Dvd Check

DVD CHECK

June 14, 2007

NORBIT

movies

[Paramount] $30

The Eddie Murphy comedy Norbit proved to be critic-proof when it was released theatrically this year, achieving No. 1 status at the box office on its opening weekend despite tepid reviews. Now it's out on DVD.

Murphy is back to his old tricks -- donning tons of makeup and a fat suit -- to play three roles in a comedy about a timid young man (Murphy), married to a mean-tempered woman (also Murphy), who has a second chance at love when his childhood sweetheart (Thandie Newton) reenters his life.

Extras include unfunny deleted scenes, a look at Murphy's transformation, a minidocumentary on stunts and an embarrassingly tacky faux commercial featuring Marlon Wayans' tap dance instructor.

The Messenger

[Sony] $29

This horror film is a supernatural thriller set on a North Dakota farm. It was directed by acclaimed Asian directors Oxide and Danny Pang. Kristen Stewart, Dylan McDermott and Penelope Ann Miller star.

This, too, proved to be critic-proof when it was released theatrically this year. It's now on DVD.

Among the extras is an extensive seven-part "making of" documentary -- the featurette on training the crows is the highlight -- and commentary with Stewart and "friends."

Maxed Out

[Magnolia] $27

Written and directed by James D. Scurlock, Maxed Out is a cautionary and often frightening look at how America has become a nation of debt. Extras include interviews with experts on how people can get out of the downward spiral of only making the minimum monthly payment.

Duck You Sucker

[MGM] $27

Sergio Leone's final spaghetti Western was severely truncated when it opened in the United States in 1972, first under the title Duck You Sucker and then later as Fistful of Dynamite. This two-disc edition restores the dark Western to as close to Leone's original vision as possible, and the result is revelatory. Rod Steiger stars as a Mexican peasant thief who teams with an Irish terrorist (James Coburn) to participate in the Mexican revolution. The extras include an interview with screenwriter Sergio Donate; a discussion of Leone's political leanings with his biographer, Christopher Frayling; a look at the film's extensive restoration; location comparisons then and now; and solid commentary with Frayling.

The film is also included in The Sergio Leone Anthology ($90), which features special editions of A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Meatballs

[Sony] $20

This is a special edition of Bill Murray's first comedy -- a harmlessly funny 1979 romp set at a summer camp. [LOS ANGELES TIMES]

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