Monday, July 17, 2006

DVD Tuesday: Carnivàle, Tsotsi, She's the Man & More! - Xoanon @ 15:42 PST
Carnivàle: The Complete Second Season(Buy Widescreen) "Let's shake some dust, children!" The second and final season of HBO's original series, about a supernatural sideshow traveling depression-era dustbowl America, makes good on the hints of a showdown in the struggle between light and dark from the first season. As the season begins, the destinies of vagabond fugitive Ben Hawkins (Nick Stahl), healer and reluctant messiah, and the evangelical priest (Clancy Brown), driven by the devil to build his own empire as a populist preacher, are firmly linked and the unseen "Management" sends the carnival after Hawkins' visions. Imagine The Grapes of Wrath by way of David Lynch, shot in the amber and earth tones of faded photographs and dust. Long on atmosphere and short on exposition, it picks up this season and concludes with a satisfying climax that brings the story to a close while opening up the possibilities for the struggle to continue in new forms. Michael J. Anderson (the backwards talking dwarf of Twin Peaks) is marvelous as carnival manager Samson and Adrienne Barbeau, Debra Christofferson, Clea DuVall, Carla Gallo, Toby Huss, Ralph Waite, Amy Madigan, and John Savage co-star. 12 episodes on 6 discs in a digipak. Details: Color, HBO, Widescreen anamorphic, 1.78:1. Supplements: 12 episodes on six discs; Commentary by creator Daniel Knauf, executive producer Howard Klein, director Rodrigo Garcia, and cast members Clancy Brown and Clea Duvall on three episodes; "Magic and Myth: The Meaning of Carnivale": half-hour documentary exploring the apocalyptic writing and mythology behind the show; "Creating the Scene" featurettes: Find out how Carnivale's creators brought the Daily Brothers show--and its Scorpion Lady, He/She and Praying Mantis--to life; Museum of Television and Radio panel discussion with cast and crew . Audio: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround) and French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround). Optional Spanish, French and English subtitles.

Tsotsi(Buy Widescreen) (South Africa) The classic novel by Athol Fugard about a young thug in the slums of Apartheid Johannesburg is updated to contemporary South Africa by Gavin Hood in the Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film. Presley Chweneyagae plays the pitiless young gangster (his name literally means "street thug") whose unforgiving lifestyle is shaken up when he winds up with an infant after carjacking a ride, and unexpectedly starts to care for someone besides himself. It's a dark yet hopeful film with a rough, rumbling attitude, a high energy soundtrack, and an intense performance from newcomer Chweneyagae. His transformation is only one of degrees, but those essential degrees change everything. Details: Color, 94 mins, Miramax, Widescreen anamorphic, 2.35:1. Supplements: Original language track: Tsotsi-Taal; Alternate endings with optional commentary with screenwriter/director Gavin Hood; Deleted scenes with optional commentary with screenwriter/director Gavin Hood; "The Making of Tsotsi" featurette; Director's short film: The Storekeeper; Zola music video. Audio: (Dolby Digital 5.1). Commentary by Screenwriter/director Gavin Hood. Optional Spanish and English subtitles.

ATL (Widescreen Edition)(Buy Widescreen) (Buy Full Screen)
Details: Color, Widescreen anamorphic, 2.35:1. Supplements: T.I. "What You Know" music video; Additional scenes; In the Rink: A Director's Journey; Theatrical trailer. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1) and Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1). Optional Spanish, French and English subtitles.

Clean(Buy Widescreen) Olivier Assayas wrote the part of the junkie singer trying to kick heroine and pull her life together for his ex-wife Maggie Cheung, and she meets it with a rough, exposed emotional candor. Assayas avoids the usual drama of withdrawal to focus on the fear and raw emotions that tug at her while trying to rebuild her life. Nick Nolte, Béatrice Dalle and Jeanne Balibar co-star. Details: Color, 111 mins, Palm, widescreen. Supplements: Original soundtrack in English, French, and Cantonese; Interviews with director Olivier Assayas, actors Maggie Cheung and Nick Nolte, and musicians Tricky and Metric; US Theatrical Trailer; Previews; Weblinks. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1). Optional English subtitles.

Intimate Stories(Buy Widescreen) (Argentina) Carlos Sorin's delicately played collection of stories, set in a village that still has one foot in the 19th century, is true its title. The little dramas -- a salesman hopes to impress a young widow with a birthday cake for her child, an old man travels 200 miles to find a dog that ran away, a young wife and mother travels to the city to be on a game show -- are really about moments plucked from their lives. The simple, ephemeral nature of the stories have a purity in the way they capture hope and redemption as lived by regular folk in their day to day lives. Details: Color, 94 mins, New Yorker, Widescreen anamorphic. Supplements: "The Making of Intimate Stories" featurette; Theatrical trailer; Foreign trailers. Audio: Spanish. Optional English subtitles.

Don't Move(Buy Widescreen) (Italy) Acclaimed actor Sergio Castellitto makes his directorial debut with this drama about a surgeon (Castellitto) who flashes back on an affair with a lonely working-class woman (Penélope Cruz) from decade ago, as he sits at his injured daughter's bedside, waiting for her to wake up from a terrible car accident. Nominated for 11 David di Donatello Awards (Italy's Oscar), it won for both of its lead performers. Details: Color, 122 mins, Wellspring/Genius, Widescreen anamorphic, 2.35:1. Supplements: "Backstage: Behind-the-Scenes" featurette; Unrated deleted scenes; Penelope Cruz screen tests; Margaret Mazzantini: A Writer's Reflections; International Theatrical Trailer. Audio: Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo). Optional English subtitles.

She's the Man(Buy Widescreen) (Buy Full Screen) Amanda Bynes plays a soccer mad girl who turns herself into her identical twin brother to play on the boy's team (where she falls for the star forward, Channing Tatum) in the teen-movie take on Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night." Julie Hagerty, David Cross, and real-life soccer legend Vinnie Jones fill out the adult roles. Available in separate widescreen and fullscreen editions. Details: Color, 105 mins, DreamWorks/Paramount, Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1. Supplements: Deleted scenes; "Making the Man" featurette; Gag reel; Dave Lichens music video: "Let Go"; Cast photo album; Pop-up trivia. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 5.1) and Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround). Commentary by director and cast featuring Amanda Bynes (Dolby Digital 2.0). Optional English subtitles.

Edison Force(Buy Widescreen) Justin Timberlake makes his film debut playing a young journalist who investigates the controversial methods of elite police force of the (fictional) city of Edison and runs afoul of a particularly corrupt cop (Dylan McDermott) and his willing partner (LL Cool J). The feature film debut of TV vet David Burke co-stars Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Cary Elwes, and Piper Perabo. Details: Color, 99 mins, Sony Pictures, Widescreen anamorphic, 2.35:1. Supplements: "Absolute Power: Behind the Scenes of Edison Force" featurette; Widescreen and fullscreen versions on the same disc. Audio: (Dolby Digital 5.1) and French (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX). Optional French and English subtitles.

An Early Frost(Buy Fullscreen) (1985) The first major feature film to deal with the realities of the AIDS crisis, this acclaimed TV movie stars Aidan Quinn as a young AIDS patient dealing with his family and the disease. Gena Rowlands, Terry O'Quinn, John Glover, Bill Paxton, and Ben Gazzara co-star. Details: Color, 97 mins, Wolfe, Academy Ratio, 1.33:1. Supplements: "Living with AIDS" documentary; Trailer. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo). Commentary by Aidan Quinn and writers Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman (Dolby Digital 2.0). Optional subtitles.

Touched(Buy Widescreen) In the aftermath of a car accident, a father (Randall Batinkoff) awakens from a two-year coma to discover his son dead, and only the nurse (Jenna Elfman) who stayed by his side those years can pull him out of his depression. Samantha Mathis, Diane Venora, and Bruce Davison co-star. Details: Color, 97 mins, First Look, widescreen, 1.78:1. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1). Optional Spanish subtitles.

The Blue Butterfly(Buy Widescreen) Lea Pool directs this drama about a terminally ill boy whose last wish is to catch the most beautiful butterfly on Earth and the jaded entomologist (William Hurt) who takes the boy and his mother (Pascale Bussières) an their odyssey to a Costa Rican rain forest to find it. Based on a true story. Details: Color, 97 mins, Monterey Video, widescreen. Supplements: "Mariposa Azul: A True Story" featurette; "The Actor's Experience" featurette; "The True Inspiration" - interview with David Marenger; About A Butterfly Garden; Still gallery; Trailer; Games; Study Guide. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1) and English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo). Optional subtitles.

Shakespeare Behind Bars(Buy Fullscreen) Documentary about an all-male Shakespearean theatre company in the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in Kentucky, where the inmates cast themselves in relation to their crimes (murderers play murderers, thieves play thieves), as they prepare their latest production: "The Tempest." Details: Color, 93 mins, Shout! Factory. Supplements: Deleted scenes; Bonus performance footage; Troupe update. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 2.0). Commentary by prisoners (Dolby Digital 2.0), Commentary by filmmakers (Dolby Digital 2.0) and Commentary by program founder/artistic director (Dolby Digital 2.0). Optional subtitles.

The Double Headed Eagle: Hitler's Rise to Power 1918-1933(Buy Fullscreen) (Germany, 1973) This documentary on the rise of the Nazi party is seen through the perspective of a neutral bystander and shown almost exclusively through newsreels and film clips from the period of 1918 to 1933. The British production is directed by Lutz Becker and produced by David Puttnam. Details: Color/Black and White, 86 mins, Kino, Academy Ratio, 1.33:1. Optional subtitles.

Road House 2(Buy Widescreen) Jonathon Schaech takes over for Patrick Swayze (sort of) in the made-for-video sequel, playing an undercover DEA agent who takes over a rowdy bar for his uncle and uncovers a major drug ring. Ellen Hollman, Jake Busey, and Will Patton co-star. Details: Color, 86 mins, Sony Pictures, Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1) and French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround). Optional French and English subtitles.

The Exonerated(Buy Fullscreen) Bob Balaban directs the TV movie of the play by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, based on the true stories of six exonerated survivors of Death Row. Susan Sarandon, Aidan Quinn, Danny Glover, Brian Dennehy, and Delroy Lindo star. Details: Color, 90 mins, Monterey Video, Academy Ratio. Supplements: Actor's soundbites; From the writers; Actor and Exoneree bios; Background story. Optional subtitles.

Shaughnessy: The Iron Marshal(Buy Fullscreen) (1996) TV movie, originally released under the title Shaughnessy, starring Matthew Settle as the Irish immigrant turned small-town sheriff. Adapted from the novel by Louis L'Amour, it co-stars Linda Kozlowski, Sarah Paulson, Michael Jai White, John Carroll Lynch, John Hawkes, and Bo Hopkins. Details: Color, 95 mins, Allumination Filmworks, Academy Ratio, 1.33:1. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1). Optional subtitles.

Red Riding Hood(Buy Widescreen) The old fairy tale is updated in this musical version about a girl in a red hoody and go-go boots (Morgan Thompson), a penny-pinching wolf (Joey Fatone), and a yoga-loving granny (Lainie Kazan). Randal Kleiser directs. Details: Color, 82 mins, Key Video/20th Century Fox, Widescreen anamorphic, 1.78:1. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1). Optional Spanish and English subtitles.

Subject Two(Buy Widescreen) Modern day Frankenstein tale about an ambitious doctor (Dean Stapleton) determined to crack the secret of resurrection and his psychologically unstable assistant (Christian Oliver), who only realizes the implications of their work as the side-effects manifest on their experimental subject. Philip Chidel writes and directs. Details: Color, 93 mins, First Look, Widescreen anamorphic, 1.78:1. Supplements: Deleted scenes; Behind the scenes featurette; Commentary; Production notes; Previews. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1) and English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo). Optional Spanish subtitles.

The Garden(Buy Widescreen) Horror film about a child (Adam Taylor Gordon) whose disturbing nightmares start to manifest while he convalesces on a remote ranch. Lance Henriksen, Brian Wimmer, Claudia Christian, and Sean Young star. Details: Color, 92 mins, Anchor Bay, Widescreen anamorphic, 1.77:1. Supplements: Commentary by director Don Michael Paul; "The Garden: Behind-The-Scenes"; Still gallery; Lance Henriksen bio; Trailer. Audio: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround). Optional subtitles.