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By: Karen Gilliams

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Thursday, 11-Apr-2013 10:44 Email | Share | Bookmark
classics films headed to DVD

Some of last summer's big productions start hitting DVD this October, as witness "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," "Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" and "Land of the Lost." Don't those titles kind of sound like the same movie?

For something completely different, ' "Silent Light" takes place in a Mennonite community in Mexico. Long, slow, quiet scenes observe one farmer's crisis with adultery. The story seems like a remake of Agn's Varda's "Happiness" but turns out to be a remake of 's "Ordet." If you haven't seen those movies first, please do.

"Private Century," made in eight episodes for Czech TV, assembles home movies of people who lived through WWII and the rise and fall of communism, so that great events are examined in terms of their impact on ordinary families, weddings, birthdays. History is a collection of individuals. Movie cameras were pricey, so not everyone had them. A common thread is that people got through the war fine and then went to jail or lost possessions in peace. Most are at least 30 years old and not always in great shape, but a few are imaginative and striking, such as when he traces his own shadow or superimposes his face on classic portraits. A series of skits, such as a man watching TV of a man watching TV of a man watching TV, etc.,Pretty Little Liars actors make him seem like the of Germany.

's "Nightwatching" illustrates a theory about Rembrandt's masterpiece "The Night Watch." As drama, Greenaway's painterly approach is more static than the painting and becomes sour and sombre. A bonus documentary on the same topic is informative and could replace the feature.

": Free Radical" collects the first three films of this free-wheeling, satirical director who thrived on the breaking of taboos and the destruction of narrative forms. These are very 1960s collisions of provocative ideas about work, sex and death. (He eventually had to leave Yugoslavia to make uncensored outrages like "Sweet Movie," which is available from Criterion.)

Among classic reissues, Walt Disney's " and the Seven Dwarfs" is being released in a Blu-Ray "Diamond Collection" promising interactive features. It includes a standard DVD; the regular DVD package arrives in November. There are also new editions of "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" and "Pete's Dragon," musicals that combine live action with animation; these aren't on Blu-Ray yet.

"The Wizard of Oz" has been repackaged many times, but after all, it's possibly Hollywood's greatest movie. Now there's a 70th anniversary two-disc edition and a four-disc "ultimate collector's edition" (also on Blu-Ray) that adds two silent movies, a TV movie with as , and new extras. A remastered "My Fair Lady," another evergreen musical, adds minor extras.

Running almost 10 hours, 's "The Human Condition" could be called the Japanese "Gone With the Wind,"Friday Night Lights Season 5 but that undersells this story of one disillusioned man's travails through Japan's wars in China and the Pacific. A mammoth achievement in widescreen black and white, now from Criterion.

"The Five Deadly Venoms" and "King Eagle" are '70s classics of swordplay and hand-to-hand styles directed by master , who threw his camera into the action. From the same studio, "Shadow Boxer" has another vengeful hero, a real-life champ who died before the film came out.

A TV classic awaited by many, "It's Garry Shandling's Show" was a partly improvisational spoof that discussed its own status as a sitcom. All 72 episodes are now coming out on 16 discs.

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