Friday, December 14, 2007
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Gwinnett Daily Post
Selected home-video releases available this week:
'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix'
Harry and his friends have another rough school year, leading the charge against a repressive new teacher at Hogwarts and a Ministry of Magic that refuses to believe the teen wizard's assertions that dark Lord Voldemort has returned to stir up mayhem. The fifth film of the franchise arrives on its own in single- and two-disc versions or in an elaborate gift set packed with the previous four flicks. Anchoring the extras in the two-disc set is a collection of 17 minutes of deleted footage. Also included is an A&E special on the latest film, plus a segment with director David Yates on editing the movie and a behind-the-scenes featurette. Those extras also come in the high-definition Blu-ray release and a disc with both high-definition HD DVD and standard DVD versions of the movie. Besides the five films and their extras, the 12-disc gift set has 14 interactive 'Harry Potter' games and new background material on each movie. The set also comes with a set of metal 'Harry Potter' bookmarks and four packs of trading cards. The gift set is available in Blu-ray and HD DVD versions, as well, and the first four films make their high-definition debut with individual Blu-ray and HD DVD releases. 'Harry Potter' gift set: DVD, $119.97, Blu-ray or HD DVD, $149.99; 'Order of the Phoenix' single DVD, $28.98, two-disc DVD set, $34.99; Blu-ray or HD DVD combo disc, $35.99; earlier 'Harry Potter' films, Blu-ray or HD DVD, $29.99 each. (Warner Bros.)
That great American cinema genre - the road-trip flick - is revved up to lightning speed with Monte Hellman's 1971 highway-racing tale, which features two of the era's top pop-music stars. James Taylor stars as the driver and Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys is the mechanic; they're buddies drag-racing their '55 Chevy across the country from Los Angeles as they bet pink slips for cars against a challenger (Warren Oates) in a Pontiac GTO. The two-disc set has interviews with Hellman, Taylor and others involved with the film, screen tests, and a segment on the restoration of a vintage auto used in the movie. Hellman also joins independent-film director Allison Anders on one commentary track, while screenwriter Rudy Wurlitzer contributes separate commentary. The set also is accompanied by a reprint of Wurlitzer's script, plus essays and tributes to the film from such people as filmmaker Richard Linklater and musician Tom Waits. DVD set, $39.95. (Criterion)
- The Associated Press