NEW IN STORES:
Buster Keaton Industrial Strength (NR) Buster Keaton. Two-disc set for fans of “The Great Stone Face,” providing an opportunity to rediscover much of Buster Keaton’s rarely seen material from the silent and sound eras. Through newly restored and remastered shorts, features, forgotten industrial films, promotional films, commercials, live television appearances and outtakes, Industrial Strength Keaton pays homage to a career spanning nearly every form of recorded visual media from 1917 until his final work in 1965. 330 minutes. DVD INFO: No details available.
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (R) A film by Alex Gibney. 113 minutes. Filmmaker Alex Gibney says, “Like most people, I was a distant observer of the Enron scandal. Then I read The Smartest Guys in the Room. I became fascinated by the degree to which the executives at Enron were like filmmakers working on a science fiction movie: they just made things up.” Gibney’s film, based on the book that spells out the whole scandal, is packed with amazing incidents, jaw-dropping quotes and fascinating ideas. Details of the crimes are presented in an understandable fashion — well, you understand the incidents, though many of the crimes are so surreal that it’s hard to believe they actually occurred. Riveting. 113 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes audio commentary by: writer-director Alex Gibney; Deleted scenes; “The Making of Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” featuring research footage and exclusive interviews with writer-director Alex Gibney and investigative journalist Bethany McLean; Enron company skits; Enron commercial; Where are they now?: updates on the executives, traders, and whistleblowers; A gallery of Enron cartoons; plus the original Fortune magazine articles. — EJO
The Hunt for Eagle One (R) Mark Dacascos, Theresa Randle, Rutger Hauer. Lieutenant Matt Daniels (Dacascos) leads a joint assault force in a daring amphibious raid to capture al-Qaeda terrorists who have holed up with Philippine rebels. In the meantime, on a related mission to capture a notorious terrorist leader, Captain Amy Jennings’ (Randle) helicopter is shot down deep in enemy territory. Lt. Daniels must lead his team into the crossfire to save Capt. Jennings and destroy the terrorists’ bio-weapons before they can be unleashed. 89 minutes. DVD INFO: The film is presented in the widescreen format.
Junebug (R) Amy Adams, Amy Barefoot, Matt Besser, Beth Bostic, Embeth Davidtz, Alessandro Nivola. A dealer in outsider art threatens the equilibrium of her middle-class in-laws in North Carolina. Madeline (Davidtz) is a go-getting art gallery owner from Chicago, recently married to George (Nivola), a near-perfect Southern beau. When Madeline needs to close a deal with a reclusive North Carolina artist, George introduces her to his family: prickly mother Peg (Celia Weston), taciturn father Eugene (Scott Wilson), cranky brother Johnny (Ben McKenzie), and Johnny’s pregnant, childlike wife Ashley (Adams), who is awe-struck by her glamorous sister-in-law. Madeline’s presence exposes the fragile family dynamics as hidden resentments and anxieties surface. 102 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes audio commentary by cast members Adams and Davidtz; 10 deleted scenes; plus the featurettes Places & Faces, Singing a Hymn, Meerkats Gone Wild, Ashley & Johnnie, and All About Peg.
Lord of War: Special Edition (R) Nicolas Cage, Ethan Hawke, Jared Leto, Bridget Moynahan, Eamonn Walker. Based-on-fact black comedy/drama starring Cage as international arms smuggler Uri Orlov. The story follows Uri from his humble beginnings as a Soviet immigrant in 1970s Brooklyn and peaks with his involvement in selling off the stockpiled arsenal of post-Cold War Ukraine to—among other top clients – the sadistic African dictator André Baptiste, Sr. (Walker). Jared Leto costars as Uri’s little brother Vitaly, whose conscience and a burgeoning cocaine problem get in the way of business and Ethan Hawke plays a sanctimonious Interpol agent with a vendetta against Uri. 122 minutes. DVD INFO: The 2-disc special edition includes audio commentary by the director; Making a Killing: Inside the International Arms Trade; Brothers in Arms Documentary; Shooting Call: The Making of Lord of War; Weapons of Trade; plus deleted scenes.
Operation Manhunt (NR) Harry Townes, Iria Jensen, Jacques Aubuchon, Robert Goudier. In 1945, Igor Gouzenko, a code clerk in the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa, bolted for the freedom of the West and took many secret documents with him that helped lay waste to a good portion of Russia’s Western Hemisphere spy system. His headline-making defection later served as the basis for 20th Century-Fox’s The Iron Curtain in 1947. This 1954 film, shot in a semi-documentary style, tells how the Soviets might attempt to kill Gouzenko, then living in carefully disguised circumstances somewhere in Canada. The real Gouzenko appears (with his face covered) in the epilogue. 77 minutes. DVD INFO: No details available.
Sueno (PG-13) John Leguizamo, Elizabeth Pena, Nestor Serrano, Jose Maria Yazpik, Ana Claudia Talancón. Leguizamo stars in this Latin musical as Antonio, a talented young musician from Mexico, pursuing his dream of becoming a singer in Los Angeles. Consistently thwarted by constant rejection, he’s about to give up when his manager, El Zorro, an eclectic and a colorful radio personality, convinces him to enter a local radio-sponsored Latino singing competition. He finally will have his chance to make his music heard...if he can just find a band. At the same time, he finds himself involved in a romantic triangle with two very different women, a neighbor in her 40s (Peña) and a young veterinary student (Talancon). The film has no traditional score, but rather utilizes the original works of over 20 different bands and musicians. 108 minutes. DVD INFO: Widescreen with no bonus materials.
Swindled (NR) Ernesto Alterio, Victoria Abril, Federico Luppi, Manuel Alexandre, Gilbert Melki. With precision and finesse, director Miguel Bardem delivers a stylish, Grifters-style thriller that would make David Mamet proud. The Slick, handsome Ernesto (Alterio), has spent a lifetime in crime, working the three-card monte on suckers on the streets of Madrid. His small-time lifestyle changes when he meets the elderly El Manco (Alexandre), a veteran of the trade with connections to the mysterious Federico (Luppi), the king of all con men. After the three ascend to the rarified world of high living, Federico proposes a real estate scam worth millions. The only hitch is that to pull it off, they need the help of Federico’s ex-lover Pilar (Abril). The chase is on, as the team embarks on their complicated new con… but can everyone be trusted? 107 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes stills from the film.
Underclassman (PG-13) Nick Cannon, Roselyn Sanchez, Shawn Ashmore, Cheech Marin. Action comedy. When a student at an elite private school gets murdered, streetwise LA cop Tracy “Tre” Stokes (Cannon) gets assigned as the undercover detective to track down the killer. The resulting culture shock is only one of his difficulties. Using his talent for hunches, Stokes wastes no time employing unorthodox methods of investigation. 95 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes audio commentary with the writers and director; a deleted scene; a Making-of featurette; plus cast auditions.
Venom (R) Agnes Bruckner, Bijou Phillips, D.J. Cotrona, Jonathan Jackson, Meagan Good. Voodoo horror tale set deep in the swamps of Louisiana, centering around a group of teenagers who are trying to uncover the truth behind a friend’s mysterious death. What they discover is an evil force worse than anything they could have possibly imagined. Now, they are running for their lives. 85 minutes. DVD INFO: Includes cast auditions; Voodoo Nightmare: The Making of Venom; plus storyboard-to-film comparison
TV on DVD: THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN: SEASON 2, LOIS AND CLARK – THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN: SEASON 2, DOOGIE HOWSER M.D.: SEASON 3, THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW: SEASON 3, and TITUS: SEASON 3. 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.”