Costner charming, engaging in `Upside'

New on DVD

August 04, 2005|By Susan King | Susan King,LOS ANGELES TIMES

Baseball movies have been very good to Kevin Costner. Well, two anyway: 1988's Bull Durham and 1989's Field of Dreams. It is doubtful Costner includes the dreadful 1982 obscurity Chasing Dreams on his resume, and 1999's For Love of the Game did not exactly hit a home run.

Although his latest film, The Upside of Anger (New Line, $28) is not a baseball film, the dramedy casts Costner as a former baseball player turned sports radio host. And he gives one of his most casual, engaging performances as the charming, hard-living, hard-drinking Denny - sort of a close relative to his Crash Davis of Bull Durham - who sets his romantic sights on his neighbor (Joan Allen, in fine form), the mother of four daughters who is embittered that her husband left her.

The digital edition is pretty standard stuff: a behind-the-scenes documentary and deleted scenes with commentary from writer-director Mike Binder. The best special feature is the commentary moderated by critic-turned-moviemaker Rod Lurie with Allen and Binder, who both worked with Lurie on his film, The Contender.

Also new

King's Ransom (New Line, $28): Anthony Anderson may be getting good reviews for the current release Hustle & Flow - ditto his dramatic turn last season on The Shield - but critics gave the thumbs down to this tasteless caper comedy that marks Anderson's first starring role. Though the film is PG-13, the extras on the DVD are strictly R-rated, including the behind-the-scenes documentary "Down and Dirty" and raunchy commentary with Anderson, co-star Jay Mohr and director Jeff Byrd.

XXX-State of the Union (Sony, $29): Misguided sequel to the pumped-up Vin Diesel action-thriller XXX. With Diesel's character dead as the film opens, national security agent Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) must recruit another XXX operative: a former Navy SEAL (Ice Cube) with a huge chip on his shoulder. DVD extras include deleted scenes, production featurettes, commentary with director Lee Tamahori and another track with the visual effects crew.

Steamboy (Sony, $27): The latest anime feature from Japanese director Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira). The DVD offers the compelling adventure in both the original Japanese version and in dubbed English - the vocal cast includes Anna Paquin, Alfred Molina and Patrick Stewart. The DVD also includes a production documentary in Japanese with English subtitles.

3rd Rock From the Sun - Season One (Anchor Bay, $40): A delightfully silly NBC comedy that premiered in 1996 as a midseason replacement. The slapstick farce about four clueless aliens (John Lithgow, Kristen Johnston, French Stewart and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who take on human forms so they can learn everything they can about Earth won several Emmys during its six years. The DVD set is a disappointment -interviews, bloopers and highlights.

Coming Tuesday

Kung Fu Hustle, Because of Winn-Dixie, Merci Docteur Rey, Look at Me, Off the Map

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