The best of all of last year's many weighty spy movies, and winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, comes out today from Sony. The Lives of Others (reviewed here) stars Sebastian Koch as East German playwright Georg Dreyman, a mesmerizing Martina Gedeck (The Good Shepherd) as his actress mistress, and, at its center, the late Ulrich Muhe as the Stassi agent who spies on them. I only just learned reading TIME Magazine that Muhe passed away a month ago at the age of 54, from stomach cancer. That's incredibly sad. He gives the kind of performance every actor dreams of in The Lives of Others, anchoring the whole film as a spy (or, as he explains it to Gedeck's character, her "audience") drawn into the lives of the people he's paid to observe. The DVD features a making-of documentary, deleted scenes, and a commentary with director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. It's an absolute must-see.
Also worth noting on the DVD front are a few recent titles. Fox's The Charlie Chan Collection, Vol. 3 features the famous detective in more mysteries and espionage capers around the world (including In Monte Carlo), and boasts a slew of impressive extras for fans of classic cinema. And Best Buy has Universal's recent release of the Robert Ludlum mini-series The Rhinemann Exchange on sale for just $9.99 this week!