DVDs In Brief
Can't wait for the next Indiana Jones sequel? Then check out National Treasure 2: Book Of Secrets (Disney), the second installment in the flag-waving, enjoyably preposterous action series that might, just might, owe a tiny something to the rollicking adventures of Harrison Ford and company. Helen Mirren is the latest Oscar-winner to join the ridiculously overqualified cast, playing Jon Voight's estranged ex-wife and the mother of treasure-hunter, conspiracy-cracker, and overgrown Boy Scout Nicolas Cage
NBC's ongoing excavation of its decades-deep Saturday Night Live archive continues with the third full-season release of the groundbreaking sketch-comedy institution. The show's critically acclaimed third year marked Bill Murray's first full season as a cast member, though rest assured that witless wags were quipping "Saturday Night Live? More like Saturday Night Dead" even back then
A comedy featuring the considerable talents of Steve Zahn, Jonah Hill, and Justin Long—plus ace character actors like Joe Don Baker, Robert Patrick, and Ernest Borgnine in supporting roles—would seem like a can't-miss proposition, but Strange Wilderness (Paramount) wasn't screened for critics, and the public decided it needn't screen for them, either. Playing a man-child in the Adam Sandler tradition, Zahn stars as the host of a struggling wildlife TV show who tries to track down Sasquatch to boost ratings. Funny idea, dismal execution
From Brett Morgen, director of The Kids Stays In The Picture and Chicago 10, comes the winning Nimrod Nation (Arts Alliance), which originally ran as an eight-part series on the Sundance Channel and recently picked up a coveted Peabody Award. The documentary centers on the town of Watersmeet, a tiny burg in Michigan's Upper Peninsula that takes special pride in its overachieving high-school boys' basketball team, nicknamed the Nimrods. (Don't giggle too much: The name derives from a great hunter in the Book Of Genesis.) Though Morgen follows the ups and downs of the 2005-'06 season, he's just as interested in how this isolated town functions
The love affair documented in Steal A Pencil For Me (Westlake) features marital and extramarital intrigue, incredible coincidence, and a passion that transcends obstacles great and small. Jack Polak and Ina Soep shared a 60-year romance that blossomed and survived in the Nazi camps of Westerbork in Holland and finally Bergen-Belsen, where fate or dumb fortune kept them alive and together against the odds. The story can't help but be moving, but the documentary does little to bring it to full life.