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An Unfinished Life

Powerhouse talent in front of and behind the camera bring to life this family drama about a stoic Wyoming rancher (Robert Redford) attempting to reconcile with his daughter-in-law and the granddaughter he never knew. Jennifer Lopez stars as Jean, whom Einar (Redford) still blames for the death of his son. With the help of his disabled friend and farmhand Mitch (Morgan Freeman), Einar begins to warm up to his current living arrangement. Great performances, strong direction and a warm, embracing script make An Unfinished Life complete. DVD offers commentary, featurette, more. (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)

The Greatest Game Ever Played

Engaging true-life underdog tale finds 19-year-old Francis Ouimet (Shia LaBeouf) playing against the odds in the 1913 U.S. Golf Open. Deterred by his working class father (Elias Koteas) but encouraged by his mother (Marnie McPhail), Francis rises to the challenge, playing against his idol, British golf champ Harry Vardon (Stephen Dillane). Director Bill Paxton does a fabulous job of making this period piece crackle with engrossing characters, stylized direction and  a sense of achievement. DVD offers director/ writer commentaries,  historical and production  featurettes,and profiles. (Walt Disney Home Entertainment)

Breakfast On Pluto

Unexpected comedy-drama stars a brilliant Cillian Murphy as Patrick Kitten Braden, abandoned as a baby at an Irish church, raised by Father Bernard (Liam Neeson) and left to his own devices when he goes in search of his birth mother. Director Neil Jordan’s (The Crying Game) film becomes a colorful road trip, filled with eclectic characters, bizarre situations and a sense of nostalgia. Set in the 1970s, the film takes us places and exposes us to things not normally seen in the mainstream, a tapestry of people and situations which cover all aspects of life. Jordan and Murphy chime in on a fascinating audio commentary, and are featured in the DVD featurette. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)


On the eve of the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot, Moshe (Shuli Rand) and his wife Malli (Michal Bat-Sheva Rand) find themselves broke and unable to prepare the traditional sukkah. Their prayers are answered with the sudden arrival of $1,000 dollars, and Moshe and Malli see it as a miracle. Their faith is further tested with the arrival of two men on the run from the law. The first collaboration between the Jewish orthodox and secular communities, Ushpizin is a rare look into another culture. Using local actors, director Gidi Dar has done a wonderful job of bringing these characters and their rituals to life. (New Line Home Entertainment)

Home movies

Home movies

The Ten Commandments: 50th Anniversary Collection

No DVD collection would be complete without this beautifully mounted 3-disc boxed set which includes director Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 classic and his original 1923 silent version. Charlton Heston stands tall as Moses, charged with leading his people to freedom. Filled with cinematic spectacle and a roster of major stars, the film won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It would take Moses to part the extras in this collection, a bounty of featurettes, commentaries, documentaries, newsreels and trailers. Getting two versions of the same film by the same director in one collection is better than a burning bush. (Paramount Home Entertainment)

Films of Faith Collection

Warner Home Entertainment unveils three films handsomely packaged in a collectible boxed set. Audrey Hepburn is exquisite in director Fred Zinnemann’s The Nun’s Story as a woman who becomes a nun, leaning on her faith when she’s assigned as a surgical nurse in the Belgian Congo. When World War II breaks out, she returns to Belgium, where her personal beliefs are tested by the church and the resistance. Anthony Quinn plays a new pope facing a nuclear crisis in The Shoes of the Fisherman, while director John Brahm captures The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima, based on the 1917 event when three peasant youths claim to have seen the vision of Fatima. All three films include theatrical trailers, while Shoes includes a vintage featurette.

Left Behind DVD Collection

Kirk Cameron, the kid from Growing Pains, stars as journalist Buck Williams, whose investigations lead him to believe the end of days is near. Teaming up with a group of survivors known as The Tribulation Force, Williams must convince the world their new leader is actually the Anti-Christ. Based on the best-selling series of novels, this 3-DVD boxed set includes Left Behind, Left Behind II: Tribulation Force, and Left Behind: World At War. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Fox’s Films of Faith

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment honors Easter with a new collection of DVD releases. An outstanding cast brings to life The Hiding Place, based on the true story of Corrie ten Boom and her family’s attempt to save the lives of Jewish families in Holland; in David and Bathsheba, Gregory Peck plays the Israeli king whose love for the beautiful Bathsheba (Susan Hayward) sets into motion his demise and the wrath of the creator; Bishop T.D. Jake’s powerful Woman Thou Art Loosed returns as a special edition, exploring the resurrection of a young woman in prison through the help of the bishop. DVD includes 30 additional minutes of sermons and featurettes. Johnny Cash explores his personal beliefs in Gospel Road: A Story of Jesus, a unique take on the life of Jesus Christ. Cash uses song, narration and stunning imagery, directed by Robert Elfstrom, to capture these beliefs. Finally, Be Still is a DVD textbook for anyone looking for deeper meaning in their thoughts and prayers. Noted authors, pastors and educators guide viewers.

Have No Fear: The Life of Pope John Paul II

Brief but thorough examination of the life of Karol Wojtyla, the Polish priest who would become one of the most influential religious figures of the 20th Century. Thomas Krestschmann does an excellent job of bringing the simple man to life, while the film tackles numerous faith and hot- button topics with respect and dignity. (Genius Products)

The Big Question

Filmed declarations of their beliefs by the cast and crew of The Passion of The Christ make up this interesting documentary which proves religion has many faces. (ThinkFilm)

Home movies

The Chronicles of Narnia

Beautifully realized, live-action adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ first book in the Narnia series, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, arrives on DVD as a special 2-disc edition with almost 10 hours of bonus features. Writer-director Adam Adamson is to be commended for translating the book’s unique characters, vivid landscapes and bold message without much sacrifice. Left to their own devices, British children Lucy, Edmund, Peter and Susan enter an alternate world through a magical wardrobe chest. Once in Narnia, the children learn they are the key to unlocking the spell of the White Witch and returning peace to the land. With the help of the brave and noble lion, Aslan, the children summon their courage to save the day. Outstanding visual effects turn fantasy into reality, while the cast is exceptional and engaging. DVD unlocks numerous featurettes, conceptual artwork, legends and maps, historical background, director’s commentary and more. (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)

Memoirs of a Geisha

Ziyi Zhang is sympathetic as Chiyo, a young, impoverished Japanese girl sold at age 9 to a geisha house and forced to endure humiliation and degradation at the hands of the jealous owner. As a young woman now named Sayuri, the fledgling geisha is rescued by a competitor and trained in the fine art of the geisha. Set against the backdrop of a Japan under transition and gearing up for war, the film exposes us to a private society where women gained and used power in order to survive in a male-dominated world. Director Rob Marshall (Chicago), working from a smart, literate screenplay by Robin Swicord, takes his time laying out the groundwork, lovingly capturing every detail and character nuance. Two-disc DVD offers an expansive collection of featurettes, commentary tracks and historical background. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Fun With Dick and Jane

Jim Carrey and Téa Leoni attempt to make ends meet in this update of the 1970s comedy which finds Dick Harper (Carrey) turning to crime when his company goes belly-up. The stakes are higher in this corporate con game which finds the former VP of communications slowly watching his dreams swirl down the toilet. On the verge of losing everything, Dick and Jane turn to crime, eventually setting their sites on bringing down Dick’s bulletproof former boss (Alec Baldwin). There’s plenty to laugh at in this poke at greedy corporations. The DVD’s gag reel, deleted scenes, promotional tour outtakes and filmmaker commentary continue the fun. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Get Rich or Die Tryin’

Rapper 50 Cent came up a buck short in this familiar tale of a street punk named Marcus (Cent) who uses a near-fatal gunshot to reflect on his life and how he arrived at this moment. Director Jim Sheridan does manage to make the most of this story, but the rapper lacks the emotional ballast to keep this ship afloat. Terrence Howard (Hustle and Flow) picks up the slack as Marcus’ ex-con friend who helps him blast his way into the rap music scene. DVD includes artist profile. (Paramount Home Entertainment)

Bee Season

Richard Gere stars as an Oakland professor who teaches religious studies. When his young daughter, Eliza (Flora Cross), begins winning spelling bees, Saul (Gere) believes she has channeled the spirit of Kabbalah, and focuses his attention on nurturing her talent. Unfortunately, Saul begins to ignore wife Miriam (Juliette Binoche), suffering from deep depression and looking for a family connection. Directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel (The Deep End) do an excellent job of balancing the film’s themes (poignantly captured by writer Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal) without resorting to preaching. They’re more interested in the strained family dynamic, and succeed in capturing those delicate emotions. DVD includes a wealth of extras, commentary tracks, deleted scenes, featurettes and more. (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment)

Gene Wilder Collection

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment debuts two of comedian Gene Wilder’s solo efforts, The World’s Greatest Lover and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother, and re-releases the comedy-thriller Silver Streak, co-starring Richard Pryor and Jill Clayburgh. After having struck pay dirt lampooning westerns and horror films with Mel Brooks, Wilder branched off on his own. Although Lover and Brother weren’t box office hits, they were perfect examples of Wilder’s warm, personable humor and charm. Streak struck gold, turning Wilder and Pryor into a comedy team to contend with.








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