Sunday, September 17, 2006

DVDs Released Aug. 22

“Poseidon” (Warner, $34.98) confirms one of the worst-ever trends in Hollywood: Remakes of movies that weren’t notable in the first place. Then again, maybe it’s better than messing with a classic. And if they didn’t get it right last time …

Wolfgang Petersen (“The Perfect Storm,” “Das Boot”) helms the new version of the disaster-at-sea movie, and the special effects are certainly more impressive than in Irwin Allen’s 1972 predecessor.

The spectacle – an upside-down ship, raging fires, falling chandeliers, sliding furniture – indeed is riveting in Petersen’s movie, although his vision doesn’t allow much room for, say, character development or plot logic.

And in terms of who lives and who dies, there’s only one real surprise. No shock, though, when an obnoxious, arrogant character named Lucky takes a fall. The not-bad cast includes Kurt Russell, Josh Lucas, Richard Dreyfuss, Jacinda Barrett, Emmy Rossum and Kevin Dillon.

For those aching to explore the mechanics of the waterlogged action movie, the two-disc special edition DVD offers a handful of extras, including the documentary “Poseidon: A Ship on a Soundstage”; “A Shipmate’s Diary,” tracking a film-school intern’s experiences on the set; a set design feature; and “Rogue Waves,” a documentary that originally aired on the History Channel.

And for fans of the original, the inferior 1979 sequel, “Beyond the Poseidon Adventure” (Warner, $14.98) is now available, with a vintage documentary on the making of the movie.


The original version of “Wicker Man” (Anchor Bay, $14.98), another ‘70s movie given the remake treatment and opening later this month, is back out on DVD.

It’s essentially a horror film, centering on a policeman’s investigation into the strange goings-on in the tiny community of Summerisle, off Scotland’s west coast. Christopher Lee is the leader of the island’s pagans, who may know more than they’re saying about the whereabouts of a missing local girl. The film also stars Edward Woodward (as the police inspector), Diane Cilento and Britt Ekland.

Note: This is the 87-minute version released in the U.S., rather than the original, 100-minute version now available only in the box set.


Atmosphere is everything in “Silent Hill” (Sony, $28.95), a horror film based on a video game. Rahda Mitchell stars as a young mother whose daughter (Jodelle Ferland) is plagued by nightmares featuring the titular ghost town. The solution to the young girl’s distress is to take her to the place she fears the most. Bad move.

The cast of the gory movie also includes Alice Krige and Deborah Karah Unger. Extras: Six production diaries, focusing on the movie’s origins; casting; creation of the Silent Hill town; stars and stunts; choreography of the demonic creatures; and construction of the creatures.


If film scholars and critics had to choose just one film to represent the genre of film noir, Billy Wilder’s “Double Indemnity” (Universal, $26.98), released in 1944, might get the nod.

Fred MacMurray, cast against his nice-guy type, and Barbara Stanwyck co-star as illicit lovers planning to commit the perfect murder in this story adapted by Raymond Chandler from the James M. Cain novel.

Extras: Audio commentary by film critic Richard Schickel; second commentary by film historians Lem Dobbs and Nick Redman; “Double Indemnity” television remake (1973).


HD-DVD releases: “The Bone Collector,” “Caddyshack,” “Good Night and Good Luck,” “The Searchers,” “Spy Game.”

Blu-ray releases: “The Devil’s Rejects,” “Silent Hill.”


Also released week of 8/22:

The Apartment (1996)
Criterion Collection: Kicking and Screaming
Dances With Wolves
John Entwistle – An Ox Tale
Just My Luck
Sketches of Frank Gehry
Stir of Echoes
Veronica Mars – The Complete Second Season

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