IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

New DVDs: ‘The Illusionist,’ ‘Crank’

Also new: ‘The Night Listener,’ ‘Quinceanera’ and season one of ‘Extras’
/ Source: The Associated Press

“The Illusionist”Magic — and magicians — were in the air last year as filmmakers unleashed two tales of prestidigitators at odds with the forces of science and nature, this romantic triangle starring Edward Norton and “The Prestige” (due out on DVD in February). “The Illusionist” casts Norton as a master magician arriving in Vienna around 1900 and rekindling his relationship with a childhood sweetheart (Jessica Biel), only to learn she’s the betrothed of the crown prince (Rufus Sewell), who assigns a police henchman (Paul Giamatti) to debunk the sleight-of-hand artist. The DVD has a making-of featurette and a segment focusing on Biel, along with commentary from writer-director Neil Burger. DVD, $29.98. (20th Century Fox) Read the review


Glenn Howerton and Jason Statham in Lionsgate Films' Crank - 2006
Glenn Howerton and Jason Statham in Lionsgate Films' Crank - 2006Lionsgate Films

Jason Statham stars as a hit man aiming to quit the killing game and settle down with his girlfriend (Amy Smart), only to wake up one day and find he’s been poisoned, sending him on a mad dash to keep his adrenaline flowing while he tries to rescue his love and find an antidote. The DVD and Blu-ray discs have commentary, making-of footage, interviews and other background material that can be accessed while watching the movie. The Blu-ray high-definition disc also has featurettes on stunts and other behind-the-scenes matters. The DVD and Blu-ray versions also allow viewers to choose an audio option that removes the harsh language for a “family-friendly” version of the movie — as long as families don’t mind the strong violence, sexuality, nudity and drug use that helped earned “Crank” an R rating. DVD, $28.98; Blu-ray disc, $39.99. (Lionsgate) Read the review

“The Night Listener”

The Night Listener

A timely tale in an era of authors whose purported memoirs about their harrowing lives have proven to be phonies. Adapted from the novel by Armistead Maupin, the film stars Robin Williams as a literary figure and late-night radio talk show host who becomes obsessed with the tragic story of a physically and sexually abused teenager (Rory Culkin) dying of AIDS. Yet questions about the boy’s past and even his identity arise as Williams strikes up a long-distance telephone relationship with him and his adoptive mother (Toni Collette). The sparse DVD extras include a deleted scene and a segment on the film’s plot twists. DVD, $29.99. (Miramax) Read the review


Emily Rios
In this photo provided by Sony Pictures Classics, as Magdalena's (Emily Rios) 15th birthday approaches, her simple, blissful life is complicated by the discovery that she's pregnant. Kicked out of her house, she finds a new family with her great-granduncle and gay cousin in 'Quinceanera.' (AP Photo/Sony Pictures Classics)SONLY PICTURES CLASSICS

A rare double winner at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, this engaging low-budget drama took home both the top jury prize and the audience award for favorite film as chosen by Sundance moviegoers. Newcomer Emily Rios gives a terrific performance as a Hispanic teen in Los Angeles with eyes only on her upcoming 15th birthday bash — until she finds herself impossibly pregnant though she insists she’s never had intercourse. Writer-directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland spin a vibrant tale of cultures clashing as Rios forges a new domestic life after her father’s disapproval forces her to leave home. The DVD has commentary from Rios and other cast members, along with the directors. DVD, $26.96. (Sony) Read the review

TV on DVD:

“SpongeBob SquarePants: Season 4, Volume 2” — A two-disc set packs the final 20 episodes from year four of the hit animated children’s tale about the goofy yellow sea sponge and his pals at the bottom of the ocean. The set also has a series of cartoon shorts, a music video and a behind-the-scenes featurette. DVD set, $39.99. (Paramount)

“Extras: The Complete First Season” — They also serve who only meander about in the background on film sets. Created by and starring Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, masterminds of the British version of “The Office” that inspired the hit American sitcom, the show follows a pitiable actor stuck as an extra. The first six episodes come in a two-disc set. DVD set, $29.98. (HBO)

“MI-5: Volume 4” — The safety of the British nation rests in the hands of an elite group of intelligence operatives devoted to battling terrorists and other threats. A five-disc set has season four’s 10 episodes in their British versions, which extra footage not included in the broadcasts on American television. DVD set, $79.98. (BBC)

Other new releases:

“Bandidas” — The Western gets a makeover as Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz turn outlaw to avenge their fathers’ deaths, taking on a rich villain (Dwight Yoakam) with the help of an ex-bank robber (Sam Shepard) and a criminologist (Steve Zahn). The DVD has commentary from Hayek and Cruz. DVD, $27.98. (20th Century Fox)

“Color of the Cross” — The passion of Christ from the black perspective. The film depicts the last 48 hours of Jesus’ life, presenting Christ as a black man and suggesting that race may have played a part in the crucifixion. Director Jean Claude LaMarre stars as Christ, but the DVD sadly lacks any extras such as commentary or interviews with the filmmakers about the inspiration and relevance of the film. DVD, $26.98. (20th Century Fox)

“Idiocracy” — The dumbing-down of humanity continues with this comedy starring Luke Wilson as a slacker put in suspended animation for 500 years, waking up to find he’s now the smartest man on a planet of morons. The DVD includes five deleted scenes. DVD, $27.98. (20th Century Fox)