Cinematical's Spin-ematical: New on DVD and Blu-ray for 5/4

Nine
An all-star cast, an Academy Award-nominated director, a classic film and a Broadway musical as inspiration: what could possibly go wrong? Our own Jette Kernion felt most of the singing "is sub-par. ... The stars are all able to talk their way through the notes that aren't in their limited range, but it's like having a musical with nothing but Rex Harrison in it." However, "to counter the dismal singing, the acting is nearly all note-perfect." Sounds like a toss-up to me, so I'll suggest a compromise: Rent it.

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Leap Year
This creaky romantic comedy is not worthy of Amy Adams, who is, nevertheless, "game for just about anything, whether it's stepping in cow flop, getting covered in mud, chasing a runaway car down a hill, or delivering lines that weren't funny when they were first trotted out in vaudeville 80 years ago. It's a measure of Adams' abilities that you may be tempted to root for her sweet, clueless character anyway." Eric D. Snider was more blunt: "Every January there's at least one awful comedy aimed at female audiences that makes you wonder how dumb Hollywood thinks women are. ... This year it's Leap Year's turn to suck." Skip it.

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Tooth Fairy
"It's a mediocre but largely inoffensive chapter in [Dwayne] Johnson's crusade to charm kids," says Cinematical's Todd Gilchrist. "Tooth Fairy isn't a movie made for anyone other than that sweet-spot family crowd." Skip it.

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After the jump: Indies on DVD, more Blu-ray picks, and Collector's Corner!




'Tetro'Tetro
Francis Ford Coppola's second "personal" film in recent years is "a saga of familial strife and Oedipal conflict equally indebted to '60s euro cinema and the theatrical traditions of Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller, " according to Nick Schager in his review for Cinematical. He called it a "sweeping epic [that] confirms the director's triumphant return to form." Vincent Gallo and Alden Ehrenreich star as brothers, reunited in Buenos Aires after many years apart.

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Tokyo Sonata
"A startlingly rich, funny and strong drama," James Rocchi wrote for Cinematical in 2008. The film follows an administrator who has been laid off, but can't bear to tell his wife or his two sons. Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa "creates the world these characters live in -- their friends and neighbors, their successes and problems, minor defeats and small victories." Eugene Novikov described it as overlooked gem that "begins as a lovely, subtle dramedy, goes completely off the deep end in the last third, and then rebounds with one of the year's most perfect endings."

California Dreamin
Director Cristian Nemescu had not yet completed editing his film when he was killed in an automobile accident. Armand Assante stars as the leader of a Marine platoon escorting a radar system by train in 1999 Romania. The train is halted in a small town by a stubborn railway station manager. "That this posthumous movie's open ending seems cautiously optimistic makes it all the more poignant," wrote J. Hoberman in Village Voice.



'Saving Private Ryan' on Blu-raySaving Private Ryan
Steven Spielberg's staggering tribute to the men described by historian Stephen Ambrose as "citizen soldiers" ultimately trips on that large divide between reality and fiction. Individual sequences linger brilliantly, but the framing becomes an unwieldy, unnecessary burden, and the narrative's capitulation to a neat bow almost undoes everything that's come before it.

Gary Tooze at DVD Beaver gives the new Blu-ray the site's "highest recommendation," although he notes that there may be some question whether the transfer has been manipulated so as to look different than the original theatrical release. The new edition includes all of the extras found on the 60th anniversary DVD edition and adds a documentary by Richard Schickel on combat photographers.

Also out: Elektra: Director's Cut, Escape From LA, Hamlet (2009), K-19: The Widowmaker, The Notebook.



'Doctor Zhivago'Doctor Zhivago: 45th Anniversary Edition
What I remember from my first viewing of David Lean's 1965 epic is ... snow. A lot of snow. Based on a novel by Boris Pasternak, Zhivago was Lean's follow-up to Lawrence of Arabia and became one of the biggest hits of the decade, as Glenn Erickson (AKA DVD Savant) points out. Erickson recounts numerous objections raised by critics and addresses each one, acknowledging the flaws while appreciating the accomplishments. The packaging includes a souvenir book, two DVDs, and CD with musical excerpts.

Dirty Dancing: Limited Keepsake Edition
Reportedly, "the most complete and collectible edition" to date includes a remastered version of the film starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, a hardcover 52-page book, and a coupon for a stay at the "'real' Kellerman's Resort" in Virginia.

Also out: Matinee, The Muse, No Time for Sergeants, Suburbia.