[5 October 2009]
McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)
With many state parks in danger of closure or curtailed operations, our national parks take on even greater importance.
“The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” premiered Sept. 27 on PBS and will be released Tuesday on DVD and Blu-ray.
The 12-hour film, six years in the making, includes breathtaking images from Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, the Everglades, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and other locations. Ken Burns directed the documentary, which traces the birth of the national park concept back to the 1830s (April 20, 1832, to be precise, when President Andrew Jackson signed legislation to set aside four sections of land around what is now Hot Springs, Ark., to protect the thermal springs). The series chronicles the steady addition of protected areas for the next 150-plus years. There are six discs in the set; each includes a special feature. Disc 3, for example, includes “Musical Journeys Through the National Parks.”
The set, unrated, lists for $99.99 on DVD and $129.99 on Blu-ray.
“Murphy’s Law, Series 1” stars James Nesbitt (“Waking Ned Devine,” “Jekyll”) as hardheaded, hard-drinking undercover cop Tommy Murphy in five episodes involving drugs, blackmail, murder — the usual. The three-volume set is not rated and lists for $49.99.
“Audition,” a 1999 theatrical release, is coming in 10th anniversary DVD and Blu-ray collector’s editions. Japanese director Takashi Miike’s brilliant and brutal film really had me squirming. An art-house horror classic, this cautionary tale of romance gone awry descends from innocence to — close your eyes and try not to think about it, guys. This is a new, high-definition master with a new 5.0 digital stereo soundtrack. The film is not rated and is spoken in Japanese with English subtitles. The DVD is priced at $24.99 and the Blu-ray is $29.99.