'Talladega' co-star takes the lead

THE after life: After more than a few missteps, including "Melinda and Melinda," "Kicking and Screaming" and "Bewitched," Will Ferrell was back on track -- actually the race track -- in last summer's blockbuster comedy "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," which makes its DVD bow Tuesday.

The slap-happy comedy about a NASCAR racer took in $148.2 million domestically. "Talladega Nights" also marked the reunion of Ferrell and Adam McKay, his "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" co-writer and director.

(But since the release of "Talladega Nights" in August, one of the film's costars -- Sacha Baron Cohen -- has become the hottest commodity in Hollywood thanks to the critical and commercial success of his ribald mockumentary "Borat.")

In "Talladega Nights," Cohen plays Ricky Bobby's nemesis, a Formula One-turned-NASCAR driver, Frenchman Jean Girard.

Where it all began

for Beatty, Bening

Happily ever after: "Bugsy," which arrives in a new DVD edition Tuesday, not only won the 1991 Golden Globe for best dramatic film and was nominated for numerous Oscars, including best film and director (Barry Levinson), it also heralded the romance between its stars, Warren Beatty and Annette Bening.

In 1991, Beatty was still one of Hollywood's primo Lotharios, who'd had affairs with Joan Collins, Leslie Caron, Julie Christie, Natalie Wood and even Madonna. It looked like the 54-year-old would never settle down.

Enter Bening. A divorcee, the lithe actress' stock was on the rise, having received a supporting actress nomination for 1990's "The Grifters."

It was mutual-attraction-at-first-sight for the two. By the time the film was released in December, the couple were engaged and Bening was eight months' pregnant with their first child. The onetime playboy has taken quite well to domestic bliss -- the two have been married for nearly 15 years and have four children.

Return of

the follow-up

Sequel-itis: Though "Return of Jafar," Disney's first made-for-video continuation of one of its blockbuster animated hits was met with a thumbs down by critics, the Aladdin sequel was a financial success. So much so that the studio has continued to make lower-budgeted installments of its popular animated franchises.

But save for the clever "The Lion King 1 1/2 ," the sentimental "Bambi II" and the inspired 'Brother Bear 2," most of these sequels have been disappointing.

At least "The Fox and the Hound 2," arriving Tuesday on DVD, has a promising pedigree. The sequel to the 1981 hit features the voices of Reba McEntire, Patrick Swayze and Jeff Foxworthy and new songs performed by McEntire and Trisha Yearwood.

Disney has also gotten a lot of mileage out of the "Air Bud" live-action franchise, which began as a theatrical release a decade ago -- that's 70 in dog years.

The latest addition to the "Air Bud" litter is "Air Buddies," which finds five golden retriever puppies, a.k.a. "the Buddies," on a mission to save their parents from evil dognappers. This time around the pups talk!

'WTC' extra is

a real-life story

Survivor: The commemorative edition of Oliver Stone's 9/11 drama "World Trade Center" features commentary by the Oscar-winning writer-director. But the two-disc set is noteworthy for its second audio track with Will Jimeno, the real-life survivor of the terrorist attack whose rescue is chronicled in the film, as well as with his rescuers Scott Strauss, John Busching and Paddy McGee.

A double shot

of Dean Martin

Rat Pack: Break out the martinis, Dino is back on DVD. Sony is releasing a Dean Martin comedy double header: 1960's lighthearted "Who Was That Lady?" and 1968's "How To Save Your Marriage (And Ruin Your Life)."

Martin received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in "Lady," which also stars then-married Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis. And in "How To Save Your Marriage," he's teamed with '60s sex symbol Stella Stevens.

-- Susan King

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