'Thirteen' and 'Friedmans,' out on video, are nominated for Academy Awards
A pair of movies with some Oscar aspirations lead the way on a busy week for new video releases.
THIS WEEK'S RENT
"Thirteen," which earned an Oscar nomination for supporting actress Holly Hunter, is a teen drama about a seventh-grade girl (Evan Rachel Wood, who's very good) who falls under the dangerous sway of a precocious classmate. The classmate is played by Nikki Reed, who co-wrote the script with the movie's director, Catherine Hardwicke. The movie flirts with melodrama, but it has an undeniable pulpy energy and fine performances. The DVD has commentary from Hardwicke, Wood and Reed. 100 minutes. R, restricted, for profanity, sexual situations, drug use, self-mutilation; you know, the whole works.
THIS WEEK'S RENT, DOCUMENTARY DIVISION
"Capturing the Friedmans" is the favorite to capture this year's Oscar for best documentary. It's a harrowing look at a seemingly normal middle-class family from New York whose members are accused of child molestation. The two-DVD set includes commentary from director Andrew Jarecki and extra footage from the family's home videos. 107 minutes. No MPAA rating.
"The Secret Lives of Dentists" is director Alan Rudolph's melancholy drama about infidelity and paranoia among two married dentists (Hope Davis and Campbell Scott); it's based on Jane Smiley's novella "The Age of Grief." Rudolph offers commentary on the DVD. 104 minutes. R, for sexual situations and profanity.
"Radio" stars Cuba Gooding Jr. in the real-life story of Robert "Radio" Kennedy, a slow-witted man who became a beloved high-school sports booster with the help of a kindly coach (Ed Harris). Debra Winger also stars. The DVD features commentary from director Mike Tollin. 109 minutes. PG, parental guidance suggested, for mild profanity, adult themes.
"Le Divorce" features Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts as American sisters facing marital woes, romantic scandal and family strife in France. James Ivory, who usually tackles higher-brow fare, adapted the novel by Diane Johnson. DVD. 117 minutes. PG-13, parental guidance suggested for children 13 and under, for adult themes and sexual content.
"Grind" is about four skateboarding buddies who are following the summer tour of their idol. Adam Brody stars. DVD. 104 minutes. PG-13, for crude humor, sexual themes and profanity.
"The House of the Dead," based on the Sega video game, puts a group of college students on an isolated island off the Washington coast, where they are interrupted by a group of zombies. So what else is new? Jurgen Prochnow and Clint Howard star. DVD. 90 minutes. R, restricted, for violence, gore, profanity, some nudity.
ALSO THIS WEEK
"Water's Edge" (96 minutes, R) is about a writer who moves to a small town and becomes the main suspect in a murder. Š "Gang of Roses" (94 minutes, R), a Western, is about five female gunslingers on the hunt for a lost treasure. Š "I'll Be There" (105 minutes, PG-13) is about a washed-up pop star (Craig Ferguson) who discovers his illegitimate daughter (Charlotte Church). Š "Stickmen" (96 minutes, no rating) is about a pair of pool hustlers who hope to score in a high-stakes tournament. Š "Soldier's Girl" (112 minutes, R), based on true events, is about the life and death of a soldier who fell in love with a transgendered nightclub performer. Š "Scorched" (89 minutes, PG-13) stars Alicia Silverstone in a comedy about three bank employees, all of whom have a plan to rob the bank - except none of them knows about the other plots. Š "Comic Book: The Movie" is a fake documentary about a comic book fan who's determined to make a film about the creators of his favorite comic heroes. Bruce Campbell and Mark Hamill star.
Disney's 1951 adaptation of "Alice in Wonderland" gets the deluxe two-disc treatment with additional materials, including a previously unreleased song, "I'm Odd," sung by the Cheshire Cat. The film isn't considered top-drawer Disney, but its reputation has increased in the 50 years since its initial release. Š "Friends: The Complete Sixth Season" is out on four discs featuring 23 episodes. Š "Dilbert: The Complete Series" is a four-disc set with all 30 episodes of the animated series based on the comic strip.
Coming next week: The parade of Oscar hopefuls continues with "Lost in Translation" and "American Splendor." Also: "The Fighting Temptations," "My Boss's Daughter" and "Secondhand Lions." After that, the pace of noteworthy new releases falls to a trickle for the rest of February, although the month does include "In the Cut," "The Magdalene Sisters," "Matchstick Men," "Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over" and "Pieces of April," which won an Oscar nomination for supporting actress Patricia Clarkson.