DVD guide

King Kong (PG-13)

In Peter Jackson's "King Kong," size matters. Reducing this epic to a TV format is akin to squeezing the cover art of a Pink Floyd record onto a CD booklet - the impact just isn't the same. A shame, as this remake overcomes a sluggish first hour to become a dynamic ballet for its two principals, Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) and the supersized gorilla she befriends during an expedition to the island that time forgot. Their chemistry is palpable: A scene in which Kong and Ann share a playful moment on a frozen pond back in New York is as indelible as the climax atop the Empire State Building. Extras: The filmmakers had just 33 weeks to complete such gargantuan postproduction tasks as making miniature models, creating sound effects, plus rendering thousands of computer-generated images. A series of weekly production diaries, hosted by Jackson, follows the crew's race to finish the film just days before its première. Grade: B+ - Stephen Humphries

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (PG-13)

Based on the memoir by one of her daughters, Evelyn Ryan is the focus of this true story. The movie describes the indefatigable 1950s housewife and mother of 10 with an exceptional ear for the commercial jingle. As Ryan tells it through voice-over, a housewife with a gift for language and rhyme could keep her family in home and food simply by penning pithy and winning slogans for ad contests. Julianne Moore is lovely as the relentlessly optimistic Ryan. And Woody Harrelson's turn as her well-meaning, alcoholic husband is heartbreaking. Extras include photos of the actual Ryan children and a charming commentary by Moore. Grade: A-
- Teresa Méndez

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