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New On DVD - August 24, 2010

City Island CityNews.ca Pick of the Week – When I caught City Island during its very limited theatrical release earlier this year I thought how much better it would be watching it at home on DVD. Sure enough, it is a perfect movie to enjoy on the sofa and is an even better movie after a second viewing. The focus of the film is the Rizzo family. They reside on City Island (a small island in the Bronx area of New York City) and tend to hide their feelings and dreams from each other. When the head of the family, Vince (Andy Garcia), a corrections officer and wannabe actor, brings home Tony (Steven Strait), an ex-con, the family soon see one another for who they really are. What makes City Island work so well is the excellent performances (especially from Garcia) and the wonderful script. This is definitely a hidden gem that needs to be discovered by a larger audience. Also starring Julianna Margulies, Ezra Miller, and Emily Mortimer. Special features include audio commentary with director  Raymond De Felitta and Garcia, deleted scenes, and more. Also available on Blu-ray. Film *** DVD *** (out of 5 stars).

After.Life (Blu-ray) – After young couple Anna (Christina Ricci) and Paul (Justin Long) have an argument over dinner, Anna drives off angry and crashes her car. When she wakes up she’s on the prep table of Eliot Deacon (Liam Neeson) — a local funeral home director. She is told she’s dead and that Eliot has a gift that enables him to speak with her. Is she really dead or isn’t she? That’s up to you to decide while watching. Besides a very creepy and stoic performance from Neeson, After.Life does a decent job using atmosphere to generate an unsettling feeling throughout the film and has left me pondering its underlying meaning for days. Watch with the lights out and an open mind to get the most enjoyment from it. Special features on the Blu-ray include audio commentary, a making-of featurette, and the original trailer. Film *** Blu-ray *** (out of 5 stars).

90210: The Second Season – I’m a sucker for bad TV but season two of the new 90210 was too much drama and teenage angst for me to handle and I barely got through all 22 episodes. I didn’t mind the first season at all and I’m hoping they redeem the show when it returns this fall. Hardcore fans will be pleased with the special features on the DVD set, which includes cast and crew commentaries, a set tour, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and much more. DVD ** (out 5 stars).

More New DVD releases this week: $5 A Day, Lost Season 6: The Final Season, Dorian Gray, Withnail and I (Blu-ray)

brian.mckechnie@citynews.rogers.com

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Top image: A scene from City Island. Courtesy Anchor Bay Entertainment.