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

New DVDs: ‘Iwo Jima,’ ‘Flags of Our Fathers’

Also new: ‘The Good German,’ ‘Apocolypto,’ ‘Venus,’ ‘The Third Man’
/ Source: The Associated Press

“Letters From Iwo Jima,” “Flags of Our Fathers”

Clint Eastwood delivers an unparalleled film achievement with these bookend films that came out just two months apart last year, “Flags” telling the story of Iwo Jima from the side of U.S. troops invading the island, “Letters” chronicling the last stand of Japanese troops defending it. Eastwood leads a documentary segment accompanying “Letters” in which he and his collaborators discuss making the film and the importance of telling both sides. The set also has a featurette with the actors discussing their characters. “Flags,” previously released in a DVD with just the film, now comes with an introduction from Eastwood and half a dozen behind-the-scenes segments. A five-disc boxed set has both films, a History Channel documentary on Iwo Jima and the 1945 short film “To the Shores of Iwo Jima.” Along with a two-disc standard DVD set, “Letters” is available in high-definition Blu-ray format and in a combination disc with the HD DVD and standard DVD versions. “Flags” comes in a two-disc DVD set or Blu-ray and HD DVD discs. “Letters From Iwo Jima” DVD set, $34.99; Blu-ray Disc, $34.99; HD DVD and DVD combo disc, $39.99. (Warner Bros.) “Flags of Our Fathers” DVD set, $36.99; HD DVD and Blu-Ray discs, $39.99 each. (Paramount) Five-disc DVD set, $49.96. (Warner Bros.) Read the review: ‘Letters from Iwo Jima’ Read the review: ‘Flags of Our Fathers’


After the firestorm over his blockbuster “The Passion of the Christ” and the condemnation over his anti-Semitic rant after a drunken-driving arrest, Mel Gibson generally avoided controversy with his lush but viscerally violent tale set among the ancient Maya. The action spectacle follows the journey of a rural villager who escapes from sadistic urban captors, leading them on a breakneck chase through the jungle as he tries to return home to save his wife and children. The DVD has a short deleted scene of a rural hunting party coming on an injured deer fleeing the incursion of invaders, “the point being that even a dumb animal had enough sense to get away,” Gibson says in commentary. Gibson also offers commentary for the full film, and the DVD has a detailed making-of segment. DVD, $29.99. (Disney) Read the review


Well into his 70s, Peter O’Toole still can play a romantic lead with the best of them, even if his character is a wreck of his former self and past the age to act on his amorous instincts. O’Toole plays an actor crumbling from infirmity but still hustling for work, whose lecherous tendencies are rekindled when he strikes up a relationship with a pal’s brazen grandniece (Jodie Whitaker). Leslie Phillips, Vanessa Redgrave and Richard Griffiths co-star in the film that earned O’Toole his latest Academy Award nomination. The DVD comes with deleted scenes, a featurette and commentary with director Roger Michell and producer Kevin Loader. DVD, $29.99. (Disney) Read the review

“The Good German”

George Clooney and filmmaking partner Steven Soderbergh team up again on an intriguing throwback to film-noir days that never really pays off. Clooney stars as an American journalist once posted to Berlin, who returns there after World War II to cover the Potsdam conference. He encounters a murder no one seems too interested in solving, along with an old flame (Cate Blanchett), a mysterious woman now involved with a sleazy and opportunistic young corporal (Tobey Maguire). Employing vintage camera lenses and shooting on a studio back lot rather than real locations to simulate Hollywood films of old, director Soderbergh captures much of the look and atmosphere of classic thrillers. But he infuses his story with modern dialogue and attitudes that clash with the style, resulting in an unsatisfying jumble. The DVD comes with no extras, just the movie. DVD, $27.95. (Warner Bros.) Read the review

“Rio Bravo,” “True Grit,” “The Cowboys”Paramount and Warner Bros. celebrate the 100th anniversary of John Wayne’s birthday with a rush of DVD debuts, new editions and boxed-set reissues, led by the Westerns “Rio Bravo,” “True Grit” and “The Cowboys.” “Rio Bravo” is available as a two-disc set or in a collector’s edition that includes reproductions of vintage art and promotional items, while “True Grit” and “The Cowboys” come in single-disc editions. The films have commentary and background featurettes. Six Wayne films also debut in a boxed set: “Allegheny Uprising,” “Reunion in France,” “Without Reservations,” “Tycoon,” “Big Jim McLain” and “Trouble Along the Way.” “Rio Bravo” two-disc set, $20.97, collector’s edition set, $39.92; “The Cowboys” DVD, $19.97; “John Wayne Film Collection” DVD set, $49.92. (Warner Bros) “True Grit” DVD, $19.99. (Paramount)

“The Third Man”Director Carroll Reed’s classic postwar thriller from 1949 gets a terrific DVD makeover in a new two-disc edition that replaces a previously released single-disc version. Joseph Cotten stars as an American pulp-fiction writer who travels to Vienna on the promise of a job from an old friend (Orson Welles), arriving in time for his buddy’s funeral and embarking on a quest to unravel the truth surrounding his death and his suspicious activities. Peter Bogdanovich offers an introduction, Steven Soderbergh provides commentary, and the set includes a feature-length documentary about the film along with a radio adaptation of the story and a 1968 TV portrait of the film’s writer, Graham Greene. DVD set, $39.95. (Criterion)

“The Matrix”All three movies in the science-fiction franchise along with animated offshoots and other background are gathered in two boxed sets in high-definition HD DVD format. “The Complete Matrix Trilogy” is a three-disc set that packs the three movies, “The Matrix,” “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions,” starring Keanu Reeves as an underground computer whiz who learns humanity has been enslaved by machines inside an elaborate virtual reality. “The Ultimate Matrix Collection” is a five-disc set with the three movies and 35 hours of extras, including the animated “Animatrix” short films that fill in story gaps in the saga. Three-disc set, $99.99, five-disc set, $119.99. (Warner Bros.)

TV on DVD:

“Roots: 30th Anniversary Edition” — The 1970s landmark miniseries returns to DVD in a four-disc set that follows generations in the family heritage of author Alex Haley, from their origins in Africa to the hardships of slavery and its aftermath. The set has a new retrospective along with vintage documentary materials. DVD set, $59.98. (Warner Bros.)

“Scrubs: The Complete Fifth Season” — Zach Braff and his medical associates are back in the sitcom following the oddballs of Sacred Heart Hospital. A three-disc set has year five’s 24 episodes, with commentary and deleted scenes. DVD set, $39.99. (Disney)

“The O.C.: The Complete Fourth Season” — The prime-time soap wraps up with a five-disc set packing the final 16 episodes in the show centered on a tough city kid living among the rich and privileged in southern California’s Orange County. Series creator Josh Schwartz offers commentary on the finale. DVD set, $59.98. (Warner Bros.)

“The Magnificent Seven: Season Two” — A three-disc set has the last 13 episodes of the short-lived Western series, including four that never aired. Michael Biehn leads the cast in the adventures inspired by the big-screen classic. DVD, $29.98. (MGM)