- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Regional filmmaker Victor Nunez, late of the critically acclaimed “Ruby in Paradise” (1993) and “Ulee’s Gold” (1997), revisits familiar rural Florida locales and the theme of personal redemption in his latest dramatic thriller, Coastlines, new from IFC Films ($24.95). It’s our …

DVD pick of the week

Timothy Olyphant plays Sonny, a rootless man-child whose unexpected early release from prison upsets the plans of sleazy local power brokers Fred and Eddie Vance (William Forsythe, Josh Lucas), responsible for Sonny’s original internment.

While Sonny looks to settle the score with the Vances, he also reconnects with best bud Dave (Josh Brolin), now a cop, and his wife Ann (Sarah Wynter), who finds Sonny’s battered boyish charms tough to resist.

As in most of his earlier films, writer-director Nunez unfolds his story at a leisurely pace, devoting considerable screen time to establishing a strong sense of place. We feel the rhythms of life in a small town where secrets are impossible, even pointless, to keep, where lifelong familiarity breeds both support and suffocation.

Yet Mr. Nunez ultimately celebrates more than subverts his insular setting as longstanding bonds usually triumph over transient frictions. An actor’s director as well as a visual stylist, Mr. Nunez draws top performances from his charismatic cast, including briefer turns by Mr. Forsythe, screen veteran Scott Wilson as Sonny’s dad, and Angela Bettis as a prospective girlfriend.

Extras are slight beyond a director’s commentary and deleted scenes, but viewers who prefer textured character development and strong storytelling over Hollywood gloss should find these “Coastlines” well worth a visit.

Tele-video

Comedy fans have much to choose from among the week’s new TV-on-DVD offerings. In the sitcom arena, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents All in the Family: The Complete Sixth Season (three-disc, $29.95) and Grosse Pointe: The Complete Series (two-disc, $29.95), while BBC Video hosts the seriocomic British import Ballykissangel: Complete Series Five (five-disc, $49.98).

Buena Vista Home Entertainment wraps up Golden Girls: The Complete Seventh and Final Season (three-disc, $39.99), Shout! Factory counters with Men Behaving Badly: The Complete Series (four-disc, $34.98) and Paramount Home Entertainment proffers the best-of compilation Reno 911!: Reno’s Most Wanted ($19.99), keyed to those incompetent cops’ big-screen debut, “Reno 911!: Miami.”

In a more earnest vein, Paramount also puts out the long-awaited fan favorite Beauty and the Beast: The First Season (six-disc, $49.99), starring Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton, along with the fashion-oriented youth drama The Hills: The Complete First Season (three-disc, $38.99).

Elsewhere, Universal Studios issues Emergency! Season 3 (five-disc, $39.98) and BBC Video releases the U.K. caper series Hustle: The Complete Season Two (two-disc, $34.98).

Collectors’ corner

Universal Studios Home Entertainment digs deep into its vaults for a quartet of diverse new additions to its ongoing “Cinema Classics” line: Lew Ayres stars in the 1931 Oscar-winner All Quiet on the Western Front. Maria Montez, Jon Hall, Sabu and Shemp Howard camp it up in the 1942 costumer Arabian Nights. Bing Crosby plays a singing priest in 1944’s Going My Way, and Olivia de Havilland and Montgomery Clift topline in the 1946 Henry James adaptation The Heiress. The discs, complete with introductions by TCM host Robert Osborne, are tagged at $14.98 each.

Warner Home Video releases three worthy films of more recent vintage: Neil Jordan’s brilliantly offbeat 1997 tale The Butcher Boy, Marcello Mastroianni and Giulietta Masina in Federico Fellini’s 1985 show-biz satire Ginger & Fred, and Mick Jagger in Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg’s eternally trippy 1970 fable Performance ($19.97 each).

The ‘A’ list

In a fruitful week for recent theatrical releases, Warner Home Video releases Martin Scorsese’s return to hard-boiled form, The Departed, starring a fierce Jack Nicholson and available in separate single-disc ($28.98) and extras-enhanced double-disc editions ($34.98), along with Michel Gondry’s surreal exercise The Science of Sleep ($27.98), featuring Gael Garcia Bernal.

Sony Pictures unveils Marie Antoinette ($28.95), with Kirsten Dunst in the title role, along with the acclaimed indie Half Nelson, starring Ryan Gosling and Shareeka Epps, and Tim Allen in the sci-fi spoof Zoom: Academy for Superheroes ($26.96 each).

Lionsgate Home Entertainment debuts Ben Affleck and Rebecca Romijn in the romantic comedy Man About Town ($26.98) plus the bonus-packed documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon ($27.98).

Phan mail

Dear Phantom: Could you please tell me why I can’t seem to find the following two movies on either VHS or DVD? “Sands of the Kalahari” (Stuart Whitman), “The Yellow Rolls Royce” (Rex Harrison).

Edwin Silver, via e-mail

Seems time for Paramount Home Entertainment to add the hitherto elusive “Sands” to its digital roster; the MGM release “The Yellow Rolls Royce” enjoyed a brief laserdisc life but currently rates as a rarity.

Send your video comments and queries to Phantom of the Movies, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002, or e-mail us at phanmedia@aol.com. Check out our Web site at www.videoscopemag.com.

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