Page 26 THE VILLADOM TIMES IV • November 4, 2009 DVDs (continued from Restaurant page) means “black film,” referring as much to the films’ fatalistic themes as to their dark, shadowy cinematography. Noir films were influenced by German Expressionist cinema of the 1920s and changes brought about by World War II. The best film in the collection is “The Big Heat” (1953). Detective Dave Bannion (Glenn Ford) is a husband and father driven by grief to conduct a relentless vendetta against a mobster (Alexander Scourby) and his brutal henchman (Lee Marvin). Gloria Grahame co-stars as a woman brutalized by Marvin’s character. Jocelyn Brando and a young Carolyn Jones are in the supporting cast. “The Sniper” (1952), a Stanley Kramer production, is an early study of a psychopath who kills randomly and without motive. Underscored thematically is the battle between the rationalism of law and psychiatry and the irrationality of compulsive homicide. Adolphe Menjou, Arthur Franz, and Marie Windsor star. “Five against the House” (1955), a caper film predating “Oceans Eleven,” finds a quartet of Korean War vets, assisted by Kim Novak, planning a perfect crime: robbing a Las Vegas casino. What starts as a prank escalates into something far more dangerous, especially for one vet with psychopathic tendencies. Guy Madison, Brian Keith, Kerwin Matthews, and William Conrad star. The other films in the collection are “Murder by Contract” (1958), with Vince Edwards as a professional assassin hired to murder a witness about to testify against the mob; and “The Lineup” (1958), about two criminals in a dope smuggling scheme and the police who follow their trail through San Francisco. “The Shield: The Complete Series” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) is a 28 DVD set containing all 88 episodes of the gritty cop series. The setting is a tough, morally ambiguous world. The show focuses on the tension between a group of corrupt, but effective cops and a captain torn between bringing them down and advancing his ambitions. Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) is an enigmatic rogue cop. He is not the usual TV cop. He will make deals with drug dealers, harass gang members, kidnap a basketball star to ensure a bet he has made on the opposing team, or shoot a fellow officer who threatens to blow the whistle on him. The ongoing conflict between Mackey and his boss, Captain Aceveda (Benito Martinez), fuels the drama. Mackey’s tarnished working life is reflected by his private life. He is married but is having an affair with uniformed officer Danny Sofer (Catherine Dent), and his toddler son has autism. With its soap operatic plot tendrils, “The Shield” is a darker version of “NYPD Blue.” Performances are uniformly first-rate and there is plenty of action, with many episodes like mini-movies in their plot arcs, characters, and action. DVD special features include cast and crew commentary on every episode (most TV box sets feature commentary on a limited number of shows); the featurette “Rampart,” about the Los Angeles Rampart division police scandal that inspired the series; and a second featurette, “The Barn,” a behind-the-scenes tour of the location where “The Shield” was shot. “March of the Penguins Limited Edition Giftset” (Warner Home Video) contains the nature documentary, narrated by Morgan Freeman, about the lives of emperor penguins and their remarkable journey to find a mate and start a family. The two-disc set contains lots of extras, including the feature-length documentary “On the Wings of a Penguin,” a look at the lives of another species, the African penguin. This warm-weather species seems to enjoy having fun. These creatures are depicted overcoming life’s challenges, from oil spills off the coast of Africa to the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. Extras also include a National Geographic featurette about penguins diving and feeding, a documentary about filming techniques, a Looney Tunes cartoon, eight color penguin postcards, and a plush penguin toy. “Where God Left His Shoes” (IFC Films) stars John Leguizamo as Gulf War veteran and washed-up prizefighter Frank Diaz, who finds himself and his family evicted from their New York City home. After months spent working as a day laborer and living in a homeless shelter, Frank finally receives good news on Christmas Eve. There is an apartment available for him in a nearby housing project if he can prove he is legally employed. Frank and his 10-year-old stepson Justin (David Castro) desperately roam the streets in search of a job by Christmas morning. There are many plot similarities to “Pursuit of Happyness,” and that is the problem. There is a sense the viewer has seen this story before. No one wants to be out of work at Christmastime, and Leguizamo brings a particular desperation to his performance, making his often-bullying character sympathetic. There are no extras on this bare-bones DVD. ARIES - Mar 21/Apr ARIES - Mar 21/Apr 20 20 You’re only seeing trees, not the You’re only seeing thethe trees, not the forest, Aries. You must address enforest, Aries. You must address thethe entire problem in order to come to the tire problem in order to come to the solution this week. Otherwise, there solution this week. Otherwise, there will no resolution. will be be no resolution. TAURUS - Apr 21/May TAURUS - Apr 21/May 21 21 Keep being a champion those peoKeep being a champion forfor those peopleple you care about. You are the ultiyou care about. You are the ultimate cheerleader, Taurus. This week, mate cheerleader, Taurus. This week, thethe stars put all of your energy mostars put all of your energy in in motion toward your own dream. tion toward your own dream. GEMINI - May 22/Jun GEMINI - May 22/Jun 21 21 One of your strongest skills is abilOne of your strongest skills is thethe ability learn things as as you go, Gemini. ity to to learn things you go, Gemini. This will put to the test this week This will be be put to the test this week when something pops up. You’ll when something bigbig pops up. You’ll handle handle it. it. CANCER - Jun 22/Jul CANCER - Jun 22/Jul 22 22 Something that you thought was Something that you thought was setset in in stone actually changes this week, stone actually changes this week, Cancer. It could good or bad for Cancer. It could be be good or bad for you, depending your perspective. you, depending on on your perspective. Embrace change. Embrace thethe change. LEO - Jul 23/Aug LEO - Jul 23/Aug 23 23 The stars point to creation and exploThe stars point to creation and exploration as basis for your week, Leo. ration as thethe basis for your week, Leo. Explore your artistic side, whether you Explore your artistic side, whether you paint a picture or draft a new novel. paint a picture or draft a new novel. VIRGO - Aug 24/Sept VIRGO - Aug 24/Sept 22 22 You will experience one wonderful You will experience one wonderful event after another throughout event after another throughout thethe week, Virgo. always, they come week, Virgo. AsAs always, they come when you least expect and least need when you least expect and least need them. But enjoy them anyway. them. But enjoy them anyway. LIBRA - Sept 23/Oct LIBRA - Sept 23/Oct 23 23 You given new responsibility at You areare given new responsibility at work, Libra, and there’s nothing you work, Libra, and there’s nothing you love more than spreading your wings love more than spreading your wings and trying new things. There will and trying outout new things. There will be befew bumpy days, then success. a a few bumpy days, then success. SCORPIO - Oct 24/Nov SCORPIO - Oct 24/Nov 22 22 This week you have more ideas than This week you have more ideas than time get them all done, Scorpio. time to to get them all done, Scorpio. You may want delegate some of You may want to to delegate some of your work you maximize time for your work so so you maximize time for creative thinking. creative thinking. SAGITTARIUS - Nov 23/Dec SAGITTARIUS - Nov 23/Dec 21 21 You need listen to yourself this You need to to listen to yourself this week, Sagittarius. You have both week, Sagittarius. You have both physical and emotional needs that physical and emotional needs that cannot ignored. Treat yourself first, cannot be be ignored. Treat yourself first, before you help others. before you help others. CAPRICORN - Dec 22/Jan CAPRICORN - Dec 22/Jan 20 20 It’sIt’s impossible listen to what others impossible to to listen to what others areare saying when you are doing all of saying when you are doing all of thethe talking, Capricorn. Take the adtalking, Capricorn. Take the advice of others and it’ll make fast work vice of others and it’ll make fast work of things you need to to accomplish. of thethe things you need accomplish. AQUARIUS - Jan 21/Feb AQUARIUS - Jan 21/Feb 18 18 Few will able to to keep with your Few will be be able keep up up with your positive attitude this week, Aquarius. positive attitude this week, Aquarius. You on Cloud 9 9 and loving every You areare on Cloud and loving every minute of it. Now’s time to to follow minute of it. Now’s thethe time follow through ideas. through on on ideas. PISCES - Feb 19/Mar20 PISCES - Feb 19/Mar20 Don’t take any shortcuts this week, Don’t take any shortcuts this week, Pi-Pisces. They actually may cost you more sces. They actually may cost you more time in long run. Use your contatime in thethe long run. Use your contagious enthusiasm to recruit others. gious enthusiasm to recruit others. Answer to Last Week’s Puzzle Answer to Last Week’s Puzzle