New releases available this week
Desperate Housewives: The Complete First Season (Buena Vista) ABC's juggernaut drama is made up mostly of elements that have trickled down from HBO: black humor, self-awareness, the radical notion that women over 30 can arouse the national libido. The bonus deleted scenes don't add much to the story, and behind-the-scenes features on costume design and the like hold only as much interest as you brought with you. The skit featuring Oprah as a "new neighbor" is a hint of one of the many ways the show could go wrong when its second season debuts this Sunday; it's hard to walk this close to the edge of self-parody without falling off. --Jordan Harper
Mallrats: 10th Anniversary Extended Edition (Universal)
There are those who salivate at the notion of Kevin Smith's Mallrats with 30 minutes of added footage, and there are those who vomit in the mouth just a little. Smith's most uneven film--though certainly not his worst (cough, Jersey Girl)--this "story" of Gen Xers at the mall is a cult classic despite being formless, stilted and self-indulgent--flaws that a half-hour of padding does nothing to fix. As the director himself explains in the introduction, the footage was excised not because of meddling studio heads, but because of a disastrous test screening--in other words, for good reason. Fortunately, the theatrical cut is included here, along with a recent Q&A with the cast. --J.H.
No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (Paramount)
At 201 minutes, this doc still feels too short; thank God, then, for the bonuses (seven in-concert performances, unused promos, etc.) that stretch it out and then some. Amazingly, Martin Scorsese's film doesn't even get past Electric Bob: It begins in 1950s Hibbing and goes only to 1966, when Dylan hired the Hawks and got booed out of England for daring to amplify his freewheelin' folk. Yet the movie, full of unheard music and unseen pics and unknown footage, never drags in following the adventures of the self-styled "musical expeditionary" as he remade himself in the images of everyone he ever heard or met. Perhaps there's more to come--tales of the masterpiece '70s, the conked-out '80s, the rebirth '90s--but if not, so be it; better this beautiful snapshot than none at all. --Robert Wilonsky
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