By DNA Smith
PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Apollo 13” (15th Anniversary Edition) (Rated PG) — It was 40 years ago when astronaut Jim Lovell uttered those five fateful words: “Houston, we have a problem.” Less than a year since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin captured the world’s attention, Apollo 13’s mission was barely a blip on the pop-culture radar — until the news broke that the three astronauts were stranded in a crippled spacecraft nearly a quarter million miles from home.
Directed by Ron Howard, “Apollo 13” is the compelling story of those men’s struggle to repair their ship and get home alive. The performances of the cast (Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Kevin Bacon, Ed Harris and Kathleen Quinlan) are riveting; the special effects top-notch, and I have to say this is probably the best film Ron Howard has ever made.
This DVD release is the first time the film has been available in Blu-Ray format. Special features include commentary by Ron Howard, Jim Lovell and his wife, Marilyn; a “Dateline” segment about the mission; the documentary “Lost Moon,” which chronicles the making of the film; and the featurette “Conquering Space,” a retrospective of the past 45 years of manned spaceflight.
“Faces of America” (Not Rated) — In this entertaining and informative PBS series, Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. tells the story of America by using genetics and genealogy to trace the family history of 11 celebrities. Among those profiled are Stephen Colbert, Eva Longoria, Meryl Streep, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, chef Mario Batali and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi. Through their families’ stories, we see the triumphs and tragedies of our nation’s history.
“Pirate Radio” (Rated R) — Written and directed by Richard Curtis (“Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Love, Actually,” “Notting Hill”), “Pirate Radio” is the story of a group of misfits aboard a pirate radio ship in the North Sea in 1966 and the attempt by a politician (Kenneth Branagh) to shut them down. It’s not one of Curtis’ best films, but the cast he’s assembled (Bill Nighy, Emma Thompson, Nick Frost, Philip Seymour Hoffman) take the often-flimsy material they have to work with and belt out some memorable performances.
“Nightmare on Elm Street Collection” (Rated R) — From 1984 to 2003, in eight great (and not-so-great) films, Freddy Krueger has been a horror icon to two generations of filmgoers. This boxed set contains all eight films: “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Freddy’s Revenge,” “Dream Warriors,” “The Dream Master,” “The Dream Child,” “Freddy’s Dead: the Final Nightmare,” “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare” and “Freddy Vs. Jason.”
“The Donna Reed Show: Family Favorites”
“Emergency!” Season Six
“Dallas” The Complete Thirteenth Season
“Alias Smith & Jones” Season 2 & 3
© 2010 King Features Synd., Inc.