Armchair Cinephile: The Cine-Mini

Humphrey Bogart: The Signature Collection Volume 2
(Warner Bros.) Bogie fans will think it’s Christmas this week, with the first-time release of four WWII flicks made within two years of the immortal Casablanca: Across the Pacific (directed by John Huston), Action in the North Atlantic, All Through the Night, and Passage to Marseille (by Casablanca helmer Michael Curtiz). Better still is a bonus-bedecked rerelease of an old favorite, The Maltese Falcon. Spanning three discs (available as a boxed set or for individual purchase), the Falcon package offers the usual restoration and bonus features, along with “a recently recovered additional scene” (!) and two other films made from the same novel — one from a decade earlier, and one, called Satan Met a Lady, where names and details have been changed just enough to camouflage the source material.

21 Grams (Universal): Just in time for his buzzed-about Babel comes a reissue of the sophomore feature by Amores Perros director Alejandro González Iñárritu.

Body Double (Sony): Brian De Palma’s Black Dahlia looks swell but just kind of lies there, you say? Try his notoriously nasty Hitchcock pastiche on for size, why don’tcha?

Changing Times (Koch): Arthouse fave André Téchiné (Wild Reeds) pairs two of France’s most recognizable actors, Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve, as old flames meeting again after thirty years.

Edmond (Visual Entertainment): Is it a good sign that this adaptation of a David Mamet play hits DVD while it’s still trickling into theaters? Possibly not. But Mamet + William H. Macy = I’m seeing it.

Hail Mary (New Yorker): Jean-Luc Godard, back when he was still making movies watched by people without PhDs, pissed off the Pope with this modern-day retelling of the Immaculate Conception.

The Little Mermaid (Buena Vista): The charmer that kicked off one last burst of quality animated fun at Disney, before the studio was overshadowed by partners like Pixar and started whoring out their classics with straight-to-video sequels.

Reds (Paramount): A Gone With The Wind-like epic whose heroes are idealistic commies? Looks like director/cowriter/star Warren Beatty wants to remind the world why he’d never get elected even if his pals could convince him to run for office.

Thank You For Smoking (Fox): Not as acidly hilarious as it might have been, and a little too accepting of its tobacco-huckster protagonist’s rationalizations, but there’s still enough wit and satire here to make it worthwhile.

HOLY COW: The Twilight Zone: The Complete Collection (Image)

I THINK NOT: X-Men: The Last Stand (Fox): Yes, millions of people bought tickets. But did anyone enjoy this vapid follow-up to its far-superior predecessors?;

(Platinum Edition) (Universal): Just how many reissues does one movie (however enjoyable) actually need? Unconfirmed advance word is that the studio has done some Star Wars-style tweaking, replacing vintage sound effects with punchier new ones. For shame!


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