Dvd Check

DVD CHECK

March 02, 2006|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

Midnight Cowboy

[MGM] $30

Brokeback Mountain, Ang Lee's tale of love between two cowboys, is the front-runner to win the top Oscar prize Sunday. The film's frank and open depiction of the men's relationship has caused much controversy this award season.

But it's just movie history repeating itself.

Thirty-six years ago, the Academy Awards embraced another love story - albeit platonic - between two men and gave the drama Midnight Cowboy an Oscar for best picture of 1969, as well as awards for best director (John Schlesinger) and adapted screenplay (Waldo Salt).

Midnight Cowboy also made a star out of Jon Voight as a naive hustler named Joe Buck, and solidified Dustin Hoffman's status as a major player with his heartbreaking turn as the frail con man Ratso Rizzo.

The film also received more than its share of controversy because it was X-rated - it's still the lone adults-only film to win the Academy's top prize.

Midnight Cowboy (MGM, $30) arrives in a spectacular new two-disc DVD set that includes some well-crafted, thought-provoking documentaries on the genesis of the project and the hubbub surrounding its release, and insight into the late Schlesinger.

All the President's Men

[Warner] $27

Also new is another Hoffman vehicle: the multi-Oscar-winning 1976 film All the President's Men. Hoffman and Robert Redford star in this classic as scrappy young Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, who uncovered the details of the Watergate break-in in 1972, eventually leading to President Richard Nixon's resignation. Jason Robards received his first best supporting actor Oscar for his role as doggedly determined Post editor Ben Bradlee. The film won three more Oscars including one for William Goldman's taut script.

The new two-disc special edition includes commentary from Redford, who also produced the film; a fascinating retrospective documentary; a new interview with Woodward and Bernstein; and a look at the real FBI operative who was Deep Throat.

North Country

[Warner] $29

Charlize Theron and Frances McDormand are nominated for Academy Awards this year for their performances in this fact-based drama about a single mother working as a miner who files a sexual harassment lawsuit against her abusive male co-workers. The extras are skimpy - deleted scenes and a short making-of documentary.

Rent

[Sony] $20

The late Jonathan Larson's Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning rock musical version of La Boheme has been running on Broadway since 1996. But the film version, directed by Chris Columbus, received mixed-to-negative reviews, earning a scant $29.1 million.

The DVD features a lengthy documentary, "No Day But Today," about the life and legacy of Larson, deleted scenes and amusing commentary from Columbus and Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp, two stars from the original production who reprised their roles for the film.

The Weather Man

[Paramount] $30

An offbeat drama about a divorced Chicago weatherman (Nicolas Cage) going through a midlife crisis who learns that his father (Michael Caine) is about to die. Extras include several featurettes, one of them about a real-life Chicago weatherman.

Domino

[New Line] $28

Tony Scott's critically lambasted look at the life of Domino Harvey, the rebellious daughter of the late actor Laurence Harvey who became a bounty hunter. Extras include a documentary on Domino Harvey and a look at the movie's extreme visual style.

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Vol. 1

[Fox] $40

Episodes from the 1964-65 season of Irwin Allen's sci-fi series based on his popular 1961 film. The series, which aired on ABC from 1964 to 1968, starred the solid Richard Basehart as Adm. Harriman Nelson, who, with his right-hand man Capt. Lee Crane (David Hedison), traveled in the glass-nosed atomic submarine, saving the world from alien and human villains. The extras include the unaired pilot, which, unlike the first season of the series, was shot in color.

Separate Lies

[Fox] $28

Oscar-winning scribe Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park) made his directorial debut with this melodrama about a British couple (Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson) whose lives begin to unravel. Fellowes offers audio commentary.

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