The Devil Wears Prada, Plus Other New Releases

No surprise—Meryl Streep is a helluva lot more fun than Michael Mann.

The Devil Wears Prada

Fox, $29.99

No surprise that the commentary track for this adaptation of Lauren Weisberger's chick-lit best seller features pearls of wisdom from the costume designer—this is the Project Runway crowd's idea of a summertime blockbuster, after all. But the disc could be shorn of its 15 deleted scenes and its mini-docs and its chit-chat track and still be essential; fact is, David Frankel's film is among the year's best and easily one of the finest movies about working and the price of success. And the acting's superb: Anne Hathaway charms as the put-upon assistant who blossoms in the blinding sunshine of boss Meryl Streep, who's not entirely unsympathetic in the role of cruel, contemptuous editrix. Best of all, though, is Stanley Tucci as the lone and lonely voice of reason, the caricature who refuses to crumble beneath the weight of silk that cuts like barbed wire. ROBERT WILONSKY

Miami Vice: Unrated Director's Edition

Universal, $29.98

The first thing writer-director Michael Mann tells you in his commentary is that the title of this DVD's misleading. He would have preferred "The director's extended version of the film," which would have been cumbersome and also misleading; it's been re-edited, too, so how's that for confusing? Not so much, actually: Mann's made a meaner and leaner version, and he figures we know enough about Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) to narrow his focus on the action. So it's bang-bang drug deals hither and yon (mostly yon—Haiti, Cuba, Colombia), with only scant attention paid to the private lives of cops who live every second as phony public figures. There's even footage of Farrell getting punk'd by undercover-cop advisers who scared him shitless and then some. Just to keep it, ya know, real. ROBERT WILONSKY

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Paramount, $34.99

Let's just put it to you straight: You don't make enough money to fully enjoy Dead Man's Chest on DVD. Unless you pony up for a high-def TV and Blu-ray player, the small screen sucks away a lot of the charm from this summer blockbuster. And while there are plenty of delights—from Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow to creepy-crawly villain Davy Jones—many of the action scenes are just chaotic eye candy. The plot is similarly nonsensical, and the thing drags out over an unbelievable two and a half hours. (And speaking of eye candy, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley offer nothing but cheekbones.) Still, fun is fun, and if you've got the setup to truly absorb the madness of all the flying swords and cannonballs, you're in for quite a ride. JORDAN HARPER

Rocky: 2-Disc Collector's Edition

MGM, $26.98

An old TV commercial for Rocky included here compares Sylvester Stallone to Pacino, De Niro, and Brando—and though we now know this to be pure madness, it's easy to see what inspired it. Sure, Stallone (who also wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay) slowly destroyed Rocky's legacy during his rise and fall as a bloated megastar, but this is a truly great film. Among the extras is a full-length making-of doc, during which everyone involved but the moldy bones of Burgess Meredith gets on their knees to praise the movie. There are also three commentary tracks and mini-docs about the awesome score, the makeup, the Steadicam—the docs just keep coming, till you're ready to call Rocky the best film since the Lumière brothers set up shop. Of course, the Lumières never made Arrival of a Train Part VI. JORDAN HARPER

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Columbia, $28.95

This cut of Will Ferrell's NASCAR comedy runs 13 minutes longer than the theatrical version, and that doesn't take into account the deleted and extended scenes, outtakes, phony commercials, public-service announcements, and gag reel. A movie that already seemed to be constructed from deleted scenes is well served by a DVD overflowing with them; watch 5 or 10 minutes, eject, rinse, and repeat till Ferrell and John C. Reilly and Sacha Baron Cohen become constant companions in the fast lane to nowhere. The excised footage is at least as funny as anything that actually made the final cut; how funny you find that depends upon your tolerance for Ferrell's delivery of every line like he's on the verge of cracking himself up. ROBERT WILONSKY

Other Releases

How to Eat Fried Worms is a fun gross-out flick for pretweens, while the American remake of Pulse would only frighten small children. College fraternities make up the best market for Beerfest (supply your own drinking games). The Chronicles of Narnia (Part I) gets blimped up to a four-disc gift set. For the Euro art-house set, there's Theo Angelopoulos' The Weeping Meadow. For younger dance fans, there's Step Up, and for OutKast fans, Idlewild. Parker Posey falls in love with a small battery-powered device in The OH in Ohio. In theaters just last week, The Architect may make a star of Viola Davis. The Australian Look Both Ways takes a novel look at death. Warren Beatty dusts off Bugsy and adds a few extras. Collections for Christmas include a Frank Capra quintet (including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington), three pre–Hays Code Warner Bros. oldies (including Barbara Stanwyck sleeping her way to the top in Baby Face), eight lesser-known Wim Wenders titles (including Lightning Over Water), and, from Kino, four rare early silent works from Ernst Lubitsch (including Anne Boleyn and a cross-dressing short called I Don't Want to Be a Man). And from the vaults of the Maysles brothers, with polish via Criterion, their classic 1975 Grey Gardens is packaged with their recent follow-up, The Beales of Grey Gardens.

dvd@seattleweekly.com

 
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