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DVD EXTRA: FEB 27, 2003

More movies out this week on DVD: Shannon J. Harvey flicks through the latest releases on DVD and VHS; Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, The Business of Strangers, and Greenfingers. (For fuller reviews of selected leading titles, please see our DVD menu.)

DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD (M)
VHS and DVD rental and retail, February 26, Warner Bros.
A sisterhood of top-notch actresses inhabit this bona-fide chick-flick about female bonding based on Rebecca Wells’s best seller. Sandra Bullock is New York playwright Sidda Lee Walker. Ellen Burstyn is Vivi, Sidda’s highly-strung Louisiana mother and the source of years of therapy. When a magazine profile on Sidda implies Vivi was not a good mother, Vivi is outraged and the ensuing blow-up sees mother and daughter not speaking to each other. Enter Vivi’s life-long friends (Fionnula Flanagan, Shirley Knight, Maggie Smith) – the Ya-Ya Sisterhood – who bring Sidda home in an effort to repair years of broken bonds. There’s fine performances all round - especially from Ashley Judd as the younger version of Vivi – in this uplifting tale of Deep South female relationships. Like the similar Steel Magnolias and Terms of Endearment, it mixes equal measures of humour and drama, slowly unveiling the dark secrets of the past that cause the pains of today. The DVD comes with additional scenes, two cast and crew commentaries, a page-to-screen documentary and an interactive Ya-Ya Sisterhood scrapbook.

THE BUSINESS OF STRANGERS (MA)
VHS and DVD rental, February 26.
It’s a battle of wits between a world-weary, wisened veteran and a headstrong young upstart in The Business of Strangers, a stunning indie debut from writer-director Patrick Stettner. Stockard Channing and Julia Stiles sizzle as single, strong-minded career women with different moral codes. Julie (Channing), having played by the rules and climbed the corporate ladder, is enjoying the fruits of her labour as a high-powered executive. Paula (Stiles), the brash young temp who let her down, plays by her own set of rules. With their flights delayed, both are holed up in a hotel, and their relationship turns from adversarial to friends to something even deeper when Julie’s colleague Nick (Fred Weller) shows up and Paula confides that he once raped her in college. Both take revenge on him, not just as a rapist but as one who represents all the wrongs men have bestowed on women. He becomes a pawn in a complex game of power between two highly intelligent ladies in this engrossing game of psychological cat and mouse. No extra features.

GREENFINGERS (M) 
VHS and DVD rental and retail, February 26, Columbia.
Based on the true story of the horticulturally inclined inmates of HMP Edgefield prison, Greenfingers is a blooming good British drama about a grass-roots struggle for dignity and redemption. Clive Owen is Colin Briggs, a quietly spoken con serving 15 years for a crime he may or may not have committed. He learns the simple joys of gardening from his crusty old cell-mate Fergus (David Kelly), and soon their entire cellblock has green thumbs, transforming the prison grounds to a bona-fide English garden. It’s so good they enter the Royal Horticultural Society’s annual competition, where their story is picked up by a posh gardening personality (Helen Mirren), and a romance develops between her daughter and Colin. It’s a short but bittersweet story with the same feel-good tone as Waking Ned Devine or Brassed Off, where hard-luck folks find meaning through the simplest things.

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Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood - Buy it here


The Business of Strangers


Greenfingers - Buy it here







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