REVIEWS BY NETTA GILBOA & CHRISTOPHER SCHANOT
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.
AMERICAN STEAM: THE ULTIMATE RAIL EXPERIENCE (Madacy Entertainment Group, Inc., 180 minutes) This three disc boxed set, also available individually, contains a video tour of some of America's legendary steam trains. Included is 16mm footage of steam action from the Union Pacific, Duluth Missable & Iron Range, and Norfolk and Western trains, and scenes from the final runs of Norfolk & Western's 1218. From Tom A. Strid's collection there is footage of Union Pacific Big Boys, Duluth, Missable & Iron Range articulates & Northeastern as well as steam trains from other parts of the country in the 50s and 60s including 4-8-8-4 and 2-8-0s. The third disc offers steam locomotives of the 60s and early 70s including Strasburg, Conway Scenic Railroad, Canadian Pacific, and Morris County Central. Besides lots of footage of these trains in motion, the discs also offer information about famous trains, train robberies, famous railways, an interactive trivia game, interactive titles, Dolby Digital sound and chapter search. A remarkable collection for those who have either ridden on these very trains or who wish to show others what it was like. Well done.
ARMAGEDDON (Touchstone Home Video, 151 minutes) Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton and Liv Tyler star in this sci-fi action adventure film about a group of people who agree to try to stop a meteor headed for Earth which is set to land and destroy the world in 18 days. Full of special effects, edge-of your-seat suspense, great plot and acting and lots of emotion, this blockbuster title is highly recommended. If you own a projection TV, or a killer sound system, this is one of those films that will do your system justice. The DVD includes a digitally mastered widescreen print of the film, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, French language track, two trailers, the Aerosmith music video "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing," and chapter search. Highly recommended for those who like Bruce Willis or any of the other actors, sci-fi films, and/or special effects extravaganzas.
BEWARE! CHILDREN AT PLAY (Troma Entertainment, Inc.) This cult horror film is about a cannabilistic cult which uses the children of a small town and transforms them into killing machines. Full of extras, this disc includes a director's commentary, introduction by Lloyd Kaufman, a Troma Intelligence Test, an interactive tour of Troma Studios, interactive menus, theatrical trailer, trailers for other Troma releases, adult film star Ron Jeremy segment, and Troma's Edge TV. This is well done and sure to delight horror fans.
BURDON, ERIC AND THE NEW ANIMALS: LIVE AT THE COUCH HOUSE (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 100 minutes) Recorded in 1998, this music DVD includes 13 songs and a band which features Aynsley Dunbar, Dean Restum, David Meros, Neal Morse and, of course, Eric Burdon. Song titles include: "Don't Bring Me Down," "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," "It's My Life," "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place," "Paint It Black," "Roadhouse Blues," "Spill The Wine" and "House Of The Rising Sun." Burdon looks and sounds great here and the DVD offers 5.1 Dolby Digital sound, chapter search and a paper booklet inside the box with three pages of liner notes about Burdon's career. Highly recommended for anyone who remembers these songs, enjoys classic rock and/or music with a great beat.
CELEBRATING BIRD: THE TRIUMPH OF CHARLIE PARKER (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 59 minutes) This documentary takes a look at virtuoso saxophonist Charlie Parker. Parker spent much of his life addicted to heroin, and this film traces his roots from his birth in 1920 to his rise to fame in the New York jazz scene of the 1950s. Included is a rare television clip, photographs, interviews with people who knew Parker such as Dizzy Gillespie, a critic, his first wife, etc. Many of Parker's songs are included here as well as lots of historical information about how music changed when the Swing Era gave way to bebop and jazz began to flourish. While there are no extras here other than Dolby Digital sound and chapter search, this is highly recommended for music fans and music historians of all ages.
COUSIN BETTE (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Inc., 110 minutes) Jessica Lange, Elisabeth Shue and Bob Hoskins star in this film, set in Paris, abouta scorned woman who seeks revenge by using another woman as a sexual temptress. Trapping almost everyone she knows, Bette watches as adultery, financial disasters, duels and even murder occur. The DVD version includes a widescreen print of the film (1.85:1), interactive menus, chapter search, Spanish subtitles, and the original theatrical trailer. This is well done and will delight those who love revenge films, and/or great acting and plots.
CRAZY SIX (Sterling Home Entertainment, 94 minutes) Rob Lowe, Ice-T, Burt Reynolds and Mario Van Peebles star in this powerful film about two rival Mafia families who agree to cooperate in order to overthrow the leader of a large crime cartel.Things go wrong however, leaving three top gangsters to fight to the finish. The DVD includes Dolby sound, interactive menus, production notes, trailer and chapter search. Great plot, great acting, and lots of tension to keep you hanging until the very end.
DON'T BE A MENACE (Miramax Home Entertainment, 89 minutes) Shawn Wayans and Marlon Wayans star in this superb comedy about growing up in the 'hood. Made by the creator of In Living Color, this is packed full of laughs, poignant moments, biting satire and outrageous fun. The DVD contains a digitally mastered widescreen presentation of the film, Dolby Surround sound, and chapter search, but it's so self-explanatory it doesn't need any other extras to amuse you. This is highly recommended for anyone with a sense of humor. It's surely one of the best recent comedy films available on DVD.
DRAGON'S LAIR (Digital Leisure Inc.) Available in two versions, one for those with DVD players inside their computers and one for those with tabletop sets, this legendary game comes to DVD with a bang. One of only three video games in the Smithsonian collection, this title has been completely remastered for DVD, features AC3 sound, an interview with Don Bluth and Rick Dyer who co-created the game, and offers a choice of playing the game or just watching it walk through the game for you. If you choose to play, you are Dirk the Daring who is on a quest to rescue a princess from an evil dragon. Full of incredible animation by Bluth who later went on to make such films as Anastasia, The Land Before Time and American Tail, this was the first animated video game in history and is still amazing today even though it was originally released well over a decade ago. It's never looked better than it does here on DVD and is highly recommended for those whose collections includes only movies, as well as for those who love video games and have played this one in other formats before. Also coming in the next few months from this company are Space Ace and Dragon's Lair II: Timewarp. I, for one, am waiting with baited breath.
EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY (Artisan Entertainment, Inc., 99 minutes) Geena Davis, Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans, Jeff Goldblum, and Julie Brown star in this sci-fi oriented musical comedy about three aliens who land in Los Angeles and set out to meet earth girls and have fun. The DVD version contains a digitally remastered widescreen print of the film (16:9), 2.0 Dolby Surround sound, chapter search, interactive menus, Spanish subtitles, theatrical trailer, production notes, cast and crew information, Karaoke, additional scenes and a segment called Earth Girls TV. Notable as one of Carrey's first films, this is a well done disc that should be a part of every comedy collection.
EMMA (Miramax Home Entertainment,121 minutes) Gwyneth Paltrow stars in this comedy based on the same story that insprired the hit movie Clueless. The plot involves a woman who sets out to set up all of her single friends. In the process she falls in love herself, and manages to make a mess of all of her friends lives. The DVD includes a digitally mastered widescreen print of the film, Dolby Surround sound, chapter search and theatrical trailer. Very funny, this is highly recommended to anyone who loves comedy and romance films.
EXPERIENCE THE DEEP (Madacy Entertainment Group, Inc., 48 minutes) This budget priced title offers a feature film showing the many species of fish that can be found underwater, as well as providing soothing music to help you relax as you watch the pretty fish and colors. It works, and watching this after a car accident definitely helped us unwind. There's perhaps no higher praise one can give a relaxation tape. The DVD also includes an animated section of fish jokes, Dolby Digital sound, trivia quiz with video clips, fact page, Anemone fact page, interactive menus and chapter search. Well done and recommended for those who love fish, diving, or relaxation tapes in general.
FRANK SINATRA (Brentwood Home Video, 105 minutes) Included on this disc are two programs, a Hollywood Hall of Fame episode on Sinatra and the thriller film Suddenly starring Frank Sinatra and Sterling Hayden. The disc also includes an interactive trivia quiz on Sinatra, interactive menus, chapter search and stereo hi-fi sound. Those interested in Sinatra will find this an excellent value as it both includes a documentary about his life, and a film which gives an example of his acting ability. Well done.
GETTIN' LUCKY (Vivid Interactive, 360 minutes) In this adult title, a female escort in New Jersey is sent to impersonate an important client's wife. All hell breaks loose, and needless to say there is lots of sex as well. Stars include Tia Bella, Marc Wallice, Johnni Black, Roxanne Hall and Nick East. The DVD also includes multiple angles technology which allows you to select how to view the sex scenes, interactive phone sex, information on the Vivid girls, no regional coding, previews of other Vivid titles and footage from the AVN awards show. On the flip side of the disc are even more extras including a bloopers real from many Vivid films. Inside the box are a paper catalog of other Vivid titles and a paper poster of the Vivid girls. Well done.
GODSON, THE (Sterling Home Entertainment, 100 minutes) Rodney Dangerfield, Dom DeLuise and Kevin McDonald star in this comedy about a son who inherits a powerful position in the Mafia which he is simply not smart enough to handle. This causes a rival family to attempt a takeover which results in much danger, double-crossing and pasta eating. In addition to the film, the DVD offers Dolby sound, interactive menus, Spanish subtitles, production notes and trailer. Very funny, and sure to delight Rodney Dangerfield's many fans.
HAMBURGER HILL (Artisan Entertainment, Inc., 110 minutes) Billing itself as the most realistic portrayal of the Vietnam War ever filmed, this grim film wisely chooses to focus on its plot and not on using big name actors to soften the blow. Full of desperation and futility, as war leaves its participants, this takes you into the action with people fighting and dying so you can ponder what war solves, and at what cost. The DVD version contains a digitally mastered widescreen print of the film (16:9), 5.1 Dolby Digital Remix sound, chapter search and the theatrical trailer. Well done.
HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, THE (Hollywood Pictures Home Video, 110 minutes) Rebecca De Mornay and Annabella Sciorra star in this edge-of-your-seat thriller about a disturbed woman who becomes a live-in hoursekeeper to a family. She wants their life, and sets about to destroy them to get what she wants. The DVd version includes a digitally mastered widescreen print of the film (1.85:1), Dolby Digital Surround sound, French language track, chapter search and theatrical trailer. Chilling, realistic, and absorbing, this thriller is one of a growing genre of disturbed female leads out to seek revenge. One of the better films of its kind, this is well done and recommended for those who like thrillers or revenge films.
HART, MICKEY: INDOSCRUB (Rykodisc USA) Longtime Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart produced this DVD music single which lists for the bargain price of only $7.98. Included are two songs from the album Supralingua, a nine minute video interview with Hart about the Planet Drum band, the recording and about being a musician, and a web link to Rykodisc's web site. The videos include time-lapse photography done by Chuck Fishbein and hold your interest for more than one viewing. Of special note is that the DVD offers a choice of DTS 5.1 Surround sound, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound, and 24-bit/96kHz Stereo mix. This allows high-fidelity enthusiasts to play with their home stereos and determine which type of sound they prefer as well as determining which their stereo system is capable of playing. There are very few DTS DVDs out so far, and this is surely one of the cheapest which makes the disc of great interest to more than just Deadheads, fellow musicians, fans of world music and/or those who love time-lapse photography in general. Highly recommended.
HOLLYWOOD TOUGH GUYS (Madacy Entertainment Group, Inc., 248 minutes) This budget priced boxed set is also available individually and includes three discs and three films. Included are: Call It Murder which stars Humphrey Bogart, Blood On The Sun which stars James Cagney and The Red House which stars Edward G. Robinson. The DVDs include Dolby Digital sound, an interactive trivia game, interactive menus, a biography of Tough Guys, a filmography and a section called "Signs of the Times." This is an outstanding value for those who love old black and white films and is highly recommended.
HOMMAGE A NOIR (Palm Pictures, 48 minutes) Shot on location in Cameroon, Africa, this fascinating black and white documentary explores the people of contemporary Africa. Ranging from nobility to the poor, this includes no dialogue but rather a musical soundtrack of rhythms and electronic sounds. The DVD also includes 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound, chapter search, web link, an interview with the director, biography, and photo gallery. Well done and certainly of great interest to those from Africa, historians and parents who want to communicate messages that Black is Beautiful to their families.
IN COLD SWEAT (Vivid Interactive, 240 minutes) Jon Dough makes his directing debut with this adult film which stars Dyanna Lauren, Stacy Valentine, Steven St. Croix, Mark Davis, Stephanie Swift and Monique DeMoan. It's about a beautiful blond who comes to Hollywood to be an aerobics instructor only to find herself dragged down by both her sister and her checkered past. The DVD also includes multiple angle technology which allows you to choose how to view the sex scenes, interactive phone sex, information of the Vivid girls, no regional coding, previews of other Vivid titles, interactive menus and chapter search. On the other side of the disc are even more extras, including bloopers from many Vivid films. Inside the box is a paper catalog of other Vivid titles and a paper poster of the Vivid girls. This is well done, which is not surprising considering how much experience Jon Dough has had in front of the camera. Highly recommeded for those who seek adult films with plots.
JET PINK: THE PINK PANTHER CARTOON COLLECTION (MGM Home Entertainment Inc., 51 minutes) Here are eight vintage color cartoons featuring the Pink Panther, including "Jet Pink," "In The Pink Of The Night," "Little Beaux Pink," "Pet Pink Pebbles," "Pink Blueprint," "The Pink Phink," "Toro Pink" and "Think Before You Pink." These are sophisticated cartoons which appeal to children but are clearly designed for adults. The DVD offers Dolby Digital mono sound, French subtitles, a four page paper booklet on the birth and evolution of the Pink Panther character, and chapter search. Hopefully MGM will release all of the Pink Panther cartoons, but in the meantime here are eight of the best to enjoy. Highly recommended.
KILL ME MONSTER (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 78 minutes) Janine Reynaud and Rossana Yanni star in this cult film about a professor conducting experiments to create a new race of supermen. Two women stumble onto this and try to infiltrate the scene to steal the formula used to create the supermen. The DVD includes a widescreen presentation of the film (1.66:1), theatrical trailer and chapter search. A must for fans of cult films, camp and horror titles, this title is full of fun entertainment ideal for those not in the mood for a tear-jerker or something deep that must be analyzed afterwards.
KOBE'S TIE (Vivid Interactive) Offering four full hours of adult entertainment, this title stars Kobe Tai, Brooke Ashley, Johnni Black, Mark Davis and Marc Wallice. The DVD includes multiple angles so you can pick how you wish to view the sex scenes, interactive telephone sex, previews of other Vivid titles, information about the Vivid girls, interactive menus, no regional coding, chapter search and footage of the AVN awards. On the other side of the disc are many minutes of great outtakes from Vivid's films, Vivid's MTV ads, and an interactive room with sex scenes featuring Kobe Tai. Inside the box is a paper poster of the Vivid girls as well as a paper catalog displaying other Vivid titles available. This is highly recommended to Kobe Tai's many fans, as well as those curious as to how adult films are shot. The outtakes alone are worth the price of the disc for what they reveal and for entertainment value. Well done.
MARILYN MONROE: MEMORIES AND MYSTERIES (Brentwood Home Video, 125 minutes) Those fascinated by Monroe will enjoy this disc which offers three segments entitled "Hollywood Hall Of Fame," "The Suicide - Fact or Fiction," and "Hometown Story" which was filmed in 1951. In addition to the above content, the disc also features an interactive quiz on Monroe, interactive menus and chapter search. Ideal for those curious as to what all the hoopla is about, as well as Monroe's many fans, and conspiracy theory lovers, this is well done, and full of footage of Marilyn and analysis about her life without being sensationalistic.
METROPOLITAN OPERA, THE: CENTENNIAL GALA (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 231 minutes) On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Metropolitan Opera House, in 1983, almost 100 different singers, conductors and orchestra members performed for over eight hours. The best moments are included in this lengthy disc, and the portions offered are uncut. Also included is the use of Dolby Digital sound, chapter search, a scene by scene synopsis, and a section called "A Century of the Met." This will be highly prized by opera and classical music lovers.
MILO (Sterling Home Entertainment, 91 minutes) In this horror film from the creator of Anaconda, four young girls witness a classmate who dies at the hands of a boy named Milo. Milo then mysteriously disappears. Sixteen years later the girls are reunited for a wedding when, surprise, the nightmare of Milo returns. The DVD contains interactive menus, Spanish subtitles, production notes, and trailer. Those who enjoy films like Friday The 13th, Prom Night and Halloween will love Milo too. Well done.
MINDGAMES (NuTech Digital, Inc.) Tiffany Million, Sarah Jane Hamilton, P.J. Sparxx, Stacy Nicholes and Jon Dough star in this adult film about a woman with a somewhat demented mind who has family problems. She hears sounds from the vent from the room next door and imagines things involving, of course, lots of sex scenes. While there are no extras other than chapter search, one doesn't need them to grasp the plot here. Sure to be enjoyed by fans of Tiffany Million and those who like films that quickly get to the good parts.
MOCEAN WORKER: DETONATOR/DIAGNOSIS (Palm Pictures, 8 minutes) This music video which accompanies the Palm Pictures CD Mixed Emotional Features contains two songs, "Detonator" and "Diagnosis." The accompanying visuals are fascinating and make extensive use of car crashes with what appear to be test cars. This is short but sweet, and I ended up watching it twice in a row. The disc includes 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, an artist/director commentary track, artist interview and bio, web link, and chapter search. Inexpensively priced, this hopefully marks the beginning of a new trend to commemorate every good audio release with a musical DVD sampler. Well done.
MONSTER IN THE CLOSET (Troma Entertainment, Inc.) A serial killer stalks San Francisco and seems to be killing victims in their own closets. Finally the President declares a state of emergency and sends the army in to kill the monster. Both funny and scary, this is full of special effects and campy moments. The DVD version includes production stills, theatrical trailer, an interactive tour of Troma Studios, a Troma Intelligence Test, the premiere episode of the Toxic Crusaders TV show, trailers for other Troma releases, and a link to Troma's web site. Well done.
MOUSEHUNT (DreamWorks Home Entertainment, 98 minutes) This comedy film is about two brothers who inherit a crumbling mansion which turns out to be worth millions. They decide to sell it but before they can do so they need to rid the house of a pesky mouse. It's not as simple as it sounds and the mouse gets the better of them, and the house, in the end. The DVD includes an anamorphic widescreen print of the film (1.85:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, deleted scenes, production notes, foreign subtitles, chapter search, theatrical trailers and cast and filmmakers'bios. This is a cute, humorous film without the expected ending of the mouse dying, and the DVD is extremely well done and highly recommended even to those most picky about the quality of transfer and extras.
MY TEACHER'S WIFE (Trimark Home Video, 89 minutes) Tia Carrere, Christopher McDonald and Jason London star in this film about a student failing math who hires a tutor. She turns out to be both beautiful and his math teacher's wife. Can he keep his mind on learning math with her beside him? The DVD version contains a digitally remastered standard format print of the film, Dolby stereo sound, interactive menus, foreign subtitles, chapter search, cast information and the film's trailer. This will appeal to those who like films about high school students, as well as fans of Tia Carrere.
NAVY SEALS: AMERICA'S SECRET WARRIORS (Brentwood Home Video, 125 minutes) Prepared with the cooperation of the U.S. Navy and the Special Warfare Center, this tape takes a realistic look at what Navy Seals do, how they train and gives lots of information about thier weapon, the Stoner Machine Gun. There is also an interview with a former Seal Lieutenant who discusses the SEAL platoon he led in Vietnam. Those interested in war, history, the military and/or violence will enjoy this informative disc.
ONCE UPON A TIME...WHEN WE WERE COLORED (Artisan Entertainment/Republic Entertainment, Inc., 113 minutes) Phylicia Rashad, Al Freeman, Jr. and Leon star in this uplifting story about a small southern town and its residents back in the days when the ku Klux Klan terrorized the streets and African American children grew up seeing "White Only" messages. This will be enjoyed by anyone who loves positive messages, great acting, American history and/or efforts to combat racism. Also stars Isaac Hayes, Taj Mahal, Polly Bergen, Damon Hines and Richard Roundtree. The DVD version includes a digitally mastered widescreen print of the film (1.85:1), 2.0 Dolby Surround sound, chapter search and theatrical trailer. Highly recommended.
ORIGINAL SIN (Vivid Interactive) Loaded with talent, this adult title stars Raxquel Darrian, Alexandra Silk, Asia Carrera, Vince Voyeur, Ember Haze and Randy Spears. This two sided disc contains over four hours of material, setting a new record for the amount of material pressed onto one DVD. Extras include multiple angle technology to let you select how you wish to view the sex scenes, interactive chapter search, no regional coding, previews of other Vivid titles, information on the many Vivid girls, interactive telephone sex and footage from the AVN awards show. On the other side of the disc are more features including outtakes from Vivid's films. Inside the box is a paper poster of the Vivid girls as well as a paper catalog of other titles available. This offers an excellent value for the money, as well as the talents of some of the best actors in the adult film business. This is an excellent package and the outtakes are worth the prices of the disc alone. Well done.
OVERBOARD (MGM Home Entertainment Inc., 112 minutes) Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell star in this screwball comedy about a rich bitch who treats the help like trash. After she hires a contractor to expand her closet and then renigs on paying him, she accidentally falls overboard and suffers from amnesia. He takes advantage of the situation by convincing her she is married to him and having her take care of his four children for as long as possible. This film is very funny and very believable too, and Hawn and Russell (who live together in real life) make a great screen team. The DVD also includes Dolby Digital surround sound, French subtitles, a four page booklet with trivia and production notes, theatrical trailer and chapter search. One of Hawn's best films, this is highly recommended for anyone who likes comedies.
PEACEMAKER, THE (DreamWorks Home Entertainment, 124 minutes) George Clooney and Nicole Kidman star in this thriller about two people who combine their efforts to stop a nuclear terrorist who is stealing weapons and covering his tracks by causing accidents. Full of action, special effects, great acting and an edge-of-your-seat plot, this superb film is enhanced with a DVD full of extras. The DVD includes an anamorphic widescreen copy of the film (2.35:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound, deleted scenes, stunt footage, production notes, chapter search, foreign subtitles, theatrical trailers and cast and filmmakers' bios. Well done.
PEBBLE AND THE PENGUIN, THE (MGM Home Entertainment Inc., 74 minutes) In this animated tale about penguins, eligible male penguins present a stone to the female penguin they wish to be with. A shy penguin has found the perfect stone, but is not sure the penguin he wishes to give it to is interested, and he must compete with many other penguins, as well as the elements, to give her the stone. In the end he learns it's not the stone that is important, but rather the penguin behind the stone. Featuring the voices of Tim Curry, Barry Manilow, Martin Short and James Belushi, this heartwarming film will delight people of all ages. The DVD also includes 5.1 Dolby Digital sound, French subtitles, a four page paper booklet about the film, theatrical trailer and chapter search. Highly recommended for those who love animation and/or animals.
PI (Artisan Entertainment Inc., 85 minutes) Filmed in black and white for emphasis, this cult sci-fi thriller is about a math whiz who has been working for ten years in order to crack the numerical patterns of the stock market. As he gets closer, he begins to be pursued by those who also want the information which include a Wall Street firm and a religious sect who wishes to use the code to unlock their own religious texts. The DVD version includes a digitally mastered Widescreen print of the film. 2.0 Dolby Surround audio, director's commentary track, a second commentary track by the actors, lost scenes, chapter search, interactive menus, theatrical trailers, behind-the-scenes montage, a music video, production notes and cast and crew information. This is a superb film which will interest anyone who loves conspiracy theories, math, cult films and/or the stock market. Highly recommended.
POSTMORTEM (Sterling Home Entertainment, 105 minutes) Charlie Sheen stars in this superb thriller about a serial killer profiler who decides to leave his field and become a novelist. Alas, the town he chooses to go write his novel in is being stalked by a serial killer who creates obituaries of his victims before he actually kills them. His rampage forces the novelist back into the life he is trying so hard to walk away from. The DVD includes Dolby sound, interactive menus, production notes, chapter search, Spanish subtitles and the original trailer. Well done.
REAL HEROES IN ACTION (Brentwood Home Video, 125 minutes) Focusing on police officers and fire fighters, this DVD includes interviews and real action videos which show the realities of fighting fires, chasing drunk drivers, being involved in fist fights while trying to arrest people, etc. Not filmed for TV, this is perhaps more realistic footage andparental discretion is advised due to the amount of violence and uncensored footage included. In addition to segments on Mean Street Police, Police Encounters, Ultimate Firefighters, and Ultimate Fires, there are two bonus sections of Police Action Highlights and Fire Facts. Will appeal to those who fight crime, those who have been victims themselves and those who enjoy viewing violence as well.
SANCTUARY (Sterling Home Entertainment, 104 minutes) A former government assassin decides to quit and instead become active with his Church, but his old organization finds him and won't leave him alone. He finds himself needing the deadly skills he renounced in order to save himself from their clutches. The DVD includes interactive menus, theatrical trailer, Spanish subtitles, chapter search and production notes. Mark Dacascos, Kylie Travis and Jaimz Woolvett star in this better than average action film.
SHAME (Vivid Interactive) Kaitlyn Ashley, Leena, Asia Carrera, Dyanna Lauren, Debi Diamond, Vince Voyeur, Mike Horner and Steve Drake star in this adult film. Directed by Philip Christian, this film is an adult western based on the film Shane. Full of incredible cinematography, beautiful location shots, costumes, dialogue and plot development, this is a big-budget adult title that works. If you like westerns, or adult titles with a plit, this DVD will imress you. The DVD also includes multiple angle technology, VR technology, no regional coding, information on the many Vivid girls, previews of other Vivid titles, interactive telephone sex, interactive menus, chapter search, and footage of the AVN awards show. The box includes a paper poster of the Vivid girls and a paper catalog of other Vivid titles. Highly recommended as a change from the norm and to show you what the adult genre is capable of doing when it wants to.
SIX DAYS, SEVEN NIGHTS (Touchstone Home Video, 102 minutes) Harrison Ford, David Schwimmer and Anne Heche star in one of the best films of the year which is a action comedy about a couple who travel to a tropical island for a much needed vacation. Her employer asks her to hop on a plane to Tahiti, which gets stranded, and she and the pilot must both survive and somehow get back to civilization in one piece. Full of laughs, this has a strong plot and great acting. The DVD version contains a digitally mastered widescreen print of the film with 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, theatrical trailer, chapter search and French language track. Highly recommended.
SMALL SOLDIERS (DreamWorks Home Entertainment, 110 minutes) This superb family action film makes incredible use of computer animation and features the voices of Frank Langella and Tommy Lee Jones as well as acting by Phil Hartman, Kirsten Dunst, and Denis Leary. The plot involves a new toy which is released into the market with the use of a military chip which has no place in toys. The toy action figures are aggressive and deadly and they do a great deal of damage before they are eventually stopped in a plot reminiscent of Gremlins. The DVD contains a wealth of extras including an anamorphic widescreen print of the film ((2.35:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound, behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes, foreign subtitles, an interactive game demo, production notes, chapter search, theatrical trailer and cast and filmmakers' bios. A superb film made even better with these extras, this is highly recommended and a great first release from DreamWorks.
STRIP TO THE BONE (Palm Pictures) This superb disc features 13 music videos which utilize strippers from Los Angeles' Lady Street Cabaret and the music of Sly and Robbie. Directed by Jeff Stein, who has made music videos for The Cars, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, this offers a whole new approach to showing females stripping. There is heavy use of strobe lighting as well as 60s op art for background effects, and while the women are shown in traditional poses with showers, poles, etc., this is better than and unlike any other stripping title made. The DVD also includes 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound and chapter search. Well done.
SUCCUBUS (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 76 minutes) Billed as "THE sensual experience of '69," this compelling horror film is about a female nightclub dancer in Lisbon. She is schizophrenic, and starts to identify too heavily with the character she plays when she performs her stage act. Her manager, trying to help goes searching for the cause of her strange behavior and becomes entangled in a nightmare. The DVD contains a full frame presentation of the film (1.33:1), Dolby Digital sound, chapter search and the original theatrical trailer. Well done and a must for cult film lovers as well as fans of horror films that are more than just slice and dice.
TENCHI IN TOKYO (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 100 minutes) In this Japanese anime DVD four episodes are included which follow Tenchi as he goes to Tokyo to train to be his grandfather's successor as a Shrine master. He meets a new girl, Sakuya, who becomes his girlfriend and communicates long distance with friends and family left behind. Offering both Japanese and English subtitles, this DVD also includes interactive menu, chapter search, and conceptual drawings. This will delight teenagers and adults alike who like animation and/or anime.
TERMINAL VELOCITY (Hollywood Pictures Home Video, 102 minutes) Charlie Sheen, Nastassja Kinskiand Christopher McDonald star in this action-adventure film about a skydiving instructor who meets a woman who wants lessons from him, but then appears to die during a routine parachute jump. Sheen's character then finds himself involved with the Russian mafia in a film full of special effects, lots of skydiving scenes and nonstop action. The DVD includes a digitally mastered widescreen presentation of the film (2.35:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, French language track, theatrical trailer and chapter search. This is well done and will capture your attention from beginning to end. Recommended for Sheen fans, action film lovers and anyone with an interest in skydiving and flying.
TROMA EDGE DVD MAGAZINE Vol. 1 Issue 1 (Troma Entertainment, Inc.) This budget priced disc contains a wealth of trailers for Troma's cult releases as well as previews of titles one can only hope will be released later this year. In addition, there is a Troma Intelligence Test, and an intereractive tour of Troma studios. While I have a large collection of Troma titles, this disc contains trailers for many films I have yet to see and is worth having for that reason alone. Also notable is the disc itself which is by far the nicest DVD I own (out of over 600). It has a collage of Troma's best-known characters such as the Toxic Avenger and Sgt. Kabukiman which covers the entire top of the disc itself. This is definitely a labor of love which will delight horror, cult and exploitation film fans. Highly recommended.
TROMEO & JULIET (Troma Entertainment, Inc.) Filmed in Manhattan's underground, this cult film promises to include "all the body-piercing, kinky sex, and car crashes that Shakespeare wanted but never had!" Delivering on that promise, the film stars Will Keenan, Jane Jensen and Lemmy of Motorhead. Offering a cutting-edge soundtrack which includes Motorhead, Superchunk, Ass Ponys, Sublime, Unsane and The Meatmen, this title has been one of Troma's biggest commercial successes and with good reason. The DVD version includes a digitally remastered print of the film which is an unrated Director's cut, extra footage, a commentary by the stars of the film, a second commentary by Lloyd Kaufman, movie stills, theatrical trailer, a segment with Lemmy, an interactive tour of Troma Studios, a Troma Intelligence Test, a radiation march and public service announcement, chapter search, and more. This is one of Troma's best titles and is a must for those who have read Shakespeare, as well as those who like Motorhead, cult films, and/or violence. Well done and full of the kind of extras we wish every disc included.
ULTIMATE SPACE EXPERIENCE, THE (Madacy Entertainment Group, Inc., 48 minutes) This budget priced title was made with the cooperation of NASA and offers a look at the Apollo 13 mission, man's first steps on the moon, the lift-off of the Columbia and the explosion of the Challenger. The disc includes Dolby Digital sound, astronaut biographies, quotes, a trivia quiz, a Spaceman game which is a variant of Hangman, interactive menus, chapter search, and section on "Rocket Ships," "Living In Space," "Space Experiments," and "Man's First Steps." This is an educational and interesting way to teach a child about space exploration and will delight those already hooked too.
VERSADISC Vol. 1 No. 1 (Versatile Media One) To obtain a free subscription to this new DVD-only magazine visit www.dvd4u.com and fill out the online form. One side of this disc contains the film Telling Lies In America which stars Kevin Bacon. It's a period piece about payola in the music business and focuses on people involved with radio exposure of new records. The other side of the disc can only be viewed by those with DVD players inside their computers. It contains four music videos, three movie trailers and information on games, kid's stuff, etc. This side of the disc, which I helped to beta test, still has some problems including volume that is too loud, forcing itself into full-screen mode with no warning, and color bars across the introduction. However, there is great potential here and the series is well worth having for the free movies it offers. It's too late to still get this disc, but if you sign up now you will probably be in time for the next issue.
WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S (Artisan Entertainment Inc., 101 minutes) Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman star in this original comedy about two employees who discover their boss has embezzled from the company. He invites them to his summer home to discuss it in more detail, but upon arriving they discover someone has murdered him. Not interested in ruining the weekend by dealing with police and grief, they instead opt to drag the corpse around with them and have as much fun as they can. The DVD version includes a digitially remastered widescreen print of the film, 2.0 Dolby Surround sound, interactive menus, chapter search, Spanish subtitles, theatrical trailer, production notes and cast and crew information. This is highly recommended for originality and it's ability to make me smile every time I rewatch it.