OnVideo: OldNews September 2001
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OnVideo OldNews September 2001

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

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September News

French connections: The folks at Fox Home Entertainment have put together an impressive package to celebrate the 30th anniversary of "The French Connection" (1971): "The French Connection 30th Anniversary Five Star Collection," directed by William Friedkin and starring Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey and Tony LoBianco will arrive on September 25 as a two-disc DVD set with a director-supervised 5.1 Dolby transfer, with commentary by Friedkin, Hackman and Scheider, "Making the Connection: Untold Stories of the French Connection" documentary, BBC documentary "Poughkeepsie Shuffle," seven deleted scenes, deleted scenes documentary hosted by Friedkin, and a behind-the-scenes stills gallery; $26.98. A VHS version, with seven deleted scenes, will sell for $9.98.

To make things even better, Fox also will release "The French Collection DVD Box Set," which contains the two-disc "The French Connection Five Star" edition plus the one-disc "French Connection II" (1975), directed by John Frankenheimer and starring Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Bernard Fresson, Jean-Pierre Castaldi and Cathleen Nesbit, with commentary by Frankenheimer, Hackman and producer Robert Rosen, wardrobe and storyboard galleries, and a behind-the-scenes gallery; $39.98. A VHS set contains both "French Connections" for $17.98.

Warner Home Video has set September 25 as the release date for a beautifully restored edition of Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane" (1941): "The Citizen Kane Special Edition DVD," starring Welles, Joseph Cotton, Agnes Moorehead, Everett Sloan, Dorothy Comingore and Ray Collins, is a two-disc set with storyboards; two commentaries, one by critic Roger Ebert and one by Welles biographer and writer-director Peter Bogdanovich; with the documentary "The Battle Over Citizen Kane" on the second disc. Artisan Entertainment has put together two nifty packages for September 18: "Basic Instinct Special Edition" (1992), starring Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, George Dzundza and Jeanne Tripplehorn. Available in rated and unrated versions, with the unrated version containing audio commentary by director Paul Verhoeven and director of photography Jan de Bont, and explicit footage deemed too controversial for domestic theatrical release. The unrated and rated versions contain the making-of documentary "Blonde Poison," and a "Cleaning up Basic Instinct" montage comparing the TV version to the theatrical version. The DVD is housed in a clear plastic "ice" case with an ice-pick pen with red ink. The other merchandising outing for Artisan is the "Total Recall Special Edition" (1990), starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Ronny Cox, Michael Ironside and Sharon Stone. The DVD is packaged in a round metal "Mars" container and features audio commentary by Schwarzenegger and director Paul Verhoeven, "Imagining Total Recall" documentary, "Rekall's Virtual Vacations," "Visions of Mars" featurette, visual storyboard comparisons, conceptual art, photo gallery, and more.

Home Vision Entertainment will release on September 11 an amazing project: "Heritage: Civilization and the Jews" (2001), a four-disc set of the nine-part Thirteen/WNET New York series hosted by former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Abba Eban that traces the history of the Jewish people from biblical times to the present, telling their story as part of the broader history of Western civilization. The nine episodes comprise three of the discs; the fourth is a DVD-ROM, called Heritage Interactive, based on the Encyclopedia Judaica, that is an interactive museum of the Jewish experience, with 650 annotated historical documents, 541 map views with 2,500 explanatory essays, more than 3,600 articles, and 4,000 captions that accompany the nine hours of the original series video, more than 100 interactive multimedia presentations containing more than 800 historical images, and a searchable index of 7,000 multimedia elements; $99.95.

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More September Video News

From TV to Video:
The folks at Acorn Media have released more editions of two very British series: "Poirot 10," a three-cassette boxed set containing three PBS "Mystery!" Agatha Christie-Hercule Poirot episodes ("Murder in the Mews," "The Adventures of Johnnie Waverly" and "Four and Twenty Blackbirds") for $39.95, due September 25; and "A Fine Romance, Set 3," the concluding episodes of the BBC comedy gem starring Judi Dench as a brainy translator and Michael Williams as a shy landscape gardener, three cassettes for $39.95, also due September 25. Acorn is also releasing the single volume "Hercule Poirot's Christmas" on DVD and VHS.

For Kids:
Fox Home Entertainment has added three new titles to its Family Features video line: "Ping," about a Chihuahua, adopted by a hip grandmother, that foils a robbery, starring Shirley Jones, Judge Reinhold and Clint Howard; "To Walk With Lions," starring Richard Harris as George Adamson, a man who rehabilitates lions born in captivity in spite of poachers, politics and his own personal demons; and "Mom's Outta Sight," about an invisible mother who must save her husband's atomizing ray from an unscrupulous lab assistant; $9.98 VHS and $19.98 DVD, available September 4.

"When Good Ghouls Go Bad" is a new made-for-video/TV kids horror film based on a book by the prolific R.L. Stine ("Goosebumps"). Twelve-year-old Danny moves to his dad's old town with his Uncle Fred, only to find out that the town is haunted by a curse that prevents it from celebrating Halloween. As Halloween approaches, prankster ghouls arise from the ground to terrorize the city. Only Danny and his now-deceased Uncle Fred can save the day. Airs on Fox Family Channel in October. Stars: Christopher Lloyd, Joe Pichler. From Fox, $14.98 VHS SRP, $19.98 DVD.

On September 11 Warner Home Video and PBS Kids Home Video will release the debut videos of PBS' hit preschool cartoon series "Caillou," about a very adventuresome little boy and his friends. "Caillou" videos are already a hit in Canada and are now making the foray into the States. First out are "Caillou's Furry Friends" and "Caillou the Explorer"; $12.95 each VHS.

Anchor Bay Entertainment has scheduled two interesting releases for preschoolers (2 to 5), both due September 25. "Baby Songs Silly Songs" is the latest outing in the Baby Songs series, featuring singer/songwriter Hap Palmer in renditions of 10 songs that demonstrate his talent for integrating music and movement into preschool education while celebrating a child's natural enjoyment of silly situations and wordplay; $12.98 VHS. The other new release is "The Best of Thomas," featuring eight Thomas the Tank Engine episodes; $12.98 VHS; the $19.98 DVD version includes a "Thomas and the Dinosaur" read-along story, interactive games, sing-alongs and a "Howard the Helicopter" CD-ROM game.

Madacy Kids has launched a new line of kids videos, the "Mommy & Me" series, which feature real moms and their children inviting viewers to participate with parent-child interaction and activities, encouraging parents and kids to have fun through songs, dance, visual and musical patterns, stories and nursery rhymes, and other multi-sensory segments. The first three videos are "Fun & Friends," "Splish Splash" and "Lullaby & Goodnight." Suggested prices are $14.98 VHS, $19.98 DVD. Info: 800-784-0991.

Special Interest:
Music: Pioneer Entertainment will release on September 18 "Richard Strauss," a live concert performed by the Munich Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra featuring "Concerto for Horn and Orchestra No. 1, E flat major op. 11," "Capriccio: Introduction for String Sextet," "Romance for Clarinet and Orchestra in E flat major" and "Der Burger als Edelmann." Presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital and non-compressed stereo; $29.98.

Art and Culture: WGBH Boston Video will release "Sister Wendy's American Collection," a six-hour video series that follows Sister Wendy Beckett as she comes to America for a spectacular tour that blends art, history, culture and storytelling into one delightful experience. Sister Wendy shares her contagious enthusiasm, eloquent descriptions, self-taught expertise and warm humor as she guides viewers through some of the U.S.'s greatest art museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. The boxed set, available September 25, sells for $79.95. ... Winstar Home Video's Mystic Fire label will release on September 11 a DVD version of the best-selling "Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth With Bill Moyers" (first broadcast on PBS in July, 1988, and later becoming a hit on VHS); the six-DVD set will sell for $59.98. ... Warner Home Video and PBS will release on September 25 a seven-cassette VHS set and seven-disc DVD set of the Emmy Award-winning series "New York," directed by Ric Burns, that chronicles the history of the Big Apple from its beginning in 1609 as a Dutch trading post through the turbulent years of change after WWII to the present day; $99.98 VHS, $139.98 DVD.

The 'B' Side: Other September Releases

In "Robert Louis Stevenson's St. Ives," handsome French captain Jacques St. Ives is captured in battle during the Napoleonic wars and sent to a prisoner of war camp in the Scottish highlands, where he falls in love with a local girl. She's a friend of the camp's awkward overseer, and the two men eventually become friends. But friend and foe get all mixed up in this romantic comedy. Stars Miranda Richardson, Jean Marc Barr, Richard E. Grant and Anna Friel. Miramax, 1998, R, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

In "Tequila Body Shots," three buddies get more than they bargained for when they head down to Mexico for a road trip party. A magical Tequila drink gives one of the boys the power to read minds, and he goes after a beautiful woman, only to find out that she's being stalked by her ex-boyfriend and a husband from a past life. The drinking road trip quickly turns into a comical party from hell. Stars Joey Lawrence, Dru Mouser, Nathan Anderson, Josh Marchette and Robert Patrick Benedict. Trimark Home Video, 1999, R, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

"Devil's Prey" is a horror- thriller about evil-doings in an isolated country area. When a carload of teens encounters a mysterious woman, they're pulled into a cat-and-mouse game lead by evil cult members known as The Shadows., Will the kids and the woman find safety in a nearby town? Or will they succumb to the Devil's prey? Stars Patrick Bergin, Bryan Kirkwood and Charlie O'Connell. Studio Home Entertainment, 2000, R, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

"Big Brother Trouble" is a family film about a young boy who tries to win the hand of his beautiful next door neighbor while competing with his older brother, the star of the local soccer team. When the girl and the older brother are kidnapped on the eve of the city's championship game, the younger brother and his buddies must become heroes to save the day. Stars Michael Suchenek, Shad Hart, Dick Van Patten, Lindsay Brooke, Mario Lopez and Bo Hopkins. Monarch Home Video, 2000, G, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

In "Bodywork" a Jaguar with a damaged body poses a surprise for its new owner, Virgil Guppy -- there's a body in the trunk. Framed for murder, Virgil goes on the lam, enlisting the aid of a dysfunctional family of car thieves to clear his name, culminating in a showdown in a junkyard at the edge of town. Stars Hans Matheson and Charlotte Coleman. Avalanche Home Entertainment, 1998, R, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

"Beverly Hood" is an urban comedy about a poor family who wins the lottery and moves from their rural neighborhood to the glitz and glamour of Beverly Hills, setting up all sorts of comedic confrontations between "grits and corn bread" and "champagne and caviar." Stars Destiny's Child members Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland, LaToya Luckett and LaTivia Roberson, Kym Whitley, Arif S. Kinchen, Leila Archieri and Buddy Lewis. York/Maverick Entertainment, 2001, NR, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

"100 Girls" is a teen comedy about college sex. When a blackout knocks out an elevator in a college dorm, Matthew and a mysterious girl make a fabulous connection. But he doesn't know who she is, and desirous of making another connection, he tries to track her down. But there's 100 girls in the dorm -- and Matthew has to come up with some wild schemes to find his mystery girl. Poor guy. Stars Jonathan Tucker, Emmanuelle Chrqui, James DeBello, Katherine Heigl, Larisa Oleynik, Jaime Pressly and Marissa Ribisi. Trimark, 2000, R, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

In "Tick Tock," the wife of a millionaire plots with her girlfriend to eliminate her husband, enlisting an unsuspecting cowboy in their scheme, with scintillating pleasure the carrot for the crime. But their foolproof plan soon goes awry. Stars Megan Ward, Kristin Minter, Linden Ashby and David Dukes. Avalanche Home Entertainment, 2000, R, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

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August 15, 2001