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STAYING IN | VIDEO SHELF

Rip-roaring 'Lion' retelling

February 12, 2004|Susan King

The Lion King 1 1/2

Disney

VHS: $25; DVD: $30

Because Disney's made-for-video sequels to their classic animated films have been mediocre at best, expectations for this new sequel to the mouse house's 1994 blockbuster were slim. But thanks to a clever story line, snappy dialogue that kids and adults will enjoy, a couple of decent new songs and the return of the original voice actors, "Lion King 1 1/2" is an irreverent gas.

In this outing, the wily meerkat Timon and his best pal, the sweet but gaseous warthog Pumbaa, tell the story of "The Lion King" through their wild and crazy eyes. Nathan Lane as Timon and Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa have a great rapport -- the two actors have appeared together in Broadway -- and are the funniest odd couple since Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.

The double-disc DVD includes a chipper "making of" documentary, a takeoff of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" with Timon as the contestant, a mockumentary on Timon and a theme-park-style virtual safari.

*

Intolerable Cruelty

George Clooney, Catherine Zeta-Jones

Universal, $27

The iconoclastic filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen finally took the plunge a few years ago and did their first audio commentary with their star Billy Bob Thornton for "The Man Who Wasn't There." Maybe they didn't enjoy doing commentary or they have been too busy in production with their new film, "The Ladykillers," because the brothers skipped doing an audio track for "Intolerable Cruelty," their uneven but funny throwback to the screwball romantic comedies of the '30s and '40s.

The siblings are interviewed in the by-the-books "making of" featurette, but they don't offer many insights into their most commercial project to date. Other extras include a look at the glamorous costume design -- George Clooney's suits were based on Cary Grant's ensemble in 1958's "Indiscreet" -- and a few enjoyable outtakes.

*

In the Cut

Meg Ryan, Mark Ruffalo

Columbia TriStar, $27

Meg Ryan received a lot of ink last fall for her explicit nude love scenes with Ruffalo and for playing a character who is a 180-degree turn from her perky girl-next-door comedic roles in "When Harry Met Sally ... " and "Sleepless in Seattle." Ryan plays an emotionally detached English teacher who becomes involved in a steamy affair with a tough-nosed cop investigating a murder near her home.

Despite the publicity, the film tanked at the box office. And for good reason: Oscar-winner Jane Campion is the writer-director, but "In the Cut" is a complete muddle, and each character seems less likable than the one before.

The digital edition features a slang dictionary featurette and passable commentary from Campion and producer Laurie Parker. Columbia is offering the film in an R-rated version, and one that's unrated, which includes a minute of footage too explicit for an R rating.

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