DVDs: Bonus Points Movies

Watch It, Friend-o

washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 11, 2008

People who have not seen "No Country for Old Men" invariably ask the same question: Is it really that violent?

Well, yeah. At least as violent as one might expect from a film about a remorseless killer who bumps people off with the help of a compressed-air tank. But it's not the blood that gets you. It's the intense sense of foreboding in "No Country" -- the knowledge that, without a doubt, the boots of Anton Chigurh (played by Oscar-winner Javier Bardem) will flash beneath a hotel doorway -- that makes viewers squirm for much of the film's 122-minute running-time.

But this isn't "Saw IV"-style squirming, this is Best Picture-winner squirming. Viewer may occasionally avert their eyes, but they also will marvel at the Coen brothers' masterful direction and puzzle over the meaning behind what may be one of the most maddeningly abrupt endings in cinema history.

Given all the accolades earned by this film, including four Academy Awards, fans may expect a DVD with a bit more heft. Unfortunately, a mere three featurettes are the only extras that accompany the movie. The half-hour "The Making of 'No Country for Old Men'," with its excellent behind-the-scenes footage of the shoot, is by far the best of the group; the other two, which focus on the Coens and Tommy Lee Jones's character, can easily be skipped.

Joel and Ethan Coen rarely record commentary tracks and didn't do so for this DVD, which is disappointing. The lack of that track, as well as a dearth of deleted scenes, strike me as glaring oversights. This movie just won Best Picture, people. I mean, "Good Luck, Chuck" came with more special features than this. Of course, I suspect this bare-bones approach was intentional, and that Miramax may scrape together more material for a collector's edition of "No Country for Old Men" in the not-too-distant future.

Most Demystifying Bonus Point: The making-of documentary reveals the equipment -- including a harness, prostethics and fake blood -- required to create the disturbing scene where Chigurh strangles a police officer using nothing but handcuffs and his uniquely psychotic sense of determination.

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The Post's Michael O'Sullivan explores the cult favorite, "The Hogfather," also on DVD today.

Media Mix serves up snappy takes on the latest DVDs, CDs and more.

Also Available This Week

Jerry Seinfeld attempts to cross over into the kid market with the animated "Bee Movie," out today. For more options, check out this full list of today's DVD debuts.

Coming Next Week

Amy Adams takes innocent and sweet to a whole new level in "Enchanted," on DVD next Tuesday. For a full calendar of what's coming in the weeks ahead, click here.

Recently Announced

Releases worth marking on the calendar:

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PHOTOS: 'No Country for Old Men' -- Miramax/'Bee Movie' -- DreamWorks

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