DVD guide

Year of the Yao (PG)

In one of his first games on US soil, Houston Rockets center Yao Ming suffered the greatest on-court humiliation possible: He was faked, almost literally, out of his shoes. Feet tangled, he landed on his posterior, much to the delight of the other team. This is the best basketball player in China, the hope of a billion people? When Yao, now one of the NBA's elite players, arrived in 2002, he struggled to find his feet, both on the court and in a very foreign culture. (His Apple ad with Verne Troyer of "Austin Powers" "Mini-Me" fame [r.] was his first full-on encounter with capitalism.) Yao's adventure harks back to when Muhammad Ali played the role of unofficial US ambassador, the masses swarming the champ just to catch a glimpse. (Onlookers had a much easier time seeing the 7-ft., 6-in., Yao, his head shooting above the throng like a skyscraper in the suburbs.) "Year of the Yao" captures the whirlwind, his grace, and the weight of an entire nation on his skinny frame. Extras: They're as thin as the lanky hoopster, with only a handful of deleted scenes. Grade: A-
- David S. Hauck

Good Night, and Good Luck (PG-13)

It's something of a shock to watch CBS news anchor Edward R. Murrow (played by David Strathairn) casually holding a cigarette aloft while addressing his audience. (There's so much smoking in the movie that one half expects to find a Surgeon General's warning on the DVD box.) TV etiquette may have changed since the 1950s, but "Good Night, and Good Luck," a drama about how Murrow confronted Sen. Joseph McCarthy as well as the skittish top brass at CBS, is a message movie about the state of journalism in the Patriot Act era. The whole affair is elegantly shot in black and white, not only to evoke the look of primordial television, but also to serve as a metaphor for truth illuminated in stark relief. Though George Clooney directs each scene with a compelling sense of urgency, the stakes ultimately never seem high enough to create great drama. Extras: Clooney offers an eloquent commentary track laced with droll wit. He reveals that he chose to use actual archival footage of McCarthy in the movie because "if an actor played him, he would just make him look like too much of a jerk. And we thought McCarthy did a fine job by himself." Grade: B+
-Stephen Humphries

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