REVIEWS BY NETTA GILBOA
DVD titles are reviewed using either a Panasonic A110 or a Creative Labs Encore PC-DVD (using the latest drivers) which is installed in a Pentium II 300 MHz with 64mb RAM running Windows98. All titles are recent releases, even though some are of the films are years old. Because DVD is a new medium, older titles are being released as new product. This will be true for some time to come.
13TH WARRIOR, THE (Touchstone Home Video, 103 minutes) Antonio Banderas Omar Sharif and Diane Venora star in this adaptation of the Michael Crichton book. This combination action-adventure and thriller film is set in AD 922 and involves a Muslim man who has been exiled and given the title of Ambassador to get rid of him after he had an affair with another man's wife. He meets a group of Vikings and gets talked into assisting them in battle against an unknown enemy known as the Wendol. He is unhappy with this assignment but does his best and along the way learns tolerance and to appreciate courage. The DVD contains a widescreen presentation of the film (2.35:1) which has been enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, theatrical trailer, French language track, and chapter search. Full of amazing fight scenes, great costumes and intense action, this will appeal to those who enjoy sword fighting, epic medieval tales, and/or those who have read the book.
ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING (Touchstone Home Video, 102 minutes) Elisabeth Shue, Keith Coogan and Anthony Rapp star in this comedy adventure about a babysitting job that turns into a nightmare. Upset because her boyfriend has cancelled their date, a teenage girl agrees to babysit until her best friend phones her, hysterical, because she has run away from home but can't go through with it and needs to be picked up at the bus station. What should have been a quick trip to the downtown bus station becomes an unforgettable evening for all as a group of sheltered suburban kids venture into the big city, get lost, get harassed, meet criminals, and must survive the experience somehow. The DVD includes a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround sound, French language track and chapter search. This is highly recommended as a classic teen film, that will also appeal to those who are fans of Shue, and/or appreciate a great story that keeps getting better as it gets more absurd.
8 SECONDS (New Line Home Video, 104 minutes) Luke Perry, Stephen Baldwin, and Cynthia Geary star in this true story about a rodeo legend named Lane Frost. The plot involves a bull-riding champion and traces how he achieved all of his childhood dreams, both in and out of the rodeo ring. Directed by John G. Avildsen, who directed Rocky, this includes a great score and country & western soundtrack (with music by Vince Gill and Reba McIntire), as well as great rodeo scenes. The DVD contains choice of widescreen (1.85:1) and standard presentations of the film, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, interactive menus, cast and crew filmographies, theatrical trailer and chapter search. This is a great opportunity for Perry's many fans to get to see him in a whole new light, and this will appeal to those who enjoy rodeos, country & western music, and/or uplifting stories about those who are lucky enough to become winners.
ANIMALS IN THE WILD (Madacy Entertainment Group, Inc., 265 minutes) If animals and nature appeal to you, this budget-priced five disc set is well worth having. Disc one is called "Fangs and Claws" and focuses on how animals capture and eat their prey. Disc two, "A Walk On The Wild Side," examines how animals are able to walk despite some obvious obstacles such as those the giraffe faces. Disc three is called "Cries In The Wild" and covers the various sounds that animals make to communicate to each other and in self-defense. Disc four, "Amazing Habitats," covers the shelter animals make for themselves from birds nests to beaver dams. Disc five focuses on "Animals Undercover" and addresses animal skin, scales, feathers and fur. These are not subject often discussed in documentaries, and these discs are fascinating to watch. Each disc also includes Dolby Digital sound, trivia questions, chapter search, and informational segments such as "Wild Babies," "Animal Tracks," and "Endangered Species." The discs are high-quality, feature both rare footage of animals and computer animation to enhance the natural history footage when demonstrating movement or flight. Highly recommended.
BANDIT QUEEN (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 119 minutes) This hard-hitting action-adventure concerns one woman's attempts to fight back against slavery. Sold into a marriage she did not want or agree to, at the age of 11, in exchange for a cow and a rusted bicycle, she escapes and joins a gang of bandits. Yet the gang is also male dominated and exploits women and she is unhappy with them as well. Full of dramatic moments as well as action, this subtitled film was made in India and makes many points about equality between the sexes. Based on a true story of a woman who ultimately served nine years in prison for crimes she was turned into a legend by the press while being prosecuted by the police. The disc contains Dolby Digital audio and chapter search. This is a must-see film for those interested in feminism, and/or who are humanists, as well as those interested in the culture of India.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Madacy Entertainment Group Inc., 50 minutes) This classic fairy tale has been animated with children ages 4-9 in mind. The plot involves an ugly beast who lives the life of a hermit, and Beauty who falls in love with him slowly but surely. Imparting the important message that beauty is only skin deep and not to judge people strictly by appearance, this is a film the whole family can watch together. The DVD contains Dolby Digital audio, previews of other titles in a 3-D maze, chapter search and a short titled "The Making Of A Cartoon," which focuses on how animated films are made using the film Anna And The King as an example. Highly recommended for children, this budged-priced disc will also appeal to adults who enjoy animation and those interested in fairy tales.
BIG RED (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 89 minutes) Gilles Payant, Emile Genest, and Janette Bertrand star in this family film about an orphaned boy hired to train an Irish Setter named Big Red. The dog is being used as a show dog, and so when the boy and the dog become inseparable, the man fires the boy. The dog has a mind of his own however, and runs away to find the child. There are lots of lessons here about friendship, responsibility and commitment, and this will greatly appeal to dog lovers and those interested in a film the whole family can watch together. The DVD contains choice of a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1) or standard presentation, Dolby Digital sound, and chapter search. Inside the box is a 4.5 x 7 inch replica of the theatrical poster with production notes on the other side.
BLUE COLLAR (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 114 minutes) Richard Pryor, Harvey Keitel and Yaphet Kotto star in this Paul Schrader film about the working class and what can happen when people feel trapped by low wages, high debts and feel no loyalty to their employers. The plot involves three Detroit auto workers who decide to rob their union office. The heist goes badly and their friendship dissolves as they become involved in fear, betrayal and murder. The DVD contains a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), which has been enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs, an audio commentary track, Dolby Digital mono sound, theatrical trailer, talent bios, and chapter search. Pryor gives one of the best performances of his career here, and a serious one at that. This is highly recommended to his many fans, those interested in the gray areas of employment, and anyone who has ever hated their job and/or life situation.
BOB MARLEY: SUN IS SHINING THE REMIXES (Palm Pictures, 17 minutes) Made long after Marley's death, using the latest computer technology, this DVD single includes the Ibiza Allstars/Island mix of the song, the Messy Boys remix, and an audio only extended version of the Island mix. Marley fans will greatly enjoy having these mixes, which include lots of photos commemorating him, and which have been a hit on the charts since the Ibiza Allstars version was introduced at the Ibiza '99 dance music festival last year. Fans can also look forward to a May DVD release by Palm Pictures called One Love: The Bob Marley All-Star Tribute Concert. List price on this disc is $7.98.
BOYS FROM BRAZIL, THE (Artisan Home Entertainment Inc., 127 minutes) Gregory Peck, Laurence Olivier, and James Mason star in this thriller based on the Ira Levin novel. The plot involves Nazi criminal Dr. Mengele alive and hiding out in South America where he decides to clone Hitler. He creates 94 young Hitlers, killing each of their fathers to simulate Hitler's real background. As he gets closer and closer to succeeding in his efforts, it's up to Nazi hunter Ezra Lieberman to stop him. The DVD contains a digitally mastered widescreen print of the film (1.85:1), interactive menus, production notes, cast and crew information, mono audio, trailers, and chapter search. This is an excellent translation of the book, and is highly recommended for those who have read it, enjoy the actors, are interested in the Holocaust, or enjoy suspenseful thrillers in general.
BRENDA STARR (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 94 minutes) Brooke Shields, Timothy Dalton, Charles Durning, Diana Scarwid and Jeffrey Tambor star in this action film based on the popular cartoon strip. For some reason, this film was never released theatrically at the time that it was made, and is only now available, over a decade later. The plot involves a man who draws the cartoon strip, and finds his character coming to life where she rejects him. In order to try to keep his job, and get her back, he begins to draw himself into the strip. Meanwhile Brenda heads down to the Amazon to find a mad scientist. She must then compete with another female reporter who travels there as well, and must decide between whether to become more involved with a love interest, played by Timothy Dalton, or whether to return to her illustrator. The DVD contains choice of widescreen (1.85:1) and standard presentations of the film, Dolby Digital Stereo sound, and chapter search. The film combines action, adventure, and romance, not to mention Brooke's superb costumes designed by Bob Mackie. This is well worth seeing if you like Brooke, Dalton, and/or the comic strip.
CAMELOT (Madacy Entertainment Group, Inc., 50 minutes) This classic tale about medieval times has been animated and released in a version children can enjoy. The plot involves Stonehenge, where Arthur, the rightful King, lives with an ancient wizard named Merlin. He plants the fabled sword Excalibur in a large stone to be sure it will be safe, but gets captured by Sir Baldrick who seeks to run the kingdom himself. Arthur escapes and sets out to remove the Excalibur sword from the large stone. The DVD contains Dolby Digital audio, a short called "The Making Of A Cartoon," trailers of other titles in the series in a clever 3-D maze, and chapter search. This is recommended for children ages 4-9, and is budget priced. It probably has wider appeal for adults who love animation and/or are interested in this period in history.
CINEMA BEER BELLY (Hopeless Records, distributed by Music Video Distributors, Inc., (800)888-0486 www.musicvideodist.com) This music compilation features 20 songs by 20 bands including one filmed in 3-D for which a pair of special eyeglasses is included. The disc includes: Mustard Plug performing "Everything Girl," Sick of It All "Potential For A Fall," AFI "Third Season," The Weakerthans "Diagnosis," Superchunk "Fishing," Bad Religion "Ten In 2010," The Strike ""Shots Heard 'Round The World," Scared Of Chaka "All My Friends Are Ghosts," Man Or Astroman "Theme From Eeviac," The Melvins "Mombius Hibachi," The OC Supertones "Supertones Strike Back," Frenzal Rhomb "We're Going Out Tonight," Nicotine "La Climba Tropical," Diesel Boy "She's My Queen," Samiam "She Found You," Digger "Space Cadet," Alkaline Trio "Goodbye Forever" Gameface "My Star," Pinhead Circus "Carefree Mental Daze," The Queers "Tamara Is A Punk." The disc includes a paper catalog from Hopeless so that if you enjoy some of the artists you can purchase more work by them. This is a wonderful disc for those interested in alternative music, or looking to watch lots of short clips instead of one long concert performance. Well done.
CORRINA, CORRINA (New Line Home Video, 115 minutes) Whoopi Goldberg, Joan Cusack, Don Ameche and Ray Liotta star in this heartwarming comedy about a man whose wife dies and leaves him their little girl to raise. He hires a woman to take care of her, but gets far more than he expected in return. The DVD contains choice of widescreen (1.85:1) and standard presentations of the film, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, theatrical trailer, interactive menus, cast and crew filmographies, and chapter search. Goldberg is superb as usual and this is highly recommended to any fan of hers, those interested in parenting issues and/or those who like happy endings.
DANGEROUS GROUND (New Line Home Video, 96 minutes) Ice Cube and Elizabeth Hurley star in this action film about a South African freedom fighter that returns home after 14 years in exile to attend his father's funeral. When he gets there he finds the drug wars have destroyed his people and his family. His brother, who ran up a huge debt to a cocaine lord, is missing and he must either pay off the debt or plan to bury his brother too. The DVD contains choice of widescreen (1.85:1) or standard presentations of the film, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, theatrical trailer, cast and crew filmographies, interactive menus, and chapter search. This will appeal to those who enjoy action films, Ice Cube, and/or films about drugs.
DEAD HOMIEZ (Bowe Home Video, distributed by Music Video Distributors, Inc, (800)888-0486 www.musicvideodist.com) A combination drama and documentary film, this features real interviews with actual members of the famous Crip and Blood gangs of South Central Los Angeles, California. Dedicated to two other famous Dead Homiez, Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace, and using a tag line of "for those who ain't here," this extremely powerful film for those who have ever wondered about drive-by killings and seemingly senseless violence. The plot involves black men growing up in the streets in a ghetto, where what matters is what gang you're in not whether you're guilty or innocent of whatever the rival gang accuses you of. The film follows a 17-year-old member of the Bloods, who is being hunted down by a member of the Crips to avenge a shooting death. The DVD contains no extras, other than a short summary, credits, and chapter search, but they aren't really necessary, as this is a powerful film which says more than you may want to, or expect to, hear. This should probably be mandatory viewing for all high school students, especially those in large cities, and certainly for those interested in racism, sociology, criminal justice, civil rights and anthropology. Highly recommended.
DETROIT ROCK CITY (New Line Home Video, 95 minutes) Rock band Kiss star in this film, set in 1978, about a high school rock band whose members journey into the big city to see Kiss. Edward Furlong, Giuseppe Andrews, James DeBello and Sam Huntington star and look for adult film actor Ron Jeremy here as well. The DVD contains a widescreen presentation of the film (2.35:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, 15 minutes of deleted scenes, three commentary tracks including one by the members of Kiss, one by director Adam Rifkin, and one which is a cast and crew group effort. Also included are three multiple angle features. The first of these is a video of Kiss performing the song "Detroit Rock City" while you select from four concert angles. In the second multiple angle segment you sit in on a recording session and in the final segment you see the actors' auditions and an extended scene. As if that weren't enough, New Line has also included a segment for those who play guitar, two music videos, theatrical trailer, filmographies and chapter search. If you have a DVD player inside your computer you may also enjoy being able to read the script while watching the film, cast trading cards, web site access and more cast, crew and trivia information. This does a good job of capturing its intended time period, and will appeal to fans of Kiss as well as those who enjoy high school films, coming-of-age stories and/or cult films.
DONNA RICHARDSON 3 DAY ROTATION (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 125 minutes) Featuring three separate workouts of dance aerobics, kick and jab, routines and circuit toning, this exercise disc can be done in 20 minute workout sessions. There is also an advanced version of each of the workouts for experienced people who seek a tougher challenge. The DVD also contains walking tips, a way to work out to your own music of choice using cueing, a music-only audio option, an instructor cam for choreography close-ups, Dolby Digital Stereo sound, and chapter search. Whether you are new to exercising, or an experienced pro, there is something for you here, and unlike most exercise titles this one offers a choice of programs so that you don't have to do the same one each time. Well done.
DRAGON'S LAIR II: TIMEWARP (Digital Leisure, Inc.) This animated video game comes to new life on DVD where it can be played on your TV set using your remote control. Animated by Don Bluth, with full screen, full motion video, this has been remastered for DVD and features AC3 sound. All of the scenes from the original laserdisc arcade version are here, and you have the option to watch the plot unfold without having to actually play. You play Dirk the Daring who must rescue Princess Daphne from the evil wizard Mordroc. Using a time machine you transport yourself to begin your rescue mission, and if you don't succeed in time Princess Daphne will have to marry Mordroc and will be stuck forever in a time warp. The DVD contains an eight-page paper booklet with playing tips, animated violence and is sure to be a hit with those who enjoy old arcade games and/or Don Bluth's animation. Well done.
DROP DEAD GORGEOUS (New Line Home Video, 98 minutes) Kirstie Alley, Ellen Barkin, Kirsten Dunst, and Denise Richards star in this comedy about the competitive world of beauty contests. One former winner seems to stop at nothing to help her daughter win, and the contestants are dropping like flies. The top challenger, however, refuses to give up and has new commitment after her mother is suspiciously injured. Who will win, and at what cost? The DVD contains choice of widescreen (1.85:1) and standard presentations of the film, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, interactive menus, theatrical trailer, cast and crew filmographies, and chapter search. Those with DVD players inside their PCs can also experience screenplay access. If you like bitchy women, or any of the actresses, give this well done black comedy a try. Full of clever, witty lines, this is definitely not your typical chick film.
EDDIE (Hollywood Pictures Home Video, 100 minutes) Whoopi Goldberg stars as a fan turned NBA coach after she wins a half-time contest and gets to manage the New York Knicks. Featuring dozens of NBA stars, and a totally believable plot, this is one of Whoopi's best films even if, like me, you could care less about sports. She proves herself to be a fine manager who has what it takes to lead the team, and the film is full of laughs, humor and poignant moments. The DVD contains a widescreen print of the film (1.85:1), 5.1 Dolby Surround sound, French language track, theatrical trailer, and chapter search. This is highly recommended for sports fans, Whoopi fans and/or those looking for a lighthearted comedy they can relax with.
ENCINO MAN (Hollywood Pictures Home Video, 88 minutes) Sean Astin, Brendan Fraser and Pauly Shore star in this comedy about two high school students who discover a frozen caveman's body in their backyard. They thaw him out, and decide to use him to gain popularity. However, their plan backfires when it becomes apparent this stone age man cannot cope well in modern times and, without meaning to, turns their life upside down faster than they can fix the last error he made. The DVD contains a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround sound, French language track, production featurette, theatrical trailer and chapter search. This is well done and will appeal to those who like high school movies, comedy films such as Wayne's World, and/or who are fans of the actors.
EVEREST (Miramax Home Entertainment, 45 minutes) Filmed in IMAX and narrated by Liam Neeson with music by George Harrison, this is a drama about the filmmakers' attempts to rescue survivors of the 1996 climbing disaster at Mt. Everest. Capturing creaking icefalls, towering cliffs, gaping chasms and violent blizzards, this goes where no camera ever has before to show you what climbing under perilous conditions is like. Funded in part by the National Science Foundation, this is a film the whole family should see, and it's so realistic that those with fear of heights might feel threatened at moments while watching it. The DVD includes deleted scenes, a documentary called "Making Of Everest," 5.0 Dolby Digital Surround sound, deleted scenes, climber video journals, an extended interview with Beck Weathers, a 3-D map of Everest, and chapter search. This is a must for those who have always wanted to see Everest and/or who climb, as well as those interested in disasters and rescue missions, or who enjoy IMAX films in general. Well done.
FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE (Miramax Home Entertainment, 172 minutes) Presented in Chinese with English subtitles, this epic drama was named Best Picture at the Cannes Film Festival and Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globe Awards. Leslie Cheung, Zhang Fengyi, and Gong Li star in this love story about two lifelong friends who become involved with a woman who comes between them. A great deal about Chinese culture and Chinese history is included here, and this is a must for those who enjoy epic dramas, romance films and/or are interested in the Chinese way of life. The DVD includes a widescreen director's cut print of the film (1.85:1), 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround sound, and chapter search. It's quite long, and subtitles are not popular with American audiences, but this is well worth watching and is not a film one quickly forgets.
FEELING MINNESOTA (New Line Home Video, 99 minutes) Keanu Reeves, Vincent D'Onofrio and Cameron Diaz star in this black comedy about a drifter who comes to town for his brother's wedding. He falls in love with the bride, and they decide to run away together. Severing ties with his brother, he flees with the girl, while the brother sets out to find them and seek revenge. With a supporting cast that includes Courtney Love, Delroy Lindo and Dan Aykroyd, as well as a soundtrack that includes songs by Spearhead, The Replacements, Bob Dylan and Nancy Sinatra, this will surely hold your interest as you try to guess what will happen next. The DVD contains choice of widescreen (2.35:1) and standard presentations of the film, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, theatrical trailer, cast and crew filmographies, interactive menus and chapter search. This is a well-done and unusual film with a great cast to recommend it.
GARTH BROOKS: HIS LIFE... FROM TULSA TO THE TOP (Available from Music Video Distributors, Inc., 52 minutes, www.musicvideodist.com) This unauthorized disc includes rare footage and interviews which document how Troyal Garth Brooks dropped his first name, worked hard for years, and eventually became a huge success in the music industry shattering the concert attendance records of bands such as the Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, Elton John and Elvis Presley. The disc traces where he grew up, how he got his big break, who influenced his life, what motivates him and how much his songs have meant to some of his fans. The DVD contains a biography and web site access for those with DVD players inside their computers, and chapter search.
GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS (Madacy Entertainment Group, Inc., 50 minutes) This classic tale has been updated for modern times and animated with children ages 4-9 in mind. Goldilocks gets lost in the forest and stumbles on a home where three bears live. She stops there to eat and rest, and befriends the bears. They get kidnapped and forced to perform in a circus. Goldilocks then swings into action to rescue the bears and save the day. The DVD contains Dolby Digital audio, a short titled "The Making Of A Cartoon," previews of other titles in the series in a 3-D maze, and chapter search. This will surprise some viewers since the plot is more involved than when I heard it as a child, but this presents a strong female heroine which is a nice change. A film the whole family can watch together, this will make children happy and make adults sit and reflect on the meaning of fables and how easily they can be altered to make them even more useful to children.
HERBIE MANN: JASIL BRAZZ (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 74 minutes) Never before released, this live concert contains jazz performances by Herbie Mann as well as Marc Cohen, Paul Socolow, Romeros Lumbambo, Ricky Sebastian, and Cyro Baptista. The DVD includes 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, biography of Herbie Mann, the ability to jump to a solo by each performer, liner notes and chapter search. If you enjoy jazz I hardly need to tell you how little of it has been released on DVD yet, so grab this highly recommended title and rejoice!
HERCULES (Madacy Entertainment Group, Inc., 50 minutes) This exploration of Greek mythology has been animated for children, although it has potential appeal to adults as well. A film the whole family can enjoy together, this focuses on Hercules, the son of Zeus. He is sent on a quest by the Council of the Gods, and must battle Hydra, a nine-headed snake. With the help of Ulysses he also defeats Hera, the Queen of the Heavens and learns that while he is full of physical strength, it is the power of the mind that is more valuable in combat. The DVD contains Dolby Digital audio, previews of other titles in the series hidden in a 3-D maze, a short called "The Making Of A Cartoon," and chapter search. This is well done, and while aimed at children ages 4-9 it will also appeal to adults who love animation and/or mythology.
HOODS (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 92 minutes) Joe Mantegna, Kevin Pollakm Joe Pantoliano and Jennifer Tilly star in this mob comedy about a group of very inept hoods who have just six hours to carry out a hit for the boss. They must kill Carmine Dellarosa by 5 PM, but they have no idea who that is or how to find Carmine. Needless to say things get more out of control by the hour, and the plot gets more and more outrageous as well. The DVD contains a digitally mastered standard presentation of the film, Dolby Digital Surround sound, interactive menus, theatrical trailer, closed-captioned feature, and chapter search. This is a sleeper film, which is highly recommended to those who enjoy black comedies, films like Get Shorty, and/or any of the actors.
HOUSE OF YES, THE (Miramax Home Entertainment, 85 minutes) Parker Posey, Josh Hamilton, Tori Spelling, Genevieve Bujold and Freddie Prinze, Jr. star in this dark comedy about a boy who takes his fiance home to meet his family. His brother makes a pass at his fiance, and his sister gets insanely jealous. The mother tries to hide the family secrets but they all get revealed and each scene is wilder than the last. The DVD contains a widescreen print of the film (1.85:1), 2.0 Dolby Surround sound, theatrical trailer and chapter search. Very well written, and acted, this is a sleeper that will be remembered long after you're done watching it. If you enjoy cult films and/or the unusual, don't miss adding this film to your collection.
HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, THE (Madacy Entertainment Group, Inc., 50 minutes) Set in 17th century Paris, this classic tale has been adapted from the Victor Hugo novel and animated with children ages 4-9 in mind. The plot concerns Quasimodo, a disfigured bell ringer of the Notre Dame Cathedral, who befriends a gypsy named Esmerelda. She is then falsely accused of witchcraft and sentenced to death so he rescues her and takes her into the cathedral for sanctuary and risks all he has to defend her. The DVD contains Dolby Digital audio, a short entitled "The Making Of A Cartoon," previews of other titles in the series buried in a 3-D maze, and chapter search. A story that says much about going past initial impressions and surface appearances when judging people, this will delight its intended audience and is surely a film the whole family can enjoy together.
IDEAL HUSBAND, AN (Miramax Home Entertainment, 98 minutes) Rupert Everett, Julianne Moore, Jeremy Northam, Minnie Driver and Cate Blanchett star in this romantic comedy about a politician's life. He has a happy marriage and an adoring sister until he gets blackmailed by an old acquaintance who knows a secret from his past. Only his best friend will come to his aid to help him, and things get quickly out of hand. The DVD contains a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), which has been enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, production featurette, and chapter search. This is amusing and will appeal to those who view life as a game, enjoy any of the actors involved, and/or enjoy romantic comedies.
JUDY GARLAND SHOW, THE: THE CHRISTMAS SHOW/VOLUME THREE (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 50 minutes) This classic TV episode from 1963 features Judy Garland with Liza Minnelli, Mel Torme, Jack Jones and Lorna and Joe Luft. They perform a number of Christmas songs including "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "Little Drops Of Rain," "The Christmas Song," "Lollipops and Roses," "Consider Yourself," and a rare television appearance of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow." The DVD contains a digitally remastered and restored print of the show, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, original mono audio track for those who prefer that, and chapter search. This is a superb disc for Garland and Minnelli fans, as well as those looking for something to watch each year at Christmas.
KILLER INSTINCTS: ANACONDA (Madacy Entertainment Group, Inc., 55 minutes) A documentary about this giant snake that lives in the Amazon and is a master at staying invisible until it strikes. More feared and respected than any other creature there, the anaconda is the world's largest and most powerful snake which crushes its victims to death after wrapping itself around them in an instant. There is lots of rare footage here of how to spot an anaconda, anaconda lore and myths, capturing the snake, measuring the size of a specimen, etc. If you are interested in snakes this is a must to own. The DVD contains trivia questions, Dolby Digital sound, survival tips, biology information and chapter search. Well done.
KILLER INSTINCTS: PIRANHA (Madacy Entertainment Group, Inc., 55 minutes) One of only fish that attacks humans, the piranha has become a feared and respected fish. Little is known about them however, and so this documentary sheds a great deal of light on how they attack and use their teeth to kill, how many types of piranhas exist and how to tell them apart, where piranhas are found, etc. Known as wolves in the water, this fish is indeed worthy of its own documentary and if you are interested in fish or nature, this is a must to own. The DVD contains Dolby Digital sound, trivia questions, survival tips, biology information and chapter search. This is a companion disc to the Anaconda one reviewed above and hopefully there are more in this series to come. Well done.
KILLING OF SISTER GEORGE, THE (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 140 minutes) Beryl Reid, Susannah York and Coral Browne star in this landmark film in gay cinema. The film is a drama, released long before Stonewall when it first became somewhat acceptable to be gay. The taboo plot involves a network executive who turns out to be a predatory lesbian, a lesbian actress on a hit TV soap opera, and her long-time lover and roommate who she fears she is losing. She does not realize the network executive is pursuing the lover, and she struggles with trying to save her relationship as well as her character on the TV show. The DVD contains a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), Dolby Digital audio and chapter search. This is a must for those interesting in film history, gay rights, and/or cult movies.
KITARO: THE LIGHT OF THE SPIRIT (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 49 minutes) This music title features Kitaro along with many names that will be familiar to Deadheads. The disc was co-produced by Kitaro and Mickey Hart, and some of the musicians who appear here include Mickey Hart, David Grisman, and Bobby Vega. Songs performed are: "Mysterious Encounter," "Sundance," "The Field," "The Light of the Spirit," "In The Beginning," "Moondance," "Howling Thunder," and "Journey To a Fantasy." The DVD features Dolby Digital audio, digitally remastered tracks, and chapter search. Ideal for those already fans of either Kitaro or the Grateful Dead, this will also appeal to anyone interested in instrumental music, new age sounds, and/or something perfect to play as background music for a great conversation, meal or massage.
MAD LOVE (Touchstone Home Video, 96 minutes) Chris O'Donnell and Drew Barrymore star in this dramatic adventure about two teenagers who fall in love. When her parents try to intercede they run away together, until it becomes apparent that the parents concerns were indeed valid. Featuring a solid script but even better performances, these two will have you quite convinced they are in love. The DVD contains a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround sound, French language track, theatrical trailer and chapter search. This will delight fans of the actors, those who enjoy road films and/or those interested in conflicts between teenagers and their parents. Highly recommended.
MINNIE AND MOSKOWITZ (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 115 minutes) Gena Rowlands and Seymour Cassel star in this film which was written and directed by John Cassavetes. Considered one of his best films, this is a romantic story about a musuem curator who is dating a married man until she decides to dump him and forget about men. Sure she will never find someone right for her who is single, she practically gives up hope until she accidentally meets a parking lot attendant and things start looking up. The DVD contains a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), which has been enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs, Dolby Digital mono sound, audio commentary track by Gena Rowlands and Seymour Cassel, theatrical trailer, talent bios, and chapter search. One of Gena's better roles, this is a very believable and funny film which will not disappoint.
MASTERWORKS OF THE GERMAN HORROR CINEMA, THE (Elite Entertainment, 183 minutes) The boxed set contains three classic German horror films. Included on two discs are Der Golem, a silent film made in 1920, The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, a silent film with music track made in 1921, and Nosferatu which was made in 1922 with a music track. Digitally mastered for the first time ever, these films are considered to be the roots of modern day horror films and the horror genre. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, for example, was the first film to introduce the concept of a shock ending. The DVDs contains aspect ratios of 1.33:1, still photo galleries with original artwork, a 12-page paper booklet inside the box with extensive liner notes, chapter search and the only surviving footage from Genuine: A Tale Of A Vampire, made in 1920. While horror has come a long way and is much more visually exciting now, these films precede early American horror such as Dracula, and Frankenstein and are a must for those interested in film history, vampire films, and/or silent films.
MOONLIGHTING: THE PILOT (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 93 minutes) Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd star in this first episode of what became a hit TV show that made Willis a star and revived Shepherd's career. The premise involves a wealthy woman who has suddenly discovered she is broke, and she goes to visit the businesses she owns to let the owners know she close them down. When she arrives at the detective agency run by Willis' character, sparks fly, and the two opposites end up taking on a case together. Things work out well enough that she decides to be his partner, and the show continued to have a long, successful run. The DVD contains an uncut version of the episode in standard format, Bruce Willis' screen test for the role, an audio commentary track with Willis as well as the creator of the show, Dolby Digital sound and chapter search. Inside the box is a 12-page booklet about the show and its stars. This is highly recommended even though I suspect we are unlikely to see the rest of the episodes released anytime soon. If you like Bruce Willis even slightly there is lots of insight to be gained from experiencing this, and if you watched the show when it was on it's certainly wonderful to see it again after all these years. Well done.
MULAN (Madacy Entertainment Group, Inc., 50 minutes) Recommended for children ages 4 to 9, this animated feature tells the classic story of a brave woman who disguises herself as a male in order to enter the Army and defend her family and country. She passes as a male for many years, eventually becoming Commander-In-Chief of the Army. When it comes time for her to big farewell to her best friend, she struggles with whether to reveal her true identity or not. The DVD contains Dolby Digital sound, previews of other titles in a 3-D maze, a short called "The Making Of A Cartoon" and chapter search. It's rare to find stories for children with strong female heroines, and this makes a perfect compliment to the Disney version of this tale. Budget priced and of high quality, this is highly recommended.
NATIONAL LAMPOON'S LOADED WEAPON 1 (New Line Home Video, 82 minutes) Emilio Estevez, Samuel L. Jackson, Jon Lovitz, Kathy Ireland, William Shatner and Tim Curry star in this comedy in the tradition of films like Naked Gun. The plot involves a plot to poison America with drug-laced Wilderness Girl cookies that are full of cocaine. Two detectives stumble onto the plot after one of their colleagues is murdered, and decided to stop it by using all of their resources and teaming up with a slimeball and a woman who likes dressing in leather. The film is full of cameos including Bruce Willis, Whoopi Goldberg, Erik Estrada, Phil Hartman, Corey Feldman, Denis Leary, and Charlie Sheen. The DVD contains choice of widescreen (1.85:1) and standard presentations of the film, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, theatrical trailer, interactive menus, cast and crew filmographies and chapter search. While not the best National Lampoon or New Line release, this still has its moments and it's fun seeing if you can spot all the uncredited stars who appear. Shatner and Curry are given the best lines as the bad guys, but this should appeal to anyone who likes slapstick and/or spoofs of cops and robbers films.
NAZCA: BLADES OF FATE (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 75 minutes) The first three episodes of this anime program are featured here, titled "Those Who Awaken," "Reunion In The Andes," and "Meeting of the Sleeping Souls." The plot involves two reincarnated souls living in modern day Japan. One is a boy interested in doing good deeds, and the other is his friend and teacher who has decided to unleash an ancient, destructive weapon last used almost 500 years ago in a civil war within the Inca Empire. In order to save himself, and the world, Kyoji must travel halfway around the world to explore the secrets of his past and heritage. The DVD contains Dolby Digital Stereo sound, interactive menus, English subtitles, choice of English and Japanese languages, and chapter search. Those who enjoy conflicts between good and evil, as well as past and present will enjoy this series which has more discs scheduled for released on DVD soon. This will appeal to adults of both sexes, and is recommended for children age 13 and up due to the amount of fighting integral to the plot.
NOW AND THEN (New Line Home Video) Melanie Griffith, Demi Moore, Rosie O'Donnell, Rita Wilson, Christina Ricci, Gaby Hoffman, Thora Birch and Ashleigh Aston Moore star in this coming of age film about four girls who are best friends. They make a promise to always be there for each other, and later reunite twenty years later. The film is presented as a comedy, but has lots of drama as well, and involves many poignant moments as we see what's become of the four kids. The DVD contains choice of widescreen (1.85:1) and standard presentations of the film, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, theatrical trailer, cast and crew filmographies, interactive menus and chapter search. This is one of the best "chick" films to date, and would make an ideal double bill with Stand By Me. It's highly recommended to those interested in any of the actresses, as well as anyone who has ever pondered the true meaning of friendship.
OFFSPRING, THE: "AMERICANA" THE HOME VIDEO (Music Video Distributors, Inc.) Shot with a camcorder, this is a documentary made by fans for fans. It traces the roots of Orange County, California garage band The Offspring who managed to make it big in the music scene. The film contains rehearsal footage, with humorous sarcastic onscreen comments, as well as their first TV appearance, early videos, and lots of their songs with visual images of bikers and boarders strutting their stuff. The DVD contains Dolby Digital sound, and chapter search. This is a must for Offspring's fans as well as anyone who is a fan of skateboards, snow and surfboards, and/or BMX and Moto-X bikes.
POCAHONTAS (Madacy Entertainment Group, Inc. 50 minutes) Recommended for children ages 4 to 9, this animated feature is budget-priced and well done. Retelling the classic tale of an Indian Princess who risks her own life to save a group of settlers her tribe has captured. She ends up marrying one of the settlers, and establishing a truce between her tribe and the Jamestown settlers. She then travels to England and becomes known as the "First Lady of the Americas" by British royalty. The DVD contains Dolby Digital sound, a short on how animated films are made called "The Making of a Cartoon," previews of other titles in the series in an enticing 3-D maze, and chapter search. It's rare to find films with a strong female heroine that children can understand and enjoy. This is highly recommended as a compliment to the Disney version of this tale, and for those interested in Indian culture and/or feminism.
PRINCE OF THE NILE: THE STORY OF MOSES (Madacy Entertainment Group, Inc., 50 minutes) The classic Bible tale of Moses is retold here in a budget priced animated feature. Moses is followed from his childhood days through the years and focuses on the parting of the Red Sea and how Moses became a leader eventually chosen by God to take his people to the Promised Land. The DVD contains Dolby Digital sound, a 3-D maze that contains previews of other titles in this series, chapter search and a short called "The Making of a Cartoon." This is an excellent way to get small children interested in the Bible and in history. Well done.
PUMP UP THE VOLUME (New Line Home Video, 102 minutes) Christian Slater stars in this memorable film about a shy teenager who is a popular high school disc jockey on a pirate radio station. Since he uses a handle on the air, few know his true identity until he exposes his corrupt school principal. She calls in the FCC to shut him down and he has only the support of students to help him. The DVD contains choice of widescreen (1.85:1) and standard presentations of the film, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, theatrical trailer, interactive menus, cast and crew filmographies, and chapter search. A timely film, this raises issues of free speech, and will keep you thinking long after it ends. Highly recommended for fans of Slater, those interested in pirate radio, high school films and/or censorship issues.
ROGUE TRADER (Miramax Home Entertainment, 102 minutes) Ewan McGregor and Anna Friel star in this dramatic film, based on a true story, about a futures trader who is believed to be a huge success by his employer, and is transferred to Singapore and given a promotion. Meanwhile he is covering up losses and mismanaging funds, and eventually loses so much of the banks' money that they have to file for bankruptcy. The DVD contains a widescreen print of the film (1.85:1) which has been enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs, Dolby Digital audio, and chapter search. This excellent look at how someone can innocently become a criminal will appeal to those interested in crimes and deviance, the stock market in general, as well as fans of Ewan McGregor. Well done.
SENSELESS (Dimension Home Video, 93 minutes) Marlan Wayans and David Spade star in this comedy about two college students trying to get ahead. Both are chasing a dream job on Wall Street. One has a wealthy background, the right connections and clear goals, while the other is a street smart, poor but hard-working young man who takes part in medical experiments for income. He agrees to try a new drug for $3000, which involves altering his senses. Not fully aware of what he is in for, he begins to experience sensory overload and imagines this will give him a competitive edge. Unfortunately, it also gives him no control over certain senses at any given moment, and backfires at the worst possible times. Very well written, and superbly acted, this lighthearted film is quite unforgettable. The DVD includes a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound, and chapter search. Highly recommended for fans of the actors, and anyone looking for an amusing film which is memorable and full of laughs.
SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (Miramax Home Entertainment, 122 minutes) Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Affleck, Joseph Fiennes and Geoffrey Rush star in this romantic comedy which won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actress. The plot is a fictionalized account of the life of William Shakespeare during the time he wrote what was to become Romeo and Juliet. Paltrow plays a society woman who sees one of Shakespeare's plays, and decides to pursue acting and theatrical life. Back then only men could act, so she dresses up as a man, gets to know Shakespeare, and the two fall in love. Recognizing it cannot be, they each part ways when the play is over feeling vastly richer for having known each other. The DVD includes a widescreen print of the film (2.35:1) which has been enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, audio commentary track by John Madden, second audio commentary track with cast and crew, French language track, deleted scenes, theatrical trailer, TV spots, featurette called "Shakespeare In Love And On Film," and chapter search. Extremely well written, this will capture you whether or not you have any prior interest in Shakespeare, playwriting and/or the theatre. It's so well done that by the time the film is over, you will walk away with a renewed interest in Shakespeare and his plays.
SMASHING TIME (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 96 minutes) Lynn Redgrave, Rita Tushingham, Michael York, and Ian Carmichael star in this mod 1970s film about two women who decide to have a mod adventure in swinging London. They begin as cocktail waitresses and dishwashers, but soon one becomes a recording star and the other becomes a model with the "face of the 70s." They are then separated for awhile, and when they meet again each has grown and changed but both agree that even smashing times must end. The DVD contains a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), Dolby Digital sound and chapter search. This is a must for fans of the 60s and 70s counterculture, as there are lots of shots of Carnaby Street and London during the 70s, along with great costumes and classic moments. The film will also appeal to those interested in any of the actors, as well as films where women bond.
SPACE ACE (Digital Leisure, Inc.) There still aren't very many video games available on DVD, and most of those are still limited to those with DVD players inside their PCs. Here, thankfully, is a classic game that is playable on machines attached to televisions. Animated by Don Bluth, who went on to be involved with many hit films, this includes all of the scenes from the original laser disc arcade game. The plot concerns a superhero that is armed with only a laser gun. His girlfriend has been kidnapped by an evil commander named Borf, who is planning to take over planet Earth using a weapon called Infanto Ray which turns everyone it hits into a helpless baby. He must get her back, stay alive, and save the world while his true fate lies in your hands. The DVD contains a remastered copy of the game, interviews with Don Bluth and Rick Dyer who co-created the game, AC3 audio, trailers and an eight-page booklet with instructions on how to play and tips for success. You can only opt to watch the animation without actually playing if you always get stuck in the same spot, or want to see it from beginning to end uninterrupted. This is highly recommended for those who recall playing it in arcades, those eager to use their DVD players for things beyond watching films, and those who enjoy Don Bluth's animation style. Well done.
SPIRITUAL EARTH: CRYSTAL WATER (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 30 minutes) Fans of new age music and/or sea life will enjoy this relaxing and beautifully photographed adventure into the Antarctic Ocean. Featuring original music by Nick Wood and special performances by Jon Hassell on three songs, this combines natural history footage with the mysteries of the animals and fish that live underwater in the coldest waters in the world. The DVD includes Dolby Digital sound, chapter search and a 16-page paper booklet full of factual information about the Antarctic Ocean and its fish. Highly recommended, despite its short length, as either background for a romantic dinner or to watch with the whole family.
SUMMER OF SAM (Touchstone Home Video, 142 minutes) Spike Lee directed this thought-provoking look at New York City in 1977, during the time the Son of Sam serial killer was loose and had New Yorkers in a panic. John Leguizamo, Mira Sorvino, Ben Gazzara, Anthony La Paglia, Jennifer Esposito and Adrien Brody star in this fictional portrayal of an Italian neighborhood and how news of the killings affects its residents. It's hard for people who didn't live in New York then to realize what an amazing job Lee does here of portraying the death of disco, and people's paranoia about people they had known for years. I was away at college in New York State that summer, but came to the city several times, and each time I was given advice by cab drivers, people in restaurants, and friends on how not to become a target. The city was obsessed with these killings, the newspaper headlines on the disc's cover are all too familiar to me, and those intrigued by serial killers would do well to see this story about the reality of such killings not only on the actual victims, but on those who recognize that but for the grace of God it could have been them instead. The DVD contains a widescreen print of the film (1.85:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, theatrical trailer and chapter search. Certainly one of Lee's finest films, this is a must-see if you lived in New York then, are interested in serial killers, enjoy any of the actors, and/or are interested in the gray areas of tolerance and alternative lifestyles. Highly recommended.
SUPERCOP 2 (Dimension Home Video, 94 minutes) Michelle Yeoh and Jackie Chan star in this action thriller about a woman asked to help stop a sudden crime wave in Hong Kong. As she investigates the thieves, she discovers they are being led by her own boyfriend, who has recently been discharged from the police force. She must overcome her emotions to do the right thing and use all of her martial arts talents as well. One of the rare action films which relies on special effects using the actors own hands and legs, this is a must for those interested in martial arts, police movies, and of course those who have seen the original film this is based on. Chan has a small role here, but it's Yeoh who carries the film and she is superb as well as an excellent role model. The DVD contains a widescreen print of the film (1.85:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound, and chapter search. Well done for its genre.
TEACHING MRS. TINGLE (Dimension Home Video, 95 minutes) Written and directed by Kevin Williamson, this superb black comedy stars Katie Holmes, Helen Mirren, Jeffrey Tambor, Barry Watson, and Molly Ringwald. The plot involves a high school teacher who picks on a student who tries to defend herself but is unsuccessful. She then conspires with her friends to teach the teacher a lesson that gets out of hand quite quickly. One of Williamson's best films, this sleeper is one of those rare films full of nonstop plot twists where you can't even imagine what is going to happen next. The DVD contains a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1) which has been enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, DTS audio, theatrical trailer and chapter search. Highly recommended for anyone interested in black comedy, any of the actors, and/or who has ever hated one of their teachers.
THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 98 minutes) George C. Scott and Joanne Woodward star in this romantic comedy about a retired judge who is convinced that he is Sherlock Holmes. He comes under the care of a psychiatrist and she follows him into Manhattan as he searches for an enemy of his. Drawn together by danger, they also fall in love. A unique film that questions whether alternate views of reality can be right, this has several memorable scenes you won't quickly forget. The DVD contains a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1) which has been enhanced for widescreen TVs and which contains extra footage not in the original theatrical release, Dolby Digital mono audio, audio commentary track with the director and film archivist Robert A. Harris, a featurette called "Madness Is Beautiful," theatrical trailer, talent bios and chapter search. This will appeal to those interested in Sherlock Holmes, mental illness, romantic comedies and/or fans of the actors.
THIN LINE BETWEEN LOVE AND HATE, A (New Line Home Video, 108 minutes) Martin Lawrence and Lynn Whitfield star in this urban comedy about a man who considers himself a lady-killer. He meets his match and mistakenly tries to say all of the right things to the wrong woman. The DVD contains choice of widescreen (2.35:1) and standard presentations of the film, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, audio commentary track by Producer George Jackson, theatrical trailer, interactive menus, cast and crew filmographies, and chapter search. This is a sophisticated and funny film in which a jerk finally gets put in his place. Well done.
THREE LITTLE PIGS, THE (Madacy Entertainment Group, Inc., 50 minutes) This animated children's film presents a modern day version of the classic story. Recommended for children ages 4 to 9, this presents the story of George, Marko and Joe who are three little pigs who keep having their house blown down by a big bad wolf. They enlist the help of Mr. Beaver, Miss Robin and Mr. Mole to teach the wolf a lesson and stop their problem once and for all. The DVD contains Dolby Digital sound, a short called "The Making Of A Cartoon" which focuses on the making of the animated film Anna and the King, chapter search and secret previews in a 3-D maze. If you enjoy animation this is a must for the short alone, which runs five minutes and shows the process from start to completion. This budget-priced feature will certainly absorb children of the right age group and is highly recommended for them.
TRIAL AND ERROR (New Line Home Video, 99 minutes) Michael Richards, Charlize Theron, Rip Torn and Jeff Daniels star in this romantic comedy about an attorney who is sent to a small town to defend a con artist just a few days before his wedding. His best friend surprises him by going too and planning a bachelor party the attorney needs like a hole in the head. After agreeing to just one drink, the attorney soon finds himself unable to appear in court on time. So the best friend, an actor, appears instead, convinces the court he is an attorney and proceeds to try the case while the real attorney struggles to set things right. Meanwhile his path keeps crossing with a local waitress who he falls for right before he is supposed to marry someone else. The DVD contains choice of widescreen (2:1) and standard presentations of the film, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, theatrical trailer, cast and crew filmographies, interactive menus and chapter search. This is a must for anyone who has ever had too much to drink, works as an attorney and/or enjoys any of the actors.
VERY THOUGHT OF YOU, THE (Miramax Home Entertainment, 85 minutes) Monica Potter, Rufus Sewell, Tom Hollander, Ray Winstone and Joseph Fiennes star in this romantic comedy about three men who are friends, until they each inadvertently fall for the same woman. It happens innocently enough when a woman gets bored with her life and decides to start anew in London. One man meets her at the airport and tries to buy a seat next to her, and the others meet her and fall in love instantly too without knowing their friend already has his eye on her. Full of outrageous schemes by the men to get her attention, this is cute, lighthearted fun for when you just want to relax for awhile. The DVD contains a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), which has been enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs, Dolby Digital sound, and chapter search. Highly recommended for fans of the actors, those who like entangled relationships, and anyone looking for something cute to relax to.
ZACHARIAH (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 93 minutes) Don Johnson, John Rubinstein, Country Joe and The Fish, The James Gang and Elvin Jones star in this cult classic that is best described as an electric western. Featuring rock stars in a western film, the plot involves a man and his friend who decide to go hunt down a group of bandits after one of them gets a mail order gun. While the bandits (played by Country Joe) are performing, a cowboy picks a fight with Zachariah, who uses his new gun, kills the cowboy and fancies himself a stud. He then continues travelling with his pal hunting down other outlaws and having psychedelic adventures. Doug Kershaw also has a role here, and the script was written by members of the Firesign Theatre. The DVD contains a widescreen print of the film (1.85:1), Dolby Digital sound, and chapter search. Out of print for years, this probably won't appeal to fans of traditional westerns, but it's a must for those who like the actors, any of the musicians, and/or the comedic talents of the Firesign Theatre.