'Once Upon a Time in America' comes to DVD

Published: Thursday, Jan. 13 2011 5:13 p.m. MST

James Woods, left, as Max; Robert De Niro as Noodles; Larry Rappas Fat Moe; and James Hayden as Patsy in "Once Upon a Time in America."

The Ladd Co.

Sergio Leone's final film gets the Blu-ray treatment, and a few other movies land on DVD for the first time in a rather bleak week for store shelves.

"Once Upon a Time in America" (Warner/Blu-ray, 1984; R for violence, sex, language, drugs; $24.98). Robert De Niro and James Woods star in this epic mob movie that spans several decades and is told from the unique point of view of Jewish gangsters.

Told in flashbacks as De Niro remembers (perhaps selectively in a drug-induced haze) his rise in New York crime circles. This is a film with many well-played moments and some great performances, but it's also quite difficult in places, with the notorious restored rape scene in this complete director's cut being particularly unpleasant.

It's no "Godfather," but the film has its rabid defenders, and for fans of director/co-writer Leone (Clint Eastwood's "Dollar" trilogy, "Once Upon a Time in the West"), it is certainly a memorable farewell.

Extras: widescreen, documentary excerpt (from "Once Upon a Time: Sergio Leone"), audio commentary (by Time magazine critic/historian Richard Schickel), trailer

"Paper Man" (MPI, 2009; R for language, sex; $27.98). Jeff Daniels stars in this middle-aged-crazy comedy as novelist with one published title and writer's block. He has no real friends, but he does have a childhood imaginary friend, a superhero named Capt. Excellent (Ryan Reynolds), who won't go away.

So his no-nonsense surgeon wife (Lisa Kudrow) relocates them to Long Island, hoping the muse will come. Eventually it does, sort of, in the form of a lonely teenager (Emma Stone). More odd than amusing, but the cast is quite appealing.

Extras: widescreen, featurette, trailer

"Love Hurts" (eOne, 2009, PG-13, $24.98). British actor Richard E. Grant, channeling his inner Hugh Grant, is a middle-aged doctor whose wife (Carrie-Anne Moss) leaves him because their life together is dull.

This sends him into a funk until their teenage son helps him regain youthful indiscretion, which includes hipper clothes and hair, and other women (including Jenna Elfman and Janeane Garofalo). Sadly, it's more frenetic than funny.

Extras: widescreen, featurettes

"Sins of My Father" (Maya, 2009, $24.98). Tough, hard-hitting documentary investigates the length and breadth of damage done by drug traffickers by telling the story of a major drug lord, Pablo Escobar, as seen through the eyes of his son Sebastian, who desires, perhaps futilely, to atone in some form for his father's sins. Especially the murders of two prominent Colombian political figures.

Extras: widescreen, in English and Spanish with English subtitles, audio commentary (in both English and Spanish)

"King of Paper Chasin' " (eOne, 2010; R for language, violence, sex; $19.98). Urban thriller described as "New Jack City" meets "The Usual Suspects." An inner-city crime lord tries to go straight and pursue a music career, but his circle of confidants includes too many enemies.

Extras: widescreen, audio commentary, featurette

e-mail: hicks@desnews.com

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