The DVD industry is always trying to think up new and creative extras to augment its digital discs. In the case of Universal's DVD of its raucous, ribald comedy "American Pie 2" ($27), the studio conducted a "Pie Poll" on MSN.com to find out the fans' 10 favorite moments from "American Pie 2" and the 1999 original, "American Pie," and has included them.
Seann William Scott, who steals "American Pie 2" as the womanizing pea-brain Stifler, provides the introduction to the 10 scenes. The No. 1 favorite is the scene from "American Pie 2" in which Jim (Jason Biggs) and Stifler kiss. Among the other fan favorites are the scenes in which Stifler thinks a girl is pouring beer over his face, Jim accidentally glues his hand and a VHS cassette to an area below his waist and Jim has a grand time with an apple pie.
The fun disc--which is featured in rated and unrated formats, with each version also available in wide-screen and pan-and-scan--includes a naughty fake public-service announcement from Biggs; behind-the-scenes video footage shot by the stars; a decent documentary that features interviews with director James B. Rogers, writer Adam Herz and stars Biggs, Mena Suvari, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Shannon Elizabeth; several R-rated outtakes and deleted scenes; and casting tapes from the original "American Pie" auditions, including Biggs, Thomas and a heavily made up, almost unrecognizable Elizabeth.
Also included is a music video from 3 Doors Down, choice lines from both films, talent files and production notes.
Rounding out the disc are four audio commentaries, including one with Rogers and one with Biggs, Suvari and Nicholas. If you listen to the commentary featuring Biggs, you'll find out what article of clothing he wears in the film that he refers to as "manties."
Friends Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming star in, wrote and directed the uneven comedy-drama "The Anniversary Party." The exploration of a troubled marriage during a 24-hour period, "The Anniversary Party" was shot in just 19 days using digital video cameras. Leigh and Cumming wrote other roles for their friends. And what talented friends--Kevin Kline, his real-life wife, Phoebe Cates; Gwyneth Paltrow; John C. Reilly; Jane Adams; Parker Posey; and Jennifer Beals. Otis, who plays Leigh and Cumming's adorable pooch, is Leigh's own dog. Though the performances are all first-rate, the characters they play are generally self-absorbed and unlikable.
The DVD (New Line, $25) includes a wide-screen version of the film that was shot by noted cinematographer John Bailey, talent files, a trailer and a Sundance Channel documentary, "Anatomy of a Scene." Leigh, who is quiet, and Cumming, who is much more demonstrative, provide the insightful commentary.
The long-running WB-now-UPN series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" makes its DVD debut this week. The entertaining "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season One" (Fox, $40) features all 12 episodes from the first season of Joss Whedon's clever, funny and action-packed series, which stars Sarah Michelle Gellar as the reluctant teenage slayer of vampires. The three-disc set features vintage interviews with Whedon and David Boreanaz, who played Angel, Buffy's love interest, before getting his own series; the original pilot script; photo galleries; talent files, the original trailer for the series and amusing commentary from Whedon on the first two episodes of the series.
New on digital disc from Facets is the lovely "Melies the Magician" ($30). The DVD features 15 of the pioneer French filmmaker Georges Melies' delightful, inventive films, including his best known, "A Trip to the Moon" from 1902. "Melies the Magician" was produced by the European TV channel ARTE in collaboration with Melies' granddaughter, Madeline Maithete-Melies, and the Cinematheque Melies. The DVD also features a documentary, "The Magic of Melies."
Fans of the Rat Pack will be in heaven with the sparkling new DVDs of the Pack's best-loved films: 1960's "Ocean's 11" and 1964's "Robin and the Seven Hoods" (Warner, $20 each).
Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr. and Angie Dickinson headline the slick crime-caper comedy "Ocean's 11" (the George Clooney-Brad Pitt remake is currently packing 'em in), about former Army buddies who attempt to rob five Las Vegas casinos on New Year's Eve.
The disc includes a beautiful wide-screen transfer of the film; an interactive map of the Las Vegas casinos featured in the movie; interviews with former showgirls, dealers and cocktail waitresses who knew the Pack; two theatrical trailers and a scene from "The Tonight Show" featuring Ol' Blue Eyes as guest host and Dickinson as his guest. Frank Sinatra Jr., who refers to his father as "Sinatra," and Dickinson supply the informative, entertaining commentary.