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Gray Areas Magazine


GRAY AREAS MAGAZINE DVD REVIEWS SEPTEMBER 1999


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.



54 (Miramax Home Entertainment, 93 minutes) Neve Campbell, Ryan Phillipe, Mile Myers and Salma Hayek star in this film about New York's infamous Studio 54. The plot focuses on Steve Rubell who owned the business, as well as some of the non-celebrity patrons and employees. Myers is so good in his role it's hard to even imagine him as Austin Powers! Studio 54 was famous for its celebrity clientele, drug usage and sexual encounters on the premises, and for how many ordinary people wanted to get inside versus how few actually did. While several films have come out recently about the same club and time period, this is the best of the lot. The DVD includes a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, a music video and chapter search. This is highly recommended to those interested in the club scene, explorations of our fascination with celebrities, and fans of the actors.

200 CIGARETTES (Paramount Home Video, 101 minutes) An all-star cast including Ben Affleck, Courtney Love, Janeane Garofalo, Jay Mohr, and Martha Plimpton star in this comedy about a group of people looking for romance in New York's Greenwich Village on New Year's Eve 1981. The characters include a bartender, cab driver, teenybopper, hunk, poseur and various artists who all get invited to the same New Year's eve party. The DVD includes an anamorphic widescreen presentation of the film enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions, 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound, interactive menus and chapter search. It's hard to say who is best in this, since it's well-written, well cast and each of the actors does a superb job with the role they have been given. Highly recommended for those who enjoy comedy, hate New Year's Eve celebrations, and/or like any of these actors.

ALBINO ALLIGATOR (Miramax Home Entertainment, 94 minutes) Matt Dillon, Faye Dunaway, and Gary Sinise star in this action-thriller directed by Kevin Spacey. It's about a routine hold up which goes desperately wrong and leaves the criminal holding hostages in a local bar and fighting amongst themselves about what to do. There is lots of character development here, unexpected plot twists and a surprise ending as well. The DVD includes a widescreen presentation of the film (2.35:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, audio commentary track by Kevin Spacey, behind-the-scenes information and chapter search. Full of superb performances and a memorable plot, this will keep you at the edge of your seat and is highly recommended for anyone who enjoys action films and explorations into what makes people tick.

ALICE, SWEET ALICE (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 106 minutes) A series of murders surrounds one particular church and one particular family. Brooke Shields makes her film debut in a small role in this thriller about the murder of a child just minutes before she is to receive her first communion. The killer, revealed at the end of the film, is not who the viewer would most likely suspect and this does a good job of leaving the viewer wondering for the entire length of the film. The DVD contains a widescreen print of the film (1.85:1), a commentary track by both the director and editor of the film, talent bios, still gallery, alternate opening credits, Dolby Digital mono sound and chapter search. A must for Brooke Shields fans, this will also appeal to those interested in horror and thriller film as well as religion.

BEST OF MUSIKLADEN LIVE: BLONDIE (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 30 minutes) Filmed in Germany in 1978 for the Musikladen TV show, this includes the rock band Blondie performing eleven songs. Song titles include: "X-Offender," "In The Flesh," "Bermuda Triangle Blues (Flight 45)," "Little Girl Lies," "I'm On E," "Look Good In Blue," "Love At The Pier," "Kidnapper," "Man Overboard," "I Didn't Have The Nerve," and "Youth Nabbed As Sniper." Video and audio quality are superb and the disc includes Dolby Digital sound and chapter search. Blondie fans will delight in having this vintage, classic performance.

BEST OF MUSIKLADEN LIVE: IKE AND TINA TURNER (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 30 minutes) Before Tina Turner made it as a solo artist she was once married to Ike Turner with whom she performed live for several years. This disc documents a show filmed in Germany in the 1970s for the Musikladen TV show and includes eight songs. Song titles are: "Nutbush City Limits," "Proud Mary," "Get Back," "Acid Queen," "Delilah's Power," "Honky Tonk Woman," "Baby Gets It," and "River Deep, Mountain High." Featuring some popular cover tunes along with superb audio and video quality the DVD includes Dolby Digital sound and chapter search. This is highly recommended to fans of Tina Turner and/or any of these songs.

CLEOPATRA (Artisan Entertainment Inc., 177 minutes) Billy Zane, Timothy Dalton, Leonor Varela and Rupert Graves star in this epic drama about love and war. The film tells the historical tale of Julius Caesar and his love for Cleopatra who became a queen of Egypt with his help. Timothy Dalton is superb as Caesar, and Leonor Varela is impressive as a very seductive Cleopatra. The film has amazing cinematography and wonderful costumes. This will delight those who enjoy epics, historical films and/or Timothy Dalton's acting. The DVD includes a digitally mastered standard presentation of the film, 2.1 Dolby Surround sound, interactive menus, production notes, cast and crew information, trailer, a game featuring Cleopatra's Hidden Treasures and chapter search. Well done.

COLOR OF NIGHT (Hollywood Pictures Home Video, 139 minutes) Bruce Willis, Jane March, Lesley Ann Warren, and Ruben Blades star in this erotic thriller about a psychologist who gets haunted by the murder of a friend of his. He hunts the killer and along the way meets a woman who confuses his and leads him through a web of passion. The DVD features a director's cut of the film which includes fifteen minutes of previously unreleased footage, a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), Dolby Digital Surround sound, theatrical trailer, French language track and chapter search. This is a superb thriller, which Willis is terrific in it, and is highly recommended to his many fans.

COMBAT SHOCK (Troma Entertainment, Inc.) Called "an angry, grueling, brutal and uncompromising work" by Cinefantastique, this violent war film will appeal to horror and gore fans as well as those interested in war. Released as a Director's Cut on DVD, it includes a digitally mastered print of the film, commentary track, theatrical trailer, previews of other titles, Troma Intelligence Test II, tour of Troma studios, web link, no regional coding, public service announcements, chapter search and more. This is a film the director still describes as rough, so it's not for everyone, but it's a cult classic as well as one of Troma's better efforts. Well done.

THE CORRUPTOR (New Line Home Video, 110 minutes) Chow Yun-Fat and Mark Wahlberg star in this action drama film about a police officer and his team who are the only real law enforcement in New York City's Chinatown district. Someone on the team turns out to be on the take and the Internal Affairs department decides to find out whom. Mark Wahlberg plays the Internal Affairs investigator sent to infiltrate the team, and Yun-Fat plays the police officer who leads the team. It's hard to decide whom to trust in this film and the plot has many surprising twists as well as great action and fighting sequences. These spice up a movie that would otherwise have been just a great drama. The DVD contains a letterboxed widescreen presentation of the film (2.35:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound, commentary track by director James Foley, a short called "The Making of the Corruptor," music video, theatrical trailer, cast and crew biographies and filmographies, and chapter search. For those who have DVD players inside their PCs there are web links and an ability to read or print the screenplay. As with every New Line release, this is worth having if only for the fine attention to detail they pay to each of their releases. Well done.

CRY UNCLE! (Troma Entertainment, Inc.) Allen Garfield and Paul Sorvino star in this comedy about a private detective who has been hired to sort out an eccentric millionaire, a murdered mistress and a country musician. The DVD contains a digitally mastered print of the film, director's commentary track, theatrical trailer, previews of other titles, tour of Troma studios, Troma Intelligence Test II, public service announcements, web link, no regional coding, Troma's Edge TV, chapter search, and more. More entertaining and less violent than many Troma films this is highly recommended to those who enjoy cult films and campy comedy.

DARK SHADOWS (MPI Home Video, 210 minutes) Fans of this TV gothic drama show, which aired from 1966-1971, will enjoy this special edition DVD which includes a history of the show called "Dark Shadows Behind The Scenes," highlighted moments from the episodes called "Dark Shadows Nightmare & Dreams," a tour of New England setting used on the show called "Dark Shadows On Location," and a review of the program by its creator and executive producer called "Inside The Shadows." The DVD includes Dolby Digital mono sound, TV commercials and promo spots, trivia, Spanish subtitles, an episode of the show in Spanish, photo gallery, and chapter search. There is a wealth of quality material here, as well as a heaping quantity of it. Don't miss this if you like Dark Shadows, gothic themes and/or vampires.

DEEP COVER (New Line Home Video, 107 minutes) Laurence Fishburne and Jeff Goldblum star in this action thriller about an undercover cop who uses a drug-dealing attorney to bring down a large supplier. The film's tagline is "There's a thin line between catching a criminal... and becoming one." It has a solid, engrossing plot and good acting which will serve to hold your interest from beginning to end. The DVD contains choice of widescreen (1.85:1) and standard presentations of the film, 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound, theatrical trailer, cast and crew biographies and filmographies, and chapter search. Highly recommended to Fishburne's many fans, and to those who love police films.

DEEP END OF THE OCEAN, THE (Columbia TriStar Home Video, 109 minutes) Michelle Pfeiffer, Treat Williams and Whoopi Goldberg star in this drama about a family whose child disappears. They struggle for a decade and then the child suddenly reappears causing a painful reunion none of them is quite prepared for. The DVD includes a choice of anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) or standard presentations of the film, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, making-of featurette, talent and filmographies, theatrical trailer, interactive menus and chapter search. This is an emotional film based on the best-selling book by the same name. Well done.

DROP DEAD ROCK (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 93 minutes) Musicians Adam Ant and Deborah Harry star in this cult film comedy about a down and out rock band who kidnap their favorite rock star in the hopes he will listen to their music and decide to make them famous. Unfortunately, the rock star's ex-wife and manager have put out a contract on his life in order to collect his fortune. However, a media mogul approaches the star with a big royalty advance check and suddenly he is worth more alive than dead. Can he outwit the band who has kidnapped him, the hitman, record execs and police in order to just do his thing, stay alive and make money? The DVD contains Dolby Digital sound and chapter search. A favorite on the film festival circuit, this is highly recommended for those who like rock films, cult films and/or the musicians featured.

EAT YOUR HEART OUT (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 96 minutes) Christian Oliver, Pamela Segall and Laura San Giacomo star in this romantic comedy about a chef with a live television cooking show. His agent wants to exploit him, his best friend is in love with him, and his roommate won't even talk to him. Not taking itself too seriously, this is an ideal choice for when you want something light you won't have to analyze for hours after viewing it. The DVD includes a standard presentation of the film, theatrical trailer, stereo sound, interactive menus and chapter search. Cute.

ENGLISHMAN WHO WENT UP A HILL BUT CAME DOWN A MOUNTAIN, THE (Miramax Home Entertainment, 96 minutes) Hugh Grant, Tara Fitzgerald, and Colm Meaney star in this comedy about a man who insults an entire town when he declares their prized local landmark, a mountain, to be a "hill." The townspeople set out to prove to the man just how wrong he is and stop at nothing to get him to see their point of view. The DVD contains a widescreen print of the film (2.35:1), Dolby Digital Surround sound, theatrical trailer and chapter search. This is a delightful film that holds your interest due to a well-written script, and is recommended to anyone who prefers subtle humor to outright slapstick.

EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU (Miramax Home Entertainment, 101 minutes) An all-star cast including Alan Alda, Drew Barrymore, Goldie Hawn, Julia Roberts and Tim Roth appear in this unusual Woody Allen film which combines traditional comedy with songs to make a comedic musical. Allen apparently cast the actors without telling them they would have to sing, and manages to get terrific performances out of them despite the unhappiness several of them shared with the media at having to sing on film. The plot, like many Allen films, involves families, family squabbles and family unrest. This time there are two couples, each of whom has one partner who used to be involved with a partner in the other couple. Intertwined with this plot is a daughter who can't seem to decide between her two boyfriends. You may or may not like the songs which get worked into every scene, but the cast is unforgettable and the plot is superb as well. The DVD includes a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), Dolby Digital mono sound and chapter search. Highly recommended to fans of Allen's film and/or any of the actors, as well as those who enjoy comedy and/or musicals in general.

FABULOUS STORY OF THE CUBAN CIGAR, THE (Palm Pictures, 60 minutes) This fascinating documentary explores how cigars are made in Havana, the Cuban way. Today there are less than 20 factories which manufacture cigars and the best cigars undergo over 170 processes from the plantation to the humidity-free and hand crafted cigar box. A variety of experts appear here and this film celebrates the people who make cigars, the creation process and the end product itself. The DVD contains a digitally remastered print of the film, stereo sound, Spanish subtitles, interactive menus, web link and chapter search. Highly recommended for anyone interested in cigar smoking, history, and/or Cuba.

FLED (MGM Home Entertainment Inc., 98 minutes) Laurence Fishburne and Stephen Baldwin star in this action film about two escaped convicts tracking down $25 million in stolen loot while avoiding the police, the Mob and trying not to kill each other. Full of great stunts and nonstop action scenes, this will keep your adrenaline pumping from beginning to end. The DVD includes a widescreen presentation of the film, 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound, French subtitles, theatrical trailer, chapter search and a paper booklet inside the box which offers behind-the-scenes information. Fishburne is outstanding here and this film is highly recommended to his many fans as well as those who enjoy action films in general.

FORCES OF NATURE (DreamWorks Home Entertainment, 106 minutes) Sandra Bullock and Ben Affleck star in this comedy about a guy who gets stranded in New York two days before his wedding. In an attempt to get home in time he hooks up with another traveler and they encounter a series of mishaps, disasters and bad times. However, they stick it out and both learn a lot about themselves and each other in the process. The DVD includes an anamorphic widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround audio, behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted scenes, theatrical trailer, production notes, cast and filmmaker bios, and chapter search. Both stars are terrific in this film, which pits man against nature and is a lot of fun to watch.

GO (Columbia TriStar Home Video, 102 minutes) From the director of Swingers comes this dark comedy which is one of the best movies I have seen this year. Starring Sarah Polley, Katie Holmes, Scott Wolf and Jay Mohr, this is about a group of wacky characters who like to party hard. Shown from each character's perspective, we see a drug deal gone sour, a trip to Vegas that doesn't quite work out as planned and life in the supermarket where the main characters earn their living. While presented and intended as humor, there is a lot of sadness in what happens to these characters too, and after seeing things from several points of view this is not a film one forgets the second it is over. The DVD includes a wealth of extras such as choice of digitally mastered anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) or standard presentation, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, making of featurette, 14 deleted scenes, production notes, three music videos, director's commentary track, theatrical trailer, talent bios and chapter search. This is an absolute must for those who like dark comedy, films about drug use, and/or cult films.

HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 92 minutes) Ellie Cornell, Danielle Harris and Michael Pataki star in this sequel in the continuing Halloween horror series. Jamie Lee Curtis declined to appear in this, and the plot revolves around Michael's escape during a routine transfer from a mental institution. He goes off in search of his young niece and continues his legendary killing spree. The DVD includes a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound, two theatrical trailers, and chapter search. This is a must for horror fans who enjoy the Halloween series and has been released in time for this year's holiday celebration.

HIGHLANDER: 10TH ANNIVERSARY DIRECTOR'S CUT (Republic Entertainment Inc./Artisan Entertainment Inc., 116 minutes) Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery star in this cult classic about immortals who duel to the death for a final grand prize. The story revolves around Connor MacLeod, an immortal born in the Highlands of Scotland. He learns and tests his immortal powers fighting other immortals because only one can ultimately survive. Sean Connery plays Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez who helps MacLeod prepare himself for the rough road ahead. The film was so successful it spawned two sequels and three television series (two in America, one in Great Britain). The DVD contains a digitally remastered print of the film (2.35:1), is THX-certified, Dolby Digital Surround sound, audio commentary by the director and producers, newly readded footage, slide show, theatrical trailer, Spanish subtitles, behind-the-scenes photos and chapter search. Inside the box is a brochure with lots of special merchandise fans of the film can order including clothing and jewelry. This film far surpasses the first printing of the DVD and is absolutely worth getting even if you already have the first release which was very disappointing quality wise. This is sure to delight fans of the actors as well as those who enjoy the action genre in general.

HIGHLANDER 2: RENEGADE VERSION/THE DIRECTOR'S CUT (Republic Entertainment Inc./Artisan Entertainment Inc., 109 minutes) Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery return for the sequel of the popular cult film. This time around, the story takes place in the future, how the immortals came to be is explained, and Connor MacLeod must fight to save his neck yet again. Between a bloodthirsty general and a power hungry corporation, he has his work cut out for him. The DVD includes a standard presentation of the film presented in its original theatrical ratio (2.35:1), nineteen minutes of additional footage, THX certification, Dolby Digital sound, commentary track by the director and producers, Spanish subtitles, behind-the-scenes photos, sketches and publicity stills, a 22 minute documentary, called "Highlander 2: To Be Or Not To Be...A Sequel?" and chapter search. Inside the box is a lengthy booklet with production notes and other trivia. This is a much slicker film than the original and if you're a Highlander fan this DVD has enough extras to make it quite attractive.

IDLE HANDS (Columbia Tristar Home Video, 92 minutes) Seth Green appears in this horror comedy which will appeal to those who enjoy teen film, cult classics and campy horror. The plot involves a slacker pothead whose laziness allows the devil to possess his hand. As a result, his hand kills people and it's out of his control. He trys his best to find out how to put an end to his evil hand, get a dance with the girl of his dreams, and not get killed himself by a druidic priestess who is chasing him. The DVD contains choice of anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and standard presentations of the film, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, commentary track by the director and cast, deleted scene with commentary on it, making of featurette, production notes, theatrical trailers, storyboard comparisons, talent files, and chapter search. If you're looking for a movie that doesn't take itself too seriously and provides lots of laughs, this is it. Well done.

I LOVE TROUBLE (Touchstone Home Video, 123 minutes) Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte star in this action-comedy about two competing reporters. A high-profile story teams them up to investigate a murder and together they uncover fraud totaling a billion dollars. The DVD includes a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, French language track, theatrical trailer and chapter search. Highly recommended to fans of these actors.

I SAW WHAT YOU DID (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 82 minutes) Joan Crawford and John Ireland star in this horror thriller which was so good it inspired a remake of it years later. The simple plot is about two teenagers who make a prank call and happen to tell a man that they saw what he did right after he gets done killing his wife. The film's director had special Shock Sections set up in theatres for faint-of-heart customers, and he also bragged that this film caused prank phone calls to greatly increase to epidemic proportions. The DVD contains a widescreen presentation of the film (1.78:1), Dolby Digital Mono sound, a world premiere announcement by William Castle, the theatrical trailer, talent bios and chapter search. This is a classic film, from the days when black and white horror films relied more on plot and psychological terror than on blood or special effects. Well done.

JUDY GARLAND SHOW VOL. 2, THE (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 124 minutes) The second volume of this classic television show is out and features guest stars Lena Horne, Count Basie and Mel Torme. The disc contains the second and fourth episodes of the show, which originally aired in 1963, and includes Judy Garland performing with both Lena Horne and Count Basie. Fans of these artists will delight in having this material once again available. The DVD contains digitally remastered and restored episodes of the highest quality, 5.1 Dolby Digital sound, the original mono audio track for purists, rare outtakes of Garland with Lena Horne and Terry-Thomas, and chapter search. Well done.

KITARO: KOJIKI - A STORY IN CONCERT (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 55 minutes) Musician Kitaro performs a seven part composition which traces the ancient chronicle of the creation of Japan. This will appeal to those interested in Japanese culture, new age music to relax to or as background music to eat and/or entertain to. The DVD includes 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound and chapter search as well as a paper booklet inside the box that describes each chapter and its theme. This is an innovative release which is a nice change from all of the hard rock and classic concerts being released on DVD.

LIKE IT IS (First Run Features, 95 minutes) Roger Daltrey is superb in this gay adult love story in which he plays a bitchy record producer. Steve Bell stars as his lover who is employed as a Blackpool bare-knuckle fighter and the film focuses on his struggle for a sexual identity as well as the different backgrounds of the couple and their attraction to each other despite the odds. This is an honest and absorbing film, and highly recommended to gays as well as those curious about the lifestyle, Who fans, and those who like relationship films in general. The DVD includes cast interviews, the original British trailer and chapter search. Inside the box is a paper catalog of other unique films also available from First Run Features. Well done.

MEDICINE MAN (Hollywood Pictures Home Video, 105 minutes) Sean Connery plays a scientist working in the Amazon rain forest to find a cure for cancer. Lorraine Bracco comes along to question his grant and ends up impressed with his work and involved with him. This contains beautiful scenery and location shots, great acting and lots of unexpected adventure. The DVD contains a widescreen presentation of the film (2.35:1), Dolby Digital Surround sound, production featurette, French language track, theatrical trailer and chapter search. Highly recommended to those interested in the rain forest, fans of Sean Connery and anyone who has ever had to deal with convincing someone else at work to just let them keep working on what they were assigned to do.

MONKEY MAGIC: THE CELESTIAL HEAVENS (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 90 minutes) This disc contains episodes 6-9 of the popular anime TV show. These four episodes are: "The Celestial Heavens," "The Supervisor of the Imperial Stables," "Peach Party Pandemonium," and "The Mighty Power Rod." This time Kongo receives a position in the Celestial Heavens but upon discovering he has the lowest rank there he demands the job of Prime Minister. In order to get it, he has to defeat the existing warrior holding the title. Will he overcome this and other challenges? The DVD contains Dolby Digital audio and chapter search. The superb animation here will appeal to adult animation and psychedelia fans as well as children for whom the show was intended. Well done.

MONKEY MAGIC: THE QUEST BEGINS (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 90 minutes) Four episodes of the Japanese anime show, numbers 10-13, appear here. They are: "The Invisible Guardian," "Sanzoh To The Rescue," "The Quest Begins," and "Slimelord, The Monster Eel." In these episodes, Kongo becomes imprisioned within a rock and 500 years pass. Sanzoh, an idealistic priest, is searching for a hidden text with magical powers and in the process frees Kongo. Will Kongo help Sanzoh search? The DVD includes Dolby Digital sound and chapter search. This show has absolutely amazing graphics which look like a state-of-the-art video game. It's a pleasure to watch no matter what the episodes are about. Highly recommended to anime fans and to fans of psychedelia.

MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS (Hollywood Pictures Home Video, 143 minutes) Richard Dreyfuss, Glenne Headly and Olympia Dukakis star in this outstanding film about a musician forced to accept a job as a high school teacher in order to support his family. He discovers he loves teaching, and that instead of new musical compositions he has generations of students he has influenced. This is a must for musicians, teachers, and/or parents looking for something the whole family can enjoy. The DVD includes a widescreen print of the film (2.35:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, production featurette, French language track, and chapter search. This is probably Dreyfuss' best role ever, and is highly recommended for anyone looking for a few hours of quality programming and uplifting entertainment.

MY FAVORITE MARTIAN (Walt Disney Home Video, 94 minutes) Jeff Daniels, Christopher Lloyd, Daryl Hannah and Elizabeth Hurley star in this sci-fi comedy which updates the classic television show into a present day film. Great special effects and a good performance by Lloyd highlight this film many felt had a weak script. You will either love this or hate it fairly quickly, but it's definitely something the whole family can watch together. The DVD contains a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, French language track, production featurette, theatrical trailer, and chapter search.

NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (New Line Home Video, 92 minutes) Johnny Depp, Heather Langenkamp, and Robert Englund star in this cult horror film directed by Wes Craven. Available in two version, as an individual disc or as a deluxe boxed set featuring all seven films and an eighth disc which is full of extra material, this looks absolutely great on DVD. The plot involves a child molester who is capable of luring unsuspecting teenagers into his world via their dreams. A girl named Nancy is having nightmares and her fellow high school students who have also shared the same dreams are turning up dead. Getting no support from the police, she goes to sleep and confronts the killer in his own realm. Full of superb special effects, a unique plot and one of the most memorable villains in horror film history, this went on to inspire six other films. The DVD contains a choice of widescreen or standard presentations of the film, both digitally remastered, 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound, commentary track, interactive, animated menus, theatrical trailer, and chapter search. Those with DVD players inside their computers can also read the screenplay while watching the film, play a trivia game, and access cast and crew information. Highly recommended to those who enjoy horror films, special effects and/or are fascinated by dreams.

NIGHTMARES (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 99 minutes) Cristina Raines, Emilio Estevez and Lance Henriksen star in this horror film with four unique segments. Originally developed for television and then considered too intense, it had a short theatrical run in 1983. In the first story, called "Terror In Topanga," a housewife making a routine trip to the market is stalked by an escaped psycopath. In the second segment, called "The Bishop of Battle," a teenage arcade whiz has a video game turn lethal on him. The third story, called "The Benediction," is about a priest who questions his faith in God and then encounters a demonic evil on a deserted road. In the final segment, called "Night of the Rat," a suburban family discovers that the rat problem they are trying to get rid of is much larger than they could have guessed. The DVD includes a standard presentation of the film, theatrical trailer and chapter search. You're bound to enjoy one or more of these stories if you like horror and this is also highly recommended for when you may have time for one segment but not to sit through an entire film.

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: 30TH ANNIVERSARY LIMITED EDITION (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 96 minutes) The plot involves a quiet Pennsylvania town where for no apparent reason the dead suddenly begin to walk and hunt human flesh. Six strangers attempt to unite to fight the ghouls but can't seem to get along with each other. This is a classic horror film, from the days when things were scary enough if filmed in black and white. Before expensive special effects and routine slashing of teenage girls became the norm in horror films this film was considered intense for its time. Although there are already several versions of this film on DVD, this disc is still worth rebuying if you like the film. This DVD is a numbered box (only 15,000 copies were made) which contains a standard presentation of the 30th anniversary edition of the film which includes over 15 minutes of new footage, a 30th anniversary behind-the-scenes featurette, 30th anniversary theatrical trailer, 30th anniversary still gallery, audio commentary track, music video, 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound, a scene from the film Flesh Eater, and chapter search. Inside the box is a 32-page color booklet and an audio CD of the 30th anniversary original motion picture score. Well done.

NOAH'S ARK (Artisan Entertainment Inc., 156 minutes) Jon Voight and Mary Steenburgen star in this epic film which focuses on the biblical story of Noah who builds an ark to save his family and the animals around him from a massive flood. Great use of costumes and special effects highlight this amazing rendition of a classic tale. Lots of action, adventure and true heroism delivered in a manner the whole family can understand and enjoy. The DVD includes a digitally mastered standard presentation of the film, 2.0 Dolby Surround sound, trailer, interactive menus, an interactive memory game and chapter search. Well done.

NYMPHOID BARBARIAN IN DINOSAUR HELL (Troma Entertainment, Inc.) Brett Piper and Alex Pirnie provided state-of-the-art animatronics for this sci-fi horror film. It's about the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust where one woman remains alive and she is hunted by both man and deadly dinosaurs. The film doesn't take itself seriously and is a lot of fun. The DVD contains a digitally mastered print of the film, commentary track, theatrical trailer, previews of other titles, tour of Troma Studios, Troma Intelligence Test II, interactive menus, no regional coding, public service announcements, web link, chapter search, etc. Inside the box is a paper catalog of other titles available. This is highly recommended to those who enjoy cult movies as well as anything featuring dinosaurs.

ONE MAGIC CHRISTMAS (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 88 minutes) Mary Steenburgen, Harry Dean Stanton and Arthur Hill star in this family film about a mother befriended by a guardian angel who helps to rekindle the spirit of Christmas for her. One of those magical stories the whole family can enjoy, this focuses on a family who can no longer afford their house payments after the husband has lost his job. The DVD contains choice of widescreen (1.85:1) or standard presentations of the film, theatrical trailer and chapter search. This is ideal for those trying to teach family values and being cautious with money to children.

OTHER SISTER, THE (Touchstone Home Video, 130 minutes) Juliette Lewis, Diane Keaton, Tom Skerritt, and Giovanni Ribisi star in this romantic comedy directed by Garry Marshall. It's about a woman in love for the first time and out to declare her independence from her overprotective mother. The DVD includes a widescreen presentation of the film (2.35:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, French language track, theatrical trailer, two music videos by The Pretenders and Savage Garden, and chapter search. This strong film is highly recommended for fans of Keaton, those currently in love or who would like to be, and those interested in romantic comedies in general.

THE PALLBEARER (Miramax Home Entertainment, 98 minutes) David Schwimmer, Gwyneth Paltrow, Barbara Hershey and Carol Kane star in this comedy about a guy who gets asked to be a pallbearer at the funeral of someone he went to school with who he can't even remember. He tries to get out of it, but keeps having more and more responsibility dumped on him as he gets asked to give a speech at the funeral and gets hit on by the grieving mother. Meanwhile, all he really wants to do is score a date with the girl of his dreams, who can't seem to remember him at all. The DVD includes a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), Dolby Digital Surround sound, and chapter search. This is a very amusing look at a nice guy who can't say no, and the well-written script is equally matched with great casting and great acting. Highly recommended for fans of the stars, as well as anyone who thinks funerals can't ever be funny.

PATRIOT, THE (Touchstone Home Video, 90 minutes) Steven Seagal stars in this thriller about a government immunologist who has given it up to go into private practice in a small Montana town. A violent political group unleashes a virus, which starts killing people in the town, forcing him to find a cure and outsmart these militiamen. The DVD includes 5.1 Dolby Digital audio and chapter search. While not Seagal's best film, he does the best he can given the script and plot. Recommended to die-hard Seagal fans only.

PLAYER'S CLUB, THE (New Line Home Video, 103 minutes) Ice Cube wrote and directed this superb film about stripping and an inside look at one gentleman's strip club. Bernie Mac, Alex Thomas, Monica Calhoun, Lisa Raye, Jamie Foxx and A.J. Johnson star as various employees of the club and the soundtrack features songs by Ice Cube and Master P. While the plot involves a club that caters to a black clientele, the experiences here are universal and this is by far the best film on stripping that has been made to date. The DVD includes choice of widescreen (1.85:1) or standard presentations of the film, two music videos by Ice Cube, theatrical trailer, cast and crew biographies and filmographies, and chapter search. Combining humor with drama, and often-brutal honesty as well, this powerful film is not to be missed if you are curious about what it's like to strip for a living.

PLAYING BY HEART (Miramax Home Entertainment, 121 minutes) An all-star cast including Gillian Anderson, Ellen Burstyn, Sean Connery, Jay Mohr, Ryan Phillipe, Gena Rowlands, Dennis Quaid and Jon Stewart highlight this sexy, romantic comedy. It focuses on a number of modern couples including one that has been married for forty years, looking for love in the L.A. club scene and a theatre director not looking for a relationship who finds someone is interested in her. The DVD includes a widescreen presentation of the film (2.20:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, and chapter search. This has a great script and casts some very famous people in unusual roles compared to what they are usually offered. Highly recommended to fans of any of these actors as well as anyone who enjoys comedy and/or films about relationships.

POWDER (Hollywood Pictures Home Video, 112 minutes) Jeff Goldblum, and Mary Steenburgen star in this sci-fi drama about a very unusual boy who is found by the police in the cellar of a home belonging to someone who is deceased. Upon further investigation it becomes obvious the boy was hidden from the world because of his severe Albino skin. Besides his physical differences he is also a genius beyond record and has seemingly bizarre mental powers. However, because of his differences, people often react to him with fear and anger. The DVD includes a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, French language track, and chapter search. This is a superb film with a top-notch plot and is guaranteed to pull a few heart strings. Highly recommended.

PRINCE OF EGYPT, THE (DreamWorks Home Entertainment, 99 minutes) This animated film focuses on the biblical story of the Exodus. Some liberty is taken with the story but it remains true to the spirit of the story people know. The animation breaks new ground for combining computer generated and hand-drawn art and is dazzling to watch even if you have no real interest in religion or Moses. Highlights include the portrayal of the Burning Bush, the plagues and the parting of the Red Sea. The DVD includes an anamorphic widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, a short called "The Making of The Prince of Egypt," audio commentary track with the directors, art gallery, a segment on the special effects, a multi-language presentation called "When You Believe," a tutorial on the basics of animation, two theatrical trailers, cast and filmmakers bios, production notes and chapter search. Highly recommended for anyone who likes animation, religion and/or history.

QUIZ SHOW (Hollywood Pictures Home Video, 133 minutes) Rob Morrow, Ralph Fiennes, Mira Sorvino, Griffin Dunne, Elizabeth Wilson and John Turturro star in this dramatic film which was directed by Robert Redford. The plot involves the early years of game shows in the 1950s when payola, payoffs and corruption were common in an attempt to build market share for an emerging idea to captivate viewers. An investigator from a congressional subcommittee uncovers the dirty underbelly of these scams and focuses on a particular quiz show. This is based on true events and features a cameo by Martin Scorcese. The film builds to a climactic congressional hearing where everything comes out into the open. The DVD includes a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), Dolby Digital Surround sound, theatrical trailer, French language track and chapter search. It's hard to look at game shows the same way after seeing this. Highly recommended for anyone interested in drama, corruption and how the media often suckers people.

RABID GRANNIES (Troma Entertainment, Inc.) Horror and gore fans will delight in this cult movie tale of two grandmothers who have become ghouls out to eat their houseful of guests. This will not disappoint those looking for camp and/or graphic violence. The DVD contains a digitally mastered print of the film, interactive tour of Troma studios, the Troma Intelligence Test II, outtakes, interview with the film's producer, theatrical trailer, previews of other films, web link, public service announcements, chapter search and more. Inside the box is a paper catalog of other Troma titles available because if you enjoy one of their films chances are the whole line will appeal to you. Well done.

RETURN TO OZ (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 109 minutes) Piper Laurie and Fairuza Balk star in this sequel to the film The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy has a hard time convincing people of her experiences in Oz and is taken by her Auntie Em for shock treatments. She gets sent back to Oz, but the Emerald City is in trouble and the lion and tin man have been turned to stone. Dorothy, along with new friends, has to try to save Oz before it's too late. Primarily intended for children, this is full of wonderful claymation effects that will only be truly appreciated by adults. The DVD includes choice of widescreen (1.85:1) and standard presentations of the film, introduction by Fairuza Balk, an interview feature called "Fairuza Returns To Oz," 5.1 Dolby Digital sound and chapter search. Inside the box are a postcard and a paper reproduction of the theatrical poster. Recommended for Oz fans of all ages, as well as those who enjoy animated special effects.

ROCKETEER, THE (Walt Disney Home Video, 108 minutes) Jennifer Connelly, Paul Sorvino and Timothy Dalton star in this mystery film about a test pilot who discovers a top-secret jetpack which he uses to defeat a Nazi who has captured his girlfriend. He becomes a hero when he is able to stop the Nazis from ruling the world during World War II. Full of special effects and suspenseful moments, this will appeal to the whole family and will be of special interest to those interested in flight. The DVD includes a widescreen presentation of the film (2.35:1), Dolby Surround sound, French language track, theatrical trailer and chapter search. Well done.

ROMY AND MICHELLE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION (Touchstone Home Video, 92 minutes) Mira Sorvino, Lisa Kudrow, and Janeane Garofalo star in this superb comedy about a high school reunion and what people will do to be liked by those who snubbed them years ago. Romy and Michelle decide their real lives are not impressive enough, so they manufacture lives for themselves which, of course, backfires. They end up having a great time at the reunion anyway and realize what great friends they have in each other. The DVD contains a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, production featurette, theatrical trailer, French language track and chapter search. Highly recommended for those who like high school films, light comedy, and/or films where women bond with each other.

SET IT OFF (New Line Home Video, 123 minutes) Jada Pinkett, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, Blair Underwood and Kimberly Elise star in this action drama about four women who rob the city's largest banks. It's a film about survival, crime and payback. It's rare to see a film with so many strong black women actors who are given a script that doesn't typecast them. The DVD contains choice of widescreen (1.78:1) and standard presentations of the film, 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound, theatrical trailer, music video, cast and crew biographies and filmographies, and chapter search. This is a top-notch film from a company that gets every DVD it releases right and it's highly recommended to those who like cops and robbers, any of the actors and/or unpredictable action.

SHARK ATTACK (Trimark Home Video, 95 minutes) Casper Van Dien, Ernie Hudson, Bentley Mitchum and Jennifer McShane star in this action thriller about a marine biologist who sets out to discover why sharks are suddenly terrorizing a particular African fishing village and killing its residents and tourists. The DVD contains a standard presentation of the film, Dolby Stereo sound, Spanish subtitles, interactive menus and chapter search. Those who enjoy films about killer sharks will want to add this to their collections. It's got shark footage, corrupt and unethical businessmen, innocent victims and all the elements these films tend to have in common.

SON-IN-LAW (Hollywood Pictures Home Video, 96 minutes) Pauly Shore and Carla Gugino star in this comedy about an L.A. college student who goes to stay with another student who is more conservative than he is and grew up on a farm. The film exploits the city boy out of his element on a farm and luckily her parents take a liking to him but not without a whole lot of laughs before the plot allows him to win them over. The DVD includes a widescreen presentation of the film (1.85:1), Dolby Digital Surround sound, theatrical trailer, French language track, and chapter search. Recommended for when you're in the mood for something light.

TENDERNESS OF THE WOLVES (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 86 minutes) Strong graphic violence is the appeal of this horror film set in Germany after the fall of the Third Reich. Filmed in German with English subtitles, it's an unrated film about a man who takes boys to his apartment, promising them a brighter future, and they are never again seen after that. The police finally set a trap for him and use a young man as bait to try to stop the terror. The DVD contains a widescreen presentation of the film (1.66:1), audio commentary with director Ulli Lommel, theatrical trailer, talent bios, Dolby Digital mono sound and chapter search. This will appeal to horror and gore fans, as well as those intrigued by serial killings and the aftermaths of war.

TITANIC: DISASTER IN THE ATLANTIC/THE TITANIC CHRONICLES (DVD International, 145 minutes) This double feature presents two programs on one disc. The Titanic Chronicles is about the 1912 Senate investigation into the disaster and this reenactment stars Tim Curry, Marilu Henner, Cloris Leachman and Eric Braeden. Titanic: Disaster In The Atlantic contains a historical film produced in 1929 and it had the distinction of being the first feature sound film about the disaster. In addition, the disc contains an alternate audio track with an additional 45 minutes of testimony from the Chronicles film. There are a lot of discs which on the surface might seem similar to this one since. The Titanic disaster remains the single historical event which has gotten the most literary and cinematic treatments of it. However, this disc does not duplicate other material already available and is highly recommended to history buffs, ship lovers and those who remain fascinated by this and other disasters. Well done.

TRAVEL THE WORLD BY TRAIN: ASIA (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 60 minutes) This superb travel series visits five continents and 55 countries over ten DVD discs. In this episode, nine countries are explored including Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Kazakstan and Russia. Cities of interest include Mandalay, Bangkok, Bali, Jakarta, Beijing and Moscow. Focusing mostly on available train routes and tracking things like the 5700 mile trip from Beijing to Moscow, this also explores local scenery, markets, temples, etc. The DVD contains Japanese audio track, Dolby Digital sound and chapter search. Inside the box is a coupon offering a free carry-on bag to consumers who purchase the entire series. For those curious to see these parts of the world but unlikely to ever do it, this is the next best thing and for those considering the trip this gives a good idea of what trains are available and what to expect when you arrive. Well done.

TRAVEL THE WORLD BY TRAIN: AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND (Pioneer Entertainment (USA) L.P., 60 minutes) This episode of the ten volume travel series offers a look at the cities of Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Cairns, Rockhampton, Longreach, Christechurch and Invercargill. Among the highlights shown are the tropical resorts of Cairns, the parks and flowers of Christchurch, sperm whales, snow-capped mountains, and Australian animals such as wild kangaroos. The DVD contains Japanese audio track, Dolby Digital sound, and chapter search. Inside the box is a coupon offering a free carry-on bag to consumers who purchase the entire series. This gives you a good idea what trains are available and what you can see travelling via rail if you're planning a trip anytime soon. It also gives you an idea what the areas look like if you cannot afford to ever get there in person. Well done.

TRILOGY OF TERROR (Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., 72 minutes) Karen Black and Robert Burton star in this collection of three stories which include Black playing a total of four roles. In "Julie" she is a teacher being blackmailed by one of her students with whom she has been having an affair. In "Millicent and Therese" she plays two sisters and in "Amelia" she purchases her boyfriend a Zuni Hunter doll and then accidentally loosens its chains unleashing a raging beast intent on killing. The DVD contains a standard presentation of the film, Dolby Digital sound and chapter search. Inside the box is a paper booklet which contains an interview with Karen Black about the film. This is a must for those who enjoy horror films, or Black's acting.

TWICE UPON A YESTERDAY (Trimark Home Video, 92 minutes) Lena Headey, Douglas Henshall and Penelope Cruz star in this romantic comedy about a man in London who wishes he could turn time back and relive a relationship gone wrong with his longtime girlfriend after he confesses to her that he cheated on her. He gets his wish and is able to confront fate and his past mistakes while discovering wishes can indeed come true but that things aren't always better a second time around. The DVD contains a letterboxed presentation of the film, Dolby Stereo sound, interactive menus, Spanish and French subtitles, theatrical trailer and chapter search. Well done.

WARLOCK III: THE END OF INNOCENCE (Trimark Home Video) Bruce Payne, Ashley Lawrence, Boti Ann Bliss, and Paul Francis star in this sequel to the popular horror film. This time around a girl inherits an old house and goes to visit it with her friends. An uninvited stranger turns up, promising them everything but eminating bad vibes. The warlock takes their souls as the survivors try to stop him. The DVD contains a letterboxed presentation of the film, Dolby Stereo sound, interactive menus, Spanish and French subtitles, theatrical trailer and chapter search.

WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? (Touchstone Home Video, 118 minutes) Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne star in this musical drama based on the life of singer Tina Turner. Tina married Ike Turner when she was very young, and became a recording star and a battered woman. She eventually found the courage to leave Ike and watched her successful career fall apart in the process. She finally wrote her memoirs, on which this film is based, staged a comeback and has found success a second time. Whether you like Tina's music or not is irrelevant. This is a story about growing up too fast, about the ups and downs of fame, success and celebrity, and about how to get past being a battered woman in a society that encourages women to stay and take it. The DVD contains a widescreen print of the film (1.85:1), 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, French language track, theatrical trailer and chapter search. Highly recommended.

WISHMASTER/WISHMASTER 2 (Artisan Entertainment Inc., 186 minutes) Wes Craven's classic horror film Wishmaster has been bundled along with the sequel together on one disc. In both films an evil Djinn grants people wishes and in the process unleashes nightmares as well. Both films are presented in digitally mastered anamorphic widescreen versions (1.85:1), with 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, interactive menus, and chapter search. Wishmaster 2 also contains a trailer, production notes and cast and crew information. The original Wishmaster includes a director's commentary track, documentary, theatrical teaser and trailer, and behind-the-scenes footage. This is an excellent buy sure to appeal to Wes Craven's many fans as well as fans of the horror genre in general.

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