Originally created 12/30/04

New home-video releases

Here's a look at what's new in home-video releases, and a schedule of what's coming:

RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE ($28.96, COLUMBIA TRISTAR): Along with Alien Vs. Predator, Exorcist: The Beginning and Seed of Chucky, this brain-dead zombie sequel was among 2004's parade of needless horror follow-ups. Milla Jovovich returns as the zombie-snuffing commando from the first flick, this time endowed with superhuman powers as she battles new legions of the undead in a deserted city. The DVD has three commentary tracks, one with Ms. Jovovich and co-stars Oded Fehr and Sienna Guillory; one with director Alexander Witt and his producers; and one with screenwriter Paul W.S. Anderson, who wrote and directed the first Resident Evil. The disc also has 20 deleted scenes and a feature on the development of female action heroes.

GARDEN STATE ($29.98, 20TH CENTURY FOX): Zach Braff pulls a decent Woody Allen by writing, directing and starring in a quirky romance centering on the neurotic young folks of New Jersey. Mr. Braff plays a Los Angeles actor fallen on hard times after a mild TV success, who returns home to New Jersey for his mother's funeral and works through a lifetime of guilt and medicated emotional stupor with the help of a new girlfriend (Natalie Portman) bearing her own psychological burdens. The extensive deleted and extended footage is mostly throwaway stuff, though one prolonged scene adds considerable depth to the relationship between Mr. Braff's character and his father (Ian Holm). Mr. Braff contributes two commentary tracks, one with Ms. Portman, the other with his technical collaborators.

OPEN WATER ($26.98 LIONS GATE): This low-budget mini hit from last summer is inspired by the true story of a couple mistakenly left behind by a scuba-diving crew in shark-infested waters. Though the film deals mainly with surfaces, pardon the pun, regarding the dynamics between the couple as they cling together in treacherous waters, its straightforward scenario maintains relentless tension after the first shark appears. Lead actors Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis offer commentary along with director Chris Kentis and producer Laura Lau.

SEX AND THE CITY - SEASON SIX: PART TWO ($49.99, HBO): Time to relive your farewells with Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda. The Manhattan gal pals' final season wraps up with this three-disc set packing the last eight episodes, tracing Carrie's new romance and move to Paris, Charlotte's adoption efforts, Miranda's marriage and Samantha's bout with breast cancer. Executive producer Michael Patrick King offers commentary on four episodes, and the set has deleted scenes from five of the six seasons, including three alternate endings on Carrie's romantic fate.

WIMBLEDON ($29.98, UNIVERSAL): Kirsten Dunst stars in a forgettable romantic match as a young American tennis hotshot involved with a fading British player (Paul Bettany), whose fortunes on the court suddenly soar because of the relationship. Mr. Bettany and director Richard Loncraine are doubles partners for commentary.

WICKER PARK ($26.98, MGM): Josh Hartnett's latest snoozer has something to do with a man rushing around Chicago in a desperate search for an old girlfriend (Diane Kruger) he thinks he's spotted again after losing touch with her two years earlier. Mr. Hartnett and director Paul McGuigan team for commentary.

CODE 46 ($25.98, MGM): Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton star in Michael Winterbottom's brooding little sci-fi tale of a man in a near-future world who violates severe travel restrictions and strict genetic protocols in an affair with a far-off lover. DVD extras included deleted scenes.

THE TWILIGHT SAMURAI ($26.98, EMPIRE): A 2003 Academy Award nominee for foreign-language film, this tale of grand adventure and romantic longing follows a lowly samurai whose hopes for improved fortune are jeopardized by a hazardous assassination assignment. The DVD features interviews with star Hiroyuki Sanada and director Yoji Yamada.

- David Germain

Associated Press


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