DVD Pick of the week: Life In a day
(National Geographic Entertainment/Virgil Films & Entertainment)
Remember what happened on July 24, 2010? That’s OK if you don’t, as this fascinating and unique documentary feature brings that day back to life — a self-contained video time capsule of a day in the life of the world.
Using bits and pieces of footage culled from over 80,000 YouTube submissions worldwide, director Kevin Macdonald and editor Joe Walker have fashioned a kaleidoscopic tour of the planet as seen through the eyes (and cameras) of its people, across different continents and different cultures over a 24-hour period.
It’s a visually enticing reminder that although the world sometimes seems to be getting smaller all the time, it’s still a big, beautiful, complicated place — and the place we all call home. Rated PG-13.
ALPHA AND OMEGA (LionsGate Home Entertainment): Hayden Panettiere and Justin Long supply the voices for the title characters in this so-so animated feature, about a pair of wolves who embark on a wild adventure to return home. Other voices are provided by Danny Glover, Christina Ricci, Vicki Lewis, Larry Miller and, in his final film, Dennis Hopper, to whom it is dedicated. Rated PG.
BAND OF BROTHERS/THE PACIFIC GIFT SET (HBO Home Entertainment): Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks were executive producers of these critically acclaimed HBO miniseries’ about World War II, now available together in one collection: Band of Brothers (2001) won six Emmy Awards including Outstanding Miniseries and Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special; The Pacific (2010) won eight Emmys of its own, including Outstanding Miniseries. The DVD boxed set retails for $159.98, the Blu-ray boxed set for $199.99. Both contain extensive bonus features.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: THE ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment): A special edition of the awardwinning, direct-to-video 1997 follow-up to the Oscar-winning animated feature, with Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers and Angela Lansbury reprising their voiceover roles. The DVD retails for $29.99, the DVD/Blu-ray combo for $39.99. Rated G. Disney is also releasing a special-edition DVD ($29.99 retail) of the 1998 sequel Beauty and the Beast: Belle’s Magical World, also rated G.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (VCI Entertainment):
Everyone has their favorite screen adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic, and many point to this 1951 version with Alistair Sim as Scrooge as the best ever. Directed by Brian Desmond Hurst. The 60th anniversary special edition DVD retails for $14.99, the Blu-ray for $19.99.
“GUNSMOKE”: THE FIFTH SEASON VOLUME 2 (CBS DVD/Paramount Home
Entertainment): James Arness as Dodge City marshal Matt Dillon continues to lay down the law in Dodge City, in the final 19 episodes from the 1959-’60 season of the long-running, awardwinning CBS Western series. This DVD boxed set retails for $42.99.
“THE LUCY SHOW”: THE OFFICIAL FIFTH SEASON (CBS DVD/Paramount Home Entertainment): All 22 episodes from the 1966-’67 season of the award-winning CBS sitcom with (who else?) Lucille Ball as raucous redhead Lucy Carmichael, Gale Gordon as her flustered boss Mr. Mooney, and Vivian Vance (intermittently) as her best friend Vivian. Guest stars include George Burns, Paul Winchell and Sheldon Leonard. Ball won the Emmy as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, with additional nominations for Gordon as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Comedy Series. The DVD boxed set, which includes a myriad of bonus features, retails for $42.99.
“MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE” — THE ‘88 TV SEASON (CBS DVD/Paramount Home Entertainment): Timed to coincide with the release of the fourth feature film, this DVD boxed set ($42.99 retail) contains all 19 episodes from the 1988-’89 season of ABC’s prime-time follow-up to the popular ’60s espionage series, which brought back Peter Graves as IMF agent Jim Phelps with a new team including Thaao Penghlis, Antony Hamilton, Terry Markwell and Phil Morris, son of original cast member Greg Morris (who guest-starred a few times). Emmy nomination for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series.
RESTITUTION (Monterey Media): A murky mystery with Mark Bierlien (also screenwriter/ executive producer) as a stranger investigating the circumstances behind the disappearance of an insurance investigator the year before. The cast includes Mena Suvari, Tom Arnold (obligatory comic relief), William Sadler and C.
Thomas Howell. Bierlein makes a dull hero, and his script boasts a whopper of a twist at the end. Rated R.
“RICKEY SMILEY: OPEN CASKET SHARP” (Entertainment One): The popular TV and radio personality takes to the stage to riff on friends, family and more, in this stand-up comedy special ($19.98 retail) recorded live in Atlanta.
“THE SIMPSONS”: SEASON 14 (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment): Springfield’s family family returns in all 22 episodes from the 2002-’03 season of the (very) long-running Fox Network animated series, which remains popular after more than 20 years on the air. Guest voices that season included Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Elvis Costello, Elliott Gould, Marisa Tomei, Little Richard and “Batman” co-stars Adam West and Burt Ward. Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Animated Program and Outstanding Voiceover Performance (Hank Azaria), with an additional nomination for Outstanding Music and Lyrics. The DVD boxed set retails for $49.98, the Blu-ray boxed set for $59.99.
SOUTH OF HEAVEN (Synapse Films): Writer/ director JL Vara’s intentionally off-kilter, wildly uneven genre smorgasbord with two brothers (actual siblings Aaron and Adam Nee caught up in a violent, twisted web of crime and punishment. This tries a little too hard to be a cult film, but has its merits, especially Jonathan Gries and Thomas Jay Ryan as a vaudeville-style hoodlum duo. Also around: Shea Whigham, Diora Baird, Elina Lowensohn, Sy Richardson and even former wrestler George “The Animal” Steele.
“SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS”: THE COMPLETE 7TH SEASON (Nickelodeon/ Paramount Home Entertainment): A four-DVD boxed set ($26.99 retail) featuring all 50 episodes from the 2009-’10 season of the long-running, award-winning Nickelodeon animated series, plus bonus cartoon shorts. Tom Kenny provides the voice of the title character. Daytime Emmy winner as Outstanding Special Class Animated Program.
TORA! TORA! TORA! (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment): The Blu-ray debut ($34.98 retail) of the grand-scale 1970 World War II epic about the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, as seen from both the American and Japanese perspectives. The all-star cast includes Jason Robards, Martin Balsam, Joseph Cotten, James Whitmore and Neville Brand. The last film overseen by Darryl F. Zanuck, this was a critical and box-office disappointment upon its release but its reputation has increased over the years. Hey, at least it’s better than Pearl Harbor. Academy Award winner for Best Special Effects, with additional nominations for Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Art Direction/Set Decoration and Best Sound. Rated G.
TWO MINUTES TO GLORY (NFL Films/ Vivendi Entertainment): The greatest “twominute” comebacks in NFL history are covered in this sports documentary ($19.97 retail) featuring such gridiron greats as John Elway, Joe Montana, Peyton Manning and others.
TYLER PERRY’S A MADEA CHRISTMAS (THE PLAY) (LionsGate Home Entertainment): Charles Dickens it’s not, but executive producer/writer/ director Tyler Perry looses his signature character upon the holiday season in this filmed version of the popular touring play. The DVD retails for $19.98, the Blu-ray for $24.99. LionsGate is also releasing “Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns: Season 3,” a collection of 20 episodes of the awardwinning situation comedy starring David Mann real-life wife Tamela Mann as Leroy and Cora, characters spun off from Perry’s 2008 film, based on one of his plays. This three-DVD boxed set retails for $29.98.
Mark Burger can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. © 2011, Mark Burger