Originally created 07/17/04

New home-video releases



Selected home-video releases:

"The Bourne Identity"

In case you've forgotten amnesiac killing machine Jason Bourne, his 2002 spy hit gets a DVD makeover as a warmup for the sequel, "The Bourne Supremacy," hitting theaters July 23. Matt Damon stars as the title character, an agent discovering his deadly instincts as he goes on the run trying to regain his lost memories. New DVD extras include an alternate beginning and ending shot after the Sept. 11 attacks in which spymaster Brian Cox tries to lure Bourne back into the assassin fold, saying, "Sometimes we need a monster." Introducing those scenes, producer Frank Marshall says they were shot to add post-Sept. 11 context so the movie would not seem dated, but they were excluded because test audiences found the film worked fine without them. DVD, $29.98. (Universal)

"The Barbarian Invasions"

French-Canadian writer-director Denys Arcand's follow-up to his 1986 tale "The Decline of the American Empire" earned him the Academy Award for last year's best foreign-language film. The comic drama follows the final days of a character from "Decline" (Remy Girard), a dying academic whose estranged son (Stephane Rousseau) treats him to a bittersweet sendoff among family and friends. Appropriate for a film full of characters volubly pondering the meaning of existence, the DVD features an hourlong dinner chat among Girard, Rousseau and other co-stars in a spirited debate about life, death, careers, family and how the film reflects on those issues. Arcand is heard only briefly in voiceover; the segment notes that Arcand did not attend the dinner because he had said all he wanted to say in the film. DVD, $29.99. (Miramax)

"Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London"

"Destination Straight to Video" would have been a better subtitle for this limp follow-up. Frankie Muniz reprises his spy kid title role from the 2003 mini-hit, this time getting a new wiseguy handler (Anthony Anderson) and going undercover at a British boarding school to stop a madman from taking over the minds of world leaders. Among DVD features is a video commentary that freezes the movie and brings Muniz, Anderson and co-star Hannah Spearritt on-screen for behind-the-scenes tidbits. The three actors also collaborate for a video spy quiz that leads viewers to an outtake reel. DVD, $26.98. (MGM)

TV on DVD:

"Project Greenlight: The Complete 2nd Season" - Year two of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon's reality series on independent filmmaking comes to DVD, with all 13 episodes on two discs and a third containing that season's feature production, "The Battle of Shaker Heights." The set features deleted material from the both the film and the TV show. DVD set, $39.99. (Miramax)

"Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - Season Four" - The big lug from ancient Greece returns with 22 more episodes on eight DVDs, with a CD-ROM disc containing series background and cast biographies. DVD extras include commentary and interviews with stars Kevin Sorbo and Michael Hurst and many of their collaborators, including Hudson Leick, who played recurring villain Callisto in "Hercules" and "Xena: Warrior Princess." DVD set, $69.98. (Anchor Bay)

Other new releases:

"Never Die Alone" - DMX and David Arquette star in this pretentious crime saga about a slain drug kingpin who spins his own story through audio tapes left to a hungry writer. Director Ernest Dickerson offers commentary for the full movie and 11 deleted scenes. DVD, $27.98. (20th Century Fox)

"The Dreamers" - Bernardo Bertolucci's latest, which received an NC-17 rating for its sexual frankness, is a lyrical coming-of-age tale revolving around French twins and a new American acquaintance they hook up with during the social chaos of 1968 Paris. Bertolucci provides commentary. DVD, $29.98. (20th Century Fox)

"Against the Ropes" - Dressed like a streetwalker, Meg Ryan stars as real-life boxing manager Jackie Kallen in a featherweight flop about her stab at turning a street tough (Omar Epps) into a champion fighter. The DVD has two background featurettes. DVD, $29.95. (Paramount)

"The Manchurian Candidate" - With Denzel Washington's remake on the way, the 1962 assassination thriller starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey and Angela Lansbury gets a DVD update. The disc has the commentary by director John Frankenheimer and an interview featuring Sinatra and Frankenheimer from an earlier DVD, plus new interviews with Lansbury and Frankenheimer pal William Friedkin. DVD, $14.95. (MGM)

"The Spy Who Came in From the Cold" - Richard Burton stars in the excellent 1965 adaptation of John le Carre's tale of a burnt-out British spy on one last undercover mission to bring down an East German rival. Two other spy capers debut on DVD: William Holden's 1962 World War II tale "The Counterfeit Traitor" and Oliver Reed's 1969 thriller "The Assassination Bureau." DVDs, $14.99 each. (Paramount)

"Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise" - Director Danny Boyle ("Trainspotting," "28 Days Later") delivers an often hilarious take on the door-to-door peddling game. Timothy Spall stars as an outrageously vulgar vacuum salesman assigned as mentor to a new recruit. DVD, $24.98. (Koch)

"Slasher" - For a very different view on the art of the sale, try this engaging documentary directed by John Landis ("Animal House"). The film focuses on a traveling used-car salesman who blows into town to unload 60 autos in just two days using every high-pressure trick in the book. DVD, $24.95. (Docurama)