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Sunday, March 29, 2009
"TWILIGHT": Countless fans of Stephenie Meyer's popular book series eagerly awaited the first screen adaptation, and they showed up in such force, a sequel got the go-ahead the day after this movie opened. Director Catherine Hardwicke's appropriately moody version casts Kristen Stewart as heroine Bella, whose adjustment to a new high school encompasses her attraction to the magnetic Edward (Robert Pattinson) - a vampire, as she soon learns. Billy Burke, Cam Gigandet and Nikki Reed (who also worked with Hardwicke on "Thirteen") also are featured. DVD extras: "making-of" documentary; audio commentary by Pattinson, Stewart and Hardwicke; extended and deleted scenes; music videos; Comic-Con featurette. *** (PG-13: AS, V) (Also on Blu-ray)
"PUNISHER: WAR ZONE": Some movies based on Marvel Comics characters are inspired, but this purposely frantic adventure isn't exactly one of them. Appropriately muscular Ray Stevenson ("Rome") succeeds Thomas Jane and Dolph Lundgren in the title role of an avenger who makes a new enemy in the so-called Jigsaw (Dominic West), whose face is rearranged during a punishing showdown that results in an FBI agent's death. Much additional mayhem ensues. Julie Benz ("Dexter") and Wayne Knight, alias Newman of "Seinfeld," also star. ** (R: AS, P, GV) (Also on Blu-ray)
"ELEGY": True romance transforms a middle-aged professor, played with trademark expertise by Ben Kingsley, in this drama from "My Life Without Me" director Isabel Coixet. Usually loose with affairs of the heart, as proven by his loose relationship with a businesswoman (Patricia Clarkson), he gets much more serious - and potentially self-destructive - when he becomes involved with a considerably younger graduate student (Penelope Cruz). Screenwriter Nicholas Meyer's adaptation of a Philip Roth story also features Dennis Hopper, Peter Sarsgaard and singer Deborah Harry. DVD extras: "making-of" documentary; audio commentary by Meyer and producer Gary Lucchesi. *** (R: AS, N, P)
"WUTHERING HEIGHTS": Told before in numerous screen incarnations, the classic Emily Bronte romance has its latest version in this British rendering recently televised by PBS as a "Masterpiece" offering. Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley inherit the roles of Heathcliff and Cathy, the couple whose shared, intense love is doomed because of their familial relationship. Additional cast members include Andrew Lincoln ("Love Actually"), Kevin McNally and Sarah Lancashire. *** (Not rated: AS)
"BARNEY MILLER: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON": DVD releases of the 1970s police-precinct sitcom haven't exactly been speedy in coming, but the show's fans will be pleased to have access to this latest collection from the ABC show. Hal Linden has the title role as the New York squad's captain, with Abe Vigoda (who got his own spinoff, "Fish"), Max Gail, Jack Soo and Steve Landesberg as several of the detectives under his stewardship. In a two-part episode included here, the gang is quarantined at the station house. *** (Not rated: AS)
FAMILY-VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence.
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