This week on DVD

Decadent Fassbinder classics, great roles for Michelle Pfeiffer and Susan Sarandon, the smell of chlorine, yacht racing and another Eddie Murphy flop.

Published March 11, 2003 9:00PM (EST)

"Alias Betty" (2002). Directed by Claude Miller. Starring Sandrine Kiberlain, Nicole Garcia, Mathilde Seigner. A cagily structured little French thriller. Quite rewarding. Includes making-of featurette (Wellspring).

"The Awful Truth" (1937). Directed by Leo McCarey. Starring Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Ralph Bellamy. Cary's great in romantic comedy classic (Columbia TriStar).

"Below" (2002). Directed by David Twohy. Starring Bruce Greenwood, Matthew Davis, Olivia Williams, Scott Foley. Horror movie from the maker of "Pitch Black" left little impression. Extras: Commentary by Twohy and the cast, deleted scenes (Dimension).

"Cause Célèbre" (1987). Directed by John Gorrie. Starring Helen Mirren, David Suchet, David Morrissey. Movie made for British TV comes highly recommended (Lance Entertainment).

"Desert Bloom" (1986). Directed by Eugene Corr. Starring Jon Voight, JoBeth Williams, Ellen Barkin, Annabeth Gish. Soapy, enjoyable yarn of a troubled family in the '50s (Columbia TriStar).

"Effi Briest" (1974). Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Starring Hanna Schygulla, Wolfgang Schenck. Adaptation of 19th-century novel. Not among Fassbinder's very best, but worth watching (Wellspring Rainer Werner Fassbinder Collection).

"Far From Home: Adventures of Yellow Dog" (1995). Written and directed by Phillip Borsos. Starring Bruce Davison, Jesse Bradford, Mimi Rogers. Acclaimed family adventure, set in Canada. (Fox Family Features)

"G.I. Joe: Original Miniseries" (1983, Rhino).

"I Am Curious Yellow"/"I Am Curious Blue" (1967/1968). Directed by Vilgot Sjöman. Starring Lena Nyman, Vilgot Sjöman, Peter Lindgren. Might seem like tepid art now, but was too hot for mainstream America at the time. Extras: New high-definition digital transfer; new video introduction by director Sj&oum;man plus his commentary on selected scenes; new video interview with legendary publisher Barney Rosset and attorney Edward de Grazia about the controversy surrounding the film; "The Battle for 'I Am Curious Yellow,'" a video essay on the film's censorship and trial; excerpts from the transcripts of the trial for "I Am Curious Yellow"; essay by critic Gary Giddins; new English subtitles (Home Vision/The Criterion Collection).

"I Spy" (2002) Directed by Betty Thomas. Starring Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson, Famke Janssen, Malcolm McDowell, Gary Cole. Not every '60s TV show works out on the big screen (see also "The Avengers"). Extras: Filmmaker commentary, four making-of featurettes. Want to see one of Eddie Murphy's outtakes? Want to see another one? Check out the movie's gadgets! (Columbia TriStar).

"Inspector Gadget 2" (2003) Directed by Alex Zamm. Starring French Stewart, Caitlin Wachs, Elaine Hendrix, Tony Martin. Direct-to-video sequel. Extras: Commentary by Stewart, Hendrix and Zamm; illustrated "Gadget" activity; "Gadget Training Simulator" set-top game; behind the scenes featurette; storyboard to film comparison; outtakes; deleted scenes, more (Disney).

"Lucas" (1986). Written and directed by David Seltzer. Starring Corey Haim, Kerri Green, Charlie Sheen. Nerd boy faces down high-school bullies (Fox Family Features).

"Malevolent" (2002) Directed by John Terlesky. Starring Lou Diamond Phillips, Kari Wuhrer. We have no idea whatever (Buena Vista).

"Moonlight Mile" (2002). Written and directed by Brad Silberling. Starring Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon, Holly Hunter, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ellen Pompeo. One of last year's nicest surprises. Sarandon's best work in years. Extras: Commentary by director Silberling, interviews, behind-the-scene features, deleted scenes (Touchstone).

"My Friend Flicka" (1943). Directed by Harold D. Schuster. Starring Roddy McDowall, Preston Foster. Only a sourpuss would point out they made a fine children's book into a mediocre movie (Fox Family Features).

"My Life as a Dog" (1985). Directed by Lasse Hallström. Starring Anton Glanzelius, Tomas von Brömssen, Anki Lidén, Melinda Kinnaman, Kicki Rundgren. Bittersweet but highly enjoyable Swedish film that sent the director on his way to Hollywood. Extras: New digital transfer, approved by Hallström and enhanced for widescreen TVs; "Shall We Go to My Place or Your Place or Each Go Home Alone?" (1973), a 45-minute film by Hallström and new video interview with him; "Reflections on My Life as a Dog" by Kurt Vonnegut (Home Vision/The Criterion Collection).

"River of Grass" (1994). Directed by Kelly Reichardt. Starring Lisa Bowman, Dick Russell, Larry Fessenden. Apparently a road-trip movie set in Florida. Co-star Fessenden is a cult horror director (Wellspring).

"Swimfan" (2002). Directed by John Polson. Starring Jesse Bradford, Erika Christensen, Shiri Appleby, Kate Burton, Clayne Crawford. Smash-hit trashfest may turn your hair green. Extras: Commentary by Polson, 10 deleted scenes, featurette, more (Fox).

"Venice/Venice" (1992). Written and directed by Henry Jaglom. Starring Nelly Alard, Henry Jaglom, David Duchovny. Either you like Jaglom's brand of self-indulgent hoo-ha or you don't (Fox Lorber).

"Veronika Voss" (1982). Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Starring Rosel Zech, Hilmar Thate, Cornelia Froboess. Decadent tale of postwar Germany, reminiscent of "Sunset Blvd." One of the director's most accomplished (Wellspring Rainer Werner Fassbinder Collection).

"White Oleander" (2002). Directed by Peter Kosminsky. Starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Renée Zellweger, Alison Lohman, Amy Aquino, Billy Connolly. Delicious melodrama with stylized performances from Pfeiffer and Zellweger. Extras: Commentary by director Kosminsky, producer John Wells and novelist Janet Fitch; additional footage; two behind-the-scenes featurettes with stars and creators (Warner).

"Wind" (1992). Directed by Carroll Ballard. Starring Matthew Modine, Jennifer Grey, Cliff Robertson, Jack Thompson. Well-photographed drama set against the world of the America's Cup yacht races (Columbia TriStar).

By Salon Staff

MORE FROM Salon Staff

Related Topics ------------------------------------------