NEW IN STORES:
Bukowski: Born Into This (NR) Charles Bukowski, Bono, Sean Penn, Harry Dean Stanton, Barbet Schroeder, Taylor Hackford. Documentary about notorious writer, drinker and recluse Charles Bukowski (1920-1994), incorporating a large quantity of grainy black-and-white interview footage shot in the 1970s of the cult figure driving around L.A. while talking frankly about his life. With readings of his poems peppered throughout, the documentary traces his life from his miserable childhood to his 14-year tenure as a postal worker, his column “Notes of a Dirty Old Man” in the L.A. Free Press, his foul mouth and dark outlook, his misogynistic view of women, his books and his steady, heavy drinking. 113 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes audio commentary by director John Dullaghan; a peek at previously unpublished poems and “Dinosauria, We”; a behind-the-scenes featurette; Bukowski’s final home footage from 1992; a deleted scene; extended interviews with Bono, Linda Lee Bukowski, Taylor Hackford and publisher John Martin; plus Tom Waits and Bono read Bukowski poetry.
Capote (R) Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Clifton Collins Jr., Chris Cooper, Bruce Greenwood, Bob Balaban, Mark Pellegrino, Amy Ryan. Capote focuses on the years Truman Capote spent writing his greatest book, In Cold Blood, the story of a murdered family in Kansas. Here we get to see the minutiae that made the man Capote a real piece of work. Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Capote is as big a queen as Elizabeth II without any of the grace. As much of a character, even caricature, as Hoffman is in this movie, he somehow remains believable. Director Bennett Miller keeps scenes intense, slow and detailed, which balances out the large and sudden jumps in time. 98 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes two audio commentary tracks; a documentary about Capote; plus two behind the scenes documentaries. —Lisa Gauthier
Chicken Little (G) Zach Braff, Garry Marshall, Joan Cusack, Steve Zahn, Amy Sedaris. Disney’s first in-house all-CG animated feature since splitting with Pixar is a let-down. The cartoon about a young chick (Braff), a belief that the sky is falling and an alien invasion has some clever moments, but most of its 81 minutes are terribly, terribly ordinary. Chicken Little strains to appear bright, zippy and irreverent — parts of it are positively frantic — but the result feels more desperate than fun. This is formula fare, with an anemic script filled with stereotypical characters and based on some very tired ideas. 81 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes deleted scenes with three alternate openings; a making-of featurette; an interactive game; two music videos; plus karaoke sing-along. —EJO
Derailed (NR; a fullscreen R-rated theatrical version is also available) Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston, Melissa George, Vincent Cassel, Robert “The RZA” Diggs. Suspense thriller about a successful ad exec and loyal family man, Charles (Owen), who meets an alluring and sexy woman (Aniston) on his morning commute. Flirtation quickly escalates into passion. But this casual fling quickly turns dangerous when a violent criminal confronts them and pulls them into a dangerous plot. 110 minutes. DVD INFO: Two separately packaged unrated 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 five minutes of additional footage unseen in theaters; a making-of featurette; plus deleted scenes.
Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story (PG) Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning, Freddy Rodriguez, Kris Kristofferson, Elisabeth Shue. No surprises in this family story, but the performances are good and the filmmakers know what they’re doing. Fanning plays a young horse fancier who dreams of winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Clearly hers is but a foolish dream … or could she have the mix of pluck and determination required to make the impossible happen? Gulp! 98 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; four featurettes; deleted scenes; and a music video. —EJO
Everything is Illuminated (PG-13) Elijah Wood, Eugene Hutz, Boris Leskin. Tale of a young man’s quest to find the woman who saved his grandfather in a small Ukrainian town that was wiped off the map by the Nazi invasion. What starts out as a journey to piece together one family’s story under the most absurd circumstances turns into a surprisingly meaningful journey with a powerful series of revelations — the importance of remembrance, the perilous nature of secrets, the legacy of the Holocaust, the meaning of friendship and, most importantly, love. 100 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes deleted scenes.
In the Mix (PG-13) Usher Raymond, Chazz Palminteri, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Anthony Fazio, Matt Gerald. Hoping to safeguard his daughter, a mafia don assigns his loyal right-hand man, Darrell, to act as his daughter’s bodyguard. Little does he realize that his daughter and Darrell have been sweet on each other for a long time, and now, things are really going to heat up. 95 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes a featurette and deleted scenes.
A League of Ordinary Gentlemen (NR) Steve Miller. Tracing the historical arc of the professional bowling tour, the documentary includes archival footage from the sport’s glory days in the 1950s and ’60s, through its near extinction in 1997. The story takes a twist when newly installed CEO Steve Miller sets about modernizing the PBA. In addition to Miller, the chronicle focuses on four significant pro bowlers: Pete Weber, Ray Williams Jr., Chris Barnes and Wayne Webb. 93 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes deleted scenes; skills challenge highlights; tips and techniques; plus PBA event clips and TV spots.
Paradise Now (PG-13) Kais Nashef, Ali Suliman, Lubna Azabal, Hiam Abbass, Amer Hlehel. Documentary. Two young Palestinian men, Khaled and Said, are recruited to carry out a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. The two men are allowed to spend what is presumably their last night alive with their families. However, since absolute secrecy must be maintained and they can tell nobody of their mission, theirs can be no proper farewell. The next morning, the men are brought to the border with bombs attached to their bodies, but the operation does not go according to plan and the two friends lose sight of each other. 90 minutes. DVD INFO: Widescreen.
The Squid and the Whale (R) Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, Halley Feiffer. The Berkman family is coming apart. So what makes this film different from all the other ones about endangered families? The members of this particular Brooklyn family are distinct, colorful — but believable — individuals. Patriarch Bernard (Daniels) is an author, writing teacher and windbag obsessed with himself. Wife Joan (Linney) is just gaining recognition as an up and coming writer. She is also quite fond of her tennis instructor (Billy Baldwin). Sixteen-year-old Walt (Eisenberg) tries to pass off Pink Floyd’s “Hey You” as his own hit in the school talent show, and 12-year-old Frank (Kline) has just discovered sex. Together, they are sometimes funny and consistently entertaining. 81 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes audio commentary by the director; a behind the scenes featurette; plus a conversation with director Noah Baumbach and film critic Philip Lopate. —EJO
TV on DVD BATMAN BEYOND: SEASON 1, BEWITCHED: SEASON 3, THE FLYING NUN: SEASON 1, GIDGET: COMPLETE SERIES, HUFF: SEASON 1, JUSTICE LEAGUE: SEASON 1, MIND OF MENCIA WITH CARLOS MENCIA: SEASON 1, OVER THERE: SEASON 1, ROSEANNE: SEASON 3, SOUTH PARK: SEASON 7, TALES FROM THE CRYPT: SEASON 3, WHITE SHADOW: SEASON 2 and THE YOUNG RIDERS: SEASON 1. 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.”