Rack Focus


Sam Mendes’s adaptation of Anthony Swofford’s Desert Storm memoir is loaded with commentary tracks featuring Mendes, Swofford, screenwriter William Broyles Jr., and editor Walter Murch.

Occupation: Dreamland
This terrific documentary from co-directors Garrett Scott and Ian Olds offers a fair-minded (but hardly apolitical) grunt’s-eye view of the war in Iraq. The filmmakers lived with the army’s 82nd Airborne Division near Falluja mere months before the 2004 siege that led to the partial destruction of the city. We get to know several members of the unit and hear them sound off on the war (pro and con), the tedium of occupation, and their alienation from a self-absorbed civilian population back home.

Walk the Line
Arriving a scant year after Ray vaulted Jamie Foxx into the Oscar stratosphere, this Johnny Cash biopic inevitably feels like a retread of a retread. The root problem is in the script: Simply put, nothing interesting happens in the second half of the movie, where Cash’s struggles with drug addiction and his romance with June both progress in the expected connect-the-dots fashion. Joaquin Phoenix does a passable impersonation of Cash during the occasionally rousing musical scenes but looks unsure of himself elsewhere. The two-disc collectors’ edition includes commentary by director James Mangold, deleted scenes, featurettes, and music videos.

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