- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Concert Experience — Deluxe Extended Movie (Disney, $29.99 for DVD, $32.99 for two-disc DVD, $44.99 for three-disc Blu-ray and DVD) — It’s hard not to think that this movie about the Disney family’s band of brothers was inspired by the classic Beatles film “A Hard Day’s Night.” Songs performed by the trio are interspersed with a-day-in-the-life moments as they make their way through mobs of screaming girls to do their jobs of putting on concerts and signing CDs. The big difference is the music. The Jonas Brothers write and co-write their own material, but it still has a manufactured pop flavor.

“Jonas Brothers: The Concert Experience” was savaged by critics, but their legion of young female fans should enjoy watching bodyguard Big Rob shake the brothers out of bed at 4:30 in the morning to a barely eaten breakfast of hotel pastries before they’re off for a full day of meet-and-greets. A rather large number of those fans take advantage when the brothers’ car is stopped in New York traffic. How will they make their early-morning concert when the vehicle won’t budge?

The “Hard Day’s Night” echoes really kick into gear here. The boys escape the car through the roof and race to the heliport, with the girls in hot pursuit. They make their way to Times Square, where girls report waiting 72 hours in the rain to see their idols perform.

The single-disc DVD contains just the theatrical version of the film, while the two-disc set includes the movie with two additional performances integrated into the film and two bonus songs that aren’t; none of the four was seen in theaters. The two-disc set also includes a featurette, “Up Close & Personal,” that provides even more behind-the-scenes footage with the band and a digital copy of the extended film.

If you have a Blu-ray player, there’s no question you’ll want the three-disc set, which includes Blu-ray and standard DVD versions of the film. The Blu-ray edition is the only one that offers the film in the 3-D version that was seen in theaters. The four pairs of included 3-D glasses mean you could host a small viewing party to see the brothers — as well as shooting flames and screaming fans — jump out of the screen. That’s the closest most girls will ever get to the Jonas Brothers, whose tour stops in the District at the Verizon Center on July 13.

Two Lovers (Magnolia, $29.98 for DVD, $34.98 for Blu-ray) — Joaquin Phoenix’s surprising announcement that he was retiring from film — and the bizarre antics that followed it, culminating in what has to become a legendary appearance on David Letterman — overshadowed what might be his final performance. It’s too bad because it’s the actor and the two women of the title who make this beautifully understated drama so emotionally involving. Mr. Phoenix’s confused character is torn between the equally troubled one played by Gwyneth Paltrow and the steady but still sexy one played by Vinessa Shaw in James Gray’s sensitive study of alienation and longing. Extras include a commentary with Mr. Gray, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage and a making-of featurette.

Apollo 11: A Night to Remember (Acorn, $24.99) — This two-hour BBC documentary is finally being released in the United States, just in time for the 40th anniversary of the first manned landing on the moon. This dramatic doc aired in the United Kingdom in February 2006, using recently recovered archival footage, but has never been shown in America. Astronomer Sir Patrick Moore presents the look at the launch of the mission that put man’s footsteps on the moon for the first time, while BBC science reporter James Burke answers questions everyone has about being an astronaut — such as how they went to the bathroom in spacesuits.

Kelly Jane Torrance

Tokyo! (Liberation, $19.99 Blu-ray and DVD) — Throw three avant-garde filmmakers on the streets of a famous city and ask each one to create a short: It’s been done before, but rarely as idiosyncratically as Michel Gondry, Leos Carax and Joon-ho Bong do it in “Tokyo!” The trio have filmed a quirky threesome examining both the superficial qualities of Japan’s most densely populated city and some of the deeper societal anxieties held by the citizens therein.

Mr. Gondry follows a young couple trying to find cheap living space in a city where few such spaces exist; Mr. Carax examines the life of and reaction to a disturbed leprechaun doing violence to the city; and Mr. Bong digs into the world of the urban hermit and the mechanical woman who keeps him company after an earthquake. These descriptions do little justice to the truly surreal visual tics and plot elements, all of which combine for an interesting piece of art-film excess.

Sonny Bunch

Peyton Place: Part Two (Twentieth-Century Fox, $33.99) — Before there were “Melrose Place,” “The Hills,” “The OC” or “Desperate Housewives,” there was “Peyton Place,” where big secrets were kept in a bucolic New England town. The series was the first prime-time soap, and it pioneered the genre by running more than 500 consecutive episodes without a rerun.

What seemed risque when the soap opera first aired (1964-65) is now somewhat campy. Fans of the show can build on their library — “Peyton Place: Part One” was released earlier this year — with the July 14 release of “Peyton Place Part Two.” The five-disc set features 33 episodes.

The set picks up with the return of Elliot Carson (Tim O’Connor) to town after 18 years in prison for murdering his wife. Meanwhile, a young, thin and handsome pre-“Love Story” Ryan O’Neal is trying to save his marriage, and an equally young Mia Farrow is captivating as the ingenue Allison.

The series also features big secrets, a shooting, paranoia, a nervous breakdown and false accusations, all behind the nice white picket fences.

Sounds like the template for the modern soap opera.

Karen Goldberg Goff

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