OnVideo: OldNews January 2002
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OnVideo OldNews January 2002

Old News Is Good News or Who Wants to Read Yesterday's Newspapers?

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January News

January Highlights: On January 8, Fox will release to DVD the "MASH Five Star Collection" (1970), directed by Robert Altman and starring Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Tom Skerritt, Sally Kellerman, Robert Duvall, Jo Ann Pfug, Rene Auberjonois, Gary Burghoff, Fred Williamson and John Shuck. The two-disc set with film and soundtrack restoration was overseen by Altman. Disc 1: Entire, uncut theatrical version with commentary by Altman, "AMC Backstory" featurette; still gallery. Disc 2: "Enlisted: The Story of MASH" and "MASH: History Through the Lens" featurettes; "MASH 30th anniversary reunion; film restoration segment; Easter Egg; $26.98. A VHS special edition will also be available with the restored and uncut version and the "AMC Backstory" for $9.98.

Also on that day, Paramount will release a DVD version of John Frankenheimer's idiosyncratic look at conformity and individuality, "Seconds" (1966), starring Rock Hudson, John Randolph, Frances Reid, Murray Hamilton, Jeff Corey and Richard Anderson, (with gorgeous black and white cinematography by James Wong Howe). The only DVD extra is commentary by Frankenheimer.

On January 15, Facets Video will release "Melies the Magician" (1997). This DVD includes more than a dozen magnificent films by turn-of-the-19th-century filmic experimenter Georges Milies, the spiritual godfather to Walt Disney, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and generations of fantasy and special effects filmmakers. Produced by the European TV channel ARTE in collaboration with Melies' granddaughter, the disc also includes "The Magic of Melies," a film by Jacques Malthete, which explores Melies' work through clips, reconstructions, interviews and original research. Included: "A Trip to the Moon," "Four Troublesome Heads," "The Infernal Cakewalk," "The Scheming Gambler's Paradise," "The Music Lover," "The Infernal Boiling Pot," "The Man With the Rubber Head," "The Living Playing Cards," more. $29.95. Info: www.facets.org.

Warner is releasing on January 15 the "Roots 25th Anniversary Edition" (1977) DVD, starring Louis Gossett Jr., Edward Asner, Ben Vereen, Leslie Uggams, LeVar Burton, Todd Bridges, Maya Angelou, Lorne Greene, George Hamilton, Cicely Tyson, Georg Stanford Brown, Lloyd Bridges, John Amos, Burl Ives, Ian McShane, Richard Roundtree, O.J. Simpson, Chuck Connors, Ralph Waite, Macdonald Carey, Scatman Crothers, Brad Davis, Yaphet Kotto, Doug McClure, Vic Morrow and Raymond St. Jacques. The three-disc set contains the entire eight-part miniseries with commentaries by executive producer David Wolper, Asner, Burton, Uggams, Amos, Brown, and other key members of the cast and crew (viewers will be able to click out of the film and watch a video of the actors as they speak their commentary); "Remembering Roots" featurette; "Roots" Family Tree; DVD-ROM extras; 573 minutes, $59.98.

Also on January 15, Disney is releasing the "Tron 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition" (1982) on DVD and VHS. Directed by Steven Lisberger, the film stars Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan, Barnard Hughes and Dan Shor. The two-disc DVD set contains the restored and remastered film with commentary by Lisberger, producer Donald Kushner and visual effects supervisors Harrison Ellenshaw and Richard Taylor; a new 75-minute "making-of" documentary "The Making of Tron"; deleted scenes with introductions by Lisberger and Ellenshaw; production photo gallery; storyboard to film comparisons; still frame galleries; pre-production animation tests; original soundtrack music deleted from the film; computer animation design and demo reels; original publicity material; $29.99. The VHS version contains just the film, for $14.99.

One of the greatest films of all time, Marcel Carne's "Children of Paradise" (1945), will get the terrific Criterion treatment on a double-disc DVD on January 22. Disc one: "Part 1: The Boulevard of Crime," with new digital transfer, commentary by film scholar Brian Stonehill, introduction by Terry Gilliam, restoration demonstration, new and improved English subtitle translation; Disc two: "Part 2: The Man in White," with new digital transfer, commentary by film scholar Charles Affron, screenwriter Jacques Prevert's film treatment, production designs by Alexandre Trauner, production stills gallery, Carne and Prevert filmographies, U.S. theatrical trailer, new and improved English subtitle translation. Includes a 24-page booklet that features transcribed excerpts from Brian Stonehill's 1990 interview with Carne, cast biographies, and an essay by film historian Peter Cowie; $39.95. (The Criterion Collection/Home Vision Entertainment).

Also on that day, Buena Vista will release two fabulous French films: Luis Bunuel's "Belle de Jour" (1967), starring Catherine Deneuve, Jean Sorel, Michel Piccoli, Genevieve Page; and Rene Clement's "Purple Noon" (1960), starring Alain Delon, Marie Laforet and Maurice Ronet (remade in 1999 as "The Talented Mr. Ripley").

Paramount has finally put together DVD versions of the "Beverly Hills Cop" series, with three DVDs and a set available on January 29. Available individually are: "Beverly Hills Cop" (1984), directed by Martin Brest and starring Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Lisa Eilbacher and Ronny Cox, with commentary by Brest, a "Casting Beverly Hills Cop" featurette, location map, a "Music of Beverly Hills Cop" featurette, new cast and crew interviews and a photo gallery; "Beverly Hills Cop II" (1987), directed by Tony Scott and starring Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, Jurgen Prochnow, Ronny Cox, John Ashton, Brigitte Nielsen and Allen Garfield, with a deleted scene with an introduction by Scott, a making-of featurette, new cast and crew interviews, and a "Shakedown" music featurette; "Beverly Hills Cop III" (1994), directed by John Landis and starring Eddie Murphy, Jon Tenney, Joey Travolta and Eugene Collier, with new cast and crew interviews; $24.99 each. "Beverly Hills Cop: The Complete Lineup," with all three "Beverly Hills Cop" films in a box set, will be available for $74.97.

On January 29, Universal is releasing "Bob Hope: The Tribute Collection," a set of VHS tapes that includes seven of Hope's best outings: "The Big Broadcast of 1938" (1938) with Hope, W.C. Fields, Dorothy Lamour and Martha Raye; "The Ghost Breakers" (1940) with Hope, Paulette Goddard, Richard Carlson, Paul Lukas and Anthony Quinn; "The Paleface" (1948) with Hope and Jane Russell, "Road to Morocco" (1942), "Road to Singapore" (1940), "Road to Utopia" (1945) and "Road to Zanzibar" (1941), all four starring Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour; $9.98 each. "The Road Show Series: Road to Collection Four-Pack" contains all four road pictures for $29.98.

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More January Video News

Rhino Home Video, long known for their cult releases, starts off the new year with a bevy of interesting videos. Coming January 8 are two DVD volumes of anime "Battle of the Planets" and a DVD of "The Three Stooges Cartoon Classics." On January 29 Rhino will release Fox Kids' "Beast Wars" animated series on VHS and DVD. On February 12 comes a DVD of "The Last Hurrah," a chronicle of Muhammad Ali's last bout against Trevor Berbick in 1981, and a three-DVD box set of the "World of Sid & Marty Krofft." Scheduled for February 26 is a DVD of Mel Brooks' and Carl Reiner's classic "2000 Year Old Man" and DVD and VHS editions of Cheap Trick's 1998 Chicago concerts, "Music for Hangovers." On March 12 the company will release a retrospective DVD of "The Best of the Blues Brothers" and on March 26 comes the long-awaited seven-DVD box set of "Gumby," including episodes from the 1950s through the 1960s (111 shorts plus extras).

A&E Home Video has released "American Classics," a four-VHS set that explores the enduring impact of cultural icons on the national consciousness. Hosted by Dick Clark (himself an icon), the series highlights the people, places and things that embody the American Experience, examining the significance of cultural icons that range from Uncle Sam to Marilyn Monroe, from Main Street to the Corvette, from GI Joe and Barbie to Lincoln Logs; $49.95. Also from A&E in January are box DVD sets of "Upstairs Downstairs the Complete Second Season" (four discs, $79.95); "Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, Set 2" (three discs, $49.95); "Jeeves and Wooster: The Complete Third Season" (two discs, $39.95); and box sets of the classic 1960s TV series "The Saint," starring Roger Moore: DVD Set 3 and DVD Set 4, each containing seven episodes from the show's first season presented in full- color, 1966-67, available for $39.95 each.

From Acorn Media comes "Nicholas Nickleby," a new British production of Charles Dickens' classic about a penniless young gentleman who struggles to make his way in the unforgiving world of Victorian England. The feature, starring Charles Dance, James D'Arcy, Sophia Myles, Lee Inleby and Dominic West, airs this month on the Bravo channel; $29.95 VHS and DVD.

For Kids:
For preschoolers, HIT Entertainment will release on January 15 the newest title in the Kipper series, "Kipper: Imagine That!", chronicling the playful animated adventures of Kipper the curious hound and his animal friends, $9.99 VHS. The folks at Disney will release on January 8 three Valentine's Day videos: "The Book of Pooh: A Valentine for Eeyore," "Winnie the Pooh: Un-Valentine's Day" and "Rolie Polie Olie: Happy Hearts Day"; each VHS sells for $12.99 and comes with a Valentine card.

For older kids Urban Vision Entertainment will release on January 22 the first four episodes of the anime series "Strange Dawn" -- about two school kids mysteriously transported to a world where everything is half their size -- on one cassette ($22.95, in English) and one DVD ($29.95 in English and Japanese with subtitles).

For the pre-teen set, Disney has released four Disney Channel movies to VHS: "Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century" and "Zenon the Zequel," featuring the adventures of a mischievous intergalactic teen starring Kirsten Storms; "Miracle in Lane 2," starring Frankie Muniz as a wheel chair-bound 12-year-old who perseveres against all odds to enter the soapbox derby national championships; and "Motorcrossed," about a family of motorcross bike racers.

Special Interest:
Playboy Home Video will release on January 22 "Joanie Laurer Nude: Wrestling Superstar," a backstage look into a soon-to-be-classic Playboy magazine photo shoot that captured Laurer's transformation from wrestling champion to erotic warrior princess. The video gives viewers ringside seats as Laurer reveals the combination of hard-trained body and soft femininity that have made her the darling of millions of fans. Includes behind-the-scenes moments during the photo shoot and details about Laurer's mold-shattering life; $19.98 VHS and DVD.

The 'B' Side: Other January Releases

In "The Perfect Wife," a young woman seeks revenge after her brother is killed in an auto accident. First she goes after and brutally kills the drunk driver. Then she goes after the doctor ... but decides that his death must be more subtle. She decides to pursue, woo and marry him and then get even. But the doctor's ex-wife thinks something peculiar is going on -- especially when some of the office staff and patients start to die. Stars Perry King, Shannon Sturges, Lesley-Anne Down and William R. Moses. York/Maverick, 2001, NR, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

"Amazons and Gladiators" follows the adventures of a female slave during the Roman era as she joins a group of Amazon warriors to battle the Roman legions and avenge the death of her parents. Stars Jennifer Rubin and Patrick Bergin. Studio Home Entertainment, 2000, R, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

In "American Nightmare," a psychotic killer uses a radio call-in show to track down and murder college students. Stars Chris Ryan, Debbie Rochon, Brandy Little and Johnny Sneed. Monarch Home Video, 2001, R, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

"The Opponent" is a romantic drama about a young woman who, after years of domestic abuse, turns to the ring and her community boxing club to rid herself of anger and build self- esteem. Along the way she falls in love with her trainer. Stars Elena Eleniak, James Colby, Aunjanue Ellis and John Doman. Trimark, 2001, R, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

"Ripper: Letter From Hell" is a thriller about a teenager -- the only survivor of a violent murderer who slaughtered all her friends -- who joins a forensic science program to study the mind of serial killers. The group begins to investigate a local campus murder and discovers that the killer's modus operandi mirrors that of Jack the Ripper. Now people in the class begin to drop like flies. Stars A.J. Cook, Bruce Payne, Ryan Northcott and Jurgen Prochnow. Studio Home Entertainment, 2000, R, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

In "Rappin'-N-Rhyming," a group of inner city kids with criminal records are given the choice of jail or school. Naturally they choose school. But the high school preparatory school is harder then they thought, and tension between the delinquents and the school's upper-crust students build to the boiling point ... until the two groups face off in a major poetry contest that fuses rappin' and rhyming. Stars Tami-Adrian George, Rahim Muhammad, Nicole Pulliam, Charles Burks and Sariah Bishop. York/Maverick, 2001, NR, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

"Firetrap" is a disaster- thriller about the world's best high-tech thief who's latest assignment is to snatch a priceless computer chip from a towering office building. But a corrupt company insider is also after the chip, and sets fire to the high-rise to cover his tracks. Now the thief must either choose to go after the chip, or save lives in the blazing inferno. Stars Dean Cain, Lori Petty, Mel Harris and Richard Tyson. Studio Home Entertainment, 2001, R, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

"Dragstrip Girl"> is a TV remake of the 1957 teen rebel classic about star crossed teen lovers: a guy from the wrong side of the tracks trying to break from his rough past for a better future, and a good girl with all the advantages -- wealth and looks -- who wants a taste of the fast life. Stars Mark Dacascos, Raymond Cruz, Natasha Gregson Wagner and Traci Lords. Dimension, 1994, R, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

"Venomous" is a horror-thriller about a quiet town afflicted by a deadly virus transmitted by genetically altered snakes. Stars Treat Williams. Fox, 2001, PG-13, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

"Delta Force One: The Lost Patrol" is the eighth title in the Delta Force series, here with the elite commando group attempting to rescue a group of peacekeepers from the grips of a ruthless arms dealer. Stars Gary Daniels, Bentley Mitchum and Mike Norris. Warner, 1999, R, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

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December 25, 2001