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Crime saga with the Ayer touch

August 17, 2008|Noel Murray

Street Kings

20th Century Fox, $29.99/$34.98; Blu-Ray, $34.99

Writer-director David Ayer was largely responsible for "Training Day" and "Harsh Times," two movies in which a jaded authority figure and an idealistic protege spend a day gabbing with each other and getting into trouble. Even though Ayer's "Street Kings" was co-written by James Ellroy, the movie's story -- featuring Keanu Reeves as a righteous but rule-breaking cop investigating his partner's murder -- should feel familiar to Ayer-heads. It's yet another gritty, textured crime story, full of macho bluster and moral compromises. The double-disc DVD adds an Ayer commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes and a digital copy of the film.

Hannah Montana &

Miley Cyrus: Best

of Both Worlds Concert

Disney, $34.99; Blu-Ray, $34.99

When Disney released "Best of Both Worlds" to Imax theaters this year, the move was partly meant to placate fans who couldn't afford the high prices scalpers charged for Miley Cyrus' sold-out concert tour. Then the movie's screenings started to sell out and scalpers had yet another field day. Surely, now that Cyrus and her alter ego have made the jump to DVD, everyone who wants to see Hannah Montana will finally get the chance. Hannah's even in 3-D: The disc comes with special glasses, along with bonus songs, a sing-along feature and an inside look at Cyrus' opening act, the Jonas Brothers.

The Life Before Her Eyes

Magnolia, $26.98; Blu-Ray, $34.98

Uma Thurman plays a haunted middle-aged woman and Evan Rachel Wood her teenage self in director Vadim Perelman and screenwriter Emil Stern's dark, poetic adaptation of Laura Kasischke's novel. Like Perelman's "The House of Sand and Fog," his new film is maybe too rooted in major life-changing events to be so spare and moody, but both Thurman and Wood turn in strong performances, embodying the literal differences in a life bifurcated by tragedy. The DVD includes deleted scenes, featurettes and -- most provocatively, given the movie's climactic twist -- an alternate ending.

Miss Pettigrew

Lives for a Day

Universal, $29.98

It barely made a ripple at the box office, but director Bharat Nalluri's screwball comedy is the kind of low-key charmer that deserves to find a second life on DVD. Amy Adams plays a frazzled heiress who hires a persnickety nanny (played by Francis McDormand) to be her social secretary and finds that their respective weaknesses complement each other. There's scarcely a scene in the film that isn't predictable, but on the whole it's bright, diverting and sweet. Nalluri provides a commentary track to the DVD, which also sports behind-the-scenes featurettes.

And . . .

"Camp Rock" (Disney, $29.99; Blu-Ray, $34.99); "Constantine's Sword" (First Run, $24.95); "Dana Carvey: Squatting Monkeys Tell No Lies" (HBO, $19.98); "Dexter: The Complete Second Season" (Showtime/Paramount, $39.98); "Gossip Girl: The Complete First Season" (Warner, $59.98); "Prom Night" (Sony, $28.96; Blu-Ray, $38.96); "Recount" ($19.98); "The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior" (Universal, $29.98; Blu-Ray, $39.98); "The Small Back Room" (Criterion, $39.95); "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles -- The Complete First Season" (Warner, $29.98; Blu-Ray, $39.99); "Transformers Animated: Season One" (Hasbro, $26.98); "Twenty-Four Eyes" (Criterion, $29.95); "Wimbledon: The 2008 Finals -- Nadal vs. Federer" (Standing Room, $24.99); "The Wizard of Gore" (Genius Products, $19.97).

-- Noel Murray

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