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VIDEO SHELF

Real star of 'Frida' DVD is the director

June 12, 2003|Susan King

Frida

Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina

Miramax, $30

Though Oscar-nominated Hayek is the star of this visually arresting bio-pic about Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, it is the film's director, Julie Taymor, who is the star of the two-disc DVD. One of the most inventive, artistic theater and opera directors around, Taymor became, with "The Lion King," the first woman to win a Tony for directing a musical. Not only does she supply the literate, confident commentary track on the DVD, Taymor also is featured in a question-and-answer interview at the American Film Institute, in a TV interview with Bill Moyers, and in discussions on the look of the film with cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto and production designer Felipe Fernandez.

*

Old School

Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell

DreamWorks, $27

Director and co-writer Todd Phillips follows up his raucous 2000 hit comedy "Road Trip" with this equally naughty comedy, released on DVD in both R-rated and unrated versions. Wilson, Ferrell and Vince Vaughn play three friends in their 30s who decide to begin a fraternity when Wilson moves into a house near the local college.

When he was on "Saturday Night Live," Ferrell did numerous impressions, one of his best being his take on the pompous, deadly serious James Lipton, host of Bravo's "Inside the Actors Studio." He reprises his impersonation of Lipton on this DVD.

Rounding out the disc is jaunty commentary from the three stars and Phillips, outtakes and a by-the-numbers making-of documentary.

*

Tears of the Sun

Bruce Willis, Monica Bellucci

Columbia TriStar, $28

This big-budget war flick opened around the time the U.S. went to war with Iraq, which probably hurt its box-office performance. Though its intentions are good and the performances sturdy, "Tears of the Sun" isn't very interesting. Willis plays the unemotional head of a U.S. special operations team.

The average DVD includes a making-of documentary and commentary from director Antoine Fuqua.

*

Robin Hood -- Prince of Thieves

Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman

Warner Bros., $27

With his breezy, funny and perceptive DVD commentary with co-star Tim Robbins on "Bull Durham," producer Jim Wilson on "Dances With Wolves" and now director Kevin Reynolds on this two-disc set of the 1991 swashbuckler, director-actor Costner is proving to be far more animated than he is on screen. And he's surprisingly candid, criticizing his dreadful British accent and saying he wishes he were a better actor in several scenes.

This extended edition, which features about 15 extra minutes revolving around the Sheriff of Nottingham (Alan Rickman), includes an equally entertaining commentary track with producer-writers Pen Densham and John Watson and co-stars Freeman and Christian Slater. The second disc, however, is a complete washout extra-wise.

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