OnVideo Guide to Home Video Releases: April Calendar of Releases

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Guide to Home Video Releases:
April Release Calendar


DVD Releases

Movies are rated on a scale of one to five, with five denoting a classic. For more information on how we rate, check out our
Rentability Index.

calendar page Back to Calendar Index.

April 3

  • Volver Comedic and compassionate tribute to women and their resilience in the face of life's most outrageous tribulations. A luminous Penelope Cruz leads an ensemble of gifted actresses, including Carmen Maura. Raimunda (Cruz) and her sister Sole (Lola Duenas) lost their parents in a tragic fire years ago ... or did they? Superstitious villagers claim that the girl's departed mother, Irene (Maura), has been seen wandering around their Aunt Paula's home. When Irene appears to Sole, she explains that she has returned to set right her daughters' troubled lives and reveal shocking secrets that will impact everyone! Raimunda has "female troubles" of her own, least of which is a corpse in the freezer!" Winner of numerous film festivals and critics' awards, Volver is a hilarious tale of love, loss and forgiveness. The film takes place in Madrid and its lively working-class neighborhoods, where the immigrants from the various Spanish provinces share dreams, lives and fortune with a multitude of ethnic groups and other races. At the heart of this social framework, three generations of women survive wind, fire and even death, thanks to goodness, audacity and a limitless vitality. According to director Pedro Almodovar, "Volver" is not a surrealistic comedy although it may seem so at times. The living and the dead coexist without any discord, causing situations that are either hilarious or filled with a deep, genuine emotion. It's a film about the culture of death in my native La Mancha. The people there practice it with an admirable naturalness. The way in which the dead continue to be present in their lives, the richness and humanity of their rites mean that the dead never die. "Volver" destroys all the clichˇs about "black" Spain and offers a Spain that is as real as it is the opposite. A Spain that is white, spontaneous, funny, intrepid, supportive and fair. Vitals: Director: Pedro Almodovar. Stars: Penelope Cruz, Carmen Maura, Lola Duenas, Yohana Cobo, Blanca Portillo. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 121 min., Drama, Box office gross: $ $10.067 million, Sony. 3 stars

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  • Good Shepherd, The The untold story of the birth of the Central Intelligence Agency -- viewed through the life of one man who believed in America and would sacrifice everything he loved to protect his country -- is told in this drama that features an all-star cast under the direction of Academy Award winner Robert De Niro. Matt Damon plays Edward Wilson, a patriot who understands the value of secrecy -- discretion and a commitment to honor have been embedded in him since his tragic and privileged childhood. As an eager, sensitive student at Yale in 1939 he is recruited to join the secret Skull and Bones society, a tightly knit brotherhood that serves to develop future world leaders. Wilson's acute mind, spotless reputation and sincere belief in American values render him the prime candidate for an intelligence career by those who monitor the newest recruits. The idealistic young man is recruited to work for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor to the CIA, during WWII. It is a decision that will alter the course of his life and change the geopolitical shape of our times as Wilson and his fellow secret group members come to create the most powerful covert agency in the world. As one of the founders of the CIA, working in the heart of an organization where duplicity is required and nothing is taken at face value, Wilson's idealism is steadily eroded by his growing suspicious nature, reflective of a world settling into the long paranoia of the Cold War. As his methods are adopted as standard operating procedure, Wilson develops into one of the Agency's veteran operatives, all the while combatting his KGB counterpart in a global chess match. But Wilson's steely dedication to his country comes at an ever-escalating price. Not even the growing concern of his wife, Margaret "Clover" (Angelina Jolie), and his beloved son (Eddie Redmayne) can divert Wilson from a path that will force him to sacrifice everything in dedication to his job. Vitals: Director: Robert De Niro. Stars: Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Robert De Niro, John Turturro, William Hurt, Alec Baldwin, Billy Crudup, Michael Gambon, Gabriel Macht, Tammy Blanchard, Vladimir Mashkov, Joe Pesci. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 167 min., Drama, Box office gross: $59.462 million, Universal. 3 stars

  • Charlotte's Web The classic story of loyalty, trust, and sacrifice comes to life in this live-action adaptation of kids classic "Charlotte's Web." Fern (Dakota Fanning) immediately sees that Wilbur is a special animal as she raises him, the runt of the litter, into a "terrific" and "radiant" pig. As Wilbur moves into a new barn, he begins a second profound friendship with the most unlikely of creatures -- a spider named Charlotte -- and their bond inspires the animals around them to come together as a family. When the word gets out that Wilbur's days are numbered, it seems that only a miracle will save his life. A determined Charlotte -- who sees miracles in the ordinary -- spins words into her web in an effort to convince the farmer that Wilbur is "some pig" and worth saving. Vitals: Director: Gary Winick. Stars: Dakota Fanning and the voices of Julia Roberts, Steve Buscemi, John Cleese, Oprah Winfrey, Cedric the Entertainer, Kathy Bates, Reba McEntire, Robert Redford, Thomas Haden Church, Sam Shepard. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: G, 94 min., Family Box office gross: $78.862 million, Paramount. 3 stars

  • Black Christmas Remake of the 1974 horror outing, revisiting the brutal and horrific legacy of an escaped murderer who returns home to finish his Christmas killing spree. But the scene of the crime has changed: his family home is now a sorority house and the sorority sisters, snowed in over the holiday break, become the new victims for the killer to check off his Naughty list. Vitals: Director: Glen Morgan. Stars: Michelle Trachtenberg, Lacey Chabert, Katie Cassidy, Mary Elizabeth Winstead. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 90 min., Horror, Box office gross: $16.235 million, Dimension/Genius Products. 2 stars

  • Copying Beethoven When young Anna Holz (Diane Kruger), a Viennese music student is asked to transcribe scoring notes for the great Ludwig van Beethoven (Harris), she eagerly accepts, despite warnings about his volatile behavior. Part maestro, part mentor and part madman, Beethoven reluctantly relies on Anna to help him realize the crowning achievement of a lifetime-his illustrious Ninth Symphony. As her work of copying down the music of Beethoven proceeds, Anna is drawn into the maestro's tortured and inspired world. She sees their collaboration as a God-sent opportunity to prove her own talent as a composer; he glimpses in her a pure soul who might help him realize the culmination of his art -- the creation of the last string quartets, the most sublime and spiritual music ever written. Beethoven reveals his growing need and affection for Anna as they work together on the quartets. She boldly shows Beethoven her own work. Thoughtlessly, he derides it and she leaves him in despair. Desperate, Anna accepts her longtime paramour, Martin's, proposal of marriage. Beethoven storms after her -- she must choose between Martin and him. Anna tries to flee Vienna but cannot; her destiny is linked to Beethoven's. She returns to finish their work and finds him dying. From his dictation she copies the last of the quartets. His work on earth done, he frees her to become what he tells her she was born to be -- a composer. Vitals: Director: Agnieszka Holland. Stars: Ed Harris, Diane Kruger, Matthew Goode, George Mendel, Joe Anderson, Angus Barnett, Nicholas Jones, Phyllida Law, Ralph Riach, Bill Stewart. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 104 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.352 million, MGM. 2 stars

  • Death of a President "Death of a President" is a fictional 2008 TV documentary that follows the investigation of the fictional assassination of President George W. Bush in October 2007. Combining real archival footage with a credible but fictional story, "Death of a President" presents a fascinating and thought-provoking political thriller. Caused quite a stir when it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year. Vitals: Director: Gabriel Range. Stars: Hend Ayoub, George W. Bush, Brian Boland, Becky Ann Baker, Michael Reilly Burke, Neko Parham, Holly Barrett, Patricia Buckley, Bryan Cohen, Andrea Frisby, John R. Haley, Theophilus Jamal, Jay Patterson, Chavez Ravine, January Scarpino, Christian Stolte, Matt Ukena, James Urbaniak, Jay Whittaker. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 97 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $.486 million, Lionsgate. 3 stars

April 10

  • Bobby "Bobby" re-imagines one of the most explosively tragic nights in American history. By following the stories of 22 fictional characters in the Ambassador Hotel on the fateful eve that Presidential hopeful Senator Robert F. Kennedy was shot, writer-director Emilio Estevez and an accomplished ensemble cast forge an intimate mosaic of an America careening towards a moment of shattering change -- as different characters navigate prejudice, injustice, chaos and their own complicated personal lives, while seeking the last glimmering signs of hope in Kennedy's idealism. In exploring the diverse experiences of ordinary people, the film celebrates the spirit of an extraordinary man and servers as a snapshot of this emblematic time in history. Vitals: Director: Emilio Estevez. Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Lindsay Lohan, Elijah Wood, William H. Macy, Helen Hunt, Christian Slater, Heather Graham, Laurence Fishburne, Freddy Rodriguez, Nick Cannon, Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen, Shia LaBeouf, Jacob Vargas, Brian Geraghty, Joshua Jackson, Joy Bryant, Svetlana Metkina, Kip Pardue, David Krumholtz, Harry Belafonte, Mary Elizabeth Winstead. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 119 min., Drama, Box office gross: $11.204 million, The Weinstein Co.. 3 stars

April 17

  • Notes on a Scandal Two women caught up in a drama of need and betrayal are at the heart of this psychological drama. The twists and turns of the story are noted in the acerbic diary of Barbara Covett (Judi Dench), a domineering and solitary teacher who rules with an iron fist over her classroom at a decaying state-run secondary school in London. Save for her cat, Portia, Barbara lives alone, without friends or confidantes - but her world changes when she meets the school's new art teacher, Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett). Sheba appears to be the kindred spirit and loyal friend Barbara has always been seeking. But when she discovers that Sheba is having an incendiary affair with one of her young students (Andrew Simpson), their budding relationship takes an ominous turn. Now, as Barbara threatens to expose Sheba's terrible secret to both her husband (Bill Nighy) and the world, Barbara's own secrets and dark obsessions come tumbling to the fore, exposing the deceptions at the core of each of the women's lives. Vitals: Director: Richard Eyre. Stars: Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Bill Nighy, Andrew Simpson, Tom Georgeson, Michael Maloney, Joanna Scanlan. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 121 min., Drama, Box office gross: $11.733 million, Fox. 3 stars

  • Last King of Scotland, The In an incredible twist of fate, a Scottish doctor (James McAvoy) on a Ugandan medical mission becomes irreversibly entangled with one of the world's most barbaric figures: Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker). Impressed by Dr. Garrigan's brazen attitude in a moment of crisis, the newly self-appointed Ugandan President Amin hand picks him as his personal physician and closest confidante. Though Garrigan is at first flattered and fascinated by his new position, he soon awakens to Amin's savagery -- and his own complicity in it. Horror and betrayal ensue as Garrigan tries to right his wrongs and escape Uganda alive. Inspired by real people and events. Vitals: Director: Kevin MaDonald. Stars: Forest Whitaker, James McAvoy, Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson, Simon McBurney. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 123 min., Drama, Box office gross: $9.624 million, Fox. 2 stars

  • Freedom Writers Hilary Swank stars in the story of Erin Gruwell, a high school teacher in Long Beach, California, who encouraged her class of at-risk students to overcome the gangs that divided them and the educational system that failed them, and to tell their stories in their own words. The journals the students were inspired to write ultimately became the book "The Freedom Writers Diary." The film features an outstanding cast of young actors, many of whom grew up surrounded by gang violence and were able to draw upon their own experiences on the street to portray Gruwell's students with gritty authenticity. Vitals: Director: Richard LaGravenese. Stars: Hilary Swank, Patrick Dempsey, Scott Glenn, Imelda Staunton. 2007, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 103 min., Drama, Box office gross: $36.267 million, Paramount. 3 stars

  • Smokin' Aces In these interlocking tales of high stakes and low lifes, mob boss Primo Sparazza has taken out a hefty contract on Buddy "Aces" Israel (Jeremy Piven) -- a sleazy magician who has agreed to turn state's evidence against the Vegas mob. The FBI, sensing a chance to use this small-time con to bring down big-target Sparazza, places Aces into protective custody-under the supervision of two agents (Ryan Reynolds and Ray Liotta) at Aces' Lake Tahoe hideout. When word of the price on Aces' head spreads into the community of ex-cons and cons-to-be, it entices bounty hunters, thugs-for-hire, smokin' hot assassins and double-crossing mobsters to join in the hunt. With all eyes on Tahoe, this rogues' gallery collides in a race to hit the jackpot and rub out Aces. Vitals: Director: Joe Carnahan. Stars: Ben Affleck, Andy Garcia, Alicia Keys, Ray Liotta, Jeremy Piven, Ryan Reynolds, Peter Berg, Martin Henderson, Taraji Henson, Common. 2007, CC, MPAA rating: R, 108 min., Comic Thriller, Box office gross: $35.520 million, Universal. 2 stars

  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress Based on the international best-seller, "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" is set in the early 1970's during the later stages of China's "Cultural Revolution," as two city-bred teenage best friends, Luo (Kun Chen) and Ma (Ye Liu), are sent to a backward mountainous region for Maoist re-education. Sons of doctors branded as "reactionary intellectuals," the boys are required to perform arduous manual labor along with locals while under the supervision of the zealous village headman. Still they manage to find diversions. They save Ma's violin from destruction by claiming a Mozart lieder is actually a celebration of Chairman Mao. Because of their literacy, the headman sends them to a larger town to watch imported Albanian and North Korean communist melodramas, and then report back to the culture-starved locals. They embroider the stodgy plots with their own inventions and the villagers are entranced. During one of these trips, the two see and fall in love with the local beauty (Xun Zhou), the daughter of the most renowned tailor in the region. They never know her name, referring to her only as "the Little Seamstress," but she captivates them with her innocence and sensuality. When they discover a hidden suitcase filled with banned books by Western writers, mostly French -- Flaubert, Dumas and Balzac among them -- they read these works to the Little Seamstress for hours on end in a secret meeting place. Thirsting for knowledge of the world beyond, she comes to love, in particular, Balzac and his characters. Eventually, Luo and the seamstress become lovers, but their romance comes to an abrupt end when he is recalled home and she finds herself pregnant. Changed by her "sentimental education," the Little Seamstress ultimately finds the courage to leave her village for wider horizons. In a bittersweet coda, many years later Luo and Ma, beneficiaries of China's economic gains and enjoying considerable professional success, meet and wonder about the Little Seamstress, marveling at the transformative power of literature and the capacity to change the world around them. In Mandarin with English subtitles. Vitals: Director: Da Sijie. Stars: Xun Zhou, Kun Chen, Ye Liu. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 111 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.665 million, Empire Pictures/First Run Features. 3 stars

  • History Boys, The From award-winning playwright Alan Bennett comes this witty story of eight boisterous-yet-talented schoolboys hoping to gain admittance to England's most prestigious universities. They're aided on their quest by two teachers, a shrewd young upstart and an inspiring old eccentric, whose opposing philosophies challenge the boys to confront the true meaning of education and the relative values of happiness and success. Adapted from the original Tony Award-winning play and starring the original cast, Vitals: Director: Nicolas Hytner. Stars: Richard Griffiths, Clive Merrison, Frances de la Tour, Stephen Campbell Moore, Sacha Dhawan, Samuel Anderson, Dominic Cooper, Andrew Knott, Samuel Barnett, Russell Tovey, Jamie Parker, James Corden. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: R, 104 min., Drama, Box office gross: $2.672 million, Fox. 2 stars

April 24

  • Night at the Museum A bumbling security guard at the Museum of Natural History accidentally lets loose an ancient curse that causes the animals and insects on display to come to life and wreak havoc. The fantastical adventure kicks off when Larry Daley (Ben Stiller), a down-and-out dreamer whose imaginative ideas have never paid off, finds himself in desperate need of a job. Larry has always believed he was destined for big things. But he has no idea just how literally gargantuan and hairy a challenge he will face when he grudgingly accepts the supposedly menial graveyard shift as a security guard at the Natural History Museum. On his very first night on the job, Larry is handed an over-sized flashlight and a dog-eared instruction manual, then left all alone in the eerily quiet, cavernous museum. At least, he thinks he's alone. To his utter astonishment and disbelief, Larry watches in shock and awe as, one by one, the primeval beasts and storied icons that surround him stir magically to life -- and total havoc ensues. Now, as Tyrannosaurus Rex and Attila the Hun carve a swath of destruction through the marble corridors, and lions and monkeys prowl the fragile exhibits, Larry is at a loss as to how to get the museum back under control. At his wit's end, Larry must recruit the help of historical heavyweight Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams) just to survive the night. Facing the possibility of losing his job, Larry must wage an incredible battle to save the museum. Vitals: Director: Shawn Levy. Stars: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Carla Gugino, Kim Raver, Mickey Rooney, Dick Van Dyke, Bill Cobbs, Ricky Gervais, Rami Malek, Paul Rudd, Steve Coogan, Owen Wilson. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 108 min., Comedy Fantasy, Box office gross: $250.00 million, Fox. 3 stars

  • Queen, The Director Stephen Frears pulls back the curtain on the private chambers of the royal family in the aftermath of Princess Diana's death in 1997, where the contained, traditional world of the Queen of England (Helen Mirren) is brought into conflict with the public, modern Prime Minister (Michael Sheen) and a nation looking to its leaders for guidance in dark times. Dramatic and revealing, the story of was drawn from extensive interviews, research, discreet sources and informed imagination. Mirren won an Academy Award and a host of other accolades for her performance. Vitals: Director: Stephen Frears. Stars: Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell, Sylvia Syms, Alex Jennings. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 103 min., Drama, Box office gross: $51.350 million, Miramax. 3 stars

  • Deja Vu Everyone has experienced the unsettling mystery of deja vu -- that flash of memory when you meet someone new you feel you've known all your life or recognize a place even though you've never been there before. But what if these strange, spooky feelings were actually warnings sent from the past or clues to an unfolding future? In this sci-fi action-thriller, deja vu unexpectedly guides ATF agent Doug Carlin (Denzel Washington) through an investigation into a shattering crime. Called in to recover evidence after a bomb sets off a cataclysmic explosion on a New Orleans Ferry, Carlin is about to discover that what most people believe is only in their heads is actually something far more powerful -- and will lead him on a mind-bending race to save hundreds of innocent people. As Carlin's investigation deepens, it not only probes through the very fabric of space and time, but becomes an innovative love story that unfolds in reverse, when Carlin discovers his puzzling emotional connection to a woman whose past holds the key to stopping a catastrophe that could destroy their future. In the split second of a glance, without words yet with complete trust, Carlin takes one chance to change everything. Vitals: Director: Tony Scott. Stars: Denzel Washington, Paula Patton, Val Kilmer, James Caviezel, Adam Goldberg, Elden Henson, Erika Alexander, Bruce Greenwood. 2006, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 128 min., Science Fiction, Box office gross: $63.824 million, Buena Vista. 3 stars

  • Code Name: The Cleaner Cedric the Entertainer stars as Jake, a seemingly regular guy who wakes up in a hotel room with a bump on his head next to a dead body and a briefcase containing $250,000 in cash. As if that wasn't enough of a predicament, Jake can't remember how he got there or who he is. The beautiful and mysterious Diane (Nicollette Sheridan) shows up on the scene and claims to be Jake's wife, taking him to a magnificent mansion that she says belongs to him. When Jake discovers that Diane is trying to drug him for information, he escapes and seeks refuge in a local diner, only to run in to Gina (Lucy Liu), a waitress who claims to be his girlfriend. She tells him that in reality he's a maintenance worker for a video game manufacturer, but Jake becomes convinced he is really an undercover agent for the CIA -- his code name: "The Cleaner" -- and sets out to prove it. Vitals: Director: Les Mayfield. Stars: Cedric the Entertainer, Lucy Liu, Elizabeth Hurley, DeRay Davis, Nicollette Sheridan. 2007, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 91 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $8.104 million, New Line. 2 stars


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All DVDs are screened on a reference system consisting of a Rotel RDV-1060 DVD Audio/Video Player, a Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center), and 50 (rear) speakers and Power 10 subwoofer.

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April 12, 2007