|New DVDs Oct. 16, 2000|
|Home Theater News DVD Hardware-Software News|
|Written by AVRev.com|
|Wednesday, 18 October 2000|
AMERICAN PIMP (MGM/UA), released earlier this year, is a documentary by MENACE II SOCIETY makers Albert Hughes and Allen Hughes about the men who prey on the practitioners of the world’s oldest profession. The sound is in Dolby 2.0 Stereo.
HAMLET (Criterion), the 1948 version directed by and starring Laurence Olivier, won the Best Picture Oscar. Jean Simmons also stars. The black-and-white film is on DVD in full-frame (1.33:1) aspect ratio, with Dolby 2.0 Mono sound.
JURASSIC PARK (Universal Home Video) is available in both a DTS Special Edition and regular Dolby Sound. The 1993 blockbuster about dinosaurs, directed by Steven Spielberg from Michael Crichton’s novel, stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum. The new DVD special edition includes a making-of documentary, videotaped clips of pre-production meetings with Spielberg and the special-effects designers, a foley (sound effects) sequence, storyboards and a dinosaur encyclopedia. However, there is no director commentary track.
JURASSIC PARK: THE LOST WORLD (Universal Home Video) is likewise available in both DTS and Dolby. The 1997 feature, again directed by Spielberg from Crichton’s sequel novel, stars Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Vince Vaughn and a Tyrannosaurus Rex running amok in San Diego. Special features include a making-of documentary, deleted scenes, illustrations, conceptual drawings and a second dinosaur encyclopedia. The two films can be purchased separately or as a boxed set.
KEEPING THE FAITH (Walt Disney Home Video), released theatrically earlier this year, is actor Edward Norton’s directorial debut, a fairly funny romantic comedy with Norton and Ben Stiller as, respectively, a Catholic priest and a rabbi who discover that they’re both in love with the same childhood friend (Jenna Elfman, who is indeed pretty lovable). The sound format is 5.1. Extras include a commentary from Norton, 21 minutes of deleted footage and an eight-minute gag/outtake reel.
THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (Touchstone Home Video), the playfully ghoulish 1993 musical fantasy, is often mistakenly believed to be entirely the work of producer Tim Burton, but Henry Selick is in fact the director of this tale about Halloween Town’s attempt to co-opt Christmas. Danny Elfman composed the score and provides the voice of hero Jack Skellington, whose speaking voice is Chris Sarandon. Catherine O’Hara and William Hickey are other starring voices. The special edition DVD is in Dolby 5.1 and comes with audio commentary from director Selick, a making-of short, concept art, character descriptions, animation tests, deleted scenes and storyboards, and two 3-D animated shorts from producer Burton, VINCENT, narrated by Vincent Price, and FRANKENWEENIE.
PYGMALION (Criterion) is the 1938 version of George Bernard Shaw’s play that later served as the basis of MY FAIR LADY. The screenplay adaptation was done by Shaw himself, co-directed by star Leslie Howard and Anthony Asquith. Wendy Hiller also stars in this black-and-white production, presented in full-screen (1.33:1) aspect ratio. The sound format is Dolby 2.0 Mono.
TOY STORY and TOY STORY 2 (Walt Disney Home Video), two Pixar 3-D animated hits, respectively from 1995 and 1999, both star the voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen as toys with lives of their own. The DVDs are available singly and as part of a two- and three-disk boxed set. The deluxe three-disk set includes TOY STORY on one disk that also comes with an audio commentary from the filmmakers, a making-of short, "on-set interviews" and the Oscar-winning animated short "Tin Toy." TOY STORY 2’s disk is equipped with an audio commentary, a music-only audio track, an effects-only audio track, outtakes and the Oscar-winning short "Luxo Jr." Both films are THX-certified and presented in their original 1.77:1 aspect ratio, enhanced for widescreen TVs. The third disk in the set contains a history of the TOY STORY films, character designs, information on story development, publicity, outtakes and something called "The Toy Box."
CORRECTION: Contrary to what was printed last week, TREASURES FROM AMERICAN FILM ARCHIVES: 50 PRESERVED FILMS (Image Entertainment) is a four-disk, 642-minute compilation of selections from 18 different film archives. Many of the films sampled here have never been available on home video, including the 1916 SNOW WHITE, HELL’S HINGES, the two-strip 1922 Technicolor version of THE TOLL OF THE SEA, the 1928 THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, ROSE HOBART and footage from Orson Welles 1936 VOODOO MACBETH, along with 1933 home movies from Groucho Marx. Laurence Fishburne narrates. All films without original soundtracks have new music scores. The DVD comes with over 300 interactive screens discussing the films and their music, illustrated essays on the participating archives and a 150-page companion book.