New DVD Spin: This is England, The Young Ones, Paris je t'aime, and La Vie En Rose

The "Thatcher in the Rye" Discs of the Week:


is England (IFC Films)

In this 2007 coming-of-age tale set within the British punk culture of

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's social dystopia, an orphaned

12-year-old befriends a dangerous group of skinheads in northern

England. This is England won the Best Film prize at the British

Independent Film Awards, with Thomas Turgoose, who had never acted

before, winning the Most Promising Newcomer award. With its

ska-influenced score, the powerful reality of its setting and details,

and the strength of the performances and production, here's one of

those gotta-see films that few audiences had a chance to find at the

local mall cineplex.

The DVD's extras spike our hair with a "making of" featurette, an

interview with writer/director Shane Meadows, two essays -- "Skinhead

Culture: Cropped, Braced, & Booted" and "The Falklands: A Pathetic

War" -- and the theatrical trailer.

Watch an

interview with director Shane Meadows.

The Young Ones: Extra Stoopid Edition (BBC Warner)

Before Beavis and Butthead, before South Park, there was The

Young Ones, an early Eighties BBC sitcom of staggering

boneheadedness that won the 1985 British Academy of Film and Television

Arts award for Best Comedy Series, and became a hit on MTV in the '80s

and again on Comedy Central in the '90s. A cult fave in England and in

college dorms across America, this rude, awesomely violent,

unpredictable, joyously infantile British punk-com followed the

misadventures of four slovenly housemates: loud-mouthed metalhead

Vyvian (Ade Edmonson), lentil-loving hippie Neil (Nigel Planer),

smooth-talking ladies' man Mike (Christopher Ryan), and Cliff Richard

fan and would-be poet Rick (Rik Mayall).

The Young Ones provided a breakthrough for the new generation

of aggressive and forthright "alternative" comedians. With surreal

comedic scenarios and guest stars including Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson,

Stephen Fry, Robbie Coltrane, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, plus

musical non sequiturs featuring Dexy's Midnight Runners, Madness, The

Damned and Motorhead. "What we need is a large consignment of very hard


All 12 episodes are included in this three-disc set. So are

commentaries on the first and last episodes, a documentary on the

beginning of Britain's alternative comedy scene, a reunion featurette,

"The Making of The Young Ones" (interviews), and "The Guest Stars of

The Young Ones."

The "Last Tango" Discs of the Week:


je t'aime (First Look)

alt="" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"/>This fitfully

lovely and moving mosaic of 18 short films by 21 directors -- among

them the Coen Brothers, Alfonso Cuaron, Wes Craven, Gus van Sant and

Alexander Payne -- presents different visions of the city of lights

and, especially, love. With each director telling the story of an

unusual encounter in one of the city's neighborhoods, the vignettes go

beyond the "postcard" view of Paris to portray aspects of the city

rarely seen on the big screen.

The cast includes Natalie Portman, Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe, Gena

Rowlands, Nick Nolte, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Bob Hoskins, Ben Gazzara,

Julie Bataille, Juliette Binoche, Gerard Depardieu, Julie Depardieu,

Marianne Faithfull, Hippolyte Girardot, Emily Mortimer, Alexander

Payne, Miranda Richardson, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Rufus Sewell,

Leonor Watling and Elijah Wood.

This two-disc box gives us Paris, je t'aime in an anamorphic

1.85:1 image with sound in Dolby stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1

options. In French with optional subtitles in English or Spanish. The

extras menu offers "making of" and "behind the scenes" featurettes,

split-screen storyboards, the theatrical trailer and previews.


Vie En Rose (Warner)

alt="" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"/>Expect Oscar buzz

about this one, this year's top-grossing foreign film in the U.S. The

troubled life and achingly beautiful voice of French chanteuse Edith

Piaf receives a sumptuously shot and thoroughly candid treatment. Peter

Travers in Rolling Stone said that Piaf's "upbringing in a

brothel, followed by bruising encounters with sex, booze and drugs,

created a voice that touched the world with hits such as 'La Vie en

Rose,' 'Milord' and 'Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.' Somehow Olivier Dahan's

impressionistic heartbreaker of a movie gets it all in. And Marion

Cotillard, lip-syncing Piaf's songs and digging into her soul with

gale-force urgency, gives a performance for the ages."

The DVD presents an extended edition with footage not shown in

theaters. Extras include the behind-the-scenes feature, "Stepping Into

Character," which includes interviews with Marion Cotillard and

director Oliver Dahan.


about more new DVDs.


Mark Bourne