Tempest gets Taymor treatment

NEW ON DVD THIS WEEK...

THE TEMPEST

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The DVD release of The Tempest, interestingly, comes alongside the big-screen premiere of Anonymous, a film that suggests that Shakespeare never even lifted a quill. Bard-nerd debate aside, there's no denying the appeal of Helen Mirren playing a traditional man's role, conjuring up storms and flirting with spirits.

Mirren is Prospera (altered from Prospero) a long-banished noblewoman living with her daughter Miranda (Felicity Jones) on a remote island. Prospera conjures up a storm, all the better to find a mate for her daughter among the shipwrecked sailors, but instead finds the evil brother (Chris Cooper) who led to her exile. A fabulously eclectic cast makes this tale of love and revenge work, amidst a surreal landscape that's a character in itself. However, if you're counting on the DVD to help you pass English, you can forget it: director Julie Taymor's adaptation is a fantastical one, and eschews a lineby-line retelling of the play.

Special features include Raising The Tempest (about the "supernatural" landscapes of Lanai and Hawaii's Big Island); audio commentary; separate commentary by Shakespeare experts; a bit with Russell Brand rambling about his character; a look at Taymor and cast doing verbal and physical gymnastics in L.A. rehearsals; and a music video.

FAST FIVE

You know you're getting too old for the "Fast" franchise when you wonder aloud "why don't they just leave earlier so they don't have to drive so fast?" Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) is back, and going everywhere in a hurry. He's on the lam, and accompanied by sis (Jordana Brewster) and his cop enemy turned BFF Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker). Their run from the law takes them to Brazil, and even there, everyone is in a hurry, every exit is accompanied by burning rubber. Even the subtitles zoom off the screen.

It comes down to one last job-you know it does-worth $100 million to all the players. The stakes are higher, since there's a baby speed-demon on the way (if mom can survive drops off rooftops, leaps from trains and gun battles). But wait: Dom and Brian's antics have caught the attention of the FBI's Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson, who isn't about to lose the most-ridiculously-large-bicep competition to Vin Diesel). The film takes an Oceans 11 turn here, as the team plans to steal a great big safe from a crooked slumlord. But just when you expect George Clooney to jump into the frame, the film goes back to its streetracing roots, complete with crazy cars and Brazilian waxed women. "Home sweet home," says Dom.

There's a battle of the baldies (Diesel and Johnson) that is sure to please, and some stunning special effects (the vault car chase is a winner). It's just lucky that Rio de Janeiro has no old people crossing the street or moms with strollers: they'd be goners.

Standard disc includes deleted scenes, commentary with director Justin Lin, three character extras and a gag reel.

jcrawfordfilm@gmail.com

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