While the Academy apparently adores uplifting triumph-of-the-spirit fare like Master and Commander and Seabiscuit, it did not give American Splendor the respect—and Best Picture nomination—it deserved. Writer-directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini received only an adapted-screenplay bid, though various critics associations tripped over each other to give awards to this marvelously fragmented film. As New York’s Peter Rainer judged, Paul Giamatti was “peerlessly schlumpy” as underground-comix grouse Harvey Pekar, and Hope Davis was “superlative” as his sarcastic lefty wife. “There’s something revivifying about a movie—especially one ostensibly about a depressive,” said Rainer, “that draws so much vitality from chaos.” The DVD adds commentary, a short Pekar documentary, and a new Pekar comic called “My Movie Year.” R; $27.95.
Lost in Translation
Sofia Coppola’s gentle Oscar-nominated film, set in Tokyo and starring Bill Murray and the lovely Scarlett Johansson, is a “graceful, pleasingly shapeless romantic mood piece,” says New York’s Peter Rainer. The DVD’s best extras: a music video and an extended version of the demented Japanese game show, Matthew’s Best Hit TV, on which Murray’s character guest-stars. R; $26.98.
Ed Wood: Special Edition
Tim Burton’s tribute to schlock-loving, angora-adoring horror director Ed Wood, plus some hilarious behind-the-scenes footage of co-stars Johnny Depp and Martin Landau. R; $29.99.
Tran Anh Hung’s moody 1995 follow-up to The Scent of Green Papaya. R; $29.95.
The Douglas Fairbanks Collection
Supersize your swashbuckling with The Mask of Zorro, The Three Musketeers, Robin Hood, The Thief of Bagdad, The Black Pirate, and three hours of extras. Five discs; NR; $99.95.
What’s Happening!! The Complete First Season
Rerun’s reruns. Three discs; NR; $29.95.