Burstyn's Oscar-nominated performance is out on video
A harrowing tale of drug addiction with an Oscar-nominated performance is the week's top new video.
THIS WEEK'S RENT
"Requiem for a Dream," from director Darren Aronofsky ("Pi") is a brutally honest depiction of addiction, anchored by a wrenching performance from Ellen Burstyn, who was nominated for an Oscar. The cast also includes Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly and Marlon Wayans. The DVD includes deleted scenes, commentary from Aronofsky and a segment in which Burstyn interviews Hubert Selby Jr., who wrote the novel upon which the movie is based. 102 minutes. The original version was unrated, for a host of reasons: Sex, violence, profanity, drug use and so on, but the movie also is available in an edited R (restricted) version. Some stores carry only the edited version, even though the unrated version might be worth seeking out. One quibble: Why didn't Artisan include both the R-rated and unrated cuts on the DVD?
"Before Night Falls" features another Oscar-nominated performance, this one from Javier Bardem. Bardem, a newcomer to American audiences, plays Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas, who clashed often with the Castro regime and spent time in prison before landing in New York. The artist Julian Schnabel directs a cast that also includes Johnny Depp and Sean Penn. The DVD includes comments from Bardem and Schnabel and excerpts from a 1983 interview with Arenas. 133 minutes. R, for adult themes, sexual situations, violence and profanity.
"Beautiful Joe" stars Sharon Stone and Billy Connolly in a story about a down-on-his luck Irishman who leaves New York in search of adventure - and finds it in the form of a former stripper turned con artist. DVD available. 98 minutes. R, for violence and sexual themes.
"Brooklyn Babylon" is the story of an African-American rapper and a Hasidic woman falling in love in Crown Heights, and the inevitable tensions that result. Tarig Trotter and Karen Goberman star. DVD available. 90 minutes. R, for profanity, adult themes.
"Forever Mine," from director Paul Schrader, stars Joseph Fiennes and Gretchen Mol in a story about a Miami hotel employee falling in love with the gorgeous wife of a wealthy man. DVD available. 117 minutes. R.
"The Lost Son" stars Daniel Auteuil and Nastassja Kinski in a yarn about a private detective slogging through corruption to help find the son of a wealthy couple. DVD available. 102 minutes. R.
"Vertical Limit" features Chris O'Donnell in director Martin Campbell's mountain-climbing thriller, set atop K2, the world's second-highest mountain. The cast also includes Bill Paxton, Robin Tunney and Scott Glenn. DVD available. 124 minutes. PG-13, parental guidance suggested for children 13 and under, for mountain-climbing action, profanity.
"Fever" stars Henry Thomas as an artist who believes he is a witness to a brutal murder in his New York City apartment. DVD available. 95 minutes. R, for violence, profanity and nudity.
"Tell Me No Lies" stars Amber Smith in an erotic thriller about a murderer who targets the host of a Santa Barbara radio show. 94 minutes. No MPAA rating.
FANTASY AND SCI-FI
"Dungeons & Dragons" is a dreary live-action adaptation of the role-playing fantasy game. Three youthful heroes battle with a despot (a slumming Jeremy Irons) to control powerful dragons and save their kingdom. The cast also includes Justin Whalin, Marlon Wayans and Thora Birch. The dragons, who are computer-generated, aren't particularly memorable. PG-13, for violence.
"Battle Queen 2020" features B movie star Julie Strain in a science-fiction action flick. The DVD features cast commentary. 80 minutes. No MPAA rating.
"Bongwater" is a romantic comedy about an aspiring artist whose girlfriend dumps him for a rock star. Luke Wilson and Alicia Witt star. 96 minutes. R.
"Voyage of the Unicorn," with Beau Bridges, is about a 9-year-old's magical shipboard travels into the fairy lands and enchanted realms imagined and illustrated by her dead mother. 132 minutes. No MPAA rating.
MGM will release Billy Wilder's classic comedy "Some Like It Hot" in a special edition with lots of extras that retails for $24.98 and a pared-down disc that costs $14.95. … John Waters' 1988 romp "Hairspray," with Ricki Lake and Debbie Harry, is due out on DVD any time now. … The second season of HBO's "Sex and the City" and the first season of Showtime's "Stargate SG1" are just out on DVD. … The DVD of "Catch-22" features critical commentary from the director, Mike Nichols; he's joined by Steven Soderbergh, who's an admirer of the movie. … John Carpenter's "Big Trouble in Little China" has aged better than some of his other flicks, but one still has to wonder if this Kurt Russell starrer is worth the two-disc treatment it gets in its DVD release. In any event, Carpenter and Russell reportedly are a hoot on the commentary tracks. … "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" is due out on DVD on Tuesday, but other key Steven Spielberg titles - "Schindler's List," for example - are still MIA.
Next week: Speaking of Soderbergh, the movie that he won his directing Oscar for - "Traffic" - hits stores on Tuesday. Also: Gillian Anderson in "The House of Mirth," Willem Dafoe in "Shadow of the Vampire," Jet Li in "Once Upon a Time in China Part II" and "Two Family House."