Home movies new on DVD

Home movies new on DVD

The Producers

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)

TransAmerica

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)

The Ringer

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)

Duma

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)

Home movies new on DVD

Home movies new on DVD

Munich

Steven Spielberg’s harrowing account of the events leading up to and following the massacre of Israeli athletes and their coaches during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. Shot with razor sharp precision, Munich mixes speculation and fact into a powerful statement about the effects of terrorism. As the agent as-signed to track down and kill those responsible, Eric Bana delivers an intense, thoughtful performance. The tightly woven screenplay forces the characters and audience to see beyond the obvious, helping us understand motivations and loyalties. DVD offers the Oscar-nominated Best Picture with a second disc of background information and documentaries. (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)

The New World

Fine performances distinguish this epic yet occasionally languid recreation of the life of Native American Pocahontas (Q’orianka Kilcher), whose romances with Englishmen Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell) and John Rolfe (Christian Bale) changed her way of life forever. Writer-director Terrence Malick’s trademark eye for detail and grandeur are obvious in every frame, and the stars (including Christopher Plummer) bring the material to life, but every now and then you just wish the filmmaker would get over himself. The DVD’s extensive documentary is an excellent companion piece. (New Line Home Entertainment)

Grandma’s Boy

Raucous comedy about a 30-something computer-game tester forced to move into his grandmother’s house pulls out all the stops in the unrated DVD. There’s something to offend just about everyone in Grandma’s Boy, which stars Allen Covert as Alex, 35, single and living the good life with grandma Lilly (Doris Roberts) and her two senior roommates, lascivious Grace (Shirley Jones) and pill-popping Bea (Shirley Knight). Stoned grannies, senior sex, hyped-up chimps and a gaggle of eclectic supporting characters make this little movie something worth shouting about. DVD continues frivolity with freewheeling audio commentaries, deleted and extended scenes, casting sessions, music videos and featurettes. (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)

Match Point

Woody Allen returns to form with this calculated dramatic thriller about a dashing English tennis pro (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who marries for security but carries on an affair with his brother-in-law’s beautiful American actress girlfriend (Scarlett Johansson). Fans of Crimes & Misdemeanors will appreciate this delicious morality tale, which finds desperate people committing desperate acts, all in the name of love. Meyers is excellent as the evil Lothario, while Johansson and Emily Mortimer shine as his sinister mistress and understanding wife. Highly recommended. (DreamWorks Home Entertainment)

The White Countess

Director James Ivory’s last collaboration with partner Ismail Merchant is a gorgeous, tender, historical drama about the denizens of a popular Shanghai bar called The White Countess. Owned and operated by blind former diplomat Todd Jac-kson (Ralph Fiennes), the bar attracts those displaced by the oncoming war, including a former Russian countess (Natasha Richardson) forced to work as a bar girl to support her family. Filled with memorable imagery, intelligent dialogue and a real sense of time and place. DVD includes commentary, featurette and Merchant tribute. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Andre the Butcher

Unapologetic splatter film starring adult film star Ron Jeremy as the legendary Andre the Butcher, who roams the countryside looking for nubile young cheerleaders to massacre. Written and directed with tongue shoved deeply into cheek, the film never takes itself seriously, making the silly dialogue, ham-fisted acting and slaughterhouse effects tolerable. Low budget and proud of it, #Andre the Butcher# slices and dices through every cliché in the genre. (ThinkFilm)

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