Dvd Check

DVD CHECK

November 17, 2005|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

[Warner] $29

Roald Dahl's popular fantasy about a little boy who wins a tour through a famous candy factory operated by eccentric Willie Wonka gets the Tim Burton spin. Burton favorite Johnny Depp stars as Wonka. Extras on the two-disc set include a cheeky documentary on training the squirrels, a sweet look at the life of Dahl, featuring interviews with his grandchildren, several interactive games and activities -- "The Oompa-Loompa Dance Machine," "Search for the Golden Ticket" -- five featurettes and an intriguing look at Deep Roy's task in playing all the Oompa-Loompas.

Ugetsu

[Criterion] $40

This haunting 1953 Japanese fantasy-drama is considered the crowning achievement in the career of director Kenji Mizoguchi. The themes of greed, lust and the folly of war are explored in this tale of an ambitious potter who falls under the spell of a beautiful ghost and a poor farmer who is obsessed with becoming a samurai. Extras include effete commentary with filmmaker and critic Tony Rayns, a feature-length documentary on Mizoguchi, an appreciation of the filmmaker by director Masahiro Shinoda, an interview with Ugetsu assistant director Tokuzo Tanaka and a vintage chat with the late cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa.

Lady Sings the Blues

[Paramount] $15

Shortly after parting company with the Supremes, Diana Ross made her film debut as the legendary singer Billie Holiday in this glossy, 1972 biopic. The film, which also stars Billy Dee Williams and Richard Pryor, plays fast and loose with the facts, but there is no denying Ross' powerful turn as the troubled singer -- she received a best-actress Oscar nomination. This edition includes some deleted scenes, a retrospective and frank commentary with director Sidney J. Furie and executive producer Berry Gordy, who had numerous disagreements, and artist manager Shelly Berger.

The White Shadow

Season 1

[Fox] $40

Premiere season of the Emmy Award-winning 1978-81 CBS dramatic series. Created by the late Bruce Paltrow -- Gwyneth's dad -- the show revolved around a pro basketball player (Ken Howard) who, after suffering a career-ending injury, becomes the coach of an inner-city high school team. Included on the set are a retrospective and breezy commentary between the pilot's director, former child star Jackie Cooper and producer Mark Tinker.

Beavis & Butt-Head, Vol. 1

The Mike Judge Collection

[Paramount] $38

The three-disc set has 44 episodes -- 23 of which include censored material -- from MTV's often controversial animated series created by Mike Judge about two brainless, 14-year-old boys obsessed with heavy metal music and sex. Extras include a retrospective, the boys' appearance on the MTV Video Music Awards, clips from their Thanksgiving special with Kurt Loder and 11 music videos with Beavis & Butt-head's stream-of-conscious commentary.

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