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NEW RELEASES - May 23 HIGHLIGHTS

FRESH FROM THE THEATERS

Transamerica (2005).

"If it lives on the page, it lives on the stage," Felicity Huffman told John Esther recently, explaining that it was the script that persuaded her to take a chance on Transamerica - a good move, as it scored her an Oscar nomination. "I thought it was a great story and I was glad it wasn't an 'issue' movie. You know, 'Transgender individuals are people, too.' And the part, if I could do it justice, was just a fantastic opportunity and I hadn't done anything close to that on film."

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005).

Is this really necessary? No. Will the kids enjoy have a great time with it anyway? You bet.

FOREIGN

Viridiana (1961).

"More than 40 years after its original release, Viridiana still shocks," writes Ed Gonzalez in Slant of this Palme d'Or-winner at Cannes.

Criterion's spiffed-up package contains new video interviews with Silvia Pinal and author Richard Porton and excerpts from a 1964 episode of Cinìastes de notre temps on Luis Buñuel's early career.

DOCUMENTARY

Harlan County USA (1976).

In this ground-breaking, Oscar-winning documentary from Barbara Kopple, "there are no after-the-fact summaries, but a persistent present tense of murder, gun threats, crowd violence, poverty, corporate usury, and in the end, astonishing communal solidarity," writes Michael Atkinson in the Village Voice.

Criterion has, of course, loaded this disc with all sorts of extras to boot.

Metal: A Headbanger's Journey (2005).

"Both Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi and Motörhead's [Lemmy] Kilmister pop up as the chatty elder statesmen of metal in this vicariously thrilling documentary, which seeks to explain heavy metal's many permutations (glam metal, the new wave of British heavy metal, speed metal, black metal, death metal, Norwegian death metal, ad infinitum) and its sheer endurance over the past 30-odd (sometimes very odd if you count King Diamond or Voivod) years," writes Marc Savlov in the Austin Chronicle.

Who Gets to Call It Art? (2005).

"Though you'd think is was rhetorical, the title of Peter Rosen's documentary actually has an answer: curator Henry Geldzahler, whose epic 1970 show at New York's Metropolitan Museum helped put postwar American art on the map for good," wrote Sam Adams in the Philadelphia City Paper.

Cochise County, USA: Cries From the Border (2005).

"Ripped from the headlines" is such a cliché, but here we go, a doc examining immigration in Arizona and arguing the Republican case for stricter border controls.

CLASSICS

The Cecil B. DeMille Collection (1932 - 1939).

Nine and a half hours of epic 30s-era Golden Age Hollywood on five discs: The Sign of the Cross (1932), with Fredric March, Charles Laughton and Claudette Colbert; Four Frightened People (1934), with Colbert; Cleopatra (1934), with Colbert again; The Crusades (1935), with Loretta Young; Union Pacific (1939), with Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea.

HORROR

The Booth (2005).

The second film in the "New Generation Thriller" series out of Japan, a collection of new horror movies by new directors featuring fresh faces - Pray was the first.

BloodRayne Unrated Director's Cut (2006).

"Boll, whose name is German for Ed Wood..." You've gotta love that. Comes from Scott Tobias's AV Club review of Uwe Boll's BloodRayne, the one in which he goes on to add, "Apparently, the Boll name rings Terrence Malick to B-movie actors, because BloodRayne features one of the most eclectic supporting casts in years, including Michael Madsen, Sir Ben Kingsley, Udo Kier, Billy Zane, Meat Loaf, Michelle Rodriguez, Michael Paré and Geraldine Chaplin."

DRAMA

The Dirty Dozen Special Edition (1967).

A two-disc special edition of Robert Aldrich's World War II drama. Lee Marvin heads up one helluva cast: for starters, John Cassavetes, Donald Sutherland, Telly Savalas and Jim Brown.

Classic Crime Collection: Street Justice (1960 - 1973).

All in one nifty box: William Friedkin's The French Connection (1971) with Gene Hackman; Murder, Inc. (1960) with Stuart Whitman; Roger Corman's The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967) with Jason Robards and George Segal; and The Seven-Ups (1973) with Roy Scheider.

Back Door to Hell (1964).

Monte Hellman directs Jack Nicholson, John Hackett and Jimmie Rodgers as a three-man commando team trying to knock out a Japanese communication center during World War II.

God's Waiting List (2006).

"Faith. What is it?" asks director Duane Adler. "Where does it come from? And what happens when we lose it completely? These are the questions we pose in God's Waiting List."

INDIE

The Boondock Saints Special Edition (2000).

The story of the making of The Boondock Saints, told with relish in Peter Biskind's Down and Dirty Pictures and captured in part in the doc Overnight, is almost as entertaining as Willem Defoe's over-the-top performance. It's a story also told in a self-deprecating audio commentary by humbled director Troy Duffy in this special two-disc edition. Another audio commentary features the delightful Billy Connolly, by the way.

TV

Little Britain The Complete Second Season (2004).

"The show takes the two-man comic power of Mr. Show and adds the transvestite styling of The Kids in the Hall, while producing the whole package with true visual style," writes Francis Rizzo III for DVD Talk. "Because the show isn't done live, and is instead filmed and edited, they can get the concepts down perfectly, but thanks to some fine post-production work, the energy of a live performance comes through well."

ANIME

Doki Doki School Hours 4th Hour. (2004).

"While other shows use the Japanese high school as a setting for all sorts of romantic, dramatic, futuristic, horrific, and sometimes just plain soporific adventures, this is one of those oddities where school itself is the adventure," writes Carlo Santos for the Anime News Network. "And who would be crazy enough to make a teacher the main character? This unexpected setup is the beginning of a comedy so cute and likable that even when it falls flat, which it does a few times, you hope it'll pick itself up and continue on its cheerful way."

Browse the New Releases Archive for more recent arrivals.

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© 2006 All Media Guide, LLC. Portions of content provided by All Movie Guide®, a trademark of All Media Guide, LLC.