DVD of the Week
The cult BBC series was regenerated with great fanfare in 2005, with the dour-looking Christopher Eccleston as the good doctor. In this second series, Who is played by David Tennant, whose oddball antics recall the quintessential timelord, Tom Baker. With assistant Billie Piper in tow, Who's reunited with familiar faces including the robotic pup K9 and the dreaded Cybermen. Packed with Brit wit and cutting-edge ideas, this is as good as TV sci-fi gets right now. With Tennant's video diaries.
Does the world really need to know how Leatherface fell in love with a power tool and got his taste for human BBQ? Not really. (It turns out he was fired from a meat processing plant.) Does the world really need to see Jordana Brewster get hot, sweaty and screaming? Uh ... The original 1970s horror masterpiece is reshaped with more gore, more T&A, and considerably less brains, although the Vietnam-era setting is presumably political commentary of some kind.
If Invincible and We Are Marshall haven't satiated your appetite for inspirational football stories, then this weepie in knee pads will do. The Rock is the probation officer who sticks his tough-love cleats up the collective backsides of a squad of JDs. They learn winning isn't everything; it's the only thing. Hits all the emotional charkas with the reliability of Peyton Manning going for a long pass.
Although he made his name as a loudmouthed stand-up, Dane Cook is also a skilful sketch comedian, as anyone who has seen his SNL hosting stints will know. As a smart-ass slacker mega-retail drone trying to worm his way into cashier Jessica Simpson's pants, though, he's not given much to play with. As for Simpson, it's clear that the Daisy Dukes held all the talent. Look for this in the bargain bin.
This vehicle for Thai star Tony Jaa features one of 2006's best action scenes. Intent on rescuing a sacred elephant that's been smuggled to Australia, Jaa kickboxes his way up four stories of a giant whorehouse, all in a single five-minute take. There are plenty of similar cheap thrills. Logic, memorable dialogue and coherent subtitles, however, didn't make it past immigration.
For anyone who discovered Hong Kong action through Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, this will be a refreshing slap to the kisser. With martial arts outlawed in 17 th century China, a group of swordsmen and monks assemble to save a village from a vengeful general. Director Tsui Hark knows the wuxia genre like no one else, and his charismatic cast (including Hero's Donnie Yen) get joyously stuck into fight sequences devoid of the clichéd high-flying wirework. A must for action fans and orientalists.
This scrappy monochrome 1987 indie bristles with the can-do creativity and social distortion of the bygone L.A. punk scene. When a rocker (The Flesh-Eaters' Chris D.) vanishes with some nightclub takings, he sets fans, friends and wife in a stir. X's John Doe is among those in dusty pursuit. An atmospheric debut from Allison Anders, who would go on to direct Gas Food Lodging, with a cool soundtrack featuring Dave Alvin, Green on Red, and Los Lobos.
My Chemical Romance's least favorite pop star Hannah Montana (she kept their Welcome to the Black Parade opus off the No. 1 spot) engages in kid-friendly cross-promotion. These three crossover episodes unite the 'tween idol with fellow Disney Channel stars Raven-Symone and Zack & Cody. Can any sane adult handle 90 minutes of adolescent antics? Well, it's got better music than those CSI crossovers. With a Hannah Montana music video and unseen The Suite Life of Zack and Cody episode.
King of the Hill creator Mike Judge and filmmaker Don Hertzfeldt have been tireless promoters of independent animation. These two sets compile 30 of their favorite shorts from the past decade, which proves there's more to animation than computer graphics. Two DVD Debut picks: Bill Plympton's Oscar nominated "Guard Dog," a grisly dissection of canine paranoia; and Hertzfeldt's "Billy's Balloon," where a goggle-eyed boy's inflatable fights a losing (and painful) battle with gravity.
New Zealand trio Crowded House enjoyed their biggest hit with 1987's "Don't Dream It's Over." It was just one bon-bon in the chocolate box of pop they collected over a decade. This 1996 farewell gig is a dream set that features a reunion between House mainstay Neil Finn and his brother (and Spilt Enz boss) Tim. There's some added emotional resonance, too. Drummer Paul Hester was found dead in 2005.