Lost in Translation

Universal Home Video, $26.98

Given what a prickly, hard-to-reach guy Bill Murray is reputed to be, it's no surprise, but a big disappointment, that the Oscar nominee doesn't provide a commentary to this single-disc DVD package (Feb. 3). Nor does Oscar- nominated director Sofia Coppola, which is harder to figure. If there's one thing her proud papa should've told her, it's the value of brand management—and their name is a brand. Among the few extras to this May-December romance that never quite happens—Lost is more of a mood than a movie—are a short chat between director and star; an interestingly unpolished behind-the-scenes featurette on the shoot in Tokyo; a few outtakes; and a music vid for "City Girl" from Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine. Could Universal not even afford the tape from Coppola's Charlie Rose Show appearance? I think Mr. C would be the first to tell his daughter she could do better than that.

Still, there are a few nuggets to this title that many will want to add to their DVD collection. In his Rome chat with Coppola, a completely gray and bearded Murray wears an odd Nehru vest as he confides, "I know a little bit about being a movie star." Coppola mostly keeps quiet. Then, the "Lost on Location" featurette includes a fascinating art-into-life slip as you realize that Coppola's ex, director Spike Jonze (the basis for Giovanni Ribisi's character in the film), is wielding the camera. Here, for once, Coppola seems a little more girly and unguarded, less the self-made hipster and Sphinx. "It's like Christmas morning!" she gushes as they prepare for Murray to arrive in Tokyo. Then Jonze seems to disappear from the shoot—as he would from her life.

It's fun to watch the stripped-down guerrilla crew steal shots of Scarlett Johansson on the teeming Japanese sidewalks. Murray does a cute little robe dance to Elvis Costello's "Alison," then later croons "Scarborough Fair" in his best lounge-'lude manner. It would've been more fun to hear more from him and Coppola—but I guess they'll be selling us that disc later.

Coming out Feb. 17 are the gay ethnic Canadian romance Mambo Italiano; the Swedish romance Under the Sun; David Spade's Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star; the lame John Grisham adaptation Runaway Jury; and the bookish documentary Stone Reader, which we'll review next week. Also, Warner Bros. is reissuing several old Italian classics, including Antonioni's Blow-up and Visconti's Death in Venice.

bmiller@seattleweekly.com

 
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