Friday, December 4, 2009
GIMME SHELTER R, 1970, $39.95
The basics: This revolutionary documentary by filmmakers Albert and David Maysles follows the Rolling Stones on their 1969 U.S. tour, culminating in the stabbing death of a concertgoer at the Altamont Speedway.
The lowdown: The Maysles brothers filmed in a fly-on-the-wall style, recording events as they unfolded, including the free Altamont concert near the end of the band's tour. Their cameras captured all the disturbing action, including the moment Mick Jagger was singing "Under My Thumb" as an audience member pulled out a revolver and was fatally stabbed by a member of the Hells Angels, who had been hired to protect the stage. Decades later, the scenes are still shocking.
The extras: Unseen footage from the tour, backstage outtakes and a studio session, among others.INTO THE STORM: CHURCHILL AT WAR Unrated, 2009, $26.98
The basics: An Emmy-winning HBO/BBC miniseries about Winston Churchill's leadership during World War II; the sequel to 2002's "The Gathering Storm," about England on the brink of war.
The lowdown: Actor Brendan Gleeson ("Harry Potter's" Mad-Eye Moody) is Churchill in this awe-inspiring production. "The movie," said The Post's Tom Shales, "is an absolute must for amateur and professional historians alike; its re-creations of major and minor moments from an earth-shaking era are compellingly entertaining."
The extras: Commentary by producer Frank Doelger and writer Hugh Whitemore and a making-of featurette.NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN PG, 2009, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99
The basics: Ben Stiller is back in this "Night at the Museum" sequel, this time as a chief executive who learns that his buddies from the Museum of Natural History are being shipped to Washington.
The lowdown: It should come as no surprise to residents of the Washington area that the Smithsonian is the star here. "The museum sparkles," said Post critic Dan Kois, "but the movie is awfully dull. . . . It's not nearly as much fun to watch [Stiller] coolly face down a dozen spear-toting warriors as it was to watch him screaming and running from a T. rex."
The extras: A behind-the-scenes featurette with Stiller, commentary, deleted scenes and a gag reel. A gift set ($34.98) includes a weak second disc about the monkey that plays Dexter.
-- Amy Hitt