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Werewolf in Love 'Blood & Chocolate' is a satisfying mix of sweet and savage

To call "Blood & Chocolate" ($28.95 DVD, $38.96 Blu-ray; Sony) a werewolf movie doesn't tell the whole story. In fact, labeling it as such might keep the audience that would most enjoy it away.

The film isn't, for instance, a gory and violent monster movie filled with nifty CGI man-into-beast transformations that appeal to guys. Instead, it's a "Romeo and Juliet" with a beauty-and-the-beast twist.

Based on a teen novel by Annette Curtis Klaus, the story's odd title is derived from the occupation of the main female character, Vivian Gandillon, a lovely young werewolf who makes chocolate for a living.

When Vivian (played by Agnes Bruckner) meets an equally pretty human (Hugh Dancy, "Ella Enchanted") and falls in love, her overprotective werewolf family -- called the loup-garou in this story -- will resort to their primal, violent ways to protect their pack.

This stylish and hip romantic thriller crafted by director Katja Von Garnier may not be your typical monster movie, but it is certainly impressive. In their human form, the loup-garou move gracefully through their daily routines. They run with the moves of a gymnast, utilizing what I believe is the amazing "free running" style (part dance, part athletics) seen in the opening chase of "Casino Royale." The transformation into wolves is actually beautiful as they glide through the air and morph into creatures.

Dancy, by the way, gets to say a great romantic line after he learns of Vivian's split personality: "If you cared about me, you would have left me before we met."

Bonus features include deleted scenes and a commentary with Von Garnier and actor Olivier Martinez, who plays Gabriel, the leader of the pack.

*If you prefer a high gore content, a big crocodile might do the trick. "Primeval" ($29.99, Buena Vista) is based on the true events surrounding a 20-foot crocodile (called "Gustave") blamed for more than 300 deaths in Africa.

Dominic Purcell ("Prison Break") stars as the reluctant TV reporter sent on the story; the hilarious Orlando Jones plays his wise-cracking cameraman, and Jurgen Prochnow takes on the role of the local tour guide.

The film takes a while to get going, but once it does, the croc goes crazy. Gustave, however, isn't the worst monster in this movie. That distinction would go to the humans, since "Primeval" has a secondary plot about the country's civil war, in which thousands of innocent people are slaughtered (some of which we see in this movie).

Bonus features include "Croc-umentary: Bringing Gustave to Life" and a commentary with Jones and director Michael Katleman.

*Nicolas Cage is a big hit as "Ghost Rider" (Sony), the Marvel comics motorcycle stunt rider who made a deal with the devil to protect his loved ones.

The single-disc DVD ($28.95) includes "Spirit of Vengeance: The Making of Ghost Rider" documentary and commentaries; an extended two-disc set ($34.95) also includes new footage and a featurette on the comic book origins and animatics. The extended version is also available on Blu-ray ($38.96).

*Tom Selleck's popularity continues to be seen in his portrayal of flawed police chief Jesse Stone in the television adaptations of the best-selling books by Robert B. Parker. Two of the four movies -- "Jesse Stone: Night Passage" and "Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise" -- arrive this week on DVD ($24.96 each, Sony).

"Night Passage," a prequel to the first TV movie, "Stone Cold" (already available on DVD), depicts Stone's early days as the new chief in Paradise, Mass. Stephanie March and Stephen Baldwin guest star. "Death in Paradise" finds Stone obsessed with finding the killer of a teenage girl. William Devane joins the cast as Stone's psychiatrist.

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Coming Tuesday

"The Abandoned" (Lionsgate), "Bridge to Terabithia" (Buena Vista), "Gray Matters" (Fox), "Longford" (HBO/Warner), "The Manhattan Project: Special Edition" (Lionsgate), "Miss Potter" (Weinstein/Genius), "Reno 911!: Miami" (Fox) and "Silver Spoons: The Complete First Season" (Sony).

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DVD Extra

WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW! THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON: Rerun, Raj and Dwayne return in this three-disc set that was a continuation of the original "What's Happening" series. ($29.95, Sony. Available now.)

e-mail: truberto@buffnews.com

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