DVDs Also of Note

Friday, November 13, 2009


The basics: A close-knit group of teens comes of age in a small coastal town in this TV drama, which aired on the WB from 1998 to 2003.

The lowdown: With characters who were surprisingly self-aware and articulate for their age, this teen soap launched the careers of Katie Holmes and Michelle Williams. If you're a fan of the show, which also starred Joshua Jackson and James Van Der Beek, you have the six previously released DVD sets (plus the series finale release). The discs in this collection come in a large book that includes photos, star filmographies and, inexplicably, recipes.

The extras: Commentaries and featurettes from the original DVDs, plus an interview with creator Kevin Williamson ("Scream") and a CD of music from the series, among others.

PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL Unrated, 2008, $24.95

The basics: This award-winning documentary focuses on Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and the legions of women who helped end that nation's civil war and pave the way for the election of Africa's first female president.

The lowdown: There's nothing unconventional about this documentary from director Gini Reticker, but its inspiring story of solidarity and sisterhood transcends its structure. It's a testament to the power of ordinary people, in this case the white-clad women of the Christian Women's Peace Initiative, to effect change.

The extras: A PBS interview with Gbowee and footage of her acceptance speech after she was awarded a John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award.

UP PG, 2009, $29.99; Blu-ray, $45.99

The basics: Pixar's latest is a charming adventure, boasting a 78-year-old retired balloon salesman and an 8-year-old wilderness scout as its heroes.

The lowdown: Ed Asner is the voice of curmudgeon Carl Fredricksen, who decides to fly his house to an exotic place he and his deceased wife always dreamed of visiting. The movie is full of small pleasures and poignant moments (the prologue will break your heart), not to mention suspense and hilarity. Dug the talking dog is especially endearing.

The extras: A compelling documentary follows the crew's trek to the tepuis mountains of South America, their inspiration for the film's setting. Also, the theatrical short "Partly Cloudy" and another short featuring the scene-stealing Dug. The Blu-ray version includes an interactive geography game, among other extras.

-- Jennifer Abella, Amy Hitt

© 2009 The Washington Post Company