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DVD EXTRA: MAR 6, 2003

More movies out this week on DVD: Shannon J. Harvey flicks through the latest releases on DVD and VHS; Road to Perdition, Lilo & Stitch, The Nugget, Misery. (For fuller reviews of selected leading titles, please see our DVD menu.)

Road to Perdition (MA)
VHS and DVD rental and retail, March 5, Fox.
Sam Mendes's follow up to the great American Beauty was seen as a certain best picture contender when released mid last year. In any other year, it would be a certainty, but a flurry of critically acclaimed films all released in the last month have seen it become but a memory. It's a grand film, sweeping in its themes of prohibition-era violence passed through the generations, and quite beautiful in its cinematography and art direction, two of its six Oscar nominations. Paul Newman's supporting role is another, and he's icily cool as the mob boss who betrays surrogate son Tom Hanks or his blood son, setting the film on its course of inter-generational feuding, violence and payback. A film worth enjoying repeatedly on DVD, which comes with commentary by Mendes, 11 deleted scenes, a making-of doco, a sumptuous photo gallery and production notes.

Lilo And Stitch (G)
VHS and DVD rental and retail, March 5, Buena Vista.
One of the most garish and annoying Disney films I've ever laid eyes on. Stitch is a pocket-sized koala bear-like alien who escapes intergalactic prison and heads - where else - to Hawaii (?). Sounds like a good excuse to woo kids into all manner of Hawaiian themed goodies, like figurines and happy meals, making it cool with the help of Elvis's Blue Hawaii. The humans he hooks up with are cool, but Stitch himself is the most misbegotten, ill-marketed Disney characters ever sketched up. He's meant to be cute, but he's an ugly, destructive little devil. Hard for kids to love. The DVD, however, is chock-full of playful extras.

The Nugget (M)
VHS and DVD rental and retail, March 5, Roadshow.
How dumb do we Aussies get? That's the question director Bill Bennett seems to be asking in The Nugget, the most laconic Aussie film since The Castle. Country bumpkins Eric Bana, Stephen Curry and DaveO'Neil are road working slackers who escape the missus on weekends for prospecting trips _ ie, drinking. When they stumble upon a gigantic gold nugget, splitting it three ways with a chisel doesn't work. They come up with an industrious plan, and that's when the gold-diggers, greedy town locals and media foul it up for them. If you like the dumb-Aussie brand of comedy, you will enjoy The Nugget, otherwise you will cringe your way through it. The DVD comes with commentary from Bennett and Bana, outtakes, bloopers, and an alternate ending.

Misery _ Special Edition (M) (1990)
DVD retail, March 5, Fox.
One of my personal favourite horror movies, not just because it's a brilliant adaptation of one of Stephen King's best books, but because Kathy Bates is just so Norman Bates scary! She deservedly won the Oscar for her frumpy role as the "number one fan" of trashy romance writer Paul Sheldon (James Caan), whom she rescues from a car wreck and nurses back to health in her snowed-in farm. When he kills off her favourite character, he finds himself writing to stay alive. It's an utterly gripping game of cat and mouse, with Paul facing some brutal corporal punishment for trying to escape - that scene with the sledgehammer! Richard Farnsworth is brilliant as the wily town sheriff who circles in, but the film belongs to Bates, who creates a memorable nightmare of a she-monster. An intense, satisfying thriller about fanaticism gone awry. There's great behind-the-scenes stuff on the DVD.

Also out this week:
Porridge - Series 1 DVD box set
DVD retail, March 3, Roadshow.

Bones (MA)
Stars Snoop Dogg
VHS and DVD rental, March 5, Roadshow.

Victor Victoria (1982) (TBC)
Stars Julie Andrews, Alex Karras, Robert Preston, James Garner, Blake Edwards, Lesley Ann Warren.
DVD rental and retail, March 5, Warner Bros.

On the Town (1949) (G)
Stars: Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Jules Mustin, Vera-Ellen, Betty Garrett, Ann Miller.
DVD rental and retail, March 5, Warner Bros.

An American in Paris (1951) (G)
Stars: Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, Nina Foch.
DVD rental and retail, March 5, Warner Bros.

Anchors Aweigh (1945) (G)
Stars: Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, Dean Stockwell, Billy Gilbert, Henry O'Neill.
DVD rental and retail, March 5, Warner Bros.

Chariots of Fire
(1981) (G)
Stars: Ben Cross, Cheryl Campbell, Ian Charleson, Nigel Havers, Lindsay Anderson, John Gielgud, Dennis Christopher, Ian Holm.
DVD rental and retail, March 5, Fox.

Blue Sky (1984) (M)
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Jessica Lange, Powers Boothe, Chris O'Donnell.
DVD rental and retail, March 5, Fox.

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Anchors Aweigh

An American in Paris


Road to Perdition

The Nugget

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