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(Rhino, Not Rated, DVD-$14.95 SRP)

Although it's incredibly short for a DVD (running only a 26 minutes), the animated adaptation of Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner's 2000 Year Old Man sketch is a comedy classic. For those unaware of the routine (for shame), Brooks is the titular old man who is interviewed by Carl Reiner's newsman – and such mysteries as how marriage began, the first language, and the origin of music are revealed by a man who just happened to have been there.

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(BBC, Not Rated, DVD-$34.98 SRP)

Frankly, I was completely surprised when I heard that Absolutely Fabulous would be coming back on the air for another series after being gone for five years. Why? Well, let's just say that the margin for error, coupled with the high esteem of the original run, was a recipe for disaster. Miraculously, though, everything clicks – Patsy and Edina (Jennifer Saunders & Joanna Lumley) are back, and none the smarter. Spanning 7 episodes over two discs, every bit of mid-life debauchery is just as vibrant, and in some cases a little more pointed. The DVD set also includes commentary from Saunders and producer Jon Plowman, a Mirror Ball special (starring the cast of AbFab in different roles), outtakes, a who's who guide, and a photo gallery.

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(Walt Disney, Not Rated, DVD-$29.99 SRP)

I'm usually not a big fan of compilation releases – I'd much prefer material to be presented in its original context. I was even more leery of this release, which seemed to be blatantly capitalizing on the recent upswing in patriotism. Upon viewing it, however, I was impressed by just how classy the whole affair comes off. Hosted by James Earl Jones, it collects 3 classic pieces of Disney animation, plus a recently produced piece that I'm willing to call a classic as well – all of which deal with legends of American folklore. Collected here are the tales of Paul Bunyan, John Henry, Casey Jones, and Johnny Appleseed. The DVD also contains Walt Disney's original TV introduction to Johnny Appleseed from the Disney TV program.

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(Anchor Bay, Rated PG, DVD-$14.98 SRP)

It's nice to know that there was actually a time when Charles Grodin could play a lovably sweet leading role – even if it's as a man who's prepared to leave his wife, on their honeymoon, in order to follow a relative stranger (Cybill Shepard). That's the premise of this Neil Simon adapted flick, which finds Grodin's Lenny on the verge of following his heart – right into the ground. Funny in that special, middlebrow Neil Simon kind of way, it's worth checking out. The anamorphic DVD contains the film's trailer.

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(Warner Bros, Rated PG-13, VHS-Priced For Rental, DVD-$24.98 SRP)

When Stephen King's are properly adapted, we get cinema touchstones such as The Green Mile and Stand By Me . When they're not, we get Sometimes They Come Back. In other words, it's a very fine line when it comes to doing right by King, and thankfully the adaptation of Hearts In Atlantis works nicely. As in many other King stories, the plot revolves around a man, named Ted (Anthony Hopkins), who is gifted with powers – and a warning of shadowy men. Ted becomes a mentor/father figure to a young boy in rural Connecticut in 1960, and he enlists the boy's help in evading these "low men" who are pursuing him. The anamorphic DVD contains an audio commentary with director Scott Hicks, an interview with Anthony Hopkins and Hicks, a still gallery, and the theatrical trailer.

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(Acorn Media, Not Rated, DVD-$24.95 SRP each)

This volume wraps up season two of the acclaimed cult sci-fi show. I admit, Lexx isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it's definitely worth a spin – if only for its quirky, eccentric tales. As far as extras go, these two discs continue the supplements seen in previous releases, including cast & crew interviews, behind-the-scenes featurettes, storyboards, and production sketches. Do yourself a favor – give it a try. It'll grow on you.

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(A&E, Not Rated, DVD-$39.95 SRP)

The one thing I love about sitting down and watching a History Channel documentary is that I know, no matter what the topic is, it will be in-depth and well-presented. This set, detailing the history of organized crime on a global scale, lives up to both expectations. Spanning almost 5 hours, the set takes a look at organized crime in 5 locations – Sicily, Russia, Columbia, China, and India. The most interesting segment would definitely be that of India, due to the fact that it was a complete surprise to me just how comparable the crime problem in that nation is to what we generally think of in regards to America and the Mafia. As far as special features go, the 2-disc set contains a timeline of events for each country.

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(Fox, Rated R, DVD-$19.98 SRP)

While it may sound crass to say it, this DVD will be rented by either one of two groups – those eager to see actress Lea Thompson completely naked, or those eager to see Tom Cruise completely naked. Otherwise, this is a meandering high school football movie from 1983 (early in Cruise's ouvre) that revolves around the small-town travails and high stakes sports pressure exerted on football star Stefan Djordjevic (Cruise) by his overbearing coach (Craig T. Nelson), who wants out of the small-town rut just as badly as Stefan. The anamorphic DVD contains the film's theatrical trailer.

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(Columbia/Tristar, Not Rated, DVD-$24.95 SRP)

As a thief and a murder on the way to being crucified for your crimes, how differently would you live your life if the people, at the offering of Pontius Pilate to choose a criminal to go free, chose your freedom over that of Jesus? That is the crux of this fictionalized story based on a small passage from the New Testament. At a time when Hollywood was cranking out Biblical epics, it's no surprise that producer Dino DeLaurentis would jump on the bandwagon – aided and abetted by a cast including Anthony Quinn, Jack Palance, and Ernest Borgnine. Yes… Ernest Borgnine. It's not a great film, but it's a Dino DeLaurentis film – so it has to at least be seen. The anamorphic DVD contains the film's theatrical trailer.

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(Anchor Bay, Rated R, DVD-$49.98 SRP)

I can already hear you groaning… "ANOTHER version of Evil Dead on DVD???? Geez…" Well, start opening up your wallet, because this one is just too groovy to pass up. The big selling point on a merely superficial level is the packaging itself – the disc comes within a reproduction of the Book of the Dead from the film, with icky, skin-like rubber on the cover. As far as extras go, the commentary tracks are both from the previous version of the disc (one with Bruce Campbell, the other with Sam Raimi and producer Rob Tapert), as is the 18-minute collection of behind-the-scenes outtakes. The first and best of the new material (found only on this Book of the dead edition) is Bruce Campbell's short documentary film Fanalysis – a humorous look at the legions of fans, eccentricities and all, and Campbell's interaction with them. It provides a fascinating insight into the interrelationship of celebrities and fandom. Also new is a 13-minute featurette titled "Discovering Evil Dead", which details, through interviews with the owners of the company, Palace Pictures' acquiring of the film. The disc also includes the film's trailer, TV spots, talent files, and a still gallery.

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(Fox, Rated R, DVD-$19.98 SRP)

Those that remember this 80's era crash-and-burn tale of spoiled Beverly Hills kids probably recall that it's flaws as well – namely that a flick about so interesting a topic is reduced to a dull and lifeless execution. This is in spite of a cast that one knows from other films to be quite capable of wonderful performances (James Spader, Andrew McCarthy). The only real standout is Robert Downey Jr., whose downward spiral into drugs and pampered debauchery is the crux of the story – and a spiral that still hits a little too close to home when compared to Downey's real-life escapades. The anamorphic DVD contains trailers and TV spots.

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(Columbia/Tristar, Not Rated, VHS-Priced For Rental, DVD-$27.96 SRP)

What would happen if multiple universes existed – each one parallel to our own – and each one containing a copy of you… However, what if it was discovered that, by killing the alternate versions of yourself, you became stronger… and what if you were suddenly confronted with this fact when an evil, alternate version of you shows up intent on eliminating you as well? Although it may sound somewhat convoluted, that is the premise behind this completely enjoyable action pic that pits Jet Lit against… Jet Li. You do the math. The anamorphic DVD contains an audio commentary with the director and crew, an animatic comparison, making-of featurettes, and theatrical trailers.

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(Columbia/Tristar, Rated R, DVD-$24.95 SRP)

This should really be a far more entertaining flick than it ultimately is. You've got Chow Yun-Fat (big action) teamed up with Mira Sorvino (big surprise) in a whiz-bang shoot-em-up that find Yun-Fat's character, professional killer John Lee, on the run from his former employer – and seeking the aid of documents forger Meg Coburn (Sorvino) – in order to save his family in China from dishonor… all the while being pursued by hired "replacement killers" sent by his ex-boss to wipe him out. Sounds like it should be a kick, right? Unfortunately, it's bogged down by its own "Hong Kong action" aspirations. The special edition DVD re-release, however, makes a purchase worth it. The anamorphic DVD contains a commentary with director Antoine Fuqua, the HBO making-of, deleted scenes, an alternate ending, the "Chow Yun-Fat Goes Hollywood" featurette, filmographies, and the theatrical trailers.

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(Fox, Rated PG-13, DVD-$19.98 SRP)

Cameron Crowe's directorial debut is about as close to homerun as any first-time director has a right to - and what a homerun it is. Everything that captivated audiences in Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous is evident here – the witty (yet honest) dialogue, the keen observational skill, the perfect casting… And the perfect soundtrack. When John Cusack's iconoclast Lloyd holds up the boombox and defiantly reaffirms his love for Diane (Ione Sky) to the thundering refrains of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" – well, what can I say? That is a film moment only made powerful through the writing and direction behind those perfect performances. The anamorphic DVD contains an audio commentary (with Crowe, Cusack, and Skye – which leads off with a 20-minute audio intro on the background of the film), 10 deleted scenes, 13 extended scenes, 5 alternate scenes (all of which have optional commentary from Crowe), the original behind-the-scenes featurette, a photo gallery, trailers, and TV spots.

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(Warner Bros, Not Rated, DVD-$19.98 SRP)

Despite my better instincts, I still get a kick out of these cheaply produced Scooby-Doo adventures. It really doesn't even matter what they're about anymore (this one deals with Shaggy becoming a werewolf to race Dracula or something), they're just wacky fun… Even if this one was produced in 1988 – and couldn't bother to get Shaggy's shirt color right. But who cares? It's Scooby, for cripes sake. The DVD contains a "How-to-draw Scooby" featurette and a Scooby game.

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(Fox, Rated PG, DVD-$19.98 SRP)

Anyone who surfs past the myriad permutations of HBO has likely run across this 80's flick that revovles around the cadets of a small military academy who – when faced with the closure of their school in order for the land to be turned into condos – decide to arm themselves and defend the only life most of them have known, with horrible consequences. The only problem is that the film has so many messages that it's difficult to ascertain which one is the one we're supposed to pay attention to. Is it the encroachment of modern values on traditional standbys such as honor? Is it about the dangers of a militaristic society? Is it a coming-of-age film? I still don't know, but I do know that despite the morass, it has a wonderful performance from the late George C. Scott as the school's ailing commandant – and keep an eye out for Tom Cruise and Sean Penn as well. The anamorphic DVD contains the film's trailer.

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(Rhino, Not Rated, DVD-$14.99 SRP)

If you're as big a fan of the Blues Brothers as I am, then the DVD release of the retrospective The Best of the Blues Brothers is a definite must. Clocking in at an hour, it's a clip show featuring Saturday Night Live footage of Jake and Elwood (John Belushi & Dan Aykroyd), as well as rare material shot at the concert appearances. Hosted by Tom Davis (of Franken and Davis fame, for you old-school SNL fans out there), it also features Dan Aykroyd remiscing about the genesis of the act, its evolution and popularity, as well as some parting thoughts about Belushi. Overall, it's a documentary that does the Blues Brothers justice… and did I mention the wonderful 5.1 sound? I guess I just did…

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(Criterion, Not Rated, DVD-$39.95 SRP)

If Stand By Me were recrafted with a much more meditative flair – and placed deep in the rural South – this is the film that might result, as a group of adolescents are forced to confront (and try to figure out) the crumbling world around them. Fascinating in its introspective nature, it's definitely a film worth checking out – and if you have an extra year hanging around, you might be able to dig through this amazingly well-stocked DVD. As far as bonus features go, it contains an audio commentary (with director David Gordon Green, cinematographer Tim Orr and actor Paul Schneider), a deleted scene with commentary, the original theatrical trailer, short films, a Charlie Rose interview, and video interviews with the cast.

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(Warner Bros, Rated R, VHS-Priced For Rental, DVD-$24.98 SRP)

Heist was released around the same time as The Score – both films ostensibly about their lead criminals being forced into one last big heist, complicated by accomplices. It's at that point that the comparisons cease. The Score was a bloated flick weighed down by a ponderous narrative and towering leads. By contrast, Heist – written and directed by David Mamet – is an exercise in power and economy, perfectly executed with a cast led by Gene Hackman, and including Delroy Lindo, Ricky Jay, and Danny Devito. The only real disappointment is that the DVD is virtually featureless, save for the film's trailer. It would have been nice to have a Mamet commentary – but at least I was consoled by the fact that I had just viewed a great neo-noir full of plot twists and acting bravado.

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(Columbia/Tristar, Not Rated, DVD-$19.95 SRP each)

If you're late converts to the cinematic wizardry of Jackie Chan – via flicks like Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon – it's high time you took it upon yourself to experience three of Jackie's Hong Kong classics. I've found out that plots to Jackie's films are mostly irrelevant, since it's the stunning fight choreography, action, and humor that drive them – and all of those elements are found in To Kill With Intrigue, Snake & Crane Arts of Shaolin, and New Fist of Fury. All remastered and presented in anamorphic widescreen, it's a treat to see a young Jackie Chan in these early features. Sure, it would have been nice to have more special features than just trailers, but the fact that the prints used look so good – and the videotapes that one watched in the past looked so bad – is what makes these discs well worth the price of admission.

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. (Criterion, Not Rated, DVD-$29.95 SRP)

Calling a Fellini film hallucinatory is like saying water is wet – it's just a given. In this tale – which is Fellini's first film in color – we follow a betrayed wife who escapes into a hallucinatory world all her own, leading to self-discovery. As per Criterion, the film is beautifully restored – rich colors abound – and the anamorphic DVD is rounded out with quite an interesting extra – a 19-minute interview with Fellini (it's always nice to hear directly from a filmmaker). The disc also contains the film's original theatrical trailer.

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(Fox, Rated R, DVD-$27.98 SRP)

As a thriller, Joy Ride is amazingly effective. After a prank backfires, a trio of friends (Leelee Sobieski, Steve Zahn, Paul Walker) find themselves mercilessly pursued cross-country by an insane trucker – think of it as a latter-day Duel. The anamorphic DVD contains an audio commentary (with Sobieski, Zahn, director John Dahl, and writers J.J. Abrams & Clay Tarver), 4 alternate endings, the voice auditions for the unseen trucker, making-of featurette, a deleted scene, and the film's trailer.

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(Fox, Rated R, VHS-Priced For Rental, DVD-$29.98 SRP)

You know, there's something oddly frightening – yet electrifying – in seeing Gandhi kick butt. When a sociopathic gangster Don Logan (Ben Kingsley) tries to rope in an ex-partner (Ray Winstone) for a big London heist, he finds himself rebuffed. Not willing to take no for an answer, the stakes are raised as Logan wages a fierce battle of wills with his reluctant accomplice. The anamorphic DVD contains an audio commentary with Kingsley and producer Jeremy Thomas, a featurette, and trailers.

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(Warner Bros, Not Rated, DVD-$19.98 SRP)

You know, I tried and tried and tried and even ran circles – all in hopes of finding one positive thing to say about this new Tom and Jerry adventure… and I just can't. It's poorly written, poorly animated, poorly acted – heck, let's just sum it up by saying it's poorly conceived. It's even worse than Tom and Jerry: The Movie – which should send shivers down your spine. The DVD does redeem a potential purchase, however, by including two classic T&J shorts: The Flying Sorceress and Haunted Mouse . The DVD also contains a making-of featurette, character featurettes, and recipes.

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(Columbia/Tristar, Not Rated, DVD-$24.95 SRP each)

If you've got the "Hollywood Blockbuster Malaise" and are looking for a little jolt to the system, then a trio of releases from Columbia/Tristar will get you excited again. Newly remastered in anamorphic widescreen comes three classics from the PT Barnum of 50's cinema, William Castle – Homicidal, Strait-Jacket, and Mr. Sardonicus. All are worth checking out, and all contain some nice supplemental material. Strait-Jacket contains a making-of, Joan Crawford costume and make-up tests, screen test, and trailers. Homicidal contains a featurette and trailers. Finally, Mr. Sardonicus contains a making-of and trailers.

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(Paramount, Not Rated, DVD-$44.99 SRP)

Sitting down to watch these 3 discs, comprising the entire first season of MTV's WWF Tough Enough, I didn't know what I was in for. I tended to avoid watching them during their initial airing on the network, having already become far too overloaded on other reality shows like Survivor and The Real World. For those unfamiliar with the concept, it pits 13 everyday contestants against each other for the ultimate prize – two WWF wrestling contracts, one male and one female.  The contestants all train in WWF fashion – which is exceptionally physical and brutal, but ultimately amounts to intense athletic and mental conditioning. All of this is done under the tutelage of WWF stars such as Al Snow, Tazz, and Jaqueline, and the contestants are slowly weeded out – either through routine eliminations or physical and mental breakdowns – until the finalists are chosen. While I was expecting a cheese-fest, what I found was a rather fascinating look behind the curtain of professional wrestling, and just what kind of intense dedication is needed for what is ultimately a physically and mentally challenging form of sports entertainment. While gaining a good deal of respect for the business, I was even more impressed by the contestants – I don't know how in the hell they stuck with the punishment, but I guess desire takes a person along way.  The DVD set also contains bonus footage and submission tapes. Also available is the disc Behind WWF Tough Enough ($19.99 SRP) which is an hour-length special that goes a bit more into the behind-the-scenes process and contains more footage.

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(Paramount, Rated PG-13, DVD-$29.99 SRP)

Expanded from his one-note sketches originally shown during the VH1 Fashion Awards – and focusing on the rather dim male model of the title – I must say that I was extremely disappointed in co-writer/director Ben Stiller. Why, you ask? Because, based on the now classic Ben Stiller Show, I expected something much funnier than the tired, annoying, and unfunny film that we have here. The plot, such as it is, finds Zoolander (Stiller) being brainwashed by an evil fashion designer named Mugato (Will Ferrell) – at the behest of the international fashion cabal – in order to assassinate the new Prime Minister of Malaysia, who is seeking to get wage increases and benefits for his people. Throw into the mix young turk competition for Zoolander (played by Owen Wilson) and a pseudo-love interest (Christine Taylor) – throw in whatever you want, actually… It's still a lousy flick. The anamorphic DVD contains an audio commentary (with writers Drake Slather, John Hamburg, and Stiller), deleted and expanded scenes (with optional commentary from Stiller), outtakes, the original VH1 Skits, trailer, promo spots, an alternate end title sequence, and a music video.

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(Columbia/Tristar, Rated R, DVD-$27.96 SRP)

I'm still mostly baffled by Columbia/Tristar's selection process when it comes to choosing which of their catalog titles will get the Superbit treatment, so the nearest I can figure is that they look for flicks that have the loudest bangs and the snazziest visuals – and The Big Hit fits both of those criteria. I'm not exactly a fan of the film – about a quartet of hitmen (Mark Wahlberg, Lou Diamond Phillips, Antonio Sabato, Jr., Bokeem Woodbine) whose moonlighting runs astray when they kidnap their boss's goddaughter (Christina Applegate) – but there's just something incredibly jazzy about watching a Superbit title. For those not in the know, Suberbit refers to Columbia/Tristar's releases of DVDs with no extras – all the space on the disc is devoted to the maximum picture and sound quality.

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(MGM/UA, Rated R, DVD-$19.98 SRP)

While it may be a bare bones DVD release, Boxcar Bertha marks the directorial debut of Martin Scorsese – and it's a fascinating piece to view in that context. Bertha (Barbara Hershey) is an independent woman who falls in love and strikes out with her man on a spree of daring train robberies – the loot from which they distribute to the lowly workers. Eventually, though, the law decides to come down hard on Bertha, steering her towards an outcome that is all but inevitable. The anamorphic DVD contains the original theatrical trailer.

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(Fox, Rated R, VHS-Priced For Rental, DVD-$29.98 SRP)

Donnie Darko is a hard film to pigeonhole. It's a little bit sci-fi, a little bit horror, a little bit comedy, and a little bit John Hughes. Yes, you heard me right. Donnie Darko is an odd teenager – he's disaffected, he goes to therapy, and he's on medication. He was also warned by a 6-foot guy in a bunny suit that he was in danger – a warning he heeded, meaning he wasn't home when an airplane engine fell out of the sky and crashed through his room… Something that would have killed him had he been there. Oddities begin to stack up as it's discovered that there was no airplane present that the engine could have come from – and that bunny keeps showing up, more menacing each time. As you can see, this is a hard film to get a hold of – but trust me when I say that it's well worth catching. The anamorphic DVD contains an audio commentary with the director and cast, deleted/extended scenes (with optional commentary), the "Cunning Visions" Infomercials, "The Philosophy of Time Travel" book, "Mad World" music video, website gallery, art gallery, production stills, cast & crew info, trailer, and TV spots.

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(Walt Disney, Rated G, DVD-$29.99 SRP)

Throughout the early 90's, I must admit that I was an avid fan of Disney's animated features. Heck, I must have seen Aladdin a half-dozen times. Then Pocahontas came out. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. That would have been a recoverable blow, but the following year I saw Hunchback – and was completely disillusioned. Although relatively faithful to Hugo's novel – about as faithful as a Disney picture can be – it struck me as a completely cornball take on the tortured character… And the goofball Gargoyle companions helped matters not a bit. What I will say, as a way of giving some praise, is that it's a very beautiful film in its overall design, even if its character design and animation sometimes fall short of expectations. What saves the anamorphic DVD is not the fluff making-of special, the sing-along, game, or multi-language reel. No, what is most fun is the commentary track with directors Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, and producer Don Hahn. Informative and funny, it makes me wish more of Disney's old DVD releases could be revisited ( Three Cabelleros, anyone?). What is most unfortunate is that Disney, in their infinite financial wisdom, has seen fit to do a direct-to-video (or, in this case, DVD) sequel to Hunchback. The Hunchback of Notre Dame II (Walt Disney, Rated G, DVD-$29.99 SRP) is simply a mess. Hackneyed story and bad animation compound to form an unwatchable morass. My advice is to get the first flick for its excellent commentary and avoid the sequel altogether. Trust me.

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(Big Idea, Not Rated, DVD-$19.99 SRP)

While I'm not a particularly religious person, I found Big Idea's VeggieTales to be the least heavy-handed when it came to creating children's programming with Christian values – a rarity – and they were funny to boot… an even bigger rarity. Expanding a bit, they've spun off the cucumber Larry into an animated series that has a very nice character design and decent animation – again, a rarity. What is nicest of all, though, is that the script plays with it's superhero convention in a fun way while still getting across its point. The DVD contains trailers and sneak previews, story reels, an artwork gallery and animation progression with director commentary, a "how to draw Larry & Larryboy featurette, games, the theme song sing-along, a guide to the superheroes and supervillains, and a featurette about taking the characters from 3D to 2D.

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(Columbia/Tristar, Rated PG-13, VHS-Priced For Rental, DVD-$27.96 SRP)

Wow. Penny Marshall has finally directed a film I actually enjoy fully – that doesn't seem trite, or smarmy, or contrived. In telling the tale of a girl (Drew Barrymore) who gets pregnant in her teens in the 60's, has a shotgun wedding to an immature kid (Steve Zahn) and must eventually raise her son alone – all the while confronting the life she could have had and the life she still wants for herself – Marshall has obviously tapped into a personal vein. Definitely worth viewing. The anamorphic DVD contains an audio commentary by Drew Barrymore, the HBO making-of, "Drew's Trailer Tour" featurette, "Bev & Ray's House: Recreating Reality" featurette, "The Cars" featurette, "Beverly And Jason: Sons And Lovers" featurette, and the theatrical trailers.

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(Warner Bros, Not Rated, VHS-$14.95 SRP, DVD-$19.98 SRP)

It's quite rare these days to see a cartoon come on the scene that is not a 50-cuts per second roller-coaster ride. In fact, I would almost call this creation of Genndy Tartakovsky (of Dexter's Lab fame) meditative. Don't get me wrong, though – it's no snoozefest. First, a little plot – in a distant time when a shape-shifting creature of evil named Aku has ravaged the land, a young boy is sent off to train as a Samurai - in hopes he will one day grow up and defeat Aku. When he has reached adulthood and confronts Aku, however, he finds himself flung into the future - where the locals call him "Jack." It is those locals that aid Jack in his quest to return to the past and eliminate Aku. Pretty heady stuff, eh? If Akira Kurosawa were to have created a cartoon, this would be it – it's just as heroically iconic as anything that great Japanese legend put on film. The DVD contains a bonus episode, the "Behind The Sword" documentary which details the creation of the series, the "Samurai Jack Archives", and a sneak preview of the Powerpuff Girls movie.

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(Columbia/Tristar, Rated PG, DVD-$24.95 SRP)

Remember when Chevy Chase was funny? Sure you do… Don't you? Well, if you're having trouble remembering, check out the new-to-DVD release of Neil Simon's Seems Like Old Times – a classic farce starring Chase and Goldie Hawn. You may not remember, but Chase and Hawn were the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan of their day, and this comic caper finds them at the top of their form, as struggling writer Nick Gardenia (Chase) finds himself kidnapped and forced into perpetrating a bank robbery. On the lam and with no one else, he turns to his ex-wife (Hawn) – who takes him in. The only complication is her uptight DA husband (Charles Grodin)… and the fact that there may still be feelings between them. The anamorphic DVD contains the film's trailer.

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(Anchor Bay, Rated PG-13, DVD-$14.98 SRP)

It's hard to believe that this film was actually a success when it was released. Personally, it's one of the most awkward flicks I've ever seen – how else would you describe a "comedy" about a white college student (C. Thomas Howell) who masquerades as a black man in order to get a scholarship. Did I mention that it also stars James Earl Jones? How they were able to rope him into doing this, I'll never know. The only saving grace for the DVD is the commentary track featuring Howell and director Steve Miner, both of whom try to rationalize why anyone would have a problem with the subject matter. The anamorphic DVD also contains the theatrical trailer.

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(Miramax, Rated PG, DVD-$29.99 SRP)

Fans of Moulin Rouge and William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet will want to check out director Baz Luhrman's first foray into film – with a flick ostensibly about ballroom dancing. If you're able to get over your initial trepidation, what you'll find is a nice – and touching – character piece revolving around, well, ballroom dancing. The anamorphic DVD contains an audio commentary (with Luhrman, production designer and co-costumer Catherine Martin, and choreographer John O'Connell), a deleted scene, and a dancing featurette.

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(Warner Bros, Rated R, DVD-$26.98 SRP)

To say that Training Day is a brutal film is a bit of an understatement – but it is the type of brutality conveyed in the piece that makes it unique. Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) is a young rookie cop who is assigned for 24 hours to undercover narc veteran Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington). Hoyt has no time for ideals, however, as he is quickly swept up in the shady, slippery slope of Harris' brutally corrupt – yet charismatic – officer. It's a latter-day Dirty Harry, shone through the prism of recent scandals, where one is forced to consider if the ends possibly do justify the means. The anamorphic DVD contains a rather interesting audio commentary with director Antione Fuqua, the HBO making-of special, additional scenes, an alternate ending, 2 music videos, and the film's trailer.

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(Columbia/Tristar, Rated R, DVD-$29.95 SRP)

Stephen Fry's portrayal of the uniquely brilliant Oscar Wilde is a wonder to behold, whether it's the bracing eccentricity or the wonderfully developed literary ego – Fry lives the role. What is also given a real weight is the exploration of Wilde's mid-life realization of his homosexuality – leading him to try and juggle his marriage, fatherhood, and his desire for Lord Alfred Douglas (Jude Law). This is a nice exploration of a true literary genius – and the humanity behind the mind. The anamorphic DVD contains an audio commentary, two featurettes, a photo montage, filmographies, production notes, and trailers.

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(Columbia/Tristar, Not Rated, DVD-$39.95 SRP)

Based on the BBC series Till Death Do Us Part, it's amazing that – over 30 years on – All In The Family is just as shocking to watch now as it was then. In making Archie Bunker a loveable, yet unrepentant, bigot, the show was allowed to get to the deeper recesses of that bigotry – as a viewer, you try to understand what makes a person think these horrid things. If Archie were an out-and-out mustache-twirling evil person, the message would be lost in people's distaste and dismissal of so comic a persona. When viewing the 13 episodes that make up season one (spanning 3 discs), it's clearly evident that TV today is still struggling to portray issues like these – oft times not as successfully.

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(New Video, Not Rated, DVD-$24.95 SRP)

Twenty years on, this is film a brilliantly incisive piece of social and political satire, made during the waning years of the Cold War. For those unfamiliar with The Atomic Cafι, it is basically an assemblage of classic training films, test reels, PSAs, and newsreel footage – set to a 50's soundtrack – all about the threat of nuclear war. Most of it is funny in retrospect – especially the delusional nature of such PSA's as "Duck and Cover" – but it's a black humor that is made all the more timely when one places them in the context of the times we currently find ourselves in. The biggest gut-punch is when pieces seen as humorous are suddenly – and devastatingly – juxtaposed with horrific footage such as the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It's definitely a must-see, if merely for its historical aspects.

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(A&E, Not Rated, DVD-$39.95 SRP)

Now *this* is a fun adaptation of Sir Walter Scott's classic tale of chivalric battle for the good of England. After the return of King Edward from the Crusades, a deposed Prince John schemes to regain the throne. Seeking to foil his plot – and the disloyal minions who seek to carry it out – is brave knight Wilfred of Ivanhoe. On his quest, he meets such mythic figures as Robin Hood and the Black Knight – and is soon troubled by a love which divides his heart. High adventure and romance abound – a great way to spend a weekend's viewing time. The 2-disc DVD set contains a Sir Walter Scott bio and filmography.

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(A&E, Not Rated, DVD-$39.95 SRP)

The wonderfully executed adaptations of P.G. Wodehouse's tales of daffy upperclassman Wooster (Hugh Laurie) and his unflappable manservant Jeeves (Stephen Fry) come to a close in this release of the fourth, and final, series of Jeeves and Wooster. This time around, Bertie Wooster is on the run – from both his overbearing Aunt Agatha and the always present threat of wedlock – as he flees England for the relative safety of New York, aided and abetted by Jeeves. Unfortunately, his asylum soon unravels in a most spectacular fashion, as he finds even more problems await him in the New World. The 2-disc DVD set contains a P.G. Wodehouse bio/filmography.

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(New Line, Rated R, VHS-Priced For Rental, DVD-$24.95 SRP)

Kevin Kline stars as George, a man whose life has been full of disappointments, from his failed marriage to his estrangement from his son, Sam (Hayden Christensen). When a one-two punch – the loss of his job followed by a medical death sentence – causes George to reevaluate his life, he latches on the rebuilding of his decrepit house as a means of revitalizing his relationships and himself. What could have been a tacky, maudlin affair instead is a rather poignant, uplifting film that strikes quite a few chords. The anamorphic DVD contains an audio commentary with director Irwin Winkler, co-producer Rob Cowen and writer Mark Andrus, "Character Building Inside Life as a House" and "From the Ground Up" featurettes, four deleted scenes with optional commentary, the original theatrical press kit, and trailers.

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(Rhino, Not Rated, DVD-$19.95 SRP)

If you're feeling a bit punchy this weekend and feel like partaking in the cheesiest of movies – all the while eviscerating them with Joel, Mike, Crow, and Servo – then you'll want to pick up the latest Mystery Science Theater 3000 releases, Red Zone Cuba and I Accuse My Parents. There's nothing like tearing apart a rotten film to make one forget about the hassles of the work-week.

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(Miramax, Rated PG, DVD-$29.99 SRP)

I wouldn't be dishonest in saying that I was secretly hoping that this flick – produced by N'Sync's Lance Bass and starring Bass and his bandmate Joey Fatone – would be an abomination. Petty, I know, but don't they have enough success already? Well, color me surprised when their film – about a guy (Bass)who discovers the girl of his dreams, loses her, and then mounts a massive campaign to find her – is a an inoffensive romantic comedy that, despite my best intentions, I found myself liking. Brrrr. The anamorphic DVD contains an audio commentary with director Eric Bross and Emmanuelle Chriqui, a behind-the-scenes featurette, a storyboard comparison, outtakes, deleted and alternate scenes with commentary, a music video, a making-of the music video, the director's home videos, cast interviews, and the film's trailer.

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(A&E, Not Rated, DVD-$39.95 SRP each)

Before Magnum got his investigation license, the coolest P.I. on TV was Peter Gunn… And who could forget Henry Mancini's classic theme song? Well, tough-as-nails Gunn is hitting DVD from A&E, and it's never looked or sounded quite this good… Heck, it's pretty damn spiffy. Spanning two sets and four DVDs are 36 episodes (8 per disc), and each one is packed with the adventures of the coolest P.I. that ever shook up the LA scene – Peter Gunn. As far as extras go, both sets feature an interactive trivia game.

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(Criterion, Not Rated, DVD-$39.95 SRP)

To call Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon a classic is almost to do it a disservice – it's no so much a classic as it is a thing of beauty that transcends its medium. Quite a heady way to describe a film, no? Well, if nothing, Rashomon is a colossal head trip, as a single action – the murder of a man and the rape of his wife – is seen through the divergent prisms of 4 different men's perception. Kurosawa uses camera tricks and flashbacks in bringing to the screen a fascinating dissection of what exactly denotes the truth of a situation. The beautifully restored DVD contains the usual boatload of Criterion extras, including an audio commentary with Japanese film historian Donald Richie, a video introduction by Robert Altman, excerpts from "The World Of Kazuo Miyagawa" documentary, reprints of the "Rashomon" source stories "In A Grove" and "Rashomon", an excerpt from Akira Kurosawa's "Something Like An Autobiography", and the film's theatrical trailer.

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(Paramount, Not Rated, DVD-$134.99 SRP)

The first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation is a mixed-bag… It's ultimately best summed up as a show that was still trying to find its voice, while also lingering under the enormous shadow of its predecessor. Overtones of The Original Series can be found in everything from costume design (the crewmembers go-go skirts), music (before modern Trek scores became monotonous), acting (subtlety, where art thou), and even the fights (lots of roundhouse punches). There were many faltering steps along the way, as the show bordered on camp (like the Naked Now "sequel"). Eventually, though, a voice began to emerge, and by the end of the season we had conspiracies in Starfleet (in Conspiracy ) and the return of the Romulans as a threat (in The Negative Zone). Despite the faltering moments and general awkwardness, it's still an interesting season to own – providing a unique look at the creative process involved in sci-fi television… And hey, there's two Q episodes (even if one of them is the molasses-like pilot). The 7-disc set features 5.1 surround, clean transfers, and four brand-new featurettes - detailing the early development of the show, the casting process, character analysis, and cast & crew reminisces about favorite episodes.

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(A&E, Not Rated, DVD-$39.95 SRP)

Of all the BBC Brit-lit adaptations, I think I'm least fond of their work bringing Tom Jones to the screen… Not that I was too big a fan of the original novel to begin with. For those not in the know – or with far more important things to do – Tom Jones is the story of a young man cast out of house and home, who must make his way in the world whilst dodging others bids, both male and female, do to him in. It's supposed to be a rollicking adventure but… well… it's not. Dull and uninspired maybe, but not rollicking. But I'm sure there are fans out there –so here you go. The 2-disc DVD set contains a Henry Fielding bio and filmography.

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(A&E, Not Rated, DVD-$79.95 SRP)

The classic parallel class-struggle between the upstairs upperclass Bellamys and their downstairs servants continues in this collection of the third season of the acclaimed British series. For fans of the show, this go round may be the most memorable, because it deals with Lady Bellamy's death on the Titanic, as well as the coming of the first World War. What sets this series so counter to most people's expectations – that it's some stuffy period drama – is the reality that it's a very human exploration of the interrelationships between family, servants and masters, and people in general within society.

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(USA Home Entertainment, Not Rated, DVD-$24.95 SRP)

Xena fans are being dealt a Catch-22 with the release of the Xena: Warrior Princess Series Finale on DVD – it's a special edition with an expanded cut, but it's also presented in a cropped 1.33 ratio instead of anamorphic widescreen. However disappointing that is (and it's quite), the blow is tempered by a nice 30-minute making-of featurette and a wonderful audio commentary with Lucy Lawless, Rob Tapert, and Renee O'Connor.

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Tibby's Bowl Entertainment Magazine copyright 2002 by Kenneth Plume. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in part or in whole without permission is prohibited. All articles, stories, and columns contained within are copyright their respective authors.