Tuesday, April 25, 2006

DVDs Out Today

My column was cut for space this Sunday. So here it is in all its glory.

Match Point ***
DreamWorks; $29.99
Once you get over the shock of seeing Woody Allen’s first honest-to-goodness it-doesn’t-suck movie since 1994’s “Bullets Over Broadway,” repeated viewings show this companion piece to “Crimes and Misdemeanors” is a solid, but not spectacular drama with two very sexy central performances from Jonathan Rhys Myers and Scarlett Johansson. No extras, when an Allen commentary on shooting in London and his biggest hit in years would have been very welcome.

Shopgirl ** ½
Touchstone; $29.99
Steve Martin adapted his own novella and stars in this romantic drama. But it’s the delicate performance of Claire Danes that keeps this fine film believable as more than the story of a much older, wealthier man with a young cutie. Jason Schwartzman is okay as a rival paramour, but his solo moments with a rock band sidetrack the movie. Modest extras include a director commentary and deleted scenes.

Casanova * ½
Touchstone; $29.99
Perhaps Heath Ledger should stick to men? Outside of “Brokeback Mountain,” this handsome and talented actor has mostly shown a flair for picking very bad projects. “Casanova” is no exception. He isn’t the problem – Ledger’s mumbled delivery as the famed lover is quite amusing. But everything else is, from the thuddingly obvious direction to the hammy supporting cast. Heath, get a new manager.

The Wedding Singer: Totally Awesome Edition ** ½
New Line; $19.98
This is surely the first DVD release pegged to a Broadway musical. Sadly, this edition of the sweet movie – a career peak for Adam Sandler and the adult Drew Barrymore – is totally un-awesome with a few minutes of footage slapped in to slow the movie down and a brief, unrevealing featurette about the Broadway show. Surely one of their best movies deserves a good documentary and the participation of the two leads?

Also out: Jack Nicholson’s oblique Antonioni gem “The Passenger” (Sony; $24.96); a grab bag of five pretty good if interchangeable movies with great songs in the boxed set “Classic Musicals From The Dream Factory” (Warner Bros.; $59.98); Timothy Hutton’s modestly entertaining mystery series “Nero Wolfe – The Complete Classic Whodunit Series” (A&E; $99.95) and a motley collection of great and not-so-great movies at a great price in “The Robert Altman Collection” (Fox; $39.98).

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