Dvd Check

October 13, 2005|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

The Interpreter

[Universal] $30

Oscar-winning director Sydney Pollack scored box-office gold with the thrillers Three Days of the Condor (1975) and The Firm (1993). But his latest journey into the genre fails to ignite even with the presence of Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn. Extras are worthwhile, including a powerful alternate ending and discussions with the erudite Pollack on pan-and-scan versus widescreen and his editing techniques.

Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection

[Universal] $120

Fourteen films by the master of suspense that have all been previously released on DVD, including Shadow of a Doubt, Rear Window, Vertigo, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Psycho and The Birds. A bonus disc includes excerpts from the "AFI Salute to Alfred Hitchcock," a delicious interview with Hitchcock from the early 1970s and well-crafted retrospectives on The Birds and Psycho.

Kolchak - The Night Stalker

[Universal] $40

ABC's new version of this 31-year-old series premiered last week. Though Kolchak influenced such TV producers as Chris Carter of The X-Files fame, it lasted only one season (1974-75). Darren McGavin, who originated the role of the rumpled, wisecracking reporter Carl Kolchak in the hit TV movies The Night Stalker and The Night Strangler, stars in this supernatural series that is still a lot of fun. David Chase, the creator of The Sopranos, was one of the writers.

The Warriors -

The Ultimate Director's Cut

[Paramount] $20

This action-packed youth film put director Walter Hill on the map back in 1979 and caused considerable controversy. Critics said that its highly stylized depiction of gang violence spurred real gangs to war. Michael Beck and James Remar are among the stars. Besides an introduction by Hill, the extras include four decent featurettes on the production, which includes the film's original opening.

Mail Order Wife

[Visual Entertainment] $20

Blackly comedic mockumentary about one of life's losers (Adrian Martinez) who gets more than he bargains for when he decides to send for a mail-order bride (Eugenia Yuan) from China. Extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette and commentary with directors Andrew Gurland (who also stars) and Huck Botko.

Coming Tuesday

Batman Begins, Land of the Dead, Saving Face, Tell Them Who You Are, Mad Hot Ballroom and Ma Mere

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