Digital Breakdown: Lackluster of the ‘Lake’ 

Mol is ‘Notorious’ as Page; BBC miniseries full of ‘Pride’

With television at full tilt thanks to the new fall season and a busy summer DVD market, this week is a bit slow for DVDs. Expect things to heat up once again in the first week of October as the summer blockbusters begin to creep onto DVD and potentially take away some of the momentum of the fall movie theater season.

‘THE LAKE HOUSE’

The genre of romantic films is in big trouble if the best that it can come up with involves some weird, supernatural hook that sounds utterly ridiculous on paper and comes across even worse on screen.

"The Lake House" stars Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves as a couple who find romance by sending notes to one another via some sort of magic mailbox. It gets stranger. They are also two years apart. Huh? What? Why not just call her on the phone and meet in some diner in some Midwest town? Hey, ever hear of a little thing called instant messenger on a little thing called the Internet? The predictable film moves at snail’s pace, with more time spent at the mailbox than actually developing the romance between the two. Reeves, surprisingly, shows little to no emotion (you’re shocked, right?) during the entire film and Bullock simply phones in her performance as the doctor searching for true love. Price: $28.99. Rent or buy: Rent.

‘THE NOTORIOUS BETTIE PAGE’

If you’ve seen Gretchen Mol in anything prior to "The Notorious Bettie Page," you will be shocked at her utter transformation into the iconic pin-up girl from the 1950s. The film is a biopic about the underground starlet who fashioned a whole industry around nudie films and bondage modeling and went from being worshipped to worshipping after finding religion and giving up her dirty day job.

Mol is the centerpiece of the film and she is excellent in her depiction of the too-trusting model that falls into a seedy world of early pornography. The film won’t be for everyone and most of it is filmed in black and white but it is an interesting character study of an American original.

Be sure and check out the audio commentary from director Mary Harron and Mol that is worth a listen as you watch the film or watching it again for a second time to listen to the various tales of Page and making the film. Price: $27.98. Rent or buy: Rent.

‘PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: 10TH ANNIVERSARY LIMITED EDITION COLLECTOR’S SET’

This isn’t Keira Knightly version, but the BBC miniseries, starring Colin Firth, offered up in grand fashion with an enormous collector’s set that includes a 120-page companion book, "The Making of Pride and Prejudice," a retrospective documentary on the series and much more all in handy fabric slipcase. If you have yet to buy any of the previous "Pride" DVDs this is a great one to pick up. Price: $59.99. Rent or buy: Buy.

‘CURIOUS GEORGE’

Mix together an obligatory love interest with a cookie-cutter story line and dash it with just a hint of a classic children’s book and you get "Curious George," the bland remake of the famous monkey and caretaker. Kids will love the animation and simple story line, but if you are expecting any clever adult comedy mixed in, move along people, nothing to see here. Accompanying the film on the DVD are15 deleted scenes, three animation featurettes and more than 10 interactive games for children. Price: $29.98. Rent or buy: Rent.

‘RIPTIDE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON’

And a week wouldn’t be complete without the early ’80s tale of three Vietnam vets who move to SoCal in order to — what else — solve crime! Sure, it is a little odd that Boze seems more likely to be a programmer for "Pong" rather than fight in Vietnam, but, hey, you’ve suspended disbelief for worse, right? The DVD includes the 14 episodes from the first season. There aren’t any special features so this is a decent rental. Price: $39.95. Rent or buy: Rent.

Also out on DVD this week

» "Ellen: The Complete Season Four," "Brotherhood: The Complete First Season," "Danger Mouse — The Final Seasons," "Thriller: The Complete First Season," "Tactics: Volume 2," "Masters of Horror: Imprint," "A Nightmare on Elm Street: Two-Disc Special Edition," "Who’s Line Is It Anyway: Season One Uncensored" and "Windy City Heat."

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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