TV on DVD: ‘Woody Allen’ and a Doctor Who Christmas

Woody Allen: A Documentary (Docurama) – Documentary director Robert Wiede was given unprecedented access to the notoriously press shy Woody Allen, including new interviews with the filmmaker, for this exhaustive portrait of the life, career and art of Allen. In addition to generous clips from his movies and archival interviews and other clips with Allen (including his early stand-up act and talk show appearances), there are interviews with his sister and producer Letty Aronson, first wife Louise Lasser, former collaborators (Marshall Brickman, Gordon Willis, Doug McGrath) and stars past (Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Martin Landau, Sean Penn) and present. At over three hours long, it’s as complete and intimate a portrait as we’re likely to ever get for an artist with such a rich career. Originally made for the PBS showcase “American Masters.” DVD only, with 11 minutes of deleted scene, the playful “12 Questions With Woody Allen,” and a brief promotional interview with director Robert Weide among the supplements.

Doctor Who: The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe (BBC), the 2011 “Doctor Who” Christmas special, sends the Doctor (Matt Smith) to World War II Britain to save Christmas for a newly-widowed mother (Claire Skinner) trying to keep the news of their father’s death secret until after the holidays. The trip to a Christmas Tree planet does not go as planned, of course, what with acid rains, giant robot loggers and a kind of Druidic tree king who lures them to his wooden castle (which creates all sorts of knotty problems for the Doctor’s screwdriver). Features “Best of” three featurettes with series highlights and a “prequel” (which is no more than the 90 seconds from the end of the previous episode). Blu-ray and DVD.

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Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website (www.streamondemandathome.com). I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View (www.parallax-view.org).. I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly, GreenCine.com, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View. I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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