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Lion's share is lacking

`The Wild' includes little more than deleted scenes. Clever commentary and a gag reel in `The Office' typify the show.

September 12, 2006|Susan King | Times Staff Writer

Disney's computer-animated family film "The Wild" ($30) can perhaps best be described as "Finding Nemo" with fur and claws with a touch of "Madagascar" thrown in for good measure.

Samson (voice of Kiefer Sutherland) the lion, a popular attraction at the New York Zoo, and his animal buddies must find a way to get to Africa, where his young cub son Ryan has been shipped accidentally.

Extras are pretty skimpy -- a music video, a glimpse of Eddie Izzard ad-libbing during his recording sessions as his character Nigel the Koala, and a few deleted scenes.

After attempting to channel Jimmy Stewart in "Pearl Harbor," lanky actor Josh Hartnett has been going the film noir route in "Sin City," the upcoming "Black Dahlia" and in the stylish but convoluted thriller "Lucky Number Slevin" (Weinstein Co., $30).

He plays a young man who, due to a case of mistaken identity, finds himself in the middle of a crime war between rival bosses played by Ben Kingsley and Morgan Freeman. Bruce Willis is on hand as a famous assassin, and Lucy Liu is Hartnett's love interest.

Extras include a typical production featurette, technical commentary from director Paul McGuigan and a laid-back track from Hartnett, Liu and writer Jason Smilovic.

Kuno Becker stars in the "Rocky"-esque drama "Goal! The Dream Begins" (Touchstone, $30) as an undocumented immigrant living in Los Angeles with his family who becomes a soccer player for Newcastle United in England.

Extras include two slick production featurettes, a glimpse at "Golden Moments of the FIFA World Cup," and better-than-average commentary from director Danny Cannon and screenwriters Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais.

A talented ensemble, including Maggie Gyllenhaal, Edie Falco, Thomas McCarthy, Tony Shaloub and Olympia Dukakis, headlines "The Great New Wonderful" (First Independent, $27), a comedy-drama that interweaves five stories set in New York City one year after 9/11.

The extras feature an option whereby one can view each story separately, as well as entertaining commentary from director Danny Leiner and writer Sam Catlin.

NBC's offbeat mockumentary series "The Office," based on the acclaimed BBC series, finally came into its own in its second season (Universal, $50), winning this year's Emmy Award for outstanding comedy series.

Steve Carell stars as Michael Scott, a clueless, insensitive boss at a paper supply company in Scranton, Pa. The supporting cast of crazies includes Rainn Wilson, John Krasinksi, Jenna Fischer and B.J. Novak.

Extras on the four-disc set feature a witty gag reel, a clever interview of Carell by Carell, and selected audio commentary featuring members of the cast and creative team, including executive producer-writer-director Greg Daniels.


Also new

"Taps" (Fox, $20): The 25th anniversary edition of the drama about the cadets of a military academy who decide to take matters in their own hands when their school is threatened with demolition to make way for a condo development.

George C. Scott and Timothy Hutton star, but the scene-stealers are a very young Sean Penn and Tom Cruise.

Extras include a better-than-average retrospective documentary, a fascinating featurette on the history of taps and informative commentary from director Howard Becker, who discusses how Cruise went from being a background player to landing a major role.

"Phantom" (Flicker Alley, $30): Beautifully restored 1922 F.W. Murnau drama starring Alfred Abel ("Metropolis") as a mild-mannered accountant who becomes obsessed with wealth and fame after he meets a beautiful and unattainable young woman (Lya de Putti).

This edition features a haunting new score by Robert Israel.

Extras include a special documents gallery and an examination of the production history by UCLA film professor Janet Bergstrom.

"Film Noir -- The Dark Side of Hollywood" (Kino, $50): Five classic examples of the film noir genre include the riveting 1952 thriller "Sudden Fear," which features Oscar-nominated performances from Joan Crawford and Jack Palance; 1947's "The Long Night," an American remake of the French 1939 masterwork "Le Jour Se Leve," starring Henry Fonda as a factory worker holed up in an apartment after killing a man; Fritz Lang's 1943 World War II thriller "Hangmen Also Die"; Anthony Mann's taut 1947 crime melodrama "Railroaded"; and 1948's low-budget suspense film "Behind Locked Doors," an early film from director Budd Boetticher.

"Laurel and Hardy Collection, Vol. 2" (Fox, $35): This three-disc set includes 1942's "A-Haunting We Will Go," 1943's "The Dancing Masters" and 1945's "Bullfighters," the last film Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy made in Hollywood. Extras include commentary from Laurel and Hardy historian Scott MacGillivray, Movietone News and vintage shorts featuring the comedy legends.

"Diagnosis Murder -- The Complete First Season" (Paramount, $50): The 1993-94 premiere season of the old-fashioned CBS murder mystery starring Dick Van Dyke as Mark Sloan, a physician who works at a hospital while consulting for the police department.

The five-disc set also includes the 1991 episode of the CBS series "Jake and the Fatman," which introduced Van Dyke as Dr. Sloan.

"Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story" (Sony, $20): Seminal TV movie from 1995 about a decorated Army officer (Glenn Close) who is involuntarily discharged when she admits she's a lesbian. Judy Davis plays her lover in this multi-Emmy-winning NBC movie. Extras include a vintage featurette, clips from the Hollywood premiere and the 1996 Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's Media Awards.

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