DVD previews for this week
04/25/2014 12:00 AM
04/23/2014 3:06 PM
“Bettie Page Reveals All” (R, 90 minutes, Music Box Films): There’s plenty of cheesecake in this documentary portrait of the beloved 1950s pin-up, but the highlight is its meaty narration, courtesy of Page herself, speaking in the low, slightly gravelly register of an aging Southern belle. Getting this audio was a coup for filmmaker Mark Mori, who befriended Page in the years before her 2008 death, at age 85. But beyond some wordless archival footage from old photo shoots, we never see Page as she looked after her modeling career ended, abruptly, in the late 1950s, just before she disappeared from the public eye. That’s by design, Page tells us; she wants people to remember her from her photos. It’s just a shame that “Bettie Page Reveals All” isn’t a technically better film. Contains nudity. Extras include restored Irving Klaw Wiggle movies starring Page; deleted scenes and bonus footage; phone call with Page and Paula Klaw; Page’s funeral video and photo gallery of never-before-seen Page images.
“Barefoot” (PG-13, 89 minutes, Lionsgate): It’s nice to see the talented Evan Rachel Wood, better known for her darker roles in films such as “Thirteen” and “Mildred Pierce,” play an innocent in this romantic comedy. But you never really buy her relationship with the “black sheep” son of a wealthy family (Scott Speedman). Despite nice turns by character actor JK Simmons (“Juno”) and Treat Williams, the film is too full of plot holes and contrivances to take seriously, and it’s not particularly funny for a rom-com. No extras.
“The Suspect” (unrated, 98 minutes, Image Entertainment): A small town bank robbery leads to a brutal showdown between a sheriff (William Sadler) and a mysterious stranger. When the obvious suspect is apprehended not far from the crime scene, the police think that the case is solved. But the real crime hasn’t yet happened. Also stars Mekhi Phifer as the not-so-usual suspects.
“Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Neighbors From Hell (The Play)” (unrated, Lionsgate): A musical from director, writer and producer Tyler Perry, staged in a single performance weekend in Atlanta. Extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette.
“The Address” (unrated, 90 minutes, PBS): In addition to his deep dives into American history, filmmaker Ken Burns possesses a knack for telling contemporary stories in brief, elegant microcosm. In this moving new documentary, he travels to the small Greenwood School in Putney, Vt. Its student body – 50 boys, ages 11 to 17 – struggle with language and reading skills and other behavioral challenges. In a rite of passage since the school opened in 1978, Greenwood assigns its boys to memorize and then publicly deliver Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. As documentary subjects, the boys are in many ways impenetrable.
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