Dog Day Afternoon
[Warner Home Video] $27
Based on a true story, 1975's Dog Day Afternoon tells the tragically comic tale of a hapless young man (a bravura Al Pacino) who attempts to rob a bank to pay for his male lover's (Chris Sarandon) sex change operation. The late John Cazale also turns in a memorable performance as Pacino's clueless partner in crime.
The DVD includes a comprehensive retrospective documentary on the film - Pacino admits he originally turned down the part - a vintage featurette and entertaining commentary from 81-year-old director Sidney Lumet.
[Warner Home Video] $27
A year after Dog Day Afternoon, Lumet teamed with screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky for Network, a brilliantly mad satire on TV news that has become even more relevant with the passage of time. Peter Finch won best actor (posthumously) as the insane veteran newscaster Howard Beale - "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore" - best actress for Faye Dunaway as a ratings-mad producer and supporting actress for Beatrice Straight as the long-suffering wife of a news producer (William Holden). Extras include an inspired retrospective documentary and clear-eyed commentary from Lumet.
Walk the Line
[Fox] $30 for one disc; $40 for two-disc set
Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon were nominated for the top Oscar acting prizes for their strong performances as country legends Johnny Cash and June Carter in Walk the Line. (Witherspoon won, Phoenix did not.) The two-disc special edition includes three extended performances, sturdy featurettes on Cash's comeback performance at Folsom Prison, his relationship with Carter and a behind-the-scenes look at the production. The 10 deleted scenes include a lengthy sequence in which Cash was working as a salesman. Director/co-writer James Mangold provides passionate commentary.
Pride & Prejudice
Competing with Witherspoon for best actress was Keira Knightley for her engaging turn as the plucky Elizabeth Bennet in the romantic comedy Pride & Prejudice, the lauded adaptation of Jane Austen's 19th century classic. The digital edition includes lively commentary from director Joe Wright, who made his feature debut with Pride, and several above-average featurettes, including one on Austen.
Lady and the Tramp
The 50th anniversary edition - 350th in dog years - of the Walt Disney classic animated tale about the romance between a pampered cocker spaniel named Lady and a rough-and-tumble rake of a mutt named Tramp. Peggy Lee and Sonny Burke supplied the catchy tunes, including "Bella Notte" and "He's a Tramp."
The two-disc edition features a lovely, all-new digital restoration of the film, which actually celebrates its 51st anniversary in June.
The numerous extras include a newly discovered alternate storyboard version of the film from 1943 - no wonder it was scrapped - a lengthy, fascinating look at the making of the film, excerpts from Disney's 1950s TV series, Disneyland, which promoted Lady and the Tramp, and activities for kids, including adopting your own puppy via the DVD-ROM.
Love Me Tender: Special Edition
Elvis Presley made his film debut in this tepid 1956 drama set in the South at the end of the Civil War. It's not much of a movie, save for Presley. Extras include a documentary on Presley's journey to Hollywood; a fascinating featurette on the singer's manager, Col. Tom Parker; and informative commentary from Presley's friend and historian Jerry Schilling.
Chicken Little, Good Night, and Good Luck, A History of Violence, The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio, The Year of Yao