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'Waitress' DVD memorializes its filmmaker

The release includes a tribute to the movie's slain writer-director, Adrienne Shelly.

November 27, 2007|Susan King | Times Staff Writer

The romantic dramedy "Waitress" (Fox, $30), arriving today on DVD, is a thoroughly delightful film about a young woman working at a diner (Keri Russell) with a penchant for baking, who finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage to a brute (Jeremy Sisto). Her plans to enter a pie-making contest and use the $25,000 prize to escape her existence are thrown awry when she discovers she's pregnant, and things only become more complicated when she begins to fall in love with her doctor (Nathan Fillion).

Tragically, writer-director and costar Adrienne Shelly never got the opportunity to witness the film's warm reception -- she was murdered a year ago in her New York home. The DVD includes a memorial featurette paying tribute to Shelly, a PSA with Russell about the Adrienne Shelly Foundation formed by the late director's husband to help female filmmakers and lovely commentary from Russell and producer Michael Roiff.

It was grief that led Mira Nair to adapt "The Namesake" (Fox, $28). The India-born director began to read Jhumpa Lahiri's book just after the death of her mother-in-law, and she found it spoke to her about the loss of a loved one and the cultural differences between India and America. Tabu, Kal Penn and Jacinda Barrett are among the stars of the well-received family-dynamic drama. Included on the DVD are an above-average "making of" documentary, clips from a film class given by Nair and eloquent commentary from Nair.

Lindsay Lohan's career reached a new nadir with the misguided, silly thriller "I Know Who Killed Me" (Sony, $27), which came and went over the summer almost without a trace. Lohan plays a young woman who lives in a small town who is abducted and mutilated by a sadistic killer. When she awakens in the hospital, she has a new persona, a "bad girl" who worked as a stripper. Extras include, oddly enough, a blooper reel, an alternate opening and ending and extra footage of Lohan's embarrassing striptease.

Andy Samberg has had great success on "Saturday Night Live," even winning an Emmy this year for the holiday song -- about a unique present in a box -- that he sang with co-composer Justin Timberlake. However, "Hot Rod," his first starring film comedy, proves that a little of Samberg goes a long way. The comedy also wastes the talents of Oscar winner Sissy Spacek as his mother and Ian McShane as his lout of a stepfather. Extras include below-average production featurettes and obnoxious commentary with Samberg, director Akiva Schaffer and costar Jorma Taccone.

Also new

"Drunken Angel" (Criterion, $40): This terrifically atmospheric 1948 film noir from Akira Kurosawa marked the first time the director teamed with actor Toshiro Mifune. The lean, lanky Mifune bristles with electricity as a hot-tempered gangster dying from tuberculosis who becomes unlikely friends with a jaded doctor (Takashi Shimura). Extras include a new documentary, "Kurosawa and the Censors," a 30-minute "making of" the film that was part of the Toho Masterworks series "Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create" and educational commentary from Japanese-film scholar Donald Richie.

"Paprika" (Sony, $27): Director Satoshi Kon's anime adaptation of Japanese science fiction writer Yasutaka Tsutsui's thriller revolves around the collision between reality and dreams. Extras include several behind-the-scenes documentaries including exploring why Tsutsui stopped writing after "Paprika," as well as commentary in Japanese with subtitles from Kon and members of his creative team.

And: "Mr. Bean's Holiday" (Universal, $30); "Vitus" (Sony, $30); "Bratz: The Movie" (Lionsgate, $29).

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