TV

'Wendy and Lucy' is worth watching several times

Wendy and Lucy. Wendy and Lucy. Wendy and Lucy.

If you don't watch another film from those released on DVD on Tuesday, watch Wendy and Lucy. Two, three times, even.

Broke and stranded in Portland, Ore., on her way to a hoped-for job on a fishing boat in Alaska, Wendy (Michelle Williams, who paints the most detailed portrait with a minimum of strokes) is stuck with little money and a car that won't run. The only good thing Wendy has is her dog, Lucy. A series of bad-luck events and one stupid act on her part take it all away.

Depending on how you interpret the ending, it's hopeful or hopeless, but any way you look at, Wendy and Lucy is a brilliant portrayal of the economic crisis faced by too many of us — and the harsh choices we can be forced to make. Kelly Reichardt directs this beauty — and it's only her second feature (rated R, $29.95).

Williams also stars, along with Ewan McGregor, in Incendiary, a 2008 film about a terrorist attack in London (rated R, $27.98).

When I first read Dalton Trumbo's anti-war novel Johnny Got His Gun during the Vietnam War (it was already 30 years old), it was one of the most affecting pieces of fiction I had ever encountered.

In 1971, the book was turned into a movie starring Timothy Bottoms as the young soldier turned blind, deaf, mute and a quadruple amputee when he is wounded by a mortar shell on the last day of World War I. As he lies in an Army hospital bed with only memories and fantasies in his racing mind, he is kept alive by doctors who relish the rare opportunity to study a patient in such a condition. Jason Robards and Donald Sutherland also star.

Trumbo, one of the blacklisted "Hollywood 10," adapted his novel for the screen and made his directorial debut with it. Extras include a new interview with Bottoms, the documentary Dalton Trumbo: Rebel in Hollywood and a 1940 radio adaptation of Johnny Got His Gun starring James Cagney. It's rated PG and lists for $19.99.

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