Video Veiw 8-10
Friday, June 5, 2009

"VALKYRIE": A scheme to assassinate Adolf Hitler, hatched by some of those within his own party, fuels director Bryan Singer's compelling drama. As unlikely as producer and star Tom Cruise might seem as the leader of the plot - wearing an eye patch, no less - he does a credible job and surrounds himself with expert co-stars including Kenneth Branagh, Tom Wilkinson, Terence Stamp, Bill Nighy and Eddie Izzard. Singer reunites with co-writer Christopher McQuarrie, who won an Oscar for his script for "The Usual Suspects." DVD extras: two "making-of" documentaries; audio commentary by Cruise, Singer, McQuarrie and co-writer Nathan Alexander, digital copy of the movie. *** (PG-13: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

"PAUL BLART: MALL COP": He had proven his track record on television in "The King of Queens," but Kevin James scored a major movie hit with this comedy about ... well, a mall cop. Hoping to become a full-fledged policeman, Blart takes a job as a shopping-center security guard, then gets an unexpected chance for heroism as he and his scooter face a hostage situation. James also co-wrote the script, so he's completely game for the humor here; Bobby Cannavale ("Cupid") and veteran actress Shirley Knight co-star. DVD extras: 11 "making-of" documentaries; audio commentary by James and producer Todd Garner; deleted scenes. *** (PG: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

"MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3-D": If your hope was to have the early-1980s thriller updated so weapons and limbs would seem to fly out of the screen, your wish has come true. As with so many revisited horror tales, this remake increases the gore factor as Jensen Ackles ("Supernatural") plays a man who goes back to his hometown, the scene of an earlier massacre committed by a miner. The returnee soon becomes the prime suspect in similar killings; Jamie King, Kerr Smith and Tom Atkins also star. And yes, 3-D glasses are included. ** (R: AS, N, P, GV) (Also on Blu-ray)

"24: SEASON SEVEN": Counterterrorism operative Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) has to answer for past deeds - or, some think, misdeeds - before a Senate subcommittee at the start of this tense set, debuting on video the same week the suspense series' season ends on Fox. That scenario doesn't last long, though: The FBI needs Bauer's help in cracking a scheme that comes to involve a villainous bigwig (Jon Voight), chemical weapons and enemies' takeover of the White House; Cherry Jones plays America's first female president in a cast that also includes new additions Annie Wersching and Janeane Garafalo. DVD extras: two "making-of" documentaries; audio commentary by cast and crewmembers; deleted scenes. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

"TRUE BLOOD: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON": After giving HBO one of its most successful series with "Six Feet Under," producer Alan Ball struck again with this very adult saga based on a series of books by Charlaine Harris. Anna Paquin won a Golden Globe Award as Sookie Stackhouse, a Louisiana waitress whose mind-reading skill ups the stakes in her relationship with a vampire (Stephen Moyer). Ryan Kwanten and Chris Bauer ("The Wire") also are featured. DVD extras: "making-of" documentary; mock commercials and public service announcements. *** (Not rated: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

"PEYTON PLACE: PART ONE": After Grace Metalious' racy best seller had yielded two hit movies, it went on to revolutionize television on the mid-1960s as a prime-time ABC serial with (initially) twice-weekly airings. Dorothy Malone was the centerpiece of the ensemble cast as New England town matriarch Constance MacKenzie, but the two stars who stirred the most sensation were then-newcomers Mia Farrow and Ryan O'Neal as young lovers Allison and Rodney; other cast members included Barbara Parkins, Ed Nelson and Christopher Connelly. *** (Not rated: AS, P)

COMING SOON: "NEW IN TOWN" (May 26): Renee Zellweger plays a company executive who gets culture shock when she's sent to a small town to preside over a business unit's restructuring; Harry Connick Jr. co-stars. (PG: AS, P)

"DEFIANCE" (June 2): Several brothers (Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell) try to create a safe haven for others during the Nazi occupation in director Edward Zwick's fact-based drama. (R: AS, P, V)

"HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU" (June 2): Intersecting stories trace romances at various stages; the ensemble cast includes Drew Barrymore, Ben Affleck, Scarlett Johansson and Ginnifer Goodwin. (PG-13: AS, P)

"REVOLUTIONARY ROAD" (June 2): "Titanic" stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet reunite as a 1950s couple whose seemingly idyllic life proves deceptive. (R: AS, N, P)

"GRAN TORINO" (June 9): Also the drama's director, Clint Eastwood plays a no-nonsense war veteran who builds an unexpected alliance with the young would-be stealer of his cherished car. (R: AS, P, V)

"THE INTERNATIONAL" (June 9): An Interpol operative and a New York prosecutor (Clive Owen, Naomi Watts) team up to bring down a corrupt banking institution. (R: P, V)

FAMILY-VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence.


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