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New on disc: 'Page One: Inside the New York Times' and more …

24 Oct, 2011 By: Mike Clark

Page One: Inside the New York Times

Magnolia, Documentary, B.O. $1.1 million, $26.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray, NR.
An engaging and even important documentary with a central flaw actually closer to a miscalculation in semantics, producer-director Andrew Rossi’s melancholy portrait of the Times in techno-peril was criticized, amid its mixed to positive reviews, for lacking focus. I’ve seen it twice and didn’t have that feeling either time. The mistake the marketers made was subtitling their documentary “Inside the New York Times” because there is infinitely more to the Times than what is presented here. Rossi’s tale is in some ways about the newspaper industry as a whole as it flirts with full collapse, using the Times as its main actor (and if you’re casting a movie about a big subject, you probably want to have the biggest superstar for your lead). No matter how the current crisis shakes out — with the complete death of print being the most apocalyptic of possible climaxes — Page One is likely to end up being a permanently valuable achievement because it will have captured where the industry was at a crossroads it had never come to before.
Extras: Carl Bernstein, who is interviewed in the movie, shows up as well in one of this release’s short bonus featurettes, which are not unwelcome but subordinate to a movie that will probably go down as one of the year’s top documentaries.
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The Guns of Navarone (Blu-ray)

Sony Pictures, Drama, $19.99 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn, Stanley Baker.
There’s some mild, if discernible, new snap to the Blu-ray of the No. 1 box office attraction from 50 years ago — though here is a movie with restoration challenges formidable enough to rate a bonus-section featurette, one of many carried over to this appropriately priced Blu-ray from the 2007 Navarone “Collector’s Edition” standard DVD. Another movie about a wartime suicide mission that can’t possibly succeed (but does), Navarone deals with an Allied assignment that involves blowing up two huge guns (radar-controlled, which I thought was a neat touch at the time) that the Germans have fortressed inside some mountains over the Aegean Sea.
Extras: As with the other bonus featurettes, director J. Lee Thompson’s superb commentary — done when he was well into his 80s — is carried over from the DVD.
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Light in the Piazza

Available via WBshop.com’s Warner Archive
Warner, Drama, $19.95 DVD, NR.
Stars Olivia de Havilland, Yvette Mimieux, George Hamilton, Rossano Brazzi.
Piazza came out in February 1962, and as glossy soap operas go, it has its virtues — few of which have anything to do with a dubious premise that a standup mother would allow (and even all but lobby for) her mentally impaired daughter (Yvette Mimieux) to wed a sweetly immature Italian lad even when, admittedly, the two are crazy about each other. But it’s a hallmark of screen craftsmanship to make us accept what our minds tell us not to. At 45, lead Olivia de Havilland was still something of a stunner and her performance fully conveys one of a not especially subtle movie’s more complex dynamics. Whereas de Havilland’s character is authoritative with her daughter, she’s noticeably subservient to her gruff realist husband (Barry Sullivan) when he planes over from North Carolina for a brief visit to his vacationing family. But you can see from the way de Havilland chain-smokes that she probably is not happy to be bellowed at.
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