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New DVDs Oct. 9, 2000 Print E-mail
Wednesday, 11 October 2000
COMMITTED (Walt Disney Home Video), released earlier this year, is director/writer Lisa Krueger’s romantic comedy about a very determined woman, played by Heather Graham, trying to win back her errant husband (Luke Wilson). Casey Affleck and ER’s Goran Visnjic also star.

(MPI Home Video) are two made-for-TV movies from producer Dan Curtis (whose work runs from DARK SHADOWS to THE WINDS OF WAR) on one DVD. DRACULA, directed by Curtis, originally aired in 1973, starring Jack Palance as the famous vampire and Fiona Lewis as his primary intended victim. JEKYLL, directed by Charles Jarrott, also stars Palance and gleaned six Emmy Award nominations when it first aired in 1968. The DVD includes interviews with Curtis and Palance.

8 1/2 WOMEN (Universal Home Video) is director Peter Greenaway’s visually arresting 1999 film about a father and son who open a bordello together. John Standing, Matthew Delamere, Vivian Wu and Toni Collette star. The DVD sound format is Dolby 2.0 Surround.

LOVE AND BASKETBALL (Warner Home Video) is director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s romantic drama about two young basketball players, Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps, whose love for one another is continually tested by their competitive natures. The DVD, in Dolby 5.1, comes with deleted scenes and bloopers, three different feature-length audio commentary tracks, two documentaries – "The Rise of Female Athletes" and "Portrayal of African-American Women by the American Media," storyboards and a music video.

PITCH BLACK (Universal Home Video), released earlier this year, is director David Twohy’s futuristic horror film about a spacecraft that crashlands on a planet inhabited by creatures that dwell in the dark. Some unusual visual effects – several suns that wash the planet in a particular color – are extremely striking. Radha Mitchell, Vin Diesel and Cole Hauser star. There are two versions of the DVD: unrated and R-rated. The unrated version comes in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio with Dolby 5.1 and DTS sound. Extras include three minutes of footage not in the release version, a making-of documentary and an audio commentary track from director Twohy.

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (CBS/Fox Home Video), director Jim Sharman’s film of the Richard O’Brien stage musical starring Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick and Meat Loaf, has pretty much defined the term "cult hit" since it first appeared onscreen in 1975. The film celebrates its 25th anniversary in a two-disc DVD edition crammed with extras. The first disc contains a restored wide-screen edition of the original U.S. release and the British version of the film containing the original climactic song "Superheroes." The films come with a "theatrical experience" option (rather like MATRIX’s "white rabbit" option) that allows viewers to click to footage of audiences participating with the film every time a pair of lips appears on the screen. Author/composer/actor O’Brien and fellow performer Patricia Quinn contribute an audio commentary track. Audio and subtitle tracks prompt home viewer scream-alongs and throwing of objects at appropriate moments. The second disc (what, you thought that was all you got?) includes both "Superheroes" and another cut song, "Once in A While," performed by Bostwick. There are 11 alternate versions of the song "Time Warp," two alternate sets of end credits and a VH1 "Pop-Up Video" version of Meat Loaf singing "Hot Patootie." The disk also includes a documentary on the history of both the stage and film versions, "Rocky Horror Double Feature Video Show," and excerpts from VH1’s "Behind the Music" segment on the film, featuring O’Brien, Bostwick, Meat Loaf, Quinn and Sarandon.

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (Warner Home Video), released earlier this year, is director William Friedkin’s controversial drama about a military leader being court-martialed for killing civilians. Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson star. The DVD comes in Dolby 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 Surround. Extras include an audio commentary track from director Friedkin, a making-of documentary and interviews with cast and crew members.

SCOOBY-DOO AND THE ALIEN INVADERS is a new straight-to-video feature based on the popular cartoon series about a Great Dane and his human pals. The DVD features a making-of documentary, an interactive game and a theme sung by Jennifer Love Hewitt.

SCREAM TRILOGY (Dimension Home Video) is a four-disc boxed set of all three horror films directed by Wes Craven, with the first two installments scripted by Kevin Williamson (who mapped out but did not write the third), starring Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox Arquette and David Arquette. The first three discs contain one film each. The original SCREAM comes with an audio commentary track from Craven and Williamson, a special effects gallery, a making-of documentary, a featurette on cast member Drew Barrymore and question-and-answer sessions with cast and crew about their favorite scary movies. SCREAM 2 has behind-the-scenes footage. SCREAM 3 comes with outtakes, behind-the-scenes footage from all three films, deleted scenes, an alternate ending and a Creed music video, "What If." The fourth disc has a documentary that looks at the making of all three films, including interviews with Craven, Williamson, Campbell, Arquette and Cox Arquette, screen tests of various cast members, outtakes, spoofs of trailers for other horror films and a do-it-yourself editing function that allows the viewer to put together new versions of deleted scenes. Sound format is Dolby 5.1.

SHANGHAI NOON (Walt Disney Home Video), released earlier this year, is director Tom Dey’s frisky East-meets-Western, starring Jackie Chan as Chinese Imperial Guard a long way from home who winds up traveling with a laid-back train robber played by Owen Wilson. The DVD, in Dolby 5.1, features audio commentaries from Chan, Wilson and director Dey, deleted footage, a music video, production stills and three different making-ofs: "Making an Eastern Western," "The Shanghai Kid" and "Western Stunts Eastern Style."

TIME CODE (Columbia/TriStar), released earlier this year, is director Mike Figgis’ experiment in split-screen filmmaking, with four sets of action occurring in different quadrants of the screen simultaneously for the length of the movie. Salma Hayek, Stellan Skarsgard, Kyle MacLachland and Jeanne Tripplehorn star. Sound formats are Dolby 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 Surround.

50 PRESERVED FILMS (Image Entertainment) is a one-hour collection 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.

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