Originally created 05/11/04

New home-video releases

Selected home-video releases:

"Scary Movie 3"

The third installment in the horror-comedy series was a $100 million hit despite its meager laughs. Original cast member Anna Faris is joined by Charlie Sheen, Queen Latifah and Leslie Nielsen in parodies of "The Ring," "Signs," "The Matrix" flicks and other hits. The DVD features a big collection of deleted footage, including a wildly different ending sequence that demonstrates the hit-and-miss approach behind the franchise. The painfully prolonged alternate ending - with more "Matrix" gags and a terrible spoof of "The Hulk" - is worth watching with the commentary by director David Zucker and his producer and screenwriters, who merrily mock the abandoned conclusion. Zucker and company also add commentary for the full movie. DVD, $29.99. (Dimension)

"In America"

In his commentary, Irish filmmaker Jim Sheridan calls himself the "egomaniac who wrote, directed and produced a film about himself." Be glad he did. Sheridan's semi-autobiographical account of his family's move to New York, co-written with his two daughters, is a sublime story and one of last year's finest films. Samantha Morton, Paddy Considine and real-life sisters Sarah and Emma Bolger play a transplanted Irish family that finds wonder and magic in Manhattan as they cope with the death of a child. Morton and co-star Djimon Hounsou earned Academy Award nominations, as did Sheridan and his daughters for the screenplay. The DVD has an alternate ending and about a dozen heartfelt deleted scenes that make you long to spend even more time with this tender little family. DVD, $27.98. (20th Century Fox)

"The Fog of War"

Acclaimed filmmaker Errol Morris finally came away with the best-documentary Oscar for his gripping study of modern American history and crises, told through the eyes of Robert S. McNamara, secretary of defense in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. The film offers an insightful glimpse into the inner circle that directed U.S. policy during the Vietnam War. The DVD features 24 extra interview segments with McNamara, amounting to nearly 40 minutes of captivating footage in which he reminisces on experiences in World War II and the Kennedy White House, muses on past presidents and Bible stories, and offers a poignant recollection of his late wife's last days. DVD, $26.96. (Columbia TriStar)

TV on DVD:

"The X-Files: The Complete Ninth Season" - The show that started the TV boxed-set craze finally wraps up its DVD release. A seven-disc set gathers the final season's 19 episodes, with original star David Duchovny returning for the two-hour series finale. The show's creator, Chris Carter, and associates contribute commentary on three episodes, and the set has 10 deleted scenes and four hours of background documentaries. DVD set, $99.98. (20th Century Fox)

"Survivor: The Complete First Season" - The question is no longer who will survive, but rather, will fans pay to watch again when they know the outcome? Season one's 13 episodes are gathered on four discs, with commentary from host Jeff Probst, "Survivor" champ Richard Hatch and cast mates Gervase Peterson and Rudy Boesch on the first and last episodes. The set includes a previously released "greatest moments" DVD. DVD set, $49.99. (Paramount)

"The Waltons: The Complete First Season" - The poster series for family values begins its new life on DVD in a five-disc set with all 24 episodes from the 1972-73 debut season. Richard Thomas stars as John "John-Boy" Walton, aspiring writer and eldest of seven children in a dirt-poor Depression-era clan. Fans wanting background on the show will be disappointed, since the set offers no DVD extras. DVD set, $49.98. (Warner Bros.)

"The Jetsons: The Complete First Season," "Jonny Quest: The Complete First Season" - The debut years of two classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon series arrive in four-disc sets. "The Jetsons" box has 24 episodes about the space-age family living in a future world of gadgets and gizmos. Janet Waldo, the voice of Judy Jetson, contributes commentary on two episodes. The "Jonny Quest" set includes 26 episodes of the action series that follows a boy, his dad and their allies on globe-trotting adventures. DVD sets, $64.92 each. (Warner Bros.)

"Gunsmoke" - Reprising his role as lawman Matt Dillon in the long-running Western series, James Arness stars in three TV movies from the late 1980s to early '90s: "Return to Dodge," "The Last Apache" and "To the Last Man." The movies are available separately or in a three-pack. DVDs, $14.99 each; three-disc set, $35.99. (Paramount)

"Have Gun - Will Travel: The Complete First Season" - Richard Boone stars as gun-for-hire Paladin in the Western series that debuted in 1957. The six-disc set packs season one's 39 episodes, which feature guest stars such as Charles Bronson, Angie Dickinson and June Lockhart. DVD set, $49.99. (Paramount)

Other new releases:

"Independence Day" - With Roland Emmerich's "The Day After Tomorrow" hitting theaters this month, his 1996 alien-invasion tale gets a DVD update. Included are the theatrical version and the extended home-video cut, along with commentary by the director and other crew members. DVD, $19.98. (20th Century Fox)

"Japanese Story" - Director Sue Brooks' understated but richly moving tale from last year makes a fine culture-clash companion piece to "Lost in Translation." Toni Collette stars as an Australian geologist reluctantly shuttling around a visitor from Japan, the two advancing from suspicion to compassion before tragedy strikes. Brooks provides commentary for the full film and five deleted scenes. DVD, $24.96. (Columbia TriStar)

"And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself" - Antonio Banderas stars as the Mexican revolutionary in this TV movie that chronicles the behind-the-scenes drama as a silent-film crew shoots a documentary on Villa. Writer-executive producer Larry Gelbart provides commentary. DVD, $19.97. BO)


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