“Babel,” the Oscar-nominated film by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, weaves together four stories connected by a single handgun. The film is not just a lesson on violence, but also in the sometimes tragic consequences of human actions. The international, all-star cast features Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and the brilliant Rinko Kikuchi and Adriana Barraza. Compelling, expansive, thoughtful and well-acted, the movie is extraordinary, and it’s not surprising that it’s nominated for multiple Academy Awards. Unfortunately, the praise for the DVD ends with the film itself — additional items on the new release are usual fare. Wait for the inevitable special edition that will have a lot of extras. Price: $19.99. Rent or buy: A good rental.
Hot off their five-Grammy win, the Dixie Chicks are thesubject of “Shut-Up & Sing,” which chronicles the backlash the group faced in 2003 after lead singer Natalie Maines made public anti-war statements about President George W. Bush. The movie follows the musicians from that to the creation of their latest (Grammy winning) album “Not Ready to Make Nice.” The documentary interestingly shows how politics and celebrities don’t always mix; it also shows the women’s strength in sticking to their convictions regardless of pressure from radio stations, the public and the media. Along with the newer music, the movie features music from the Chicks’ previous release “The Long Way Around.” It’s a must-have for fans of the group. Price: $28.95. Rent or buy: Buy, if you’re a Dixie Chicks fan.
With so many animated films being released these days, it’s tough to sort the good from the not-so-good. Yet “Flushed Away” is a great movie — it’s funny, fast-paced and has lots of jokes for adults as well as kids. Voice talent includes Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet and Jean Reno. Jackman plays a fancy, in-house London mouse who finds himself flushed into the sewer system, where he discovers a whole new world he never knew existed down below. The DVD is impressive, with director commentary, animated songs, many featurettes, games for kids, DVD-Rom features, and more. Price: $29.99. Rent or buy: Buy.
After years of clamoring from the public, one of the all-time classic family sitcoms is finally available on DVD. “Family Ties: The Complete First Season” features a young Michael J. Fox and the hot Justine Bateman. It’s a crime that it’s taken so long for this show to go digital. Now it’s time to rejoice and remember how good a sitcom can be. Price: $42.99. Rent or buy: Buy.
Unfortunately, if you have already bought a version of “Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children,” you’re going to miss out on this awesome limited edition DVD, which has 10 new collectible postcards, the original English movie script and collectible booklet. Of course, you could just buy this version as well. “Advent Children” is the sequel to “Fantasy VII,” one of the best-selling video games of all time; it picks up where the game left off with a disease running rampant across with what remains of humanity. Price: $49.99. Rent or buy: Buy.
Other DVDs being released Tuesday: “What’s New Scooby-Doo: The Complete First Season,” “The Three Stooges: Hapless Half-Wits,” “Flight of Fury,” “American Hardcore,” “Walking Tall: The Payback,” “Night of the Living Dorks,” “Open Water 2: Adrift,” “Keeping Mum,” “Penn & Teller’s Bull****: The Complete Fourth Season” and “Man of the Year.”