Friday, December 28, 2007

Notable DVDs being released Tuesday include:

¿ Resident Evil: Extinction (R) Milla Jovovich continues to take names and kick zombies in this third chapter of the video-game-inspired movie franchise. There's minimal character development, so if you're new to the story it won't make much sense. Even then it may not, but at least you'll know who's who.

¿ Shoot 'Em Up (R) The title says it all. Clive Owen is a well-armed man whose guns are almost always blazing as he tries to protect a baby (which he helps deliver during a shootout) from a hit man (Paul Giamatti). The extras are fairly basic with commentary, deleted scenes and a making-of featurette aptly titled "Ballet of Bullets."

¿ Solstice (PG-13) From Daniel Myrick, director of "The Blair Witch Project," comes this story of a close-knit group of high school students who go on a summer getaway, in part to heal from the suicide of the twin sister of a member of the group. Things take a chilling turn when the surviving twin thinks her dead sister is trying to contact her. The cast includes Elizabeth Harnois, Shawn Ashmore, Amanda Seyfried, Hilarie Burton, Tyler Hoechlin, Matt O'Leary and R. Lee Ermey. Myrick provides a commentary track.

¿ War (R) Two charismatic action stars, Jason Statham and Jet Li, in one place. Unfortunately, they've both done better, more thrilling stories. Statham plays an FBI agent trying to navigate an Asian gang war in San Francisco while seeking revenge against Rogue (Li), whom Statham blames for the death of his partner. Extras include deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage, commentary from the director and writers, featurettes and trivia.

TV on DVD:

¿ Indie Sex This collects the episodes -- "Censored," "Taboos," "Teens," "Extremes" -- of the short Independent Film Channel series on the history of sex in movies. It's fascinating. Basically, almost as soon as film was invented there were nude scenes being shot. The federal government started raising an eyebrow about moviemaking standards as early as 1922. (The more things change, the more they stay the same.) Commentators include Rosanna Arquette, Atom Egoyan, Peter Sarsgaard, Ally Sheedy, Dita Von Teese, Elvis Mitchell, John Waters and Piper Perabo. The films, with ample use of footage, range from the 1896 piece "Fatima's Coochee-Coochee Dance" (in the Edison Silent Film Collection) to 2006's "Short Bus." Films by such notables as Woody Allen, Vincent Gallo, Jonathan Demme, Stanley Kubrick, William Friedkin and Robert Altman are represented. Watching the evolution of teen sexuality's on-screen portrayal, or seeing how filmmakers handle such topics as S&M, is intriguing. Extras include additional interviews, an extended stag film and "Sex in Cinema Milestones." It's unrated but, obviously, not intended for young viewers.

¿ The Tudors: The Complete First Season Showtime's take on King Henry VIII focuses on his younger years, with Jonathan Rhys Meyers wearing the crown as Henry. Extras include three featurettes plus episodes of other Showtime series "Californication," "This American Life" and "Penn & Teller B.S.!"

¿ Weird Science: The Complete Seasons 1 & 2 This show, inspired by the 1985 John Hughes film, ran for five seasons on the USA network and showed up in reruns on the Sci-Fi Channel. It's about two high school nerds who create a dream woman with looks that are exceeded only by her intelligence and ability to grant wishes. Hijinks usually ensue when she takes their wishes a bit too literally. Extras include commentary from the three leads (Vanessa Angel, Michael Manasseri and John Mallory Asher) and an interactive trivia game.

-- Curt Fields

Available and Recommended

Recommended DVDs released Dec. 26 include:

¿ Eastern Promises (R)

¿ The Kingdom (R)

¿ Rush Hour 3 (R)

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