock of their lives: They have a hit on their hands. Flashy, funny and frequently amusing. DVD produces deleted scenes, including more mature musical numbers, outtakes, featurette and commentary. (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
A road trip which travels both sides of the road, writer-director Duncan Tucker’s drama features a winning Felicity Huffman as Bree, a conservative transsexual who receives a disturbing phone call moments before going under the knife. Unbeknownst to Bree, as a man she fathered a son (Kevin Zegers), and now he needs parental supervision. Under orders from her therapist, Bree travels from California to New York to clear the air, thus setting the stage for an eye-opening road trip back to California. The people they encounter on the road trip establish the theme that everyone, no matter who or what they are, deserves respect. Music video, filmmaker commentary, bloopers and conversations with cast close the deal. (Genius/Weinstein)
One Last Thing . . .
Sweet, charming, honest dramatic comedy comes out of nowhere and steals your heart. Michael Angarano is outstanding as 16-year-old Dylan, a strong young man who has lost his father to cancer and is now facing the same fate. When a local charity offers him one last wish, instead of accepting an invitation with a pro football player, Dylan shocks everyone and asks to spend the weekend with supermodel Nikki (Sunny Mabrey). How Dylan’s brave mom (a first rate Cynthia Nixon), his friends and supporters facilitate his final wish will leave you in tears. (Magnolia Pictures)
Johnny Knoxville is perfectly cast as a human doormat who decides to scam the Special Olympics to pay off a debt. Desperate to help out his greedy uncle, Steve Barker (Knoxville) pretends to be mentally challenged, hoping to take home the gold. What Steve doesn’t count on is befriending his fellow competitors, or falling for a pretty official ready to commit to a jerk. Watching Barker’s conscience catch up to him at the most inopportune moments makes for quite a few laughs, while the film never disrespects its subject or participants. Extensive extras include 16 deleted scenes, featurettes, audio commentaries and more. (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)
The fastest land animal is the Cheetah. Just ask 12-year-old Xan, who lives with his parents in South Africa and has raised Duma, a cheetah, from a cub. Now Duma is an adult and other adults want the cheetah for profit, so Xan decides to take Duma into the wild and release him. Their trek is filled with hazards, both natural and human, plus a real sense of adventure one expects to find in a Carroll Ballard (The Black Stallion, Fly Away Home) wildlife film. Beautifully photographed, the film manages to say a lot without preaching. (Warner Home Entertainment)
When a Stranger Calls
Respectable remake expands the gripping opening of the original into a full-length thriller about a baby sitter being stalked by a madman. Camilla Belle hits all the right notes as a pretty, young but gutsy high school student forced to baby-sit for family friends after running up her cell phone bill. Stuck in a lake house in the middle of nowhere, Jill (Belle) begins receiving threatening phone calls, so detailed they lead her to believe the caller is watching her. He is. He’s a vicious maniac who likes to rip people in half, and Jill and the kids are ripe for picking. Taut and suspenseful. DVD scares up more scenes, commentary and featurette. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)