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‘Chocolate Factory’ a sweet treat on DVD

Also new: Season one of ‘Different World,’ ‘Christmas with the Kranks’
/ Source: The Associated Press

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton’s summer smash comes in two flavors: a two-disc set loaded with a decent range of background material or a single DVD with the movie and minimal extras. Depp stars as candyman Willy Wonka in this new adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s book, about a reclusive chocolate maker who opens his factory for five lucky visitors as he searches for an heir to carry on his work. Included in both the two-disc set and single DVD is a featurette on how the filmmakers multiplied actor Deep Roy into the legions of Oompa-Loompa’s who man Wonka’s factory. The two-disc set also has a look at one of the movie’s best sequences, the army of squirrels that sort nuts for Wonka’s chocolate, plus a profile of Dahl and a handful of other featurettes. Two-disc set, $30.97; single DVD, $28.98. (Warner Bros.) Original theatrical review

“Christmas With the Kranks”

A passable holiday tale at best, Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis’ comedy had the good fortune of following Ben Affleck’s abysmal “Surviving Christmas” in theaters last year. By comparison, “Kranks” looks like the second coming of “Holiday Inn.” Adapted from John Grisham’s book “Skipping Christmas,” “Kranks” stars Allen as a hubby who convinces his wife they should pass on the holidays since their daughter’s away at college, only to scramble at the last minute to put on a yuletide to remember when the kid comes home for the big day after all. The DVD designers play Grinch themselves, the disc bearing only the movie, with no extras under the tree. DVD, $28.95. (Sony) Original theatrical review

“Boys Town,” “Christmas in Connecticut,” “A Christmas Carol”For some classic holiday viewing, three feel-good tales from the 1930s and ’40s debut on DVD. Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney’s “Boys Town” is not a Christmas movie, but the story of Father Flanagan, who started a home for wayward youths, certainly has the holiday spirit. The DVD includes the 1938 film and the sequel “Men of Boys Town” that followed in 1941. The 1938 version of “A Christmas Carol” stars Reginald Owen as holiday grouch Ebenezer Scrooge, while Barbara Stanwyck stars in 1945’s “Christmas in Connecticut,” about a good-housekeeping columnist scrambling to hide her dirty little secret — that she’s a domestic dud — during Christmas dinner with her boss and his pal. Each DVD includes vintage short films, and the discs are available separately or in a boxed set. DVD set, $29.98; single DVDs, $19.97 each. (Warner Bros.)

“La Dolce Vita”This new three-disc edition of Federico Fellini’s masterpiece may be the cinephile stocking stuffer of the season, though you’ll need a huge stocking for the oversized boxed set. The 1960 tale stars Marcello Mastroianni as a tabloid reporter simultaneously obsessed and disgusted with the “sweet life” of modern overindulgence he inhabits. The package has the same extras as a two-disc set released last year, among them interviews with Fellini, Mastroianni and co-star Anita Ekberg. A third disc has more interviews with Fellini and the two stars, plus a documentary on composer Nino Rota and a chat with close Fellini pal Rinaldo Gelend. Also included is a 40-page book on Fellini, five photo cards and a poster from the film. DVD set, $79.98. (Koch Lorber)

“Ugetsu”Kenji Mizoguchi’s beautifully filmed 1953 ghost story follows the divergent paths of two peasants in 16th century Japan. The film debuts on DVD in a two-disc set with a nicely restored version, plus a 2½-hour documentary from 1975 covering the career of Mizoguchi, who died three years after making the film. The set also has interviews with several of the director’s collaborators, a segment honoring Mizoguchi by Japanese director Masahiro Shinoda and commentary by critic and filmmaker Tony Rayns. A 72-page book accompanying the set has an essay about the film and three short stories that were influences on the director as he made “Ugetsu.” DVD set, $39.95. (Criterion)

“Live 8”
20 years after the original Live Aid benefit for African famine relief, stars came together for concerts in London, Philadelphia and other cities around the globe. A four-disc set chronicles many of the highlights, among them performances by U2, Madonna, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Coldplay, Joss Stone, Sting and the Who. The song list is heavy on the big reunion of Pink Floyd, with such tunes as “Money,” “Wish You Were Here” and “Comfortably Numb” along with rehearsal and interview footage of the band. There’s also a backstage look at the concert in London’s Hyde Park and Paul McCartney’s rendition of classic Beatles songs such as “The Long and Winding Road,” “Drive My Car” and “Get Back.” DVD set, $53.98. (Capitol)

TV on DVD:

“A Different World: Season One” — Following the release of year one of “The Cosby Show” comes the spinoff, which features Lisa Bonet, Jasmine Guy, Marisa Tomei and Sinbad in a sitcom set at a black college. Along with the first 22 episodes, the four-disc set packs a retrospective look at the series, a bloopers reel and an episode that never aired in the show’s network run, featuring a guest spot by Tupac Shakur. DVD set, $39.99. (UrbanWorks)

“The White Shadow: The Complete First Season” — Ken Howard is back at courtside in the sports drama that debuted in 1978 about a former pro player who takes on a tough job coaching an inner-city high school basketball team. The four-disc set has 15 episodes, with commentary on two from Howard and collaborators. DVD set, $39.98. (20th Century Fox)

“Beavis and Butt-Head: The Mike Judge Collection — Volume 1” — The raunchy, sub-moronic animated couch spuds return in a three-disc set packing 40 episodes selected by creator Mike Judge, 23 of the cartoons listed as “director’s cuts.” The set also has 11 music videos with B&B’s rude commentary and a background featurette. DVD set, $39.99. (Paramount)

“The Partridge Family: The Complete Second Season” — The family that sings together hits the road again. A three-disc set has year two’s 24 episodes following the travels of a pop group consisting of a single mom (Shirley Jones), her heartthrob son (David Cassidy) and his four siblings (including Susan Dey and Danny Bonaduce). DVD set, $29.95. (Sony)

“Remington Steele: Season Two” — Pierce Brosnan and Stephanie Zimbalist are joined in year two by Doris Roberts as secretary at their private-eye outfit. The season’s 21 episodes come in a four-disc set, with commentary on three shows from series co-creator Michael Gleason and others. DVD set, $39.98. (20th Century Fox)

Other new releases:

“The Devil’s Rejects” — Rob Zombie’s horror follow-up to “House of 1000 Corpses” is another gore fest centering on a depraved family of killers. The movie is available in the R-rated theatrical cut or an unrated version, accompanied by commentary from Zombie and key actors, plus deleted scenes. DVD set, $27.98. (Lions Gate)

“Yes” — Joan Allen, Sam Neill and Simon Akbarian star in a romance between a married Irish-American scientist and an Arab man, whose affair plays out amid poetic dialogue crafted largely in iambic pentameter by writer-director Sally Potter. The DVD has a breakdown on the making of a pivotal scene in the movie. DVD, $24.96. (Sony)

“Jumanji” — With the sci-fi family tale “Zathura: A Space Adventure” hitting theaters, the studio issues a new DVD version of the similarly themed “Jumanji” (both films were adapted from children’s books by Chris Van Allsburg and follow siblings drawn into wild adventures by a magical board game). The new two-disc set for “Jumanji,” starring Robin Williams, has interviews and commentary from the special-effects crew. DVD, $19.95. (Sony)