By David Hochman
”Any Given Sunday,” Oliver Stone’s movie about an aging football coach (Al Pacino) on a losing streak, is perfect DVD material, which is why it’s currently the best selling disc in America. The movie’s grunts and cheers will rattle your home theater speakers. Its splashy gridiron colors (not to mention Cameron Diaz’s sparkly blue eyes) look great on the anamorphic widescreen. And just imagine the potential for behind the scenes ditties on a project involving both Stone and Pacino. The trouble is, the extra features are a bit of a fumble. The documentary, ”Full Contact: The Making of Any Given Sunday,” amounts to little more than a long puffy trailer (Pacino doesn’t even sit for an interview). Worse yet, the ”enhanced” track, available to PC users, is a mere selling tool for Warner Brothers, with links to WB merchandise, websites, and trailers. Somebody should throw a flag on that play.
Bonus Features: B-
The ”Love & Basketball” DVD, meanwhile, is totally on the ball. Director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s tolerable tale of a girl (Sanaa Lathan) and a guy (Omar Epps) and the love they share for basketball and each other makes solid use of the digital format. In fact, this thing is loaded. There’s a commentary by the director, editor, and composer, and a wonderful second track with Prince-Bythewood and Lathan doing the voice over (Lathan opens that track recalling early memories of visiting her Broadway actress mother backstage at ”The Wiz”). The deleted scenes also have revealing commentary and the blooper reel has some cute moments (lots of missed hoop shots). The animated storyboards show how each scene was choreographed, and there’s an original documentary that goes way beyond standard Electronic Press Kit material. ”Breaking the Glass Ceiling” features inspiring interviews with Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Geraldine Ferraro, and top athletes who share their triumphs and challenges in sports and in life. There’s also a PC component that lets you read the script as you watch the movie. But the coolest extras are the audition tapes which show Epps and the other actors doing their early readings for the film, followed by the finished scenes from the movie. As extra features go, this one’s nothing but net. Too bad the movie’s not better.
Special Features: A
Here’s EW.com’s rundown of other new DVD releases.
Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas: Special Edition
(1993, Disney, 76 mins., PG, $29.99) He’s no Grinch, but well meaning Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, almost steals Christmas in this dark and fantastical stop motion animated feature. Includes Burton’s early films ”Vincent” and ”Frankenweenie.” Also available in 2 Pack with a Special Edition of the lighter follow-up, ”James and the Giant Peach,” based on Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book. SPECIAL FEATURES Audio commentary, theatrical trailer, scene access, music videos, behind the scenes footage, deleted scenes, interactive menus, photo gallery
(2000, Paramount, 89 mins., PG, $29.99) Chevy Chase + holiday + mischievous kids = well, something to watch when you get snowed in this winter. If nothing else, it’s worth getting just to see Chris Elliott and Iggy Pop in the same movie. SPECIAL FEATURES Audio commentary, featurette, interviews, interactive menus, scene access
Jurassic Park/The Lost World Collector’s Editions
(1993 and 1997, Universal, 256 mins., PG-13, $53.98, $119.98) Go for the raptor size 2 disc Collection or the T-Rex size 4 disc Limited Edition Box Set of Steven Spielberg’s ravenously successful dinos run amok twosome. SPECIAL FEATURES DVD-ROM features, documentaries, theatrical trailer, production notes, storyboards, photo gallery, cast/ crew bios, interactive menus, scene access, parental lock
Rules of Engagement
(2000, Paramount, 127 mins., R, $29.99) Colonel Samuel L. Jackson, on trial for commanding a fatally disastrous rescue mission, chooses doubting old bud Colonel Tommy Lee Jones to defend him in this military potboiler. SPECIAL FEATURES Audio commentary, featurette, deleted scenes, interviews, interactive menus, behind the scenes footage, scene access
(2000, Disney, 110 mins., PG, $29.99) An East meets Western with Jackie Chan playing an Imperial guard who travels across the Pacific in pursuit of a kidnapped princess (Lucy Liu). SPECIAL FEATURES Audio commentary, theatrical trailer, music videos, deleted scenes, featurette, interactive menus, photo gallery, scene access