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posted: 4/19/2014 5:00 AM

DVD previews: 'Bettie Page,' 'Barefoot'

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  • Mark Mori's documentary "Bettie Page Reveals All" tells the strange life story of a Tennessee girl turned pinup.

      Mark Mori's documentary "Bettie Page Reveals All" tells the strange life story of a Tennessee girl turned pinup.

 
The Washington Post

Here's a look at DVDs coming out Tuesday, April 22:

"Bettie Page Reveals All" (R, 90 minutes, Music Box Films): There's plenty of cheesecake in this documentary portrait of the beloved 1950s pinup, but the highlight is its meaty narration, courtesy of Page herself, speaking in the low, slightly gravelly register of an aging Southern belle. Getting this audio was a coup for filmmaker Mark Mori, who befriended Page in the years before her 2008 death, at age 85. But beyond some wordless archival footage from old photo shoots, we never see Page as she looked after her modeling career ended, abruptly, in the late 1950s, just before she disappeared from the public eye. That's by design, Page tells us; she wants people to remember her from her photos. Her recollections are supplemented by alternately philosophical and sociological interviews. It's just a shame that "Bettie Page Reveals All" isn't a technically better film. Contains nudity. Extras include restored movies starring Page; deleted scenes and bonus footage; Page's funeral video and photo gallery of never-before-seen Page images.

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"Barefoot" (PG-13, 89 minutes, Lionsgate): It's nice to see the talented Evan Rachel Wood, better known for her darker roles in films such as "Thirteen" and "Mildred Pierce," play an innocent in this romantic comedy. But you never really buy her relationship with the "black sheep" son of a wealthy family (Scott Speedman). Despite nice turns by character actor JK Simmons ("Juno") and Treat Williams, the film is too full of plot holes and contrivances to take seriously, and it's not particularly funny for a rom-com. No extras.

"The Suspect" (unrated, 98 minutes, Image Entertainment): A small town bank robbery leads to a brutal showdown between a sheriff (William Sadler) and a mysterious stranger. When the obvious suspect is apprehended not far from the crime scene, the police think that the case is solved. But the real crime hasn't yet happened. Also stars Mekhi Phifer. Extras include commentary by director Stuart Connelly and a producer; a conversation with Connelly; extended scenes; a making-of featurette and "Happy Endings" music video.

"The Address" (unrated, 90 minutes, PBS): In addition to his deep dives into American history, filmmaker Ken Burns possesses a knack for telling contemporary stories in brief, elegant microcosm. In this moving new documentary, he travels to the small Greenwood School in Putney, Vt. Its student body -- 50 boys, ages 11 to 17 -- struggle with language and reading skills and other behavioral challenges. In a rite of passage since the school opened in 1978, Greenwood assigns its boys to memorize and then publicly deliver Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. What might seem a fairly simple task for some kids is extraordinarily daunting for many of these boys. As documentary subjects, the boys are in many ways impenetrable. Getting them to ignore the camera and just be themselves is next to impossible, but there are revealing, achingly honest moments that make the film worth watching.

Also: "Tyler Perry's Madea's Neighbors From Hell (The Play)," "Big Bad Wolves" (Israel), "American Masters: Billie Jean King," "Master of the House" (1925), "Inspector Lavardin Collection," "Riot in Cell Block 11" (1954), "The Hooping Life," "Empire of the Apes," "Shuffleton's Barbershop," "Scream Park," "Seven Warriors" (1989, Hong Kong), "Stranger on the Prowl" (1952), "Gila!" and "The Good Witch's Garden."

Television series: "Doctor Who: The Web of Fear" (1968), "Newhart: Third Season," "Mr. Magoo Theatrical Collection" (1949-1959) and "The King Family Classic Television Specials Collection Volume 1" (1968-69).

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