Double releases reveal director Boorman's gifts

New on DVD

July 14, 2005|By Susan King | Susan King,LOS ANGELES TIMES

Call it kismet, fate or a clever marketing tool that led to the DVD debuts last week of British director John Boorman's first American film and his latest feature.

A former documentary filmmaker, Boorman made the leap to features in 1965 with the well-received musical Having a Wild Weekend (it was known as Catch Us If You Can in England), which starred the popular British pop group the Dave Clark Five. Two years later, he came to America and made the influential crime thriller Point Blank (Warner, $20).

Lee Marvin is at his steely, two-fisted best as a man bent on revenge. His wife and best friend betrayed him when they gunned him down during a heist at Alcatraz. Left for dead, he recovers from his wounds and travels to Los Angeles to find his duplicitous wife and former friend.

Angie Dickinson, John Vernon and Keenan Wynn also star in this surreally structured film, which reappeared in 1999 as the poorly remade Payback with Mel Gibson.

The digital edition includes two vintage featurettes and perceptive, intelligent commentary from Boorman and Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh, a longtime fan of the film.

Though the intentions of Boorman's more recent In My Country (Sony, $25) are honorable, the drama -- set during South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation hearings in the mid-'90s -- doesn't quite gel.

Part of the problem is adding a romance between an Afrikaner poet and broadcaster (Juliette Binoche) and an angry Washington Post journalist (Samuel L. Jackson). Brendan Gleeson gives the film's best performance as an unapologetic, sadistic police chief.

Extras include deleted scenes and passionate commentary from Boorman.

Also new

Fantastic Four -- The Complete Series (Buena Vista, $50): With the big-budget, live-action version of the long-running Marvel Comics series hitting theaters last week, the 1994-1996 animated TV series has resurfaced in this four-disc set that includes all 26 episodes plus an interview with creator Stan Lee.

Hide and Seek (Fox, $29): Child star Dakota Fanning picked up an MTV Movie Award last month for "best frightened performance" for her turn as a little girl who sees a supposedly "imaginary" friend named Charlie after her mother (Amy Irving) commits suicide. Robert De Niro and Elisabeth Shue also star. Special features include no fewer than four alternate endings.

Georgy Girl (Sony, $26): 1966 was a watershed year for the Redgrave sisters, Vanessa and Lynn. Vanessa received an Academy Award nomination for best actress for the quirky comedy Morgan, and baby sister Lynn also was nominated in the same category for her poignant performance in this bittersweet comedy drama. She plays Georgy, a homely young woman living in swinging London who becomes the surrogate mom to the unwanted child of her roommate (Charlotte Rampling).

Coming Tuesday

Constantine, Ice Princess and Man of the House

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