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DVDs reviews: ‘Nights in Rodanthe,’ ‘W.’

Also new: ‘Miracle at St. Anna,’ ‘Soul Men,’ ‘Frozen River’
/ Source: The Associated Press

“Nights in Rodanthe” Richard Gere and Diane Lane are strangers in the night in this romantic melodrama reuniting the stars of the infidelity tale “Unfaithful.” Lane’s character, a woman on the mend over a cheating husband, takes up residence at a friend’s remote coastal inn, conveniently just as a storm hits, stranding her there with a doctor (Gere) aiming to make good on a past wrong. Needless to say, sparks fly as the wind kicks up. Among the DVD and Blu-ray extras are alternate scenes with commentary from director George C. Wolfe, cast and crew interviews and a segment on the theme song by Emmylou Harris. DVD, $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99. (Warner Bros.) Read the review.

“W.”The former Dubya-in-chief became the first president to get his own big-screen film biography while still in office. While the film found only a modest audience, director Oliver Stone defied expectations by keeping his inflammatory opinions fairly in check, instead delivering an empathetic if not sympathetic portrait of George W. Bush. Josh Brolin, an Academy Award nominee for “Milk,” stars as Bush from his rowdy college and boozy business days through his born-again abstinence years and unlikely rise to political power. The DVD and Blu-ray disc have commentary from Stone and a segment on Bush’s legacy. The Blu-ray release also has deleted scenes and a making-of featurette. DVD, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.99. (Lionsgate) Read the review.

“Miracle at St. Anna”Spike Lee presents a World War II epic from the perspective of black soldiers with this saga that folds in a modern mystery about a missing artifact that resurfaces decades after the war. Derek Luke, Michael Ealy, Laz Alonso and Omar Benson Miller play a foursome in an all-black regiment who become trapped behind enemy lines while serving in Italy. Along with deleted scenes, the DVD and Blu-ray release include a segment with Lee, cast members and historians discussing the all-black “Buffalo Soldier” division. Lee also joins members of the Harlem Veterans’ Club for an examination of Hollywood depiction of blacks in combat. DVD, $29.99; Blu-ray, $34.99. (Disney) Read the review.

“Soul Men” Samuel L. Jackson and the late Bernie Mac star as a former hit singing duo brought back together after years of estrangement on a stormy road trip to perform at a tribute concert for their former frontman. The DVD and Blu-ray come with featurettes on the pairing of Jackson and Mac, along with segments on the rest of the cast and on director Malcolm Lee, who also provides audio commentary. Other extras include a behind-the-scenes segment and tributes to Mac and co-star Isaac Hayes, who also died just before the movie came out. DVD, $28.95; Blu-ray, $34.99. (Genius) Read the review.

“Frozen River” Melissa Leo grabbed a best-actress Oscar nomination for this low-budget drama that won top honors at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, along with six nominations for the upcoming Spirit Awards honoring independent movies. Leo plays a mother whose desperation for quick cash lands her in an uneasy partnership with a Mohawk Indian woman (Misty Upham) smuggling illegal immigrants into the United States from Canada. Writer-director Courtney Hunt and producer Heather Rae provide commentary. DVD, $28.96, Blu-ray, $39.95. Read the review.

“The Exterminating Angel,” “Simon of the Desert”
Two 1960s classics from absurdist master Luis Bunuel come to DVD. In “The Exterminating Angel,” a posh dinner party turns darkly comic and ghastly as they inexplicably linger on for days, their high-society facade gradually falling away as they descend toward bestial behavior. The two-disc DVD set has a documentary on Bunuel and an interview with co-star Silvia Pinal, along with a booklet containing a print interview with the filmmaker. The satiric “Simon of the Desert” is the story of an ascetic saint who exiles himself on a pillar while the devil (Pinal) tempts him from below. The DVD has a documentary segment on Bunuel and another interview with Pinal. “Exterminating Angel” DVD set, $39.95; “Simon of the Desert” DVD, $24.95. (Criterion)

TV on DVD:

“Melrose Place: Fifth Season, Volume 1” — The spoiled and beautiful continue to live better lives than the rest of us in the prime-time soap whose cast includes Heather Locklear. The first 19 episodes of season five are packed in a four-disc set. DVD set, $39.98. (Paramount)

“Friday the 13th: The Series — The 2nd Season” — The owners of a cursed antique shop are in repo mode — tracking down sold items that are spreading evil — in this horror series that has nothing to do with the slasher-film franchise of the same name. Year two’s 26 episodes come in a six-disc package. DVD set, $49.99. (Paramount)

“Tales From the Darkside: The First Season” — Executive producer George Romero’s 1980s horror anthology features such guest stars as Christian Slater, Tippi Hedren and Justine Bateman. The first 24 episodes are included in a three-disc set. DVD set, $39.99. (Paramount)

“Simon & Simon: Season Two” — Gerald McRaney and Jameson Parker return as mismatched brothers running a private-detective outfit in the 1980s mystery series. A six-disc set has the second year’s 22 episodes. DVD set, $49.99. (Shout)