Selected home-video releases:
“Hostel” – Filmmaker Eli Roth’s truly psycho splatter fest doesn’t need more blood and guts to hook horror fans, but the fright-flick arrives on DVD in what’s billed as an edition that’s a “sicker and more twisted unrated” version than the R-rated theatrical cut.
With wickedly dark humor and relentless gore, writer-director Roth offers a shocker about pleasure-seeking backpackers who stumble into a den of brutal torture while traveling through Europe.
Along with a behind-the-scenes segment, the DVD comes with four audio commentaries, a solo one from Roth and the others featuring the director with such guests as Quentin Tarantino, who lent his name as the film’s presenter, and Harry Knowles of AintItCoolNews.com. $28.95. (Sony)
“Mrs. Henderson Presents” – Judi Dench scored her fifth Academy Award nomination, this one for best actress, with this engaging tale of an unusual chapter of British culture.
Based on a true story, the film casts Dench as a bored society widow in 1930s London who joins with a crusty theater manager (Bob Hoskins) to spice up the world of musical stage revues by adding nude women to the performances, the shows becoming a sensation that scandalizes stuffed shirts and reminds Britain’s young troops what they’re fighting for in World War II.
The DVD has commentary from director Stephen Frears and a making-of feature. $28.95. (Genius)
“Breakfast on Pluto” – Cillian Murphy delivers a flamboyant career performance as a cross-dressing Irishman in director Neil Jordan’s vivid re-creation of the 1970s pop culture and political scene in Ireland and Britain.
Abandoned as an infant on the doorstep of the parish priest (Liam Neeson), Murphy’s character grows up to become an effete, childlike creature of merriment who embarks on a fanciful romp through the sugary culture and violent upheaval of the times as he seeks out his Mitzi Gaynor look-alike mother.
The film co-stars Brendan Gleeson and Stephen Rea. Murphy and Jordan team up for commentary, and the DVD includes a behind-the-scenes feature. $24.95. (Sony)
“Moonstruck” – A widescreen version of the 1987 romantic hit starring Cher and Nicolas Cage finally makes it to DVD, replacing the previously released full-screen edition.
Cher and co-star Olympia Dukakis earned Oscars for Norman Jewison’s comic tale of a woman (Cher) who accepts a marriage proposal from a man (Danny Aiello) she doesn’t love, only to fall for his brother (Cage).
The new DVD includes the commentary track with Cher, Jewison and screenwriter John Patrick Shanley that was available on the earlier edition. It also adds new interviews with cast and crew, a tour of New York’s Little Italy and some Italian recipes. $19.95. (MGM)
“The Complete Mr. Arkadin” – Orson Welles completists should be satisfied with this exhaustive three-disc edition of the filmmaker’s 1955 potboiler about a business tycoon whose shadowy past unfolds amid Cold War intrigue as his background is investigated by a smuggler.
Yet another mystery in the lore of films Welles lost control of or failed to finish, “Mr. Arkadin” is presented in three renditions here: An early cut, the European release titled “Confidential Report” that resulted after producers wrested the project away from Welles and recut it, and a new “comprehensive version” stitched together according to Welles’ apparent aims for the finished film.
The set has outtakes and alternate footage, commentary and interviews with Welles experts and a copy of the “Mr. Arkadin” novel attributed to Welles. $49.95. (Criterion)
TV on DVD
“The Sentinel: The Complete First Season” – The 1990s crime show stars Richard Burgi as a small-town police detective who learns to harness his own “Spidey sense,” which he developed years earlier while fighting for survival in the jungles of Peru. The first 10 episodes come in a three-disc set. $42.99. (Paramount)
“Remington Steele: Season Three” – Pierce Brosnan as the suave front man for partner Stephanie Zimbalist’s detective agency in the 1980s crime romp. A four-disc set has year three’s 22 episodes, plus commentary with Zimbalist, co-creator Michael Gleason and others. $39.98. (20th Century Fox)
“TCM Archives: Laurel and Hardy Collection” – A two-disc set presents the comedy duo in the 1930s tales “The Devil’s Brother” and “Bonnie Scotland,” accompanied by a Turner Classic Movies documentary on the legacy of short films and featuring Laurel and Hardy, the Three Stooges and others. $39.99. (Warner Bros.)
“Michael Palin: Sahara” – Former “Monty Python” member Palin continues his globe-trotting journeys with this trek through the history, hardships, culture and conflict of life in the vast desert. The two-disc set has the 2002 series, deleted scenes and an interview. $34.98. (BBC)
Jay Hernandez is one of the misfortunate backpackers in “Hostel,” out today on DVD.