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Recommended November DVD Releases


Let's take a look at the best new movies on DVD for November 2008.

1. 'Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson'

This is a documentary made by Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) about Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005), a colorful journalist and author best known for his 1972 novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Thompson's work popularized the term "gonzo journalism," an exaggerated, highly subjective, sometimes-metaphorical style of reporting with an emphasis on the journalist as an active participant in the subject matter. In the documentary, Gibney uses evocative archival materials, and Johnny Depp reads from Thompson's work.

2. 'Hellboy II: The Golden Army'

Directed and co-written by Guillermo del Toro, this fantasy is the sequel to Hellboy (2004). Again the characters are based on those in Dark Horse Comics, and actors Ron Perlman, Selma Blair and Doug Jones are back. The superhero Hellboy (Perlman), the combustible Liz Sherman (Blair) and the amphibian Abe Sapien (Jones) still work for the secret US paranormal lab. This time around an ancient feud between elves and humans is revived, leading to a huge battle involving 4,900 mechanical warriors. Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) creates astonishing creatures.

3. 'Kung Fu Panda'

The main character in this animated comedy that takes place in the Valley of Peace is the chubby black-and-white panda Po (voice of Jack Black), who works for his father in a noodle shop. Other residents include martial-arts master Shifu (voice of Dustin Hoffman) and his five students (voices of Jackie Chan, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu and David Cross). When the feared Tai Lung (voice of Ian McShane) threatens the valley, a Dragon Warrior is chosen to meet him in combat. The surprising choice for this honor turns out to be Po, who must rise to the challenge.

4. 'The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2'

Based on novels by Ann Brashares, this is the sequel to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005), and Amber Tamblyn, America Ferrera, Blake Lively and Alexis Bledel are all back. This time around the four main characters have just finished their first year in college. Tibby (Tamblyn), an NYU film student, works in a video store in New York. Carmen (Ferrera), now at Yale, gets involved in summer theater in Vermont. Bridget (Lively), a student at Brown, goes to Turkey on an archaeological dig. Lena (Bledel), studying at Rhode Island School of Design, has a romance.

5. 'Transsiberian'

Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer star in this suspense movie that takes place mostly on a cramped, shabby train during its several-day journey from Beijing to Moscow. Aboard are Roy (Harrelson) and Jessie (Mortimer), an American married couple who have just completed a two-year church-related mission. On the train they meet a 20-ish American woman and her much older Spanish boyfriend. But there's suspicion that someone is involved in dealing drugs, and somewhere in Siberia, someone is killed. Then a Russian narcotics detective (Ben Kingsley) boards the train.

6. 'Tropic Thunder'

Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. star in this politically incorrect action comedy that lampoons everything Hollywood. The story concerns a group of actors who go to Vietnam to do a war movie and end up running afoul of drug dealers. Downey plays a white method actor who has his skin darkened to portray an African American. Stiller's character generally plays action heroes, except for his role as an intellectually disabled person in Simple Jack. Actor-comedian Brandon T. Jackson portrays a rapper named Alpa Chino, who markets the energy drink Booty Sweat.

7. 'WALL-E'

Set hundreds of years in the future, this is a Pixar animated movie. The story opens on an abandoned city whose only remaining inhabitants seem to be a robot and a cockroach. The robot is WALL-E, an acronym for Waste Allocation Load Lifter — Earth Class. He collects, compacts and stacks trash all day, and in the evening he watches a videotape of Hello, Dolly!. Humans have become fat and lazy, living in space stations, where they move about in chairs while watching video screens. They send a probe robot called EVE to Earth, and WALL-E gets into a romance with her.
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