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'Tourist' beckons; Jolie and Depp plus Venice equals a beautiful film

When director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck was making "The Tourist," he wanted his movie to showcase two things: Angelina Jolie's "glorious beauty, elegance and sophistication" and Johnny Depp's "incredible sense of humor and innocent charm."

"I want people to leave the film thinking 'I've never seen Angelina so mesmerizing. I was never so charmed by Johnny,' " von Donnersmarck says in a making-of feature for the movie's DVD release. He certainly met his goals.

*"The Tourist" ($28.95 DVD, $34.95 Blu-ray, $38.96 Blu-ray combo pack) is an entertaining throwback to the glamorous capers of the 1950s, with a particular nod to Alfred Hitchcock's "To Catch a Thief," starring Cary Grant, Grace Kelly and the French Riviera.

Here, it's Jolie, Depp and Venice, Italy -- and what a glorious trio they make. As the mysterious Elise, Jolie is the epitome of glamour in knockout dresses, elegant hair, perfect makeup and a mesmerizing swagger; Depp is low-key and dare we say, adorable, as a vacationing American college professor being used by Elise in a cat-and-mouse game.

The supporting cast isn't so bad either: Paul Bettany gives an understated humorous turn as an exasperated Scotland Yard inspector on Elise's trail; Timothy Dalton and his wonderfully rich baritone is equally frustrated as Bettany's boss.

Sit back and enjoy.

DVD extras include a director's commentary, outtake reel, an alternate animated title sequence and two featurettes. "A Gala Affair" is a seven-minute look at what went into making the elegant ball scene that included more than 300 extras dressed to the hilt in gowns and tuxedos. ("It's the type of party you want to live in," von Donnersmarck says.)

The Blu-ray comes with three more featurettes, including one on the canals of Venice.

*"The Switch" ($29.95 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray; Lionsgate; available now) is based on the short story "Baster" by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jeffrey Eugenides. It's directed by Will Speck and Josh Gordon (the team behind "Blades of Glory" and the short-lived TV series, "The Caveman"), with a screenplay by Alan Loeb. It's important to list all of those men because that says it all about the "The Switch," a romantic comedy where the most sympathetic and likable characters are the guys.

Jennifer Aniston plays Kassie, a career woman who decides to become artificially inseminated as she feels her biological clock ticking down. Her best friend, Wally (Jason Bateman), won't do (they decided long ago to stay friends); neither will a traditional sperm bank.

See, Wally loves Kassie but doesn't have the guts to tell her. He endures a ridiculous "fertility party" where he meets the good-looking, good-natured athletic donor (played with a nice lightness by Patrick Wilson). In a drunken and self-pitying haze, Wally switches, um, the donation with his own. Seven years later, Kassie returns with her adorable and neurotic little boy and it's obvious that the kid is Wally's.

At this point, what was a limp attempt at a modern comedy finally finds its legs, thanks to the endearing Bateman and young Thomas Robinson. Jeff Goldblum, playing Wally's boss, elevates the film and makes us wonder why we don't see more of him.

The DVD has deleted scenes and a short behind-the-scenes featurette. In addition, the Blu-ray has an alternate ending with intro, additional deleted scenes and bloopers.

e-mail: truberto@buffnews.com

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