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Vampires have hero's ear in stuff of 'Legend'

March 16, 2008|Kevin Crust

I Am Legend

Warner: $28.98-$34.99; Blu-ray, $35.99

Will Smith might not be the last movie star (it just seems that way), but he makes a compelling Last Man on Earth in this hyperactive version of Richard Matheson's thrice-filmed apocalyptic vampire novel, directed by Francis Lawrence ("Constantine"). Smith stars as a military virologist in a virtually uninhabited Manhattan ravaged by a mystery germ that turns survivors into nocturnal predators. Bonus features include four animated comics and a DVD-ROM link to online "making-of" materials; the two-disc edition and Blu-ray discs come with an alternate version that has a dramatically different ending.

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Atonement

Universal, $29.98

The decades-spanning romantic epic starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy as unjustly separated lovers went 1-for-7 at the Oscars, winning for Dario Marianelli's original score. Awards or no, scripter Christopher Hampton and director Joe Wright successfully transferred most of the complexities and anguish of Ian McEwen's superb novel to the screen. Deleted scenes, a pair of featurettes and Wright's commentary track are the bonus materials.

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Enchanted

Disney, $29.99; Blu-ray, $34.99

The House of Mouse went all goofy on itself with this endearing comic fantasy about an animated storybook princess who lands in live-action, contemporary New York City. Star Amy Adams and a trio of Oscar-nominated songs riff on Disney classics old and new. The disc's extras include an animated short featuring the princess' sidekick chipmunk Pip, three behind-the-scenes featurettes, and deleted scenes introduced by director Kevin Lima; the Blu-ray edition includes the "D-Files," a clever feature that unpacks the potpourri of self-reflexive references for those sharp enough to spot them.

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Love in the Time of Cholera

New Line, $27.98

This ardent adaptation by writer Ronald Harwood and director Mike Newell of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's beloved novel falls short in both the magical and the realism. Javier Bardem (sporting a few more hair-raising 'dos) stars as the resolute romantic Florentino, who waits more than 50 years for his lady love (Giovanna Mezzogiorno). The disc also includes a commentary track by Newell, a making-of featurette and deleted scenes with commentary by editor Mick Audsley.

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Southland Tales

Sony, $24.96

Richard Kelly's long-awaited follow-up to 2001's "Donnie Darko" split critics into two distinct camps: those who admired it as an ambitiously impudent satire and those who saw it as self-indulgent incoherence run amok. An eclectic, pop icon-laden cast, headed by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Justin Timberlake, Mandy Moore and Seann William Scott, experiences a near-future Los Angeles undergoing a social, economic and environmental meltdown. Extras include a making-of documentary and an animated short written and directed by Kelly.

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And ...

"After Dark Horrorfest" (8 movies, $159.85; $19.98 ea.); "Revolver" (Sony, $24.96); "The Seeker" (Fox, $29.98); "Steep" (Sony: $26.96; Blu-ray, $38.95, March 25)

-- Kevin Crust

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