Dvd Check

DVD CHECK

July 06, 2006|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection

[MPI Home Video] $130

MPI Home Video's delectable The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection ($130) includes all 14 features that starred Basil Rathbone as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's remarkable sleuth and Nigel Bruce as his partner-in-crime-solving Dr. John H. Watson.

The tall, hawklike Rathbone was one of cinema's busiest character actors -- appearing in such films as Romeo and Juliet, Anna Karenina, The Adventures of Robin Hood and If I Were King (for which he received an Oscar nomination) -- before being cast as Holmes by 20th Century Fox in 1939 in the immensely enjoyable The Hound of the Baskervilles, quickly followed by the equally satisfying Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

Three years later, Rathbone and Bruce resurrected the characters for 12 low-budget but atmospheric mysteries at Universal. Instead of being situated in late 19th-century London, these nifty little "B" pictures were set in contemporary times -- the sleuths even battled Nazis.

The Universal films in the set -- Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror, Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon, Sherlock Holmes in Washington, Sherlock Holmes Faces Death, The Spider Woman, The Scarlet Claw, The Pearl of Death, The House of Fear, The Woman in Green, Terror by Night and Dressed to Kill -- were restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

Extras include six audio commentaries, one with Dressed to Kill costar Patricia Morison, an interview with University of California, Los Angeles film preservationist Robert Gitt, footage of Doyle, production notes, photo galleries and trailers.

Failure to Launch

[Paramount] $30

Despite receiving lukewarm-to-negative reviews, this romantic comedy starring Matthew McConaughey as a 35-year-old man still living at home was a hit with audiences this spring. Sarah Jessica Parker also stars as a woman hired by his parents (Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw) to give him a push out of the nest.

Save for a "making of" featurette, the extras on the DVD are innovative and quirky -- "The Failure to Launch Phenomenon" profiles several men -- one is 38 -- who still live at home with their parents; "Dating in the New Millennium" discusses the rise in Internet dating as well as other forms of dating services; "Moviefone.com Unscripted With Matthew McConaughey and Terry Bradshaw" is an entertaining, good-old-boy chat between movie father and son; and "The Failure to Launch Contest" announces which one of the three finalists -- who still live at home -- gets the chance to have his own apartment for six months.

Madea's Family Reunion

The Movie

[Lionsgate] $29

Playwright-actor-director-producer Tyler Perry, who scored a surprise hit in 2005 with Diary of a Mad Black Woman, returns to the big screen in this adaptation of his hit play which revolves around the outrageous Southern matriarch, Madea (Perry). Included are several behind-the-scenes documentaries and Perry's commentary.

Why We Fight

[Sony] $25

Grand Jury Prize winner at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, this well-crafted documentary examines the American war machine. Director Eugene Jarecki was inspired to make the film after seeing footage of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's farewell address to the nation in 1961 in which he warned against the dangers of the "military-industrial complex."

The digital edition features several compelling deleted scenes, clips of Jarecki's appearances on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and Charlie Rose, and stimulating commentary with Jarecki and Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's chief of staff from 2002 to 2005.

Annapolis

[Touchstone] $30

Justin Lin (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift) helmed this formulaic drama about a young midshipman (James Franco) with a chip on his shoulder who discovers his self-worth when he joins the Brigades boxing tournament. Extras include a history of the tournament, a standard "making of" featurette and decent commentary with Lin, writer David Collard and editor Fred Raskin.

Cache

[Sony] $27

Director Michael Haneke's unsettling French thriller starring Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche as a TV talk-show host and his wife who begin to receive videos of their private life. The extras include an astute interview with Haneke and a behind-the-scenes documentary.

The Color Honeymooners

Collection I

[MPI] $40

From 1966 to 1970, more than half of CBS' musical variety series The Jackie Gleason Show consisted of hourlong episodes of The Honeymooners. Though Art Carney was still on board as Ralph Kramden's clueless best buddy Ed Norton, the original Honeymooners leading ladies Audrey Meadows and Joyce Randolph were replaced by Sheila MacRae as Alice and Jane Kean as Trixie. Episodes in the three-disc set revolve around the quartet's trip through Europe.

Coming Tuesday

Basic Instinct 2 and Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story

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