In François Dupeyron’s sweet drama, set in a cheerful vision of sixties France, a Jewish orphan befriends an oracular Muslim shopkeeper, played by the ever-mischievous Omar Sharif. R; $29.95.
The Butterfly Effect
In this sloppy sci-fi dreck, Ashton Kutcher aims for Keanu’s career track—and misses. R; $27.95.
The Charlie Chan Chanthology
These stereotypical fortune-cookie detective tales are period-piece curios—relics of a thankfully bygone era. Six discs; NR; $69.96.
The Film Noir Classic Collection
Warner—the onetime noir hothouse—revives five of its mid-century films: Murder, My Sweet; The Set-Up; Out of the Past; Gun Crazy; and John Huston’s classic The Asphalt Jungle. Five discs; NR; $42.92.
Big Top Pee-Wee
A camp classic, though Paul Reubens purists prefer Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. PG; $14.99.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Ronald Neame’s not entirely successful film about an eccentric thirties schoolmarm nonetheless captured leading actress Maggie Smith in her quick-witted and saucy prime—long before she was tenured at Hogwarts. Better than Mona Lisa Smile, for sure. PG; $14.98.
Every week, Alan Ball’s crackerjack team of writers kicks off Six Feet Under with a sacrifice. The shows’ creators kill some poor unfortunate, explained New York’s John Leonard, “then raise these ungrateful deadheads up from their gurneys to sing, dance, and soliloquize, as if Evelyn Waugh had gone to bed with Dennis Potter’s Singing Detective.” In Six Feet Under: The Complete Second Season, the HBO series swells from artfully wrought oddity—a kind of prime-time short-story adaptation—into a full-fledged great American saga, packed with sly symbolism and Mendocino metaphysics. Rarely, wrote Leonard, “has a prime-time series made such generous room for us to dream upon the big and scary picture: to embrace the vocabulary of myths, from golden eggs to magic flutes, demon brides and webbed feet, forbidden doors and cloven hooves, Circe, Calypso, and Rumpelstiltskin.” Even more rarely have we been so delighted with the results. Five discs; NR; $99.98.