French Corruption, Kawai Japanese Rocker Girls, and a Hitchcock Jewel


Fox, $19.98

If, when you saw Big for the first or 14th time, you said to yourself, "Yeah, but it would have been so much better with more Elizabeth Perkins and John Heard," you are in luck. This extended cut—which is being released along with a longer version of Tom Hanks' That Thing You Do!—is a surprisingly and subtly darker version of the fluffy fave; it's as interested in the whiny execs populating the toy company as it is with all-growed-up Josh Baskin (Hanks), who, in the theatrical version, merely grinned and golly-gee'd them all into submission. Now, through the addition of 20 minutes of subtle moments that add up to something surprisingly different, we see Perkins' and Heard's characters less as archetypal assholes and more as adults only playing the grown-up's game in power suits that don't quite fit. Is this better than the original? Maybe. Maybe. ROBERT WILONSKY

Comedy of Power

Koch Lorber, $29.98

Culturally ignorant Americans, like the one writing this review, tend to assume there's a pretty lax moral code in France, where everything's all laissez-faire and ménage à trois. Sure enough, that belief is shored up by this latest film from famed director Claude Chabrol. A fictional business scandal (call it the French Enron) unfolds with all the moral outrage of a 30 Rock episode, and a hero emerges in the form of the wonderful Isabelle Huppert. As a tenacious investigator, she goes after the corporate fat cats like a rather sexy bulldog. The darkness common to Chabrol's work isn't quite as prevalent here; for a real dark trip, check out the 1978 Chabrol-Huppert collaboration, Violette (also new to DVD), in which Huppert plays a young murderess. JORDAN HARPER

Linda Linda Linda

Viz Pictures, $24.98

Here's a movie as cute as four Japanese schoolgirls forming a pop-punk band for the big talent show—which just happens to be the plot. Named after the wonderfully catchy cover song they spend the film learning, Linda Linda Linda refuses to render the girls as sex-crazed cartoon characters. In other words, it avoids the pitfalls typical of teen movies, and the results are immensely satisfying. The biggest drama comes from whether or not a Korean exchange student can learn to sing the song in time, but the score—by James Iha of the Smashing Pumpkins—is strangely sad, as though it alone is aware of how fleeting carefree adolescence truly is. Other than that, it's all teen crushes, giggling, bonding, and getting to the gig on time. And it turns out that's enough. JORDAN HARPER

To Catch a Thief

Paramount, $14.99

Starring Cary Grant as a cat burglar and Grace Kelly as a hot-to-trot heiress, this is easily one of Alfred Hitchcock's slightest films, especially coming on the heels of Rear Window; indeed, its idyllic setting on the French Riviera suggests it was a vacation getaway for the director and his cast, who never looked more at home than in this sun-drenched setting. You keep expecting Grant to stop the action to request a drink, and you keep expecting Hitchcock to bring it to him. That said, it remains a delightful part of his canon; for all its tanned and toned bonhomie, it's still a decent thriller with a spark of a start (the familiar shriek) and a swell finale. And this DVD is a right pleasure, from the making-ofs to Peter Bogdanovich's commentary, in which he plays historian and chum. Only thing he forgets is the martinis. ROBERT WILONSKY

Other Releases

Breaking and Entering continues the needless proliferation of Jude Law movies. There are new editions of David Lean's classic The Bridge on the River Kwai and The Caine Mutiny (with Humphrey Bogart). The documentary Deliver Us From Evil, about sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, deservedly earned an Oscar nomination. Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore deserve better than Music and Lyrics (how about Script and Story?). Jennifer Garner netted few new fans in Catch & Release. Guillermo del Toro's excellent, Oscar-winning Pan's Labyrinth comes on two discs with muchas extras. (Review soon, we promise!) Stomp the Yard: strictly for kids. Annabelle Gurwitch adapts her stage show Fired! with other demi-celebrity tales of awful jobs performed unsatisfactorily; Sarah Silverman, Tim Allen, Illeana Douglas, Harry Shearer, and others provide intermittently funny anecdotes. Happy couple Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber apparently hooked up on The Painted Veil, and the movie's pretty good, too. Another couple, director Darren Aronofsky and star Rachel Weisz, fare less well in The Fountain. Must to avoid: the animated kid flick Arthur and the Invisibles. Unhappy lawyers of any nationality will be able to relate to the protagonist of the Argentine Family Law. A lesser collection of Katharine Hepburn titles offers six discs including Sylvia Scarlett. Josephine Baker is honored by Kino with a smaller assortment of films basically built around her risqué dance shows in Paris during the '20s and '30s. From Criterion—whip out your checkbooks—Jean-Pierre Melville's rediscovered 1969 Army of Shadows topped many critics' 10-best lists last year, and you can bet there's a whole lot of scholarly extras.

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