Dvd Check


December 29, 2005|By LOS ANGELES TIMES


[Universal] $30

Canceled television series never really die - they find new lives in repeats on cable, syndication and DVD, and sometimes even are transformed into feature films, a la Star Trek and Police Squad!

Firefly is the latest failed series to make the move from living rooms to theaters. Created by Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), the sci-fi adventure premiered on Fox in 2002. Although reviews were generally positive and the series quickly developed a following, ratings weren't good enough to sustain renewal. Even so, Firefly gained even more of a fan base when it jumped to repeats on the Sci Fi Channel.

The groundswell led Whedon to reassemble the cast for the feature Serenity . Despite positive reviews, Serenity didn't catch fire at the box office, but die-hard devotees can now replay it to their hearts' content on DVD.

Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Gina Torres, Summer Glau and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in the movie version of the fast-paced outer-space western. The digital edition contains three above-average featurettes on how Firefly was resurrected, outtakes, several deleted scenes, a disarming introduction to the film by Whedon and self-deprecating commentary from the writer-director.

Four Brothers

[Paramount] $30

Director John Singleton's latest could have been called "The Sons of Katie Elder N the Hood" because the story of love and revenge borrows liberally from the 1965 John Wayne oater. In Singleton's version, four adopted brothers - Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, Andre Benjamin and Garrett Hedlund - return to their Detroit home to seek revenge after their foster mother is murdered. Well-produced extras include five "making of" featurettes, nine deleted scenes and compelling commentary from Singleton.

Must Love Dogs

[Warner] $29

Diane Lane yet again finds herself cast as a recently divorced woman looking for love in this comedy written and directed by Gary David Goldberg. Extras are pretty meager - a gag reel and deleted scenes with commentary by Goldberg.

Chicago - The Razzle Dazzle Edition

[Miramax] $30

This two-disc set of the 2002 Academy Award winner for best picture doesn't live up to its billing. The second disc offers new extras - the best are a series of extended musical performances. Other features include short interviews with producer-designer John Myhre and costume designer Colleen Atwood, an interview with Chita Rivera, a slick profile of director Rob Marshall and a VH1 "Behind the Movie" special.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (Special Edition, Unrated)

[Sony] $29

Just in time for the holidays - horror story/courtroom drama dealing with demonic possession. The above-average cast includes Oscar nominees Laura Linney and Tom Wilkinson, as well as Campbell Scott. Extras include featurettes on the genesis of the fact-based project, the casting and special effects. Director Scott Derrickson supplies commentary.

The Brothers Grimm

[Miramax] $30

In this grim tale, Heath Ledger and Matt Damon, who are both in hit movies this December, star as the siblings. The DVD has gregarious commentary from director Terry Gilliam, deleted scenes, a standard behind-the-scenes documentary and a look at the special effects.


[Sony] $25

Creepy low-budget thriller starring Courteney Cox as a photographer whose life begins to unravel after her boyfriend (James Le Gros) is murdered in a convenience store robbery. The extras include two commentary tracks - one with director Greg Harrison and writer Benjamin Brand, who discuss how radically the structure of the film changed after it was screened in 2004 at the Sundance Film Festival; and the second with Harrison and cinematographer Nancy Schreiber.

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