~ HOME MOVIES ~

~ HOME MOVIES ~

How to Eat Fried Worms

Fear Factor for the small fry, this warm and funny drama based on the best-selling book finds 11-year-old Billy (Luke Benward) trying to fit in at his new school and make friends with the local bully by agreeing to eat 10 worms in one day. Forced to drag along his little brother when his parents decide to hobnob, Billy finds both encouragement and roadblocks from the most unexpected places. Kids of all ages will appreciate the family-friendly appeal of this winning underdog. DVD serves up a plateful of extras, including bloopers, featurettes, worm recipes and commentary with the kids. (New Line Home Entertainment)

Miami Vice

When two federal agents are murdered, Miami Vice cops Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) and Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell) go deep undercover to weed out a brutal drug trafficker. Writer-director Michael Mann updates the 1980s music and fashion-driven crime drama, but it’s just more of the same and, coming 20 years after the fact, seems too little too late. The film looks sharp and the soundtrack pulsates, but the plot is familiar and pedestrian. Unrated DVD adds more sex and violence to the mix, which also includes featurettes, commentary, location documentary and more. (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)

Clerks II

Twelve years of memories at the Quick Stop convenience store go up in flames when a fire destroys the building, forcing clerks Dante (Brian O’Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson) to work at the local burger joint. Engaged to be married and celebrating his last day, Dante confronts his past, present and future, wondering where he’s been and where he is going. Wherever it is, dealers Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (director Kevin Smith) will be there, plying their goods and offering righteous advice. Writer-director Smith pulls out all the stops with the raucous sequel, which takes no prisoners. Hilarious two-disc edition contains extensive documentaries, bloopers, video diaries, commentaries and so much more. (Weinstein/Genius)

Strangers with Candy

Comedy Central’s politically incorrect spoof finds its way to the big screen and, without the restrictions of censors, emerges as a bawdy and bodacious black comedy. Star/ co-creator Amy Sedaris is gut-bustingly funny as Jerri Blank, a 47-year-old loser fresh out of prison and anxious to pick up where she left off, as a high school student. Hoping to make her father (in a coma) proud, Jerri approaches every day like an after school special, taking the establishment to task and then summarizing the experience as a lesson learned. Unfortunately, all of the characters in Strangers with Candy are clueless, from the twisted teachers and scheming principal to a gold-digging stepmother and a gay brother in denial. So wrong it’s right, Strangers with Candy includes deleted scenes, witty commentary, music videos, trailers and featurettes. (ThinkFilm)

The L-Word

The continuing drama featuring lesbian characters enters its third season on this four-disc collection featuring all 12 episodes. Showtime allows the filmmakers and actors to treat the subject matter with honesty, tenderness, thoughtfulness and frankness. Unlike the films on late- night cable, The L-Word never treats its characters as objects of titillation. With a cast led by Mia Kirshner as a writer living with her boyfriend in Los Angeles who becomes bi-curious, Jennifer Beals and Laurel Hollomon as women looking to start a family, and Karina Lombard as the owner of the local coffeehouse, The L-Word is entertaining and informative. Documentaries and featurettes complete the collection. (Showtime Entertainment)

Pulse

Empty your bladder before watching this techno-thriller. When one of the group commits suicide, a man’s friends learn he has unlocked a signal allowing the dead to cross over. As the signal grows, they attempt to stop the invasion, literally turning the planet into a ghost town. Unlike the dozens of teen/video-game thrillers, Pulse deals with what happens when the technology we create to make our lives easier creates its own technology, and then uses that knowledge to control us. Unrated DVD is positively creepy and scares up additional and deleted scenes, featurettes, commentaries and trailer. (Weinstein/Genius)

~ HOME MOVIES ~

~ HOME MOVIES ~

Superman Returns

After a five-year absence, the man of steel (Brandon Routh) returns to Earth to discover how much the planet has changed. Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) is married and has a son, chaos literally rains from the skies, and old nemesis Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) is up to his old tricks, using kryptonite and science to create a new land mass. Director Bryan Sin-ger (The X-Men) infuses the film with dazzling action, human emotion, spectacular imagery and respect for what has come before. Two-disc DVD flies high with explosive extras, including in-depth documentaries, featurettes, additional scenes and a look at resurrecting Marlon Brando from the dead. (Warner Home Entertainment)

Scoop

Woody Allen’s latest is a small comedy with a big heart. Allen’s muse, Scarlett Johansson, stars as Sondra Pransky, an American journalism student studying in London who stumbles across a major scoop: a handsome aristocrat (Hugh Jackman) may be the notorious Tarot Card Killer. Her only clue is the spirit of a dead reporter (Ian Mc-Shane), who died before he could solve the case and plans to use Sondra as his human proxy. Woody Allen is hilarious as an aging magician caught in the middle. Light, breezy, filled with funny one-liners and observations. (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)

You, Me and Dupree

Eternal third wheel and slacker Dupree (Owen Wilson) invades the home of friend and newlywed Carl (Matt Dillon) with no sign of ever leaving. Walking a thin line with new wife Molly (Kate Hudson) and her controlling father (Michael Douglas), Carl has no choice but to kick his best friend to the curb. What sounds like an easy task turns into a battle of wits and wills as Carl quickly becomes an outsider in his own home. Lots of laughs and genuine heart. DVD includes alternate ending, outtakes and deleted scenes. (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)

See No Evil

Nasty slice of horror as eight petty criminals agree to three days of community service refurbishing an old hotel in exchange for time off. Unfortunately, the old hotel still has one guest, a serial killer named Jacob Goodnight (wrestler Kane), intent on cleaning house once and for all. Lots of dark house thrills as the delinquents and their keepers try and stay one blade ahead of the psychopath. DVD piles on the gore and extras, with commentaries, featurettes and promos. (Lionsgate)

Wah-Wah

Actor Richard E. Grant draws from his life to write-direct this funny and spirited coming-of-age drama set in Africa during the 1960s. Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy) serves as the eyes and ears of the story, a boy named Ralph who watches as everything in his life comes to an end: his parents’ marriage, the British return of Swaziland to Africa, boarding school. Through it all, Ralph manages to find diversion in school, with his friends and his first love. Grant has assembled a stellar cast to bring the events to life, including Gabriel Byrne, Miranda Richardson, Emily Watson and Julie Waters. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Family Guy: Volume 4

Season Four serves up 14 more episodes on three discs, pushing the envelope even further with episodes on gay marriage, evolution (absolutely side-splitting), censorship, pedophiles, serial killers, religion and erotica. Each episode is stuffed to the gills with hilarious spoofs, one-liners, nonsensical flashbacks and musical numbers, all wrapped up in an uncensored, politically incorrect state of mind. The creators and cast log on for extensive commentaries (naughty and hilarious), funny featurettes, scene studies and over 40 deleted scenes. Alex Borstein, the voice of Lois, steps out in front of the camera for an equally animated comedy special, Drop Dead Gorgeous, which finds the diminutive comedian standing tall as she delivers over 70 minutes of biting comedy sure to leave a mark. You’ll laugh until it hurts, and then Borstein really gets down and dirty. (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)

home movies

home movies

Cars

In a world inhabited by cars, free-wheeling race car Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) wants to be No. 1, but when he’s sidetracked on his way to an important race, he learns there’s more to life than spinning your wheels for fame and glory. Beautifully rendered computer animation makes this tale more human than some live action films, with McQueen gaining insight and friends in a small town off Route 66. An absolute blast from the first flag to the finish line, the DVD features an original Mater cartoon and One Man Band short, deleted scenes and more. (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)

Little Man

After botching a jewel heist, diminutive thief Calvin Simms (Marlon Wayans through the magic of CGI) masquerades as a baby in order to gain entrance to a couple’s house to retrieve the booty. Instead, Calvin becomes the childless couple’s dream come true and must endure, much as the audience must, one humiliating event after another. More seedy than funny, the jokes are about as funny as a dirty diaper. DVD adds to the frivolity with extended and deleted scenes, featurettes, commentary. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Wordplay

Patrick Creadon’s documentary on New York Times crossword puzzle editor Will Shortz is an unexpected delight, a smart, funny, literary salute to the written word. With some of the puzzle’s major fans chiming in, Creadon is able to give us a clear and concise picture of the “puzzle master” who creates these daily teases. The mind set of the people who salivate when the paper arrives is quite entertaining, little vignettes showing how so many different people can become as one. The always entertaining DVD includes filmmaker commentary, deleted scenes, puzzles and featurettes. (IFC Films)

Who Killed The Electric Car?

Speculation meets documentation in this fascinating documentary by Chris Paine examining the birth and quick death of General Motors’ EV-1 fleet of electric cars. While the on-screen talking heads make good points about the environment and the need for sustainable energy sources, the film rarely goes outside the envelope, examining the real truth why these cars failed to catch on with the public. Regardless of the omissions, the documentary stands as a testament to an idea ahead of its time. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Police Squad

The Airplane filmmakers unleashed their collective talents on this short-lived television series that served as the precursor to the Naked Gun film franchise. Leslie Nielsen and Alan North star as intrepid detective Frank Drebin and Captain Ed Hocken, tackling every oddball case that crosses their paths. Too hip for television, Police Squad was filled with fast-flying puns, sight gags, spoofs and double takes, which set the stage for weekly hilarity. Outrageous guest appearances make each episode a treat, while the DVD includes interviews, gag reel, featurettes, casting sessions, celebrity death shots and more. A must have! (Paramount Home Entertainment)

Diver Dan

Fifteen nostalgic episodes of this blast from the past, a syndicated Philadelphia children’s show starring the heroic Diver Dan, the lovely Miss Minerva and an ocean full of puppet friends and foes. Shot through a live aquarium, each episode featured Diver Dan and his fish friends and their attempt to outwit the evil Baron Barracuda and his sidekick, Triggerfish. Clever puns, quaint sets and underwater adventure come together on this time-tripping DVD. (Alpha Home Entertainment)

~ HOME MOVIES ~

~ HOME MOVIES ~

The Da Vinci Code

The big-screen version of Dan Brown’s bestseller features a strong performance by Tom Hanks as a professor of symbols, equally strong direction by Ron Howard, exotic locations, striking cinematography and interesting actors. It also features lengthy scenes of religious psychobabble, extended chases, shady characters and occasional by-the-book dialogue, keeping a good film from becoming great. That didn’t stop The Da Vinci Code from becoming an international success, whose popularity is charted on the 2-disc DVD’s extensive extras, including more mystery and intrigue. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Accepted

After failing to get into college, enterprising student Bartleby Gaines (an extremely likable Justin Long) conspires with similar students to create a fake school, turning academia on its ear and riling the dean of the neighboring university. Animal House meets Risky Business when their fake Internet site attracts a real student body, anxious to pay for the opportunity to belong. Lewis Black is a hoot as a former professor turned cynic, recruited to serve as dean. Laughs and life lessons rolled into one tidy package. The laughs continue on DVD’s deleted scenes, gag reel, featurettes and more. (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)

Ice Age: The Meltdown

Hilarious sequel finds Mammoth Manny (Ray Romano), Sid the Sloth (John Leguizamo) and Diego the Sabertooth Tiger (Denis Leary) trying to outrun the impending flood of their valley when the ice walls holding back the water begin to melt. Their exodus becomes even more adventurous when they encounter Ellie (Queen Latifah), a female mammoth who thinks she’s an opossum, and who steals Manny’s heart. Excellent sight gags, dazzling landscapes, sharp dialogue and fun characters make this one a keeper. DVD includes new animated shorts, commentaries, featurettes, games and more. (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)

John Tucker Must Die

Handsome high school Lothario John Tucker (Jesse Metcalfe) dates three different girls from three different cliques, knowing they will never meet. Then an accident brings together all three girls, who team up with the new girl on campus to ruin Tucker’s life. There are plenty of laughs as Tucker turns every attempt into a triumph, forcing the girls even deeper down the rabbit hole. Brittany Snow is sweet as Tucker’s latest target, a vulnerable girl looking for true love. DVD piles on the extras with an extended cut, deleted scenes, commentary, featurettes and a quiz. (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)

Joyeux Noel

Powerful indictment on the senselessness of war, this French drama, based on actual events, is both gripping and hopeful. Writer-director Christian Carion takes us back to the western front on Christmas Eve 1914, when the troops of Scotland, France and Germany laid down their weapons for one night of peace. Against the wishes of their superiors, the soldiers bury their dead and come together to learn the only things that separate them are orders. The horrors of war slowly give way to humanity, proving that, no matter what language you speak, no matter where you were born, without the uniform we are all the same. Powerful stuff, delivered with conviction and honesty. DVD include filmmaker commentary. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man

Like all compilations, this documentary performance film spotlighting singer-songwriter icon Leonard Cohen and his multitude of famous fans is a hit-and-miss affair. Filmmaker Lian Lunson fills the documentary with performances by Cohen, friends and fans, documentary footage and interviews, but what’s really missing is Cohen. There’s so much tribute and worshipping going on that there’s little time to emphasize the brilliance of Cohen’s work. His influence is felt in every frame, but the various musical tributes aren’t nearly as powerful or captivating as the real deal. Still, those with an interest in Cohen will find the DVD, which includes additional musical performances, interviews and commentary, fascinating. (Lionsgate)

home movies

home movies

Over the Hedge

Comic strip by Michael Fry and T. Lewis comes brilliantly to life in this hilarious computer-animated comedy. After their winter hibernation, a group of woodland animals, led by conservative turtle Verne (voice of Garry Shandling), begin collecting food. The menagerie are stunned and confused when they encounter a large wall separating them from the rest of the forest. After learning from newcomer R.J. (Bruce Willis), a conniving racoon, that the wall is really a hedge, and on the other side is a whole new world filled with houses, humans and, best of all, human food, the creatures summon their courage and investigate. Working with ulterior motives, R.J. trains the creatures in the fine art of reaping prepackaged rewards. Conflicts arise when the head of the homeowners association hires an exterminator. Plenty of animated mayhem and laughs, an extreme pleasure to watch and own. DVD expands on the theme with family-friendly extras. (DreamWorks Home Entertainment)

Nacho Libre

Not as endearing as their debut Napoleon Dynamite, this affectionate homage to Mexican wrestling and young love by director Jared Hess (with co-writer Jerusha Hess) remains a charmer. Jack Black is a little over the top as a former orphan who now works as a cook at the same monastery. Nacho’s dreams of wrest-ling are taken out of mothballs when he sees the sport as a way to earn money for better food. With the assistance of a former thief, Nacho manages to land enough gigs to make ends meet and win the heart of a new Sister at the monastery. Even as it comes close to caricatures, Nacho Libre celebrates its characters and plot. It would have been easy to make fun of the sport, but Hess finds more humor in the people the sport attracts. DVD offers the star and filmmakers in a tag team commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes (some as funny as the movie) and musical outtakes. (Paramount Home Entertainment)

Mission: Impossible III

Alias creator J.J. Abrams was recruited to direct this installment of the franchise and, except for a handful of exciting set pieces, the film feels like an episode of Alias. Like the on-the-spot masks created by lasers, everything in M:I III feels manufactured. Tom Cruise shades agent Ethan Hunt with various levels of intensity, but there’s no real connection among the characters. They feel like chess pieces, waiting for Abrams to move them around the board. M:I III occasionally moves at a clip and touches down in ports near and far, but when the team arrives, there is not much for them to do. This film lacks the ingenuity of the previous installments, with extremely obvious plot holes. Logic rarely comes into play, with the filmmakers jumping from one page to the next without much thought. By the time they reach the final page, we wonder why they bothered. Filled with double agents, chilly villains (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and globe-trotting action, M:I III isn’t bad; it’s just not what you expect from the series. Two-disc DVD unlocks numerous featurettes, commentaries, deleted scenes and tribute montages. (Paramount Home Entertainment)

Keeping Up With the Steins

Jeremy Piven (Entourage) and Larry Miller (Law & Order) play former partners, now rival entertainment agents hoping to provide their respective sons with the most spectacular bar mitzvah. Garry Marshall’s (Beaches) son Scott directed this sweet and funny comedy starring Daryl Sabara (Spy Kids) as Benjamin Fiedler, whose father Adam (Piven) feels compelled to outdo his former partner’s Titanic-theme party on a cruise ship. After reluctantly learning Hebrew for the event, Benjamin begins to understand what a bar mitzvah is really about, and decides to take matters into his own hands. Engaging cast, pleasant pace, nice message make this a comedy for everyone. Deleted scenes, commentary (including a tit for tat with Garry and Scott), and behind-the-scenes featurette. (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)

The Road to Guantanamo

Timely and occasionally nightmarish look at what happens when innocent men are swept up in a terrorist dragnet. Filmmakers Michael Winterbottom (Wonderland) and former editor Mat Whitecross punch all the right buttons in this harrowing tale of three young British Muslim men traveling to Pakistan for a wedding just days after 9/11. The men are taken into custody as potential al-Qaeda members and shipped off to Guantan-amo Bay, where they are held for over two years without charges or representation. Examining the effects of a failed system, the film explores numerous topical issues, including the startling revelation that brings all of this insanity into focus. No one denies bad guys exist; the film is an excellent argument in favor of being sure we know who the bad guys are. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Addams Family: Season One

They’re kooky and spooky, and finally on DVD. The Addams Family introduced the world to a new set of family values, where children were allowed to play with explosives and deadly plants, and guests were always welcome. The grand joke was that the Addamses never saw themselves as outcasts or eccentrics. All 22 episodes of Season One are here, with featurettes, karaoke, commentary tracks and drawings. (MGM Home Entertainment)

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