OnVideo: OldNews December 2001
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OnVideo OldNews December 2001

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

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December News

For Collectors: On December 4, DreamWorks will release to DVD "Almost Famous/Untitled -- The Bootleg Cut" (2000), starring Patrick Fugit, Billy Crudup, Jason Lee, Frances McDormand and Kate Hudson. When DreamWorks released "Almost Famous" last March, they promised an extended version of Cameron Crowe's rock odyssey would hit the market before the year was out -- and here it is. Crowe went back and reworked the film, delivering here a 159-minute extended cut. This two-disc set -- with almost five hours of additional material -- includes that cut; the original theatrical release; commentary with Crowe and his mother, Alice Crowe, on the Untitled version; a specially created featurette including behind-the-scenes footage plus rehearsal footage from rock group Stillwater's San Diego show, and more; deleted scenes with commentary by Crowe, including real-life rock 'n' rollers Pete Droge and Elaine Summer singing "Small Times Blues" and Stillwater's Cleveland concert including six songs performed live; Crowe's Rolling Stone articles from the 1970s; Crowe's Top-10 1973 album picks; the Academy Award-winning script; Nancy Wilson's original music made exclusively for the DVD menus; more; in Dolby and DTS; the DVD package has been designed to resemble a classic rock album from the 1970s and includes an exclusive 23-minute "Stillwater" CD featuring never before released tracks by the film's band; $26.95.

Also on December 4, the folks at Disney are releasing four DVD collections of "Walt Disney Treasures":

  • Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse In Living Color. A collection of 26 famous Mickey Mouse color adventures such as "The Band Concert," "Thru The Mirror," "Mickey's Rival," "Clock Cleaners" and more. Fans have never had such a remarkable set of Mickey Mouse films collected together on DVD before; packaged in a collectible tin DVD edition that features a themed, exclusive lithograph. $32.99.
  • Walt Disney Treasures: Disneyland USA. Fascinating early programs on Disneyland, including "The Disneyland Story," "Dateline Disneyland" "Disneyland After Dark," the "Disneyland 10th Anniversary Show" and a special featurette with Leonard Maltin; packaged in a collectible tin DVD edition that features a themed, exclusive lithograph. $32.99.
  • Walt Disney Treasures: Silly Symphonies. Thirty-six of Walt's seminal early animated films are collected together. These amazing creations preceded Disney's feature film creations. Included are: "The Wise Little Hen" (features the very first appearance of Donald Duck); "Flowers and Trees" (the very first Disney cartoon in Technicolor, and an Academy Award-winner, 1932, best cartoon); "The Old Mill" (the first Disney cartoon to use the multiplane camera, a breakthrough in animation); packaged in a collectible tin DVD edition that features a themed, exclusive lithograph. $32.99.
  • Walt Disney Treasures: Davy Crockett. Five classic "Davy Crockett" television episodes, including "Davy Crockett Goes to Congress" and "Davy Crockett at the Alamo," plus special features with Leonard Maltin; featurettes; Easter Eggs; art galleries; packaged in a collectible tin DVD edition that features a themed, exclusive lithograph. $32.99.

Three classic films are due out on DVD December 11: Paramount's "Elephant Man" (1980), directed by David Lynch and starring Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud and Wendy Hiller. Disc extras include retrospective cast and crew interviews, interview with Academy Award-winning makeup artist Christopher Tucker, narrated photo gallery. MGM will release "Inherit the Wind" (1960), directed by Stanley Kramer and starring Spencer Tracy, Fredric March and Gene Kelly; and "Topkapi" (1964), directed by Jules Dassin and starring Melina Mercouri, Maximilian Schell, Robert Morley, Akim Tamiroff and Peter Ustinov.

On December 18, Columbia TriStar will release a DVD of "The Big Heat" (1953), directed by Fritz Lang and starring Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Lee Marvin and Carolyn Jones. Anchor Bay has scheduled that day for the release of "The Dirk Bogarde Collection," a three-disc set that includes "The Accident," "The Servant" and "The Mind Benders"' $19.95 each; $39.95 for gift pack. The wild and wonderful "War of the Roses Special Edition" (1989), directed by Danny DeVito and starring Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, Marianne Sagebrecht, Sean Astin and Heather Fairfield, comes to DVD. The disc features commentary by DeVito, deleted scenes montage with introductions by DeVito, storyboards, computer sketches, more; from Fox. And last but not least, Artisan will release a DVD set of "Twin Peaks: The First Season," with Episodes 1-7 on four discs. The episodes are remastered, in full-screen with DTS and Dolby Digital sound. Extras include select episode commentary by the directors; interviews with cast, cinema and TV experts; optional Log Lady introductions to each episode; script notes; optional guide to the "Unseen Twin Peaks"; archival material from "Wrapped in Plastic," the official Twin Peaks fanzine. Artisan.

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More December Video News

More Collectibles::
Walt Disney Home Video has released "Walt: The Man Behind the Myth," the fascinating story of an American icon, featuring interviews with 70 colleagues and friends, commentary by film historians, clips, and more. The $19.99 VHS commemorates the 100th anniversary of Disney's birth (December 5).

SlingShot Entertainment has released five volumes of classic and cult films on DVD for $12.99 each. The "Roger Corman Retrospective Volume II" contains three of Corman's best films: "The Little Shop of Horrors," "The Terror" and "Creature From the Haunted Sea." The "Bela Lugosi Collection Volume II" includes White Zombie," "The Ape Man" and "The Gorilla." "German Silent Masterworks" contains F.W. Murnau's "Nosferatu" and "The Last Laugh" and Paul Wegener's "Der Golem." "Crime Stoppers Volume 1" includes "Mr. Wong, Detective," "Dick Tracy's Dilemma" and "Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome. "Crime Stoppers Volume II" contains "Fog Island," "The Black Raven" and "Dick Tracy vs. Cueball."

Winstar Home Video has released a collection of six obscure war films under the WWII Video Arsenal appellation. Included for $9.98 VHS/$14.98 DVD each are "Mission to Death" (1966), "The Ravagers" (1965), "The Walls of Hell" (1964-Philippine/U.S.), "The Raiders of Leyte Gulf" (1963-Philippine/U.S.), "Submarine Attack" (1954-Italy) and "The Fighting Rats of Tobruk" (1948- Australia).

For Kids:
Small Fry Productions will release on December 11 eight educational The Brainy Baby Company DVDs for the diaper set: "The Brainy Baby Company Presents "French," "Spanish," "Shapes & Colors," "ABCs," "123s," "Animals," "Left Brain Learning" and "Right Brain Learning." Each DVD sells for $19.98 and offers a multitude of visual and auditory experiences for children ages 1 to 5, and features interactive storybooks (which can be printed out for coloring), interactive games and puzzles, sing-alongs and parent's guides. (www/small-fry.com or 800-521-5311).

For older kids there's "Robbie the Reindeer: Hooves of Fire," a new Christmas tale about a lazy, chubby and lovesick Robbie the Reindeer who's unfit to join Santa's team until he learns that there is no easy route to success and that hard work and talent get rewarded in the end; $19.98 DVD and $14.95 VHS. Released to DVD for the first time is the animated "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," about a young boy who goes on the misadventure of a lifetime to find his grandma, save the family store and prove that Santa is real; $19.98. Both are from Warner Home Video.

For kids of all ages, A&E Home Video has released VHS and DVD box sets of the fabulous "Supermarionation" futuristic cult classic British TV series (1965-1966) "The Thunderbirds." The puppet heroes of International Rescue save the world (over and over) in "Thunderbirds Set 3" (with three one-hour episodes, "Vault of Death," "Operation Crash Dive" and "Move and You're Dead") and "Thunderbirds Set 4" (with three one-hour episodes, "Martian Invasion," "Brink of Disaster" and "The Perils of Penelope." Each three-VHS set sell for $29.95. The DVD editions differ from their VHS counterparts: "Thunderbirds Set 3" includes all six episodes from the VHS 3 and 4 sets while the DVD edition of "Thunderbirds Set 4" includes episodes "The Impostors," "The Man From M.I. 5," "Cry Wolf," "Danger at Ocean Deep," "The Duchess Assignment" and "Attack of the Alligators." Each DVD two-disc set sells for $39.95.

For Pokemon fans, Warner has released the all-new direct-to-video animated "Pokemon: Mewtwo Returns," a sequel to the Pokemon theatrical feature films, in which Ash and the Pokemon protect Mewtwo's psychic powers from the evil Team Rocket. $14.95 VHS and $19.98 DVD; the DVD edition has such extras as the uncut version of "The Story of Mewtwo's Origins" and the new TV show opening theme song.

Special Interest:
From Kultur Video: "The Unanswered Question: Six Talks at Harvard by Leonard Bernstein," in which the master composer and conductor examined music from every age and place in the search for a worldwide, innate musical grammar. The six-volume set (13 hours) sells for $99.95 in both VHS and DVD versions. (www.kultur.com or 800-718-1300).

From A&E Home Video: "A History of Britain, Set 2," the second video series in the landmark PBS/The History Channel presentation adapted from historian Simon Schama's best-selling books. "Set 2" chronicles Great Britain from the Elizabethan Era to the Age of Empire. VHS, three-volumes, $39.95. ... "In the Footsteps of the Holy Family" is a religious documentary that traces the footsteps taken by Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus on their prolific flight to escape King Herod death decree; $29.95 VHS and DVD. ... "Christianity: The First Two Thousand Years," an eight-hour documentary, is available for the first time on DVD at $39.95. ... "Heroes of Iwo Jima" is a documentary about the world-famous "flag-raising" on the island of Iwo Jima during one of the fiercest battles of WWII (and the story behind the famous image captured by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal and the lesser-known photo that Marine Corps photographer Lou Lowery took hours earlier), narrated by Gene Hackman; $19.95 VHS and DVD.

From Winstar's Wellspring Media: "The Secrets of the Warrior's Power: Kung Fu," available new to DVD, featuring a host of martial arts experts, from Grandmaster Chan Pui to Bruce Lee; "Tai Chi: 6 Forms," "Tai Chi: 24 Forms" and "Qi Gong for Health," all featuring Dr. Paul Lam, on VHS and DVD; and "The Universal Form," created by Master Lawrence Tan and combining the best of Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Yoga, on VHS and DVD. (www.winstarvideo.com or 800-414-1690).

From Facets Video: "Giacometti, a DVD featuring two films about the work of one of the 20th century's greatest artists, Alberto Giacometti, an extremely important figure in the surrealist movement whose approach to the human body and miniature sculptures have greatly influenced modern art. "What Is a Head?" by Michael Van Zele, is a penetrating and insightful film that reveals Giacometti's brilliance and pays particular attention to his approach to the head, be it sculpted, drawn, or painted, featuring countless interviews with art world luminaries; In "A Man Among Men: Alberto Giacometti," the artist reveals himself before the camera, shedding new light on more than 180 of his greatest works. More info: www.facets.org or 800-331-6197.

Warner Home Video will release on December 11 a whole host of fitness and self-help titles, including: "Total Yoga: The Flow Series," a three-part series of Hatha Vinyasa yoga taught by Ganga White and Tracey Rich, directors of the White Lotus Foundation and retreat in Santa Barbara, Calif.: "Total Yoga: The Flow Series - Earth," for beginners, "Total Yoga: The Flow Series - Water," an intermediate level, and "Total Yoga: The Flow Series - Fire," for more experienced practitioners; $14.95 each VHS or $44.98 per box set. ... A new Richard Simmons fitness tape, "Silver Foxes 2: Shape Up America," brings back celebrity moms and dads to claim fitness and vitality for their generation with a non-aerobic, full-body conditioning and stretching program; $9.95 VHS. ... Released by Warner on the PBS Home Video label is "Suze Orman: The Road to Wealth," featuring a dynamic Q&A session with Orman, a discussion of the critical financial issues facing people today, and an evaluation of the emotional aspects of money matters; $14.95 VHS.

Music: On December 11 Pioneer Entertainment will release "Bach: Greatest Organ Works Volume 2," performed by Hans Andre-Stamm on the famous Trost organ at the Baroque Church in Walterhausen, Germany, and including Fantasia G Minor BWV 542/1, Fugue G Minor BWV 542/2, Prelude G Major BWV 541/1 and more, $29.98 DVD in Dolby 5.1. ... "Losing Aaliyah" is a video retrospective and tribute to the up-and-coming hip-hop and R&B star who died in a plane crash this year, $14.95 VHS and $19.95 DVD, from Azure Entertainment, distributed by Music Video Distributors (www.musicvideodistributors.com or 800-888-0486).

The 'B' Side: Other December Releases

"U.S. Seals 2: The Ultimate Force" is a typical actioner about a team of Navy S.E.A.L.s who infiltrate a Russian nuclear missile base on an island taken over by terrorists lead by a renegade S.E.A.L. The heroes must use martial arts, swords, crossbows and unconventional arms in their secret mission to save the United States from a missile attack. Direct-to-video. Stars Michael Worth, Marshall Teague and Damian Chapa. Artisan, 1999, R, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

"Druids"> is a sword actioner set in 60 B.C. Vercingetorix (Christopher Lambert) is a strong, peaceful Gallic chieftain with a legacy to protect his fellow Druids on the Celtic isles. But when Julius Caesar and his Roman army declare war, Vercingetorix has no choice but to fight. Reunited with his childhood love and armed with little more than raw courage, he unites his people and prepares them for the battle of their lives. Stars Christopher Lambert, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Max Von Sydow and Ines Sastre. Columbia TriStar, 2001, R, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

"Sleepless"> is a thriller by famed horror director Dario Argento. After 17 years it starts again: a series of chilling slayings with the same M.O. as a serial killer long thought dead. More and more victims are found, but the clues don't add up. A seasoned investigator who was once on the case (Max Von Sydow) is called upon to join forces with the son of one of the victims to search for the truth. Direct-to-video. Stars Max Von Sydow. Artisan, 2001, NR, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

"Dirty Kopz" is an urban thriller about the battle between an infamous drug kingpin and a crooked cop over $8 million in dirty money. Plenty of blood and gore. York/Maverick, 2001, R, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

In "The Convent," a group of students break into a basilica as part of a fraternity prank only to discover that the convent contains an unspeakable horror: it seems that 40 years earlier, a young woman entered the building, murdered all the nuns with a sawed-off shotgun, and set the place on fire. Stars Adrienne Barbeau, Coolio and Bill Moseley. Trimark, 2000, R, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

In "Cold Heart," a young woman spends the night with a dangerously romantic bad boy when she suspects that her husband is having an affair. Consumed with guilt and desperate to save her marriage, she decides not to continue her new relationship ... but her new lover won't take no for an answer, and his fatal attraction knows no limits. Stars Nastassja Kinski and Jeff Fahey. Avalanche Home Entertainment, 2000, R, priced for rental.

In "George B," a slow- witted janitor wins it big at Reno and gets picked up by a beautiful woman who convinces him to join her in a business venture. But George's friend thinks the woman has ulterior motives, and endeavors to expose her at any cost. Stars David Morse. York/Maverick, 2001, NR, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

In "Deeply," a young woman gets caught up in an ancient ritual that threatens her life. There's a curse on a remote fishing village that has haunted the area since the days of the Vikings: Every 50 years the fish disappear and the ocean demands its payment in the form of a sacrifice. It's an unspeakable tradition that some people want stopped -- and others want to placate. Stars Kirsten Dunst, Alberta Watson and Lynn Redgrave. Studio Home Entertainment, 2001, NR, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

"Joe's Waiting" is a rock 'n' roll comedy about an ex-rock star who's kidnapped on the eve of his wedding to a record executive's daughter. While in captivity, he starts to rediscover his love for music -- but is it too late? Stars DW Moffett. York/Maverick, 2001, NR, priced for rental, DVD day and date.

In "Carnal Sins," a sexually inhibited photographer backs away from her fiance to work on her inner turmoil, meeting an enigmatic photographer who draws her into the erotic world of nude photography. Stars Brandy Davis, Danny Pape and Anthony Skordi. Buzz Entertainment, 2001, R, $39.95 VHS, DVD day and date.

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