New on DVD this week
October 9, 2007
Steve Carell stands in for Jim Carrey, who starred in the comedy smash “Bruce Almighty,” in this family-oriented sequel that left critics and audiences underwhelmed. Carell reprises the bit role he had in the first flick, with his newscaster-turned-congressman moving to Washington, D.C., where God (Morgan Freeman, back from “Bruce Almighty”) turns up to command the new guy on Capitol Hill to build an ark.
Extras are highlighted by 12 minutes of deleted footage. There also are featurettes on the animals used in the menagerie of creatures that show up to ride on Carell’s ark, the construction that went into the vessel itself and the makeup job the star underwent to resemble a modern Noah. Along with the standard DVD release, the movie is available in a combination disc with both high-definition HD DVD and standard DVD versions.
Shia LaBeouf, Zooey Deschanel, Jeff Bridges and Jon Heder lead the voice cast in this animated penguin tale that suffered from a sense of familiarity given that it came just months after another penguin romp, the Academy Award-winning “Happy Feet.”
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“Surf’s Up” is built as a mock documentary following the adventures of a young hopeful competing in a penguin surfing competition. The DVD and Blu-ray high-definition discs include the Oscar-winning animated short “The ChubbChubbs” and a new short cartoon, “The ChubbChubbs Save Xmas.”
Other features include deleted scenes with commentary from the filmmakers, who also offer commentary for the full movie, plus a Lauryn Hill music video, a segment on the cast’s voice sessions and a making-of featurette.
“28 Weeks Later”
The ghoulish follow-up to the horror minihit “28 Days Later” turns rabid zombies loose once again in London, with a new cast led by Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, Harold Perrineau, Jeremy Renner and Idris Elba.
This time, it’s six months after the rage virus has decimated England, and the U.S. military is supervising a re-population plan for survivors and refugees when exposure to an immune woman who carries the bug touches off a new outbreak.
The DVD and Blu-ray releases have deleted scenes with commentary from director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, who also offers commentary for the entire flick. There also are featurettes on makeup and action sequences. Debuting on Blu-ray as well is “28 Days Later.”
“Reign Over Me”
Adam Sandler turns serious and his audience turns away in this tale of loss and healing set in post-Sept. 11 New York. Sandler plays a man wallowing in denial over the deaths of his wife and daughters in the terrorist attacks, his life taking a turn toward recovery after he runs into an old dental school pal (Don Cheadle) and rekindles their friendship.
The movie, which also features Jada Pinkett Smith and Liv Tyler, comes with scant extras, among them a behind-the-scenes featurette and a segment with Sandler and Cheadle.
The first film from director Gus Van Sant (“Good Will Hunting,” “My Own Private Idaho”) was a forebear to the gay dramas that followed over the next two decades. The story centers on a young man in the Pacific Northwest carrying a torch for a handsome Mexican immigrant, who doesn’t share his suitor’s affections.
Van Sant supervised the restoration and digital transfer of the film and contributes a new interview. The DVD also has an essay by critic Dennis Lim and a featurette on Walt Curtis, whose novel was the basis for the story.
“American Silent Horror Collection”
Paul Leni’s 1927 silent fright flick “The Cat and the Canary” arrives on DVD as both a stand-alone release and as part of a five-disc set with three previously released titles: Leni’s “The Man Who Laughs,” “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” with John Barrymore and “The Penalty” with Lon Chaney.
“The Cat and the Canary” is a classic scary-house chiller revolving around a pack of relatives who must spend the night in a desolate mansion for the reading of a rich relation’s will. The restored film is accompanied by a new musical score.
The set also includes “Kingdom of Shadows: The Rise of the Horror Film,” a captivating 1998 documentary narrated by Rod Steiger that examines the roots of scary movies.
“Roots: The Next Generations” ” The landmark 1977 miniseries “Roots” was followed by a second installment dramatizing the post-emancipation family history of author Alex Haley as his relations live through the two world wars and the civil-rights movement. A four-disc set packs the “Next Generations” miniseries, while the 10-disc “Roots: The Complete Collection” includes both miniseries plus the TV holiday movie “Roots: The Gift.”
“CSI: NY: The Complete Third Season” ” Gary Sinise, Melina Kanakaredes and the rest of their crime-scene team returns to track down more perpetrators. The six-disc set has all 24 episodes from year three, with commentary and a handful of featurettes.
“Everybody Hates Chris: The Second Season” ” Chris Rock’s childhood continues to get sitcom treatment in the series inspired by the comic’s upbringing in Brooklyn. Season two’s 22 episodes come in a four-disc package, which also has a nice range of behind-the-scenes material.
“Girlfriends: The Second Season” ” Four black women navigate work, friendship and romance in Los Angeles in the long-running sitcom. A three-disc set has all 22 episodes from the second year, plus behind-the-scenes segments.
“Family Ties: The Second Season” ” Michael J. Fox returns as the young Republican son of liberal ex-hippies in the 1980s sitcom. The second year’s 22 episodes are packed in a four-disc set.
“Robin of Sherwood: Set 2″ ” The 1980s British TV take on Robin Hood concludes with the final 13 episodes of the series starring Jason Connery and Ray Winstone. The five-disc set also has commentary and a segment on Clannad, the Irish band that provided the show’s musical backdrop.