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‘Bourne’ DVD a winner; others are flawed

SHARE ‘Bourne’ DVD a winner; others are flawed

Who thinks of Matt Damon as an action hero? Not me. But then I didn't expect much of Michael Keaton in the first "Batman," either, and he was great. Similarly, Damon does quite well in "The Bourne Identity," proving once again that a good actor can be convincing in a variety of roles.

"The Bourne Identity" (Universal, 2002, PG-13, $26.98). Damon is an amnesiac who, while searching for his identity, discovers he is a secret agent — and that he speaks multiple languages and knows martial arts. It's a great premise and Damon's everyman qualities make it all the easier to identify with his Hitchcockian dilemma, as he links up with a young woman (Franka Potente, of "Run Lola Run") who helps him elude the bad guys — as well as some good guys who aren't so good.

This is the second adaptation of the Robert Ludlum novel (the first was a 1988 two-part TV movie with Richard Chamberlain), and director Doug Liman makes some interesting choices that keep the film from falling into a predictable rut. Great fun, and possibly the beginning of a new franchise.

Extras: Separate widescreen and full-frame editions, audio commentary, deleted scenes, alternate ending, making-of documentary, music video, DVD-Rom applications, etc.

"Tadpole" (Miramax, 2002, PG-13, $29.99). A popular choice at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, this variation on "The Graduate" has a 15-year-old boy (Aaron Stanford) in love with his stepmother (Sigourney Weaver) and stumbling into an affair with her best friend (Bebe Neuwirth, who handily steals the film). Naturally, his father (John Ritter) is . . . surprised. These are sophisticated New Yorkers; nothing makes them aghast.

Shot in two weeks on digital video — which washes out the colors and gives the picture a soft, muddy look — the film has some amusing moments, but the age of the main character is quite off-putting. How'd this get a PG-13?

Extras: Widescreen, audio commentary, etc.

"Cherish" (New Line, 2002; R for violence, sex, partial nudity, language; $26.98). This off-the-wall comedy (another Sundance selection) suffers from tone shifts that make it feel as if three different films have been thrown together in a rather messy mixture.

This is an interesting vehicle for Robin Tunney, however, as she plays an insecure twit who loves silly pop love songs. Tunney is falsely arrested for vehicular homicide and placed under house arrest with an ankle bracelet in a slum apartment, where she starts to go stir crazy. Eventually she uses a cop (Tim Blake Nelson, of "O Brother Where Art Thou?") who becomes enamored with her to find the real killer.

There are some highly entertainment moments here, unfortunately mixed with many that are just off-the-wall dumb.

Extras: Widescreen, trailers, etc.

"Tangled" (Dimension, 2002; R for violence, sex, language; $29.99). Unraveled in flashbacks, with a "twist" ending you'll see coming a mile away, this thriller is yet another teen variation on "Fatal Attraction." The story is convoluted, with Rachael Leigh Cook being romantically pursued by both an old pal (Shawn Hatosy) and a new beau with a shady past (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), until one of them becomes unhinged.

Lorraine Bracco is the cop trying to unravel the plot. Good luck.

Extras: Widescreen, trailers, etc.

"Dinner Rush" (New Line, 2000; rated R for violence, language, sex; $26.98). Danny Aiello stars in this oddball mob flick. He's a restaurateur about to pass off the restaurant to his son, a serious chef with big ideas. But complications force him to deal with the local mob first.

Aiello is great — where has he been lately? — but the movie is soft, overly theatrical and the final twist feels forced and unconvincing.

Extras: Widescreen, trailers, etc.

"Ordinary Decent Criminal" (Miramax, 1999; R for violence, sex, nudity, language; $29.99). This one has apparently been on the shelf awhile, but it does have its moments. Kevin Spacey is an Irish thief and Linda Fiorentino is his Irish wife — and their accents are pretty convincing — in this twisty yarn about Spacey and gang stealing a Caravaggio painting. Colin Farrell has a small role as one of the gang.

Sadly, the filmmakers use flash-forwards and flashbacks in confusing ways, and the accents are so thick the dialogue often unintelligible to American ears.

Extras: Widescreen, trailers, etc.

"Feardotcom" (Warner, 2002; R for violence, nudity, language; $26.98). This horror film about a serial killer (Stephen Rea) using the Internet for snuff broadcasts is as sick as these things come. It's also boring.

The story has a Web site broadcasting Rea's killings that somehow also kills within 24 hours anyone who logs on. A supernatural element — a dead victim seeking revenge — brings to mind "The Ring." Cop Stephen Dorff and health inspector Natascha McElhone investigate. And the filmmakers confuse cinematography that is so dark you can't tell what's going on with gloom-and-doom atmosphere. Ugh.

Extras: Widescreen, audio commentary, additional scene, making-of documentary, DVD-Rom applications, etc.

"Halloween: Resurrection" (Dimension, 2002; R for violence, nudity, language; $29.99). Jamie Lee Curtis gave this series a shot in the arm with "Halloween H20," but this time she just gets a 15-minute prelude to be killed off. The rest of the film is dopey slasher business as usual as teens gather in Michael Myers' childhood home on Halloween night for an Internet reality show run by Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks. As with "Feardotcom," the killings are broadcast on the Web.

Extras: Widescreen, trailers, etc.


E-mail: hicks@desnews.com