video vault

by Mark Burger

DVD Pick of the week: Brooklyn’s Finest (Anchor Bay entertainment)

Director Antoine Fuqua’s gritty police drama appears to have been inspired and informed by every cop film and TV show from the last 50 years, from “Dragnet” to “law & Order,” from The French Connection to The Departed. Nevertheless, the film possesses the proper attitude and is acted with conviction.

The story, sort of a second-string Joseph Wambaugh, follows three policeman who work the mean streets of the title town. eddie Dugan (Richard Gere) is a burned-out, boozedsoaked patrolman trying to stumble through his final days until retirement. sal Procida (ethan Hawke) is a detective and family man whose mounting financial difficulties force him into drastic action and Clarence “Tango” Butler (Don Cheadle) is an undercover cop who has infiltrated the inner circle of resident crime lord Caz (Wesley snipes), a veteran of the streets who surprises Tango by expressing a genuine aspiration to leave the life Ellen Barkin, Will Patton, lili Taylor, Bryan F O’Byrne, Robert John Burke, lela Rochon (the director’s wife) and an unbilled Vincent D’Onofrio round out the cast of this violent but effective potboiler that treads through familiar territory and is sometimes heavy on the symbolism, yet still packs a punch. For fans of cop movies, this one delivers. Rated R.

“AMERICAN PICKERS”: THE COMPLETE SEASON ONE (A&e Home entertainment): A three-DVD boxed set ($29.95 retail) containing all 12 episodes from the 2010 season of the popular History Channel reality series, which follows Mike Wolfe, owner of Antique Archaeology in Iowa, and business partner Frank Fritz as they seek historical, collectible relics throughout the country. This release coincides with the second-season premiere.

“CAKE BOSS”: SEASON 2 (Discovery Communications): All 18 episodes from the 2009- 2010 season of the TlC reality series following Buddy Valastro, the master baker at Carlo’s City Hall Bake shop in beautiful Hoboken, NJ, as he works the kitchen and strives to make each cake better than the last. This two-DVD boxed set ($29.95 retail) is being released to coincide with the third-season premiere and is available directly from and

THE DECEIVERS (The Merchant Ivory Collection): english officer Pierce Brosnan infiltrates the murderous Thuggee Cult in early 19 th -century India in Nicholas Meyer’s 1988 adaptation of John Masters’ (supposedly) factbased novel. Despite great source material, this out-of-step misfire never fully takes advantage of the opportunity, despite location filming and Brosnan’s earnest turn. Rated PG-13.

THE GRAIL (Victory Multimedia): Writer/ director kurt Volkan’s 2001 award-winning debut is a droll, irreverent low-budget black comedy involving drug deals, Jagermeister shots and mistaken identities in Chapel Hill. The ensemble cast includes Magdalena Andersson (in the title role), Jim Babel, stefan Greenlee and Romeo sims. some bright moments along the way, but tapers off toward the end.

THE GRAND (Anchor Bay entertainment): Writer/producer/director Zak Penn’s slyly amusing and much-improvised mockumentary comedy focuses on the players competing in the Grand Championship of Poker. An enthusiastic all-star ensemble includes Woody Harrelson, Ray Romano, Cheryl Hines, David Cross, Richard kind, Dennis Farina, Jason Alexander, Gabe kaplan, Chris Parnell, Hank Azaria, Mike epps, Michael Mckean, Werner Herzog (as “The German”), shannon elizabeth, estelle Harris, Brett Ratner, Judy Greer, Avi Arad, Tommy “Tiny” lister and Barry Corbin. Rated R.

“HOARDERS”: THE COMPLETE SEASON ONE (A&e Home entertainment): A two-DVD boxed set ($19.95 retail) boasting all seven episodes from the 2009 season of the top-rated A&e reality series about actual people who can’t seem to part with the material goods they’ve accumulated, even when it becomes detrimental to their personal lives.

“ICE ROAD TRUCKERS”: THE COMPLETE SEASON THREE (A&e Home entertainment): All 13 episodes from the 2009 season of the History Channel’s reality-TV series focusing on the truck drivers who must navigate the treacherous ice roads in northern Alaska. The DVD boxed set retails for $39.95, the Blu-ray boxed set for $49.95.

“ICONS AMONG US: JAZZ IN THE PRESENT TENSE” (IndiePix): This documentary feature highlights the history of jazz music and profiles such contemporary luminaries as Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard, Ravi Coltrane and others. This DVD retails for $24.95.

I KNOW WHAT I SAW (A&e Home entertainment): Director and narrator James Fox’s interesting documentary avoids (mostly) the stan dard sensationalistic approach in exploring the history of the UFO phenomenon.

THE PROPOSAL (Walt Disney studios Home entertainment): High-powered publisher sandra Bullock is compelled to marry her beleaguered assistant (Ryan Reynolds), lest she be deported in this polished, predictable romantic comedy that was a surprise box-office hit. Bullock and Reynolds are an agreeable screen couple, and the supporting cast includes Craig T. Nelson, Mary steenburgen and a scene-stealing (read: scenery-chewing) Betty White. Available as a single-disc DVD ($29.99 retail), a two-disc DVD ($39.99 retail), or a two-disc Blu-ray ($44.99 retail). Rated PG-13.

“THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER”: VOLUME FOUR (Walt Disney studios Home entertainment): A three-DVD boxed set ($39.99 retail) featuring the second 12 episodes from the 2009-2010 season of the self-explanatory, award-winning ABC Family drama series that tackles such issues as teen pregnancy, teenage rebellion and other matters of the heart. The cast includes Molly Ringwald, shailene Woodley, Mark Derwin, India eisley, Megan Park and Allen evangelista.

“UFC” (Ultimate Fighting Championship/ Anchor Bay entertainment): The latest installments of the ongoing series of commemorative Ultimate Fighting Championship DVDs: “UFC 111” includes the welterweight championship between Georges st. Pierre and Dan Hardy, the interim heavyweight championship between Frank Mir and shane Carwin, and additional matches; “UFC 112: Invincible” features Anderson silva, Brad Blackburn, Demian Maia, BJ Penn, Frankie edgar and Renzo Gracie among the fighters competing in the UFC championship event in Abu Dhabi in April of this year; and “UFC 113” features the world light heavyweight championship match between lyoto Machida and shogun Rua, the heavyweight match between kimbo slice and Matt Mitrione, and more. each two-disc special edition DVD retails for $19.97.

I VITELLONI (The Criterion Collection): Federico Fellini’s much-praised, award-winning 1953 drama (originally released in the Us as The Young and the Passionate) depicts the travails of a group of friends belatedly coming of age in a small Adriatic town. The cast includes Alberto sordi, leopoldo Trieste, Franco Interlenghi and eleonora Ruffo. Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay. This special-edition DVD ($29.95 retail) includes a retrospective documentary and other goodies. In Italian with english subtitles.

WHEN IN ROME (Walt Disney studios Home entertainment): Career gal kristen Bell is unexpectedly descended upon by adoring suitors in this flimsy, shapeless romantic comedy that feels a lot longer than its 91 minutes.

Bell tries way too hard to be endearing, while said suitors include the likes of Josh Duhamel, Dax shepard, Jon Heder and Danny DeVito. Also on hand: Anjelica Huston (wasted as Bell’s boss), Peggy lipton, an unbilled Don Johnson, and cameos by shaquille O’Neal and lawrence Taylor. Christopher Young’s score and John Bailey’s cinematography are minor compensations. Rated PG-13.

Mark Burger can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. Copyright 2010, Mark Burger