DVD in stores 1/11/06 

NEW IN STORES The Bad Sleep Well: Criterion Collection (NR) Toshiro Mifune, Takeshi K


The Bad Sleep Well: Criterion Collection (NR) Toshiro Mifune, Takeshi Kato, Masayuki Mori. A young executive hunts down his father’s killer in director Akira Kurosawa’s scathing 1960 film. Continuing his legendary collaboration with actor Toshiro Mifune, Kurosawa combines elements of Hamlet and American film noir while exposing the corrupt boardrooms of postwar corporate Japan. 150 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes two essays: one by film scholar Robert Combs, and another by screenwriter-director Michael Almereyda; plus a 36-minute making-of featurette.

The Constant Gardener (R) Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Danny Huston, Bill Nighy. Very well-reviewed spy thriller/romance from Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles (City of God), based on a best-selling novel by John Le Carré. Ralph Fiennes stars as Justin Quayle, a low-level British diplomat who has always gone about his work very quietly, not causing any problems. But after his radical wife, Tessa (Weisz), is killed, he becomes determined to find out why, thrusting himself into the middle of a very dangerous conspiracy. The story alternates between flashbacks of Justin and Tessa’s relationship and Justin’s hunt for the truth, which makes him a target — although he doesn’t know who is after him. 130 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 deleted scenes; an extended scene: “Haruma — Play in Kibera”; “Embracing Africa,” filming in Kenya; “John Le Carre: From Page to the Screen”; plus “Anatomy of a Global Thriller: Behind the Scenes of The Constant Gardener.”

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Bueller Bueller Edition (PG-13) Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Jeffrey Jones, Jennifer Grey, Ben Stein. Beloved John Hughes comedy from 1986. Ferris Bueller (Broderick) is a tricky fast-talker. He knows how to have fun, which is exactly what he sets out to do when he feigns illness and talks his parents into letting him stay home from school. The perpetually lucky Ferris enlists his hypochondriac best friend, Cameron Frye (Ruck), into springing his girlfriend, Sloane Peterson (Sara), from class, and the three embark on a raucous downtown Chicago adventure. From Wrigley Field to the Art Institute of Chicago to a Polish pride parade, Ferris and his friends make the most of their day off. But Ferris, Sloane and Cameron might not get away with playing hooky. Ferris’ sister, Jeanie (Grey), is determined to prove that Ferris is faking sick and make him pay for it, and the bumbling school dean, Ed Rooney (Jones), is sure that Ferris is pulling a fast one. 102 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes "Getting the Class Together — The Cast of Ferris Bueller"; "The Making of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Production Stories"; “Who is Ferris Bueller?"; "The World According to Ben Stein"; "Vintage Ferris Bueller: The Lost Tapes"; plus a "Class Album."

The Green Pastures (NR) Rex Ingram, Oscar Polk, Frank Wilson, George Reed, Eddie Anderson. A piece of cinematic and cultural history from 1936. "You gotta git your minds fixed," the rural preacher tells Sunday School children. And the best way to do that fixin' is from Old Testament stories narrated by the preacher, played by a black cast, backed by the joyful gospel sounds of the Hall Johnson Choir and based on Marc Connelly’s folk-themed Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Rex Ingram portrays de Lawd, who has a 100,000 things to do before any human’s next breath — like instructing Noah (Eddie Anderson); taking counsel with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; or teaching Moses tricks to dazzle Pharaoh. 93 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes audio commentary by actor LeVar Burton and black cultural scholars Herb Boyd and Ed Guerrero, plus two vintage musical shorts: "Rufus Jones for President," featuring Ethel Waters and 7-year-old Sammy Davis Jr., and "An All-Colored Vaudeville Show," featuring Adelaide Hall and the Nicholas Brothers.

Hustle and Flow (R) Terrence Howard, Anthony Anderson, D.J. Qualls, Ludacris. Redemptive story of a streetwise Memphis hustler trying to find his voice and realize his long-buried dreams. Though DJay (Howard) has always had a way with words, that gift has long been misused; the philosopher-hustler lives a dead-end life at the fringes of society. A chance encounter with an old friend, Key (Anderson), a sound engineer who has always wanted to make it in the music business, spurs DJay: If he’s ever going to make his mark, it has to happen now. Winner of the Audience Award at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. 114 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes audio commentary by writer-director Craig Brewer; "Behind the Hustle"; "By Any Means Necessary"; "Creatin’ Crunk"; plus "Memphis Hometown Premiere."

Red Eye (PG-13) Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox, Jayma Mays. Suspense thriller from director Wes Craven. Upon boarding a night flight to Miami, Lisa Reisert (McAdams) is pleasantly surprised to find that she is seated next to Jackson (Murphy), the seemingly charming man with whom she had shared a drink — and perhaps even a brief flirtation — in the airport terminal. But moments after takeoff, Jackson drops his façade and menacingly reveals the real reason he’s on board: He is an operative in a plot to kill the deputy secretary of homeland security ... and Lisa is the key to its success. If she refuses to cooperate, her own father will be killed by an assassin awaiting a call from Jackson. 86 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 director Wes Craven, producer Marianne Maddalena and editor Patrick Lussier; "The Making of Red Eye"; "Wes Craven: A New Kind of Thriller"; plus a gag reel.

Saraband (R) Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Borje Ahlstedt, Julia Dufvenius. Contemporary drama from Ingmar Bergman about the struggle for power, liberation and reconciliation. A sequel of sorts to his classic television miniseries and film Scenes From a Marriage, the production reunites the filmmaker with longtime acting collaborator Liv Ullman. Saraband is essentially a chamber piece for four actors, including Ullman and Erland Josephson, who repeat their roles as Marianne and Johan from the earlier film. 120 minutes. DVD INFO: includes a making-of featurette.

The Transporter 2 (PG-13) Jason Statham, Alessandro Gassman, Amber Vallenta, Francois Berleand, Keith David. Big action. Jason Statham returns in his signature role: ex-Special Forces operative Frank Martin, aka "The Transporter." Now retired in Miami, Martin makes a living driving for a wealthy family, including twin brothers with whom he has unexpectedly bonded. But when the boys are abducted, Martin must use all his skills to bring them to safety and discover the kidnapper’s master plan. 88 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes deleted scenes; extended fight sequences with optional commentary; "Off the Record" Shooting; plus a making-of featurette and more.

TV on DVD BOY MEETS WORLD: SEASON 4, THE FLASH: THE COMPLETE SERIES, NIGHTY NIGHT: THE COMPLETE SERIES, ONCE AND AGAIN: SEASON 3, STRONG MEDICINE: SEASON 1, VIVA LA BAM: SEASONS 4 AND 5. 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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