Picks and Pans Review: New on DVD

updated 02/27/2006 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/27/2006 AT 01:00 AM EST

North Country ($28.98) In a year during which Hollywood offered few plum parts for women, an antidote was provided by this inspiring 2005 drama about female miners battling sexual harassment in Northern Minnesota's iron mines. Based on a true story, it provided roles meaty enough to earn Oscar nominations for Charlize Theron (Best Actress) and Frances McDormand (Supporting). Sissy Spacek and Michelle Monaghan also strut their stuff. Extras: Deleted scenes, an informative behind-the-script look at the real women who brought the lawsuit on which the film is based, and brief interviews with cast members and director Niki Caro (Whale Rider). (R) Movie:

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Rent ($28.96) All-singing, all-dancing and nada to show for it. Although there are a few affecting moments in director Chris Columbus's big-screen version of the Broadway musical hit about struggling young folk living in Manhattan's East Village in 1989, the show's vitality and sense of mission have been neutered. The hardworking actors include original Broadway cast members Taye Diggs, Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp and newcomer Rosario Dawson. Extras: Deleted scenes, including two musical numbers ("Halloween" and "Goodbye Love"); convivial audio commentary by Columbus and stars Pascal and Rapp (who seem unduly concerned about how their hair looks); and a lengthy documentary about composer-lyricist Jonathan Larson, who died at age 35, just before the show opened Off-Broadway. (PG-13) Movie:

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Nine Lives ($26.96) A beautiful, delicate movie that dips briefly into the lives of nine women at crucial emotional moments for each. For example, Robin Wright Penn gives a gut-wrenching performance as a pregnant woman who runs into a former boyfriend while at the grocery store and immediately loses whatever hard-won equanimity she had won in the years following their breakup. Castmates include Glenn Close, Dakota Fanning, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Holly Hunter, Kathy Baker and Amy Brenneman. Extras: A question-and-answer session with director-writer Rodrigo GarcĂ­a and several actors and a look at the film's single-take shooting technique. (R) Movie:

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