DVD in Stores 1/04/06 

NEW IN STORES Broken Flowers (NR) Bill Murray, Jeffrey Wright, Sharon Stone, Frances


Broken Flowers (NR) Bill Murray, Jeffrey Wright, Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange, Tilda Swinton. Bill Murray plays a stone-faced loner (yes, again) who goes on a reluctant quest after receiving an anonymous letter from an ex-lover stating that he has a 19-year-old son who is looking for his father. Stone, Conroy, Lange and Swinton play the exes. The pairing of ultra-cool indie filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and low-key actor/comic/legend Bill Murray sounds inspired, but the film didn’t work for me. I know I’m supposed to appreciate Murray’s ultra-subtle approach to acting, but really, what is the line between minimalism and monotone? Perhaps if the film around him had something to say I might have enjoyed this subtle performance as much as I enjoyed his other ones, but the movie is as remote and shielded as Murray’s character. 105 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes “Girls in the Bus”; “Broken Flowers: Start to Finish”; plus soundtrack information. —EJO

The Cave (PG-13) Cole Hauser, Morris Chestnut, Eddie Cibrian, Daniel Dae Kim, Rick Ravanello, Lena Headey. A sexy bunch of underwater explorers are summoned to Romania’s Carpathian Mountains, where scientists have discovered a gigantic cave network containing a lengthy underground river. Cutting-edge breathing gear gets unpacked, camaraderie and budding romances develop, and then everyone becomes trapped in the depths, where monsters start picking off cast members, one by one. 97 minutes. DVD INFO: Two separately packaged DVDs are available: One preserves the film in the anamorphic widescreen format, while the other hacks off nearly a third of the picture for the fullscreen (aka pan & scan) version. Shop carefully. Both versions include audio commentary by the director and by the writer; plus the featurettes “Designing Evolution” and “Into the Cave.”

Dumb and Dumber: Unrated Edition (NR) Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Lauren Holly, Karen Duffy, Mike Starr, Charles Rocket. Popular Farrelly Brothers comedy from 1994. When best friends Lloyd Christmas (Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Daniels) both get fired, Lloyd convinces Harry to travel to Colorado to search for his dream woman, Mary Swanson (Holly). Little does Lloyd know that Mary’s in Aspen trying to find her kidnapped husband. Soon the two have gotten mixed up in the crime, and their wacky exploits are leading the FBI straight to the crooks. 110 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes two alternate endings; nine deleted or alternate scenes; retrospective documentary; plus a TV spot and theatrical trailers.

The Gospel: Special Edition (PG) Boris Kodjoe, Nona Gaye, Idris Elba, Clifton Powell, Aloma Wright. David (Kodjoe), a successful R&B singer, returns home when he learns that his father, a much-loved bishop in the local church, is ill and becomes disturbed by the grasping, self-serving issues that plague the church. 103 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes audio commentary by the filmmakers; deleted scenes; extended musical performances; a making-of featurette; plus a photo montage.

A Great Day in Harlem (NR) Dizzy Gillespie, Marian McPartland, Sonny Rollins, Gerry Mulligan, Art Blakey, Count Basie, Thelonious Monk, Gene Krupa, Roy Eldridge, Charles Mingus, Mary Lou Williams and others. Art Kane, now deceased, coordinated a group photograph of all the top jazz musicians in NYC in the year 1958, for a piece in Esquire magazine. Just about every jazz musician at the time showed up for the photo shoot, which took place in front of a brownstone near the 125th Street station. The documentary compiles interviews of many of the musicians in the photograph to talk about the day of the photograph, and it shows film footage taken that day by Milt Hinton and his wife. 60 minutes. DVD INFO: The two-disc set includes new video profiles of the 59 musicians; bonus footage; and featurettes on Art Kane, Bill Charlap and Kenny Washington; copycat photos; plus stories from the making-of the documentary.

Secuestro Express (R) Mia Maestro, Carlos Julio Molina, Pedro Perez, Carlos Madera, Jean Paul Leroux, Ruben Blades. After a decadent night of clubbing in the Venezuelan city of Caracas, Carla (Maestro) and her fiancé, Martin (Leroux), are kidnapped by a trio of violent toughs, one of the legion of Latin American gangs who kidnap wealthy people in order to demand a high ransom. As they wait for Carla’s doctor father (Blades) to produce the money, the thugs drive their victims across a nightmarish, nocturnal gauntlet of filthy landscapes and untrustworthy characters, beating them and threatening them with more extreme violence — especially when it appears that they just might get a reprieve. 87 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes audio commentary by writer/director Jonathan Jakubowicz; audio commentary by the director and cast (in Spanish); deleted scenes; “Secuestro Express: The Film and the Facts”; the making of Secuestro Express; plus Vagos Y Maleantes music video.

Snatch: Deluxe Edition (R) Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Farina, Vinnie Jones, Brad Pitt, Rade Sherbedgia. Snappy caper flick from director Guy Ritchie. While structurally similar to his last film, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, this violent little black comedy is more polished and entertaining. Del Toro and his gang snatch an 84-karat diamond and every low-life in Britain tries to get their hands on it. Along the way, we meet a goofy bare-knuckle boxer (Pitt) with an accent so dense that it is virtually incomprehensible. Mayhem mixes with humor as storylines crisscross like mad and everything goes wrong. Crude fun. 103 minutes. DVD INFO: The two-disc set includes audio commentary by director Guy Richie and the producer; a making-of featurette; deleted scenes; filmographies; production notes; a photo gallery; storyboard comparisons and more. —EJO

Wedding Crashers: Uncorked NR (R-rated edition also available) Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Christopher Walken, Rachel McAdams, Isla Fisher. Adult comedy about a pair of Washington, D.C., divorce mediators that spend each summer crashing weddings to eat and drink hearty, socialize and pick up women for one-night-stands. The film is wonderfully cast, enthusiastically performed and consistently funny, with moments that are downright hilarious. Wilson and Vaughn keep the proceedings lively even when the screenplay turns from inventive to conventional. At nearly two hours, the film is too long; a trim of 25-30 minutes would have helped a lot. The low point comes with a generally unpleasant “secret, surprise” celebrity cameo appearance towards the end. Still, the laughs win out. 119 minutes. DVD INFO: Three separately packaged DVDs are available: The “Uncorked” widescreen version preserves the film in the anamorphic widescreen format, while the other two hack off nearly a third of the picture to present fullscreen (aka pan & scan) versions. Shop carefully. The “Uncorked” versions include audio commentary by director David Dobkin; audio commentary by Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn; eight and a half minutes of additional footage; the R-rated version seen in theaters; four deleted scenes; the featurettes “Event Planning and The Rules of Wedding Crashing”; and The Sights “Circus” music video; plus an interactive soundtrack promo. —EJO

TV on DVD ALIEN NATION: THE COMPLETE SERIES, ALL IN THE FAMILY: SEASON 5, HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL: SEASON 3, HUNTER: SEASON 3, SILK STALKINGS: SEASON 4, plus several GUNSMOKE compilations. NOTE: Some studios have the nerve to market box sets of TV series containing episodes that were trimmed down by several minutes each for airing in syndication. Before laying down your money, make sure the box set includes the words “original and uncut.”

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