What It's About: Passion, fantasy, lust, love, art, style, delusions, dreams. Ah, everything that great film and art are made of. Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a world-famous 1960s movie director whose life has been turned into a circus by his roaming eye for women and his brilliant moviemaking. Now, beginning his ninth film, "Italia," Guido feels the bottom falling out of his creativity, and he seeks solace in his past and hope in the presence -- surrounded by a bevy of women -- so that he can overcome his demons and call "Action!"
It's Kinda Like: 'All That Jazz' in Italy
What We Say: Rob Marshall, who brought the fantastic musical 'Chicago' to the big screen, tries to breathe life into 'Nine,' the Broadway musical interpretation of Federico Fellini's semi-autobiographical film '8 1/2,' but it's tough going. The scenario is a bit leaden throughout -- until Guido's desires, memories and dreams become transformed into spectacular musical fantasies involving his tempting mistress (Penelope Cruz), his devoted wife (Marion Cotillard), his muse (Nicole Kidman), his costume designer (Judi Dench), a flirty Vogue journalist (Kate Hudson), a prostitute from his childhood (Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson) and his beloved Mamma (Sophia Loren). The best number, and almost worth the price of admission, is Fergie's wild rendition of "Be Italian." Mamma Mia! | Rotten Tomatoes Reviews
What It's About: An upper middle-class interior designer and control freak (Amy Adams) can't seem to get her cardiologist fiance of four years to propose to her, so she takes the bull by the horns, so to speak, and follows him to a convention in Dublin, Ireland. Taking advantage of an old Irish wives' tale -- that a woman can propose to a man on February 29 of a Leap Year -- she travels to the Emerald Isle to get her man. But her flight is routed to the wrong side of Ireland, and she must enlist the help of a handsome and carefree local man (Matthew Goode) to get her across the country.
It's Kinda Like: 'It Happened One Night' in Eire
What We Say: Adams is the only thing that makes this film watchable: She's just so damn cute, no matter what adversity befalls her -- and she does have to overcome plenty of problems on the road to Dublin. Aside from some clever comedy bits here and there, the film is eminently predictable, particularly in its pitting of the sophisticated city girl against the down-to-earth country hunk; you just know that eventually sparks will fly between them. The whole film is a progression of missteps that bring two people closer together as they head for a twist ending. | Rotten Tomatoes Reviews
What It's About: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson plays Derek Thompson, a hard-charging minor league hockey player whose nickname "The Tooth Fairy" comes from his habit of separating opposing players from their bicuspids; a chore he takes great pleasure in doing. Derek is a realist, and when his girlfriend's daughter loses a tooth, Derek heartlessly tells her there's no such thing as the tooth fairy. Faster than you can wave a wand, of course, Derek is catapulted to the land of tooth fairies, where he's sentenced to one week's hard labor as a real tooth fairy, complete with a tutu, wings and magic wand. And he must make amends for his fairy transgression.
It's Kinda Like: Any of a number of silly comedies in which a "hero" is transformed into a fairy, angel, etc, to learn important life lessons.
What We Say: After the initial cuteness of The Rock wearing a tutu wears off, the film goes downhill as Johnson the hockey player juggles his role on the rink with putting money under sleeping kids' pillows. There's the requisite sight gags (tiny fairy being chased by a big cat, fairy in a locker room). And, as the film winds down, Derek slowly begins to rediscover his own forgotten dreams. Ah, so there's a moral, too. At best, a Disney Channel movie. | Rotten Tomatoes Reviews
'Doctor Zhivago 45th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Book'
Why the Re-Release? It's been nine years since the last edition of 'Doctor Zhivago' made its way to DVD, and Warner has taken the opportunity of the film's 45th anniversary to restore and remaster David Lean's stunningly beautiful romantic epic ... in the glories of Blu-ray, of course. The classic Boris Pasternak love story set against the backdrop of the Bolshevik Revolution is just breathtaking. And don't forget 'Lara's Theme.'
New Special Features: Warner's two-disc set retains the bonus features from the 2001 edition, adding a new documentary, "Doctor Zhivago: A Celebration Part 1 & 2," as well as an eight-song CD soundtrack sampler of the Oscar-winning score, packaged in a 44 page-book of insightful essays, cast photos, and historical film facts.
Is It Worth Upgrading? If you don't have a copy of 'Doctor Zhivago,' then you need to add it to your collection. If you've upgraded to Blu-ray and already own a copy of the film, you might consider ditching the standard edition and popping for this one. it's worth it.
'Saving Private Ryan Blu-ray'
Why the Re-Release? We don't want to seem cynical, but this Blu-ray edition of Steven Spielberg's 'Saving Private Ryan' falls just as TV's 'The Pacific' WWII miniseries is winding down (the series is executive produced by Spielberg and Tom hanks, who also starred in 'Ryan'). Still, it's one of the Top 10 most anticipated releases on Blu-ray as tabulated by Amazon.com, and with the DVD market in a minor slump, it doesn't hurt to get some blockbusters out there on the format.
New Special Features: There's more than three hours of bonus features in this two-disc set, some duplicating those in the 2004 two-disc special edition. There are a couple extra behind-the-scene featurettes for the curious, with the best being a documentary on WWII combat photographers.
Is It Worth Upgrading? Everyone knows about the brutal, bloody D-Day opening of the film, and the Blu-ray version makes those scenes even more unbearable to watch. Spielberg is a master of visual storytelling, and Blu-ray and the director go hand-in-hand. Add this to your Blu-ray collection.
Also on Blu-ray this week:
'Elektra: Director's Cut'
'K-19: The Widowmaker'
'Rock 'n' Roll High School 30th Anniversary Special Edition'
Other New May 4 DVD Releases:
'No Time for Sergeants'
'Suburbia Collector's Edition'
Check out other new May 4 DVD releases at OnVideo.