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— by Ben Cosgrove and Carl Davis


"Desperate Housewives:
The Complete First Season"

(2004-2005)

For those viewers who like their television moms slutty, their landscapers eternally shirtless and their evening soap operas made up of equal parts goofy humor, tongue-in-cheek bad taste and midday lingerie, your prayers have been answered. With preposterously revved-up libidos and egos on display in pretty much every scene, the antics on Wisteria Lane make the bed-hopping, back-stabbing freakishness on, say, "Melrose Place" feel like "Upstairs, Downstairs." And we mean that in a good way.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment has included the following extras in the six-disc set:
  • Unrated, extended versions of the episodes "Who's That Woman?," "Anything You Can Do," "Every Day a Little Death," "Impossible," "Sunday in the Park with George" and "Goodbye for Now"
  • Commentary by show creator Marc Cherry and director Larry Shaw on "Anything You Can Do," "Impossible" and "One Wonderful Day"
  • Commentary by Eva Longoria, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, Nicollette Sheridan and Teri Hatcher on their favorite scenes
  • Seven deleted scenes with optional commentary by Marc Cherry
  • "Desperate Housewives Around the World"
  • Multi-language sequence: "Bree's Dinner Party"
  • "Dressing Wisteria Lane": a look at costume and set design
  • "Secrets of Wisteria Lane"
  • Bloopers

"The Longest Yard" (2005)

Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Nelly and a cast of big, sweaty, muscle-bound monster men update the 1974 Burt Reynolds prison-football classic for a new generation — meaning, for the most part, that the jokes are more explicit, the racial makeup of the cast is more believable and the bone-crushing hits on the football field sound like bombs going off. Sandler plays pro footballer and felon Paul "Wrecking" Crewe (the role that Reynolds filled in the original), while Burt himself has a minor role as an older con who coaches the prisoners in an epic game against a team consisting of predictably sadistic guards.

Paramount Home Entertainment has included the following extras:
  • Commentary by director Peter Segal
  • Deleted/extended/alternate scenes with optional commentary
  • Music video: "Errtime," by Nelly

"Mallrats: 10th Anniversary Edition" (1995)

Few films were as eagerly anticipated and then critically and commercially reviled as "Mallrats," Kevin Smith's big-budget follow-up to the indie smash "Clerks." Many felt Smith had lost his earlier focus on crassly charming characters, replacing them with goofy, over-the-top pratfalls and shtick. Leave it to the DVD market, however, to give a film a second chance, as it's here that many of Smith's diehard fans first saw and fell in love with the film. Smith's movies tend to work best on the small screen, allowing viewers to both appreciate the intimacy that his writing invokes, and to replay the scenes they missed because they were laughing too hard. Here, Brody (Jason Lee) and T.S. (Jeremy London) head to the mall to hang out and get over recent breakups. That's it. Of course, "hanging out" is never really just "hanging out" in Smith's films, as the two try to win back their girls, sabotage the filming of a game show and meet comic icon Stan Lee.

Universal Home Entertainment has included the following extras:
  • Extended version of the film, introduced by director Kevin Smith and producer Scott Mosier
  • "Mallrats" cast reunion and Q&A session
  • Original theatrical version
  • Original feature commentary
  • Original on-set cast interviews
  • Q&A with director Smith
  • Bloopers
  • "The Erection of an Epic," a making-of featurette
  • Smith's production company, View Askew, looks back at "Mallrats"
  • Theatrical trailer
  • The Goops music video: "Build Me Up Buttercup"

"Naked" Criterion Collection (1993)

One of director Mike Leigh's many uniformly excellent films from the 1990s ("Life Is Sweet" and "Secrets & Lies" are equally memorable), "Naked" examines seemingly insignificant lives in an England no longer recognizable as the green and pleasant land of that country's myths and poetry. David Thewlis is Johnny, an often darkly funny, often frightening force of nature whose intelligence is matched only by his own self-disgust and contempt for all things light and sweet. The film opens with Johnny arriving in London after raping a woman in a Manchester alleyway and stealing a car to escape — and things only get stranger and bleaker with each passing scene. Any attempt to recount this extraordinary film's plot is pointless, as there really is none. Instead, with "Naked," Leigh has re-created a semi-improvised, riveting, unforgettable slice of life in post-Thatcher Britain.

Criterion has included the following the following extras in this two-disc set:
  • Audio commentary by Mike Leigh, David Thewlis and Katrin Cartlidge
  • Exclusive new video introduction by filmmaker Neil LaBute
  • "The Conversation," a BBC program with author Will Self interviewing director Mike Leigh
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • A new essay by film critic Derek Malcolm

"Grimm" (2003)

We've all learned by now that the fairy tales we grew up with as children almost always came from a decidedly darker source, and none were darker than the tales of the brothers Grimm. Set in present-day Holland, Dutch director Alex van Warmerdam's film draws from the brothers' classic tales with "Hansel and Gretel" as its most obvious inspiration. In order to make a better life for themselves, Jacob and Marie's parents take them deep into the woods and then abandon them there. Left with just a note instructing them to seek out their uncle in Spain, the siblings encounter all sorts of increasingly bizarre characters and obstacles along the way. The two do eventually reach Spain, only to find their uncle dead. But when Marie is swept off her feet by a wealthy surgeon, could this fairy tale have a happy ending, after all?

Home Vision Entertainment has included the following extras:
  • Selected scene commentary by director Alex van Warmerdam
  • Exclusive interview with van Warmerdam
  • Galleries of original artwork by van Warmerdam: paintings and poster work
  • "Painting" (1986): an animated short film by van Warmerdam
  • Trailers for Alex van Warmerdam’s "Grimm," "Little Tony" (1998) and "The Dress" (1996)

"Battlestar Galactica: Season One" (2005)

Forget everything you know about the campy '70s show "Battlestar Galactica," which even series creator Glen A. Larson said was just the old TV show "Wagon Train" set in space. Under the aegis of writer Ron Moore (a man who knows a thing or two about revitalizing old TV properties, having worked on several versions of "Star Trek"), this new "Battlestar" offers viewers dark, intelligent commentary on the state of the world in the guise of a sleek, mature science-fiction show. The show is set during the climax of the 100-year war between the Cylon robot empire and their former masters: humans. Having struck without warning, the Cylons decimated most of humanity in the early throes of the conflict, but now the survivors have taken to the stars, hoping to find salvation on the fabled planet Earth. It's worth noting, too, that Moore caused some controversy early on with fans of the original by swapping the genders of several popular characters, morphing the once futuristic-looking Cylons into even more deadly, human-looking terrors and using sophisticated storytelling to attract a grown-up audience that doesn't live, literally or figuratively, in mom's basement.

Universal Home Video has included the following extras in this five-disc set:
  • Commentary tracks with director Michael Rymer and executive producers David Eick and Ron Moore
  • "From Miniseries to Series" documentary
  • "Change Is Good"
  • "Now They're Babes"
  • "The Cyclon Centurion"
  • "The Doctor Is Out (Of His Mind)"
  • "Future/Past Technology"
  • Visual effects
  • Epilogue
  • Deleted scenes
  • "'Battlestar Galactica' Series Lowdown"
  • Sketches and art


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Photos: Buena Vista Home Entertainment


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