NEW IN STORES:
G (R) Richard T. Jones, Blair Underwood, Chenoa Maxwell, Andre Royo. A hip-hop reimagining of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. A young Gatsbyish hip-hopper named Summer G (Jones) falls for a middle to upper class woman while in college. After she rejects him for a fellow social climber, Summer G spends 10 years building a hip-hop empire, then moves to the Hamptons where he finds the object of his affections. 97 minutes. DVD INFO: Widescreen.
Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (R) Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Joy Bryant, Viola Davis, Terrence Dashon Howard, Rhyon Nicole Brown. An orphaned street kid becomes a powerful drug dealer, then turns away from crime to pursue a promising music career. 50 Cent says that about 75 percent of the story is based on his real life story. 134 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 “A Portrait of the Artist: The Making of Get Rich or Die Tryin.’”
I Love Your Work (R) Giovanni Ribisi, Franka Potente, Christina Ricci, Joshua Jackson, Vince Vaughn, Elvis Costello. Psychological drama about a movie star who is losing his grip on reality. With his celebrity marriage to the beautiful actress Mia (Potente) already strained after only a year together, Gray Evans (Ribisi) is looking for escape. A chance encounter with a video clerk’s wife, Jane (Marisa Coughlan), leads to a dangerous obsession over what he imagines to be an ideal love. The layered narrative swings around on itself, taking viewers on a journey through love, madness and paranoia all the while holding on to a darkly comic view of its own absurd world of crazy Russian bodyguards (Jared Harris), loyal assistants (Judy Greer), playboy producers (Vaughn) and true celebrity (Costello). 111 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes audio commentary with Ribisi and director Adam Goldberg; plus a music gallery.
King Kong (PG-13) Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Colin Hanks, Andy Serkis, Evan Parke, Jamie Bell. Peter Jackson’s reimagining/homage to the classic tale of beauty and a beast is impressive as hell, to be sure. It’s also quite possibly the most self-indulgent movie ever made. The new Kong is slightly over three hours long, with far too many embellishments to the original story. Too much backstory about Ann Darrow (Watts) and various crew members of the adventure-bound ship (the first hour needs serious trimming). Too much about the mutual affection between Ann and Kong (wait until you see them playfully slipping and sliding on a frozen lake). Universal Studios’ contract with Jackson mandated that the finished film be no longer than two and a half hours. King Kong would have been a better movie if they had held him to it. That said, Jackson’s homage to his childhood favorite is a real corker. I’d add more adjectives, but I don’t want to be indulgent. 188 minutes. DVD INFO: Three separately packaged DVDs are available: Two of them preserve the film in the anamorphic widescreen format, while the third hacks off nearly a third of the picture for the fullscreen (aka pan & scan) version. Shop carefully. The two regular edition versions include “The Volkswagen Toureg & King Kong” and “Wish You Were Here.” The two-disc special edition includes a special introduction by director Peter Jackson; “Post-Production Diaries,” Jackson takes you on a journey revealing virtually every aspect of post-production with nearly three hours of exclusive behind the scenes footage; “Kong’s New York, 1933,” 1930s New York comes alive in this feature that explores vaudeville, the skyscraper boom, the construction of the Empire State building and more; plus “Skull Island: A Natural History,” travel to treacherous Skull Island with Jackson and his crew.
Memoirs of a Geisha: Special Edition (PG-13) Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe, Michelle Yeoh, Gong Li. Sumptuous tale of a peasant girl (Ziyi Zhang from House of Flying Daggers) who rises to the top of the geisha class, supported by Michelle Yeoh of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but treated with disdain by Gong Li from Raise the Red Lantern. Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai) plays a man who just might be Mr. Right. Based on the popular novel by Arthur Golden and directed by Rob Marshall, whose last film was a little something called Chicago. 136 minutes. DVD INFO: Two separately packaged two-disc sets 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 Rob Marshall and co-producer John DeLuca; production commentary; “Sayuri’s Other Journey: From the Novel to the Screen”; “The Road to Japan”; “Geisha Bootcamp”; “Building the Hanamachi,” recreating the entire village of old Kyoto in a pasture in Southern California; “The Look of a Geisha”; “The Music of Memoirs”; “A Geisha’s Dance”; “The World of the Geisha”; “The Way of the Sumo”; “Rob Marshall In-Depth”; plus “A Day with Chef Nobu Matsuhisa,” world-renowned Chef Nobu Matsuhisa discusses his role in Memoirs and shares some of his favorite recipes.
Sliver: Unrated Edition (NR) Sharon Stone, William Baldwin, Tom Berenger, Keene Curtis. Carly Norris (Stone), a demure divorcée and book editor, moves in to New York City’s tall, elegant Sliver building. Unbeknownst to Carly, fatal mysteries enshroud her new accommodations. Soon the center of attention, Carly is befriended by Gus Hale (Keene Curtis), left gifts by a secret admirer and pursued by two handsome men — Zeke Hawkins (William Baldwin) and Jack Lansford (Tom Berenger). However, someone is using a very sophisticated surveillance system to watch the intimate lives of these tenants, including Carly. 108 minutes. DVD INFO: Releasing an unrated edition of a previously R-rated film promises a racier version — you will have to figure out what was changed on your own, though, as the DVD includes no explanations and no bonus materials.
A Sound of Thunder (PG-13) Edward Burns, Catherine McCormack, Ben Kingsley, Jemima Rooper. Based on a short story by master of science fiction Ray Bradbury, the sci-fi action/adventure tale is set in the future, when time travel is not only possible — it’s a lucrative monopoly. It’s especially profitable for Charles Hatton (Kingsley), the owner of Time Safari Inc., a travel agency that specializes in escorting wealthy clients on exclusive hunting trips back to the Prehistoric Age. When an expedition is compromised and alters the landscape of the future, a seasoned scout (Burns) teams up with the inventor of the time travel technology (McCormack) to unravel the mystery behind the catastrophic historical changes that are threatening to erase humanity from existence. FYI: This film has been on the shelf for two years. 103 minutes. DVD INFO: Widescreen.
Stay (R) Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Ryan Gosling, Elizabeth Reaser, Bob Hoskins. In this reality-bending thriller, a distraught young man announces to his psychiatrist that he plans to commit suicide in three days. The psychiatrist’s desperate attempts to help his new patient lead him through the city on an incredible, nightmarish journey. 98 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes scene specific commentary by director Marc Forster and the cast and crew; plus the featurettes “Departing Visions” and “The Music of Stay.”
Triumph of the Will (NR) This 1934 documentary of the Sixth Nazi Party Congress at, ironically enough, Nuremberg, is a frightening example of powerful film propaganda. It helped launch Hitler into power and its sweeping style was later used by American director Frank Capra for his war documentaries. 122 minutes. DVD INFO: The new digital transfer includes original German language with newly translated removable English subtitles; audio commentary by historian Dr. Anthony R. Santoro; plus the Leni Riefenstahl Short Film Day Of Freedom (17 minutes).
TV on DVD AMERICAN MUSCLECAR: SEASON 1, THE ANDY MILONAKIS SHOW: SEASON 1, DANGER MOUSE: SEASON 5 & 6, DEGRASSI: SEASON 3, HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN: SEASON 3, INVISIBLE MAN: SEASON 1, KNOTS LANDING: SEASON 1, NORTHERN EXPOSURE: SEASON 4, QUANTUM LEAP: SEASON 4, ROBOT CHICKEN: SEASON 1, SIX FEET UNDER: SEASON 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.”