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'Anvil: The Story of Anvil' shows a rocking friendship

Also: 'My Life in Ruins,' 'Not Quite Hollywood, 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' and 'Year One'

October 04, 2009|Noel Murray

Year One

Sony, $28.96; Blu-ray, $39.95

Whenever writer-director Harold Ramis' biblical spoof shoots for Mel Brooks-style zaniness, the movie misses badly, but when Ramis leans on his lead actors Jack Black and Michael Cera -- playing hunter-gatherers who leave their tribe and discover civilization -- it becomes much funnier than its reputation. Cera's sardonic "woe is me" attitude balances Black's manic dunderheadedness well, and as the duo encounters Abraham, Cain and Abel and the Sodomites, Ramis brings the same "people are people" heart he brought to such films as "Groundhog Day" and "Analyze This." The DVD and Blu-ray come with a jovial commentary track from Ramis, Black and Cera as well as extended, alternate and deleted scenes.


Anvil: The Story

of Anvil

VH1, $24.98

This is a frequently funny movie about an obscure Canadian heavy metal band that tasted a little success in the early '80s and now grinds it out in dingy Canadian and European clubs for audiences of dozens. There's something touching about the two lead musicians' commitment to each other (even when they're yelling back and forth); they've survived largely because they're such nice guys, with families and fans who love and support them. Director Sacha Gervasi shot 300 hours of footage of the band for the movie, so the DVD contains a ton of outtakes, as well as a look at what's happened to Anvil since the movie wowed the crowd at the Sundance Film Festival nearly two years ago.


My Life in Ruins

20th Century Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99

Nia Vardalos plays a classics professor turned Grecian tour guide, saddled with a motley mob of broadly sketched clients during one fateful bus trip. The movie is meant to be about the quirks of international travel and how one woman learns to be more flexible about what she wants in life, but it's too loaded with one-dimensional stereotypes, to which Vardalos' unlikable character is meant to be superior. The DVD and Blu-ray add 12 minutes of deleted scenes, along with three separate commentary tracks from Vardalos, director Donald Petrie and writer Mike Reiss.


Not Quite Hollywood

Magnolia, $26.98

In the late '70s and early '80s, Australia developed a reputation for producing some of the most lurid exploitation films on the drive-in circuit. The documentary "Not Quite Hollywood" does a decent job of explaining what happened, but it does an ever better job of rounding up examples of these movies at their most hilariously extreme, and thus giving trash cinema fans a checklist of titles to track down. The DVD makes a good thing even better, adding bonus interviews and a commentary track featuring some of the original "Ozploitation" auteurs.


Snow White and

the Seven Dwarfs

Disney Blu-ray+DVD Combo Pack, $39.99

Walt Disney's debut animated feature set the standard for the medium back in 1937, and now the studio intends the movie's two disc Blu-ray edition (which comes with a standard DVD) to be just as groundbreaking. It includes games, featurettes, a Walt Disney commentary track (culled from vintage audio interviews), an interactive re-creation of Disney's original animation studio and a "magic mirror" feature that suggests a customized path through the dense features package. Animation fans will think they've entered the Magic Kingdom.


And . . .

Assassination of

a High School President

Sony, $24.96

Dark Country

Sony, $24.96

Mister Ed

The Complete First Season

MGM, $39.99

Trick 'R Treat

Warner, $27.98; Blu-ray, $35.99


All titles available Tuesday.

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