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Fox Home Entertainment
Melissa George, Michael Sheen and Ron Livingston in "Music Within," which offers a thoughtful look at how the disabled are treated.

Here are some disparate films new to DVD, including reissues, debuts and one R-rated independent production that is well worth a look.

"Music Within" (MGM/Fox, 2007; R for language, drugs, sex; $27.98) I first saw this film on an airline flight in January, so, of course, the foul language was excised. Still, this is a movie that deserves better than its straight-to-video treatment; it's more involving and challenging than most films that have been in theaters this year.

This is the true story of a young, charismatic public speaker who returns from Vietnam as a hearing-impaired veteran, completes college and, adeptly hiding his deafness, sells insurance until he eventually finds his calling as an advocate for the rights of others with disabilities.

Ron Livingston is perfect in that role, with Michael Sheen frequently stealing the show as a wheelchair-bound victim of cerebral palsy whose anger is tempered by his sarcastic wit. Also in the smaller roles are Hector Elizondo as his prickly mentor, Rebecca DeMornay as his crazy mother, Leslie Nielsen as a sympathetic doctor and Clint Howard as a bigoted administrator.

The film is not perfect, a romantic subplot during the swinging '70s being the least effective element. But it's generally smart, often very funny and decidedly eye-opening in its look at how the disabled have been (and still often are) treated by society at large.

Extras: widescreen, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes

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"My Blueberry Nights" (Weinstein/Genius, 2008, PG-13, $19.98). Annoying music-video-style camera tricks undercut this soap opera, an episodic road movie starring singer Norah Jones, who is adequate, as she encounters a string of better performances from Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Rachel Weisz and David Straithairn. OK but should have been better.

Extras: widescreen, featurettes, photo gallery, trailer

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"A Dirty Carnival" (Genius, 2006, $24.95). Interesting Korean melodrama about a hitman with identity issues who finds himself reluctantly caught up in a gang war. Wildly violent and profane.

Extras: widescreen, in Korean with English subtitles, deleted scenes, featurette

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"The Tracey Fragments" (Think/Image, 2007; R for language, sex, violence; $27.98). Ellen Page stars in this melodrama about a troubled teen with a crazy family, an even crazier therapist and an apparently missing younger brother. Page's foul-mouthed, needy 15-year-old is the unpleasant opposite of "Juno," and the film is undermined by the director's aggressively heavy-handed split-screen techniques, which are deliberately fragmented.

Extras: widescreen, featurettes, photo gallery, trailer

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"Superhero Movie: Extended Edition" (Dimension/Genius, 2008, $29.95). Stupid off-the-wall spoof of "Spider-Man" (along with other superhero flicks), with guest appearances by Leslie Nielsen, Pamela Anderson, Brent Spiner and Robert Hays, who starred in "Airplane!"— which arguably started these kinds of inferior lampoons.

Extras: widescreen, deleted scenes, alternate ending, audio commentary, featurettes, trailer (also available in PG-13 version)

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"The Mummy" (Universal, 1932, b/w, two discs, $26.98).

"The Mummy" (Universal, 1999, PG-13, two discs, $19.98).

"The Mummy Returns" (Universal, 2001, PG-13, two discs, $19.98). The first, with Boris Karloff, remains a classic that is not to be missed by horror fans. The other two are much more action-filled, loud and somewhat obnoxious, but obviously preferred by modern moviegoers. And all arrive just in time for the next "Mummy" movie with Brendan Fraser.

Extras: full frame/widescreen, deleted scenes, audio commentaries, documentaries/featurettes, art galleries, trailers


E-mail: hicks@desnews.com