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New DVDs August 14, 2000 Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 August 2000
AFTER LIFE (New Yorker Films) is director Hirokazu Kareeda’s 1999 meditative fantasy about a group of strangers who, after their own deaths, are asked to select a single moment from each of their lives to be relived for eternity. Takashi Mochizuki and Shiori Satonaka star in the Japanese-language film that is subtitled in English.

BEATLES BOXED SET (MPI) features a quartet of Fab Four pieces that have previously been available as individual titles: THE FIRST U.S. VISIT, HELP!, MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR and YOU CAN’T DO THAT: THE MAKING OF ‘A HARD DAY’S NIGHT.’ BEDROOMS AND HALLWAYS (First Run Features) is director Rose Troche’s 1999 British romantic comedy about two men involved with each other and a woman, played by Jennifer Ehle.

BUZZ LIGHTYEAR OF STAR COMMAND: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS (Disney) is a made-for-video companion piece to the "film within a film" segments in the TOY STORY movies. BUZZ is done in traditional animation (vs. the dimensional Pixar technique used in the feature films). Tim Allen is back as the voice of Buzz, with Jim Hanks (brother of Tom, who had the role in the features) speaking for his pal Woody. Wayne Knight voices the Emperor Zurg, who has captured the little green men and means to use their power for … evil! The DVD comes with a comic book and two games.

CIDER HOUSE RULES (Miramax Home Entertainment), director Lasse Hallstrom’s 1999 hit adaptation of John Irving’s novel, won a Supporting Actor Oscar for Michael Caine’s performance as a kindly New England doctor who runs an orphanage that occasionally doubles as an abortion clinic. Tobey McGuire, Charlize Theron, Delroy Lindo and Erykah Badu also star. The DVD has audio commentary, deleted footage and a "making of" short.

DRAGONHEART: A NEW BEGINNING (Universal) is a made-for-video sequel to 1996’s fantasy DRAGONHEART. Chris Masterson plays a stableboy who befriends a dragon, voiced by Robby Benson (sounds promising – Benson was a magnificent Beast voice for the animated Disney BEAUTY AND THE BEAST). If the computer animation on the new dragon is anything like the original, it should look good. The DVD comes with a "making of" short.

ERIN BROCKOVICH (Universal/MCA), released earlier this year theatrically, is a highly-energetic fact-based story about a single mother of three who went from unemployed poverty to steering a relatively small law firm into an impossible victory over a corporate giant. Julia Roberts and Albert Finney star under Steven Soderbergh’s direction; the real Erin Brockovich has a cameo as a coffee shop waitress. The DVD includes a "making of" short, deleted scenes and production notes.

GHOST DOG: THE WAY OF THE SAMURAI (Artisan Entertainment) is director Jim Jarmusch’s 1999 meditative offbeat drama about a New York hit man (Forest Whitaker) attempting to live according to the samurai code. The DVD features deleted footage, a 30-minute feature entitled THE ODYSSEY: JOURNEY INTO THE LIFE OF SAMURAI, a music video and a music-only audio track option featuring the Wu Tang Clan’s The RZA.

HERE ON EARTH (Fox Video), released earlier this year theatrical, is director Mark Piznarski’s romantic drama about a triangle between three teens. Chris Klein, Leelee Sobieski, Josh Hartnett and Michael Rooker star.

I, CLAUDIUS (Image Entertainment) is the much-acclaimed 11-hour 1976 BBC adaptation of Robert Graves’ novel about the Roman emperor Claudius. The miniseries stars Derek Jacobi, Sian Phillips, John Hurt, Patrick Stewart, Sheila White and Brian Blessed. The DVD comes with THE EPIC THAT NEVER WAS, a 71-minute documentary about Alexander Korda’s unfinished attempt to bring Claudius’ story to the screen in 1937 with Charles Laughton and Merle Oberon.

IT’S THE RAGE (Columbia/TriStar), released earlier this year, examines the lethal odyssey of a handgun as it travels from the possession of one person to another. Joan Allen, Andre Braugher, Jeff Daniels, Robert Forster, Anna Paquin, David Schwimmer and Gary Sinise play a few of the parties affected by the weapon under James D. Stern’s direction. The DVD comes with an audio commentary track from the director and production notes.

NASHVILLE (Paramount Home Entertainment) enjoys its 25th anniversary this year. Filmmaker Robert Altman’s multi-layered 1975 fictional paean to the home of country music and its denizens won an Oscar for Keith Carradine’s wistful ballad "I’m Easy" and was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Picture, Director and Supporting Actress (both Ronee Blakley and Lily Tomlin). The film also stars Geraldine Chaplin and Jeff Goldblum. The DVD comes in 5.1 Surround, with an audio commentary track and interview with Altman.

THE SECRET OF ROAN INISH (Columbia/TriStar) is director John Sayles’ magically evocative 1995 take on the Selkie (were-seal) myth, set in contemporary Ireland. Jeni Courtney and John Lynch star, along with the stunning scenery and real seals (as opposed to the more easily trainable sea lions that movies usually employ when pinnipeds are required). Audiophile folk fans will want the DVD just to have the beautiful score; there is also an audio commentary track from Sayles.

SUPERGIRL (Anchor Bay), the campy 1984 offshoot of a better-known superhero series, stars Helen Slater in the title role, with Faye Dunaway and Peter Cook as her adversaries, under Jeannot Szwarc’s direction. There are two versions available, a single disk and a limited-edition double disk that contains both the international and director’s cuts of the film. Both come with a "making of" short and original storyboards and photo/poster galleries. A Q&A with director Szwarc is featured instead of a more traditional commentary track.

TITUS (Fox Video) is director Julie Taymor’s visually striking, controversial adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play TITUS ANDRONICUS. The film stars Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Lange, Alan Cumming and the terrific Harry J. Lennix. The DVD features a regular "making of" short and an audio commentary track from Taymor, plus scene-specific commentary from actors Hopkins and Lennix, a question-and-answer session with Taymor and a costume gallery.

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