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884 Items
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Mar 21, 2017
An American Tail
Dom Deluise, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Plummer
An American Tail: Fievel Goes West
Steven SpielbergTip-top-terrific and full-of-fun! The animated full-length feature continues the adventures of Fievel, the brave young mouse who captures the hearts and imagination of audiences in the American Tail.
Apollo 13 [VHS]
Ron HowardNASA's worst nightmare turned into one of the space agency's most heroic moments in 1970, when the Apollo 13 crew was forced to hobble home in a disabled capsule after an explosion seriously damaged the moon-bound spacecraft. Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, and Bill Paxton play (respectively) astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise in director Ron Howard's intense, painstakingly authentic docudrama. The Apollo 13 crew and Houston-based mission controllers race against time and heavy odds to return the damaged spacecraft safely to Earth from a distance of 205,500 miles. Using state-of-the-art special effects and ingenious filmmaking techniques, Howard and his stellar cast and crew build nail-biting tension while maintaining close fidelity to the facts. The result is a fitting tribute to the Apollo 13 mission and one of the biggest box-office hits of 1995. —Jeff Shannon
Batman Forever [VHS]
Joel SchumacherWhen Tim Burton and Michael Keaton announced that they'd had enough of the Batman franchise, director Joel Schumacher stepped in (with Burton as coproducer) to make this action-packed extravaganza starring Val Kilmer as the caped crusader. Batman is up against two of Gotham City's most colorful criminals, the Riddler (a role tailor-made for funnyman Jim Carrey) and the diabolical Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones), who join forces to conquer Gotham's population with a brain-draining device. Nicole Kidman plays the seductive psychologist who wants to know what makes Batman tick. Boasting a redesigned Batmobile and plenty of new Bat hardware, Batman Forever also introduces Robin the Boy Wonder (Chris O'Donnell) whose close alliance with Batman led more than a few critics to ponder the series' homoerotic subtext. No matter how you interpret it, Schumacher's take on the Batman legacy is simultaneously amusing, lavishly epic, and prone to chronic sensory overload. —Jeff Shannon
Beyond the Mind's Eye [VHS]
Michael BoydstunYour dreams can take you beyond the mind's eye. So says the chunky, computer-animated head that introduces this collection of state-of-the- art computer artistry, before it breaks up and scatters. Original electronic music by Jan Hammer supplements the visuals, which are rich with mind-warping detail. If you've seen The Lawnmower Man (and can set aside for the moment how lacking in narrative elements it is), then you know what territory you're in here. You're likely to think of these animations, using computer wizardry as they do along with the trappings of virtual reality, making surreal connections from one image to another, and traveling through landscapes and construct architectures, as the kind of thing that would be championed by magazines like Mondo 2000 or Wired. And you'd be right. Fans of computer art and movie magic alike should feel very much at home in these construct worlds, and others might be fascinated to see what can be imagined in the surreal confines of cyberspace. —Jim Gay
Brief History of Time [VHS]
Errol MorrisDocumentarian Errol Morris has a knack for finding the fascinating quirks of his subjects, and this brings Stephen Hawking's book A Brief History of Time to sparkling life. Through interviews with family and colleagues of the brilliant theoretical physicist, as well as Hawking's own synthesized readings and reminiscences, we learn of his early life, his struggle with the degenerative disease ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and his wide-ranging contributions to our knowledge of time, black holes, and the origin of the universe. The science is never downplayed; between Hawking's prose and Morris's visual wizardry, important concepts such as entropy and singularities jump from the screen in memorable vignettes. (Hawking believes a truly universal theory of physics will be understood by "scientists, philosophers, and just ordinary people.") Philip Glass's music, subdued and minimal, balances the alternately somber and hilarious moods of the film. The viewer is left with a sense of awe at the joyous spirit of a man trapped in the world of the mind, occasionally letting the rest of us in on his discoveries. —Rob Lightner
Casper
Brad Silberling
CNN Millennium 2000 [VHS]
Beginning December 31, CNN will present Millennium 2000—one hundred hours of comprehensive global news coverage of millennium-related events and turn-of-the-century issues. This two-hour video will highlight the New Year's Eve program that covers celebrations and New Year's Day interviews from the world's greatest cities—Paris, London, Rome, Sydney, New York, Berlin, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Madrid, Chicago, Buenos Aires, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, and more! CNN's Millennium 2000 will draw from the full resources of CNN's 35 bureaus and its more than 800 affiliates and 4,000 news professionals.
Cool Runnings
Jon Turteltaub
E.T.
Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, Drew Barrymore, Henry Thomas ElliottClassic sci-fi film! Never goes out of style!
Fox & The Hound
Richard Rich Art Stevens Ted Berman
The Gate To The Mind's Eye [VHS]
Holiday Inn [VHS]
Mark SandrichThis perennial, Christmas-season favorite from 1942 teamed Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire as entertainers (and rival suitors of Marjorie Reynolds) running an inn that is only open on holidays. It's a great excuse for lots of singing and dancing, seamlessly wrapped in a catchy story, and Astaire's frequent director Mark Sandrich (Top Hat, Shall We Dance?) doesn't let us down. The Irving Berlin numbers (each one connected to a different holiday) are winners. Crosby's warm performance of "White Christmas" is a movie touchstone. —Tom Keogh
Home Alone [VHS]
Chris ColumbusNow and forever a favorite among kids, this 1990 comedy written by John Hughes (The Breakfast Club) and directed by Chris Columbus (Mrs. Doubtfire) ushered Macaulay Culkin onto the screen as a troubled 8-year-old who doesn't comfortably mesh with his large family. He's forced to grow a little after being accidentally left behind when his folks and siblings fly off to Paris. A good-looking boy, Culkin lights up the screen during several funny sequences, the most famous of which finds him screaming for joy when he realizes he's unsupervised in his own house. A bit wooden with dialogue, the then-little star's voice could grate on the nerves (especially in long, wise-child passages of pure bromide), but he unquestionably carries the film. Billie Bird and John Candy show up as two of the interesting strangers Culkin's character meets. Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are entertainingly cartoonish as thieves, but the ensuing violence once the little hero decides to keep them out of his house is over-the-top. —Tom Keogh
Honey I Shrunk the Kids [VHS]
Joe Johnstona very funny video
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade [VHS]
Steven SpielbergThe third episode in Steven Spielberg's rousing Indiana Jones saga, this film recaptures the best elements of Raiders of the Lost Ark while exploring new territory with wonderfully satisfying results. Indy is back battling the Nazis, who have launched an expedition to uncover the whereabouts of the Holy Grail. And it's not just Indy this time—his father (played with great acerbic wit by Sean Connery, the perfect choice) is also involved in the hunt. Spielberg excels at the kind of extended action sequences that top themselves with virtually every frame; the best one here involves Indy trying to stop a Nazi tank from the outside while his father is being held within. For good measure, Spielberg reveals (among other things) how Indy got his hat, the scar on his chin, and his nickname (in a prologue that features River Phoenix as the young Indiana). —Marshall Fine
Jack & the Beanstalk (1952) [VHS]
Jurassic Park [VHS]
Steven SpielbergSteven Spielberg's 1993 mega-hit rivals Jaws as the most intense and frightening film he'd ever made prior to Schindler's List, but it was also among his weakest stories. Based on Michael Crichton's novel about an island amusement park populated by cloned dinosaurs, the film works best as a thrill ride with none of the interesting human dynamics of Spielberg's Jaws. That lapse proves unfortunate, but there's no shortage of raw terror as a rampaging T-rex and nasty raptors try to make fast food out of the cast. The effects are still astonishing (despite the fact that the computer-generated technology has since been improved upon) and at times primeval, such as the sight of a herd of whatever-they-are scampering through a valley. —Tom Keogh
Leaving Las Vegas [VHS]
One of the most critically acclaimed films of 1995, this wrenchingly sad but extraordinarily moving drama provides an authentic, superbly acted portrait of two people whose lives intersect just as they've reached their lowest depths of despair. Ben (Nicolas Cage, in an Oscar-winning performance) is a former movie executive who's lost his wife and family in a sea of alcoholic self-destruction. He's come to Las Vegas literally to drink himself to death, and that's when he meets Sera (Elisabeth Shue), a prostitute who falls in love with him—and he with her—despite their mutual dead-end existence. They accept each other as they are, with no attempts by one to change the other, and this unconditional love turns Leaving Las Vegas into a somber yet quietly beautiful love story. Earning Oscar nominations for Best Director (Mike Figgis), Best Adapted Screenplay (Figgis, from John O'Brien's novel) and Best Actress (Shue), the film may strike some as relentlessly bleak and glacially paced, but attentive viewers will readily discover the richness of these tragic characters and the exceptional performances that bring them to life. (In a sad echo of his own fiction, novelist John O'Brien committed suicide while this film was in production.) The DVD features uncut, unrated footage that was not included in the film's theatrical release. —Jeff Shannon
Les Miserables - The Dream Cast in Concert
John Caird Gavin Taylor Paul Kafno
The Lion King
Rob Minkoff Roger Allers
Little Princess [VHS]
Love Potion #9 [VHS]
Suzanne Pettit, Dale LaunerThe premise of Love Potion #9—that a magic potion makes the user irresistible to the opposite sex—could be the setup for the crassest sex farce imaginable. Instead, this film is a surprisingly subtle romantic comedy. Nebbishy scientist Paul (Tate Donovan) goes to a Gypsy fortuneteller (Anne Bancroft), who tells him she sees no women in his entire life. To make up for this depressing news, she gives him a few drops of a love potion—number 8. Paul, a biochemist, scoffs; but when his pet cat accidentally gets a taste and attracts every female cat in the neighborhood, he enlists fellow dweeby scientist Diane (Sandra Bullock) to analyze it. After experimenting on monkeys, they decide to test it on themselves; soon Diane is being pursued by handsome Italians in the street and comes close to marrying the Prince of England, while Paul gets a little revenge on a woman who previously rejected him, then embarks on his own love spree. Shortly they discover that they really want each other; but before they can get married, an old boyfriend of Diane returns with his own dose of love potion number 8. Paul's only hope is to get something even more powerful. Love Potion #9 is genuinely clever and sweet, and both Donovan and Bullock work well with the low-key but effective humor of the movie's well-written script. It's a tribute to her talent and her girl-next-door looks that Bullock, unlike most pretty stars dressing down, is effective as both a lovelorn loser and the confident glamour-girl she becomes. Altogether, a charming and enjoyable film. —Bret Fetzer
Michener's Texas [VHS]
Richard LangThis three-hour miniseries based on James A. Michener's bestselling novel tells the epic tale of the settling of Texas by Anglos. Legendary figures such as Sam Houston, Stephen Austin, Jim Bowie, and Davy Crockett are profiled in their struggle to win independence for Texas, from the Rio Grande to the Alamo.
Mission Impossible [VHS]
Brian De PalmaA flashy, splashy summer-movie blockbuster that's fun and exciting without being mindless? That's the impossible mission accomplished by director Brian De Palma, star-coproducer Tom Cruise, and the crack team of Mission: Impossible. Based on the '60s TV show and an almost impenetrably complex (but nonetheless thrilling) original story by David Koepp (Jurassic Park) and Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List), with a screenplay by Koepp and Robert Towne (Chinatown, Shampoo), Mission: Impossible begins with veteran agent Jim Phelps (Jon Voight) and his expert crew embarking on a mission that goes horribly, horribly wrong. But nothing is what it seems. The nail-biting set piece—always a signature of director De Palma (Carrie, The Untouchables)—in which Cruise is lowered from the ceiling to retrieve information from a computer in a high-security vault—is an instant classic. But perhaps even more impressive, at least in retrospect, is a flashback sequence in which two characters attempt to reconstruct a series of events from multiple points of view. It's pretty daring and sophisticated stuff for a big-budget spy movie, but brains were always what put the Mission: Impossible team ahead of the competition, anyway, no? —Jim Emerson
Mr Holland's Opus [VHS]
Stephen HerekAn earnest and at times overblown story of a music teacher's impact on those around him, Mr. Holland's Opus is at times a genuinely touching drama in the vein of It's a Wonderful Life. Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind) plays an aspiring composer and musician who takes a job teaching music at a local high school to save money while he composes his music. But when his wife (Glenne Headley) becomes pregnant, Glenn Holland must put aside his dreams and address the everyday realities of his life, from the melancholy and sometimes tragic fates of his students to the discovery that the son he cherishes is deaf. Building to a highly emotional climax in which the teacher sees the impact he's had on the world around him, Mr. Holland's Opus is a showcase for a fine Oscar-nominated performance by Dreyfuss and an engaging, heartwarming story. —Robert Lane
Never Ending Story [VHS]
Wolfgang PetersenWolfgang Petersen (In the Line of Fire) made his first English-language film with this 1984 fantasy about a boy (Barret Oliver) visualizing the stories of a book he's reading. The imagined tale involves another boy, a warrior (Noah Hathaway), and his efforts to save the empire of Fantasia from a nemesis called the Nothing. Whether or not the scenario sticks in the memory, what does linger are the unique effects, which are not quite like anything else. Plenty of good fairy-tale characters and memorable scenes, and the film even encourages kids to read. —Tom Keogh
The NeverEnding Story III - Escape From Fantasia
Peter MacDonaldHere's the latest chapter in the popular film trilogy, starring Jason James Richter (FREE WILLY) as Bastian, a teenager whose life is turned upside down when his father remarries. On his first day at a new school, Bastian is chased by a vicious gang called the Nasties. He hides in the school library where he finds a magic book that writes itself according to the imagination of the reader. To escape the Nasties (and his troubles at home), Bastian wishes himself into Fantasia, the storybook's phantasmic world of incredible creatures. It's here, away from the pressures of the real world, that Bastian thinks he's safe. But when the Nasties take control of the book, his Fantasian friends get stuck on earth, and it's up to Bastian to save them. And in order to do that, he must defeat the Nasties! With great music by some of your favorite rockers, this awesome fantasy-adventure celebrates the joy of reading and the magic books create within our own imagination!
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Henry Selick
Oliver [VHS]
Ralph Kemplen, Carol ReedFilm buffs and critics can argue until their faces turn blue about whether this lavish Dickensian musical deserved the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1968, but the movie speaks for itself on grandly entertaining terms. Adapted from Dickens's classic novel, it's one of the most dramatically involving and artistically impressive musicals of the 1960s, directed by Carol Reed with a delightful enthusiasm that would surely have impressed Dickens himself. Mark Lester plays the waifish orphan Oliver Twist, who is befriended by the pickpocketing Artful Dodger (Jack Wild) and recruited into the gang of boy thieves led by Fagin (played to perfection by Ron Moody). The villainous Bill Sikes (Oliver Reed) casts his long shadow over Oliver and his friends, but the young orphan is still able to find loving care in the most desperate of circumstances. Full of memorable melodies and splendid lyrics, Oliver! is a timeless film, prompting even hard-to-please critic Pauline Kael to call it "a superb demonstration of intelligent craftsmanship," and to further observe that "it's as if the movie set out to be a tribute to Dickens and his melodramatic art as well as to tell the story of Oliver Twist." —Jeff Shannon
Patriot Games [VHS]
Phillip NoyceLet's see—he's been Han Solo in three films and Indiana Jones in three more. So why shouldn't Harrison Ford take on a new continuing character in Tom Clancy's CIA analyst Jack Ryan? In this film, directed by Phillip Noyce, Ford picked up the baton when Alec Baldwin, who played Ryan in The Hunt for Red October, opted for a Broadway role instead. In this film, Ryan and his family are on vacation when Ryan saves a member of the British royal family from attack by Irish terrorists. The next thing he knows, the Ryan clan has been targeted by the same terrorists, who invade his Maryland home. The film can't shed all of Clancy's lumbering prose, or his techno-dweeb fascination with spy satellites and the like. But no one is better than Ford at righteous heroism—and Sean Bean makes a suitably snakey villain. —Marshall Fine
Peter Pan
Martin, Ritchard*****
Riverdance - The Show
John McColgan
Sleepless in Seattle [VHS]
Nora Ephron
Spartacus (Widescreen Edition) [VHS]
Anthony Mann, Stanley KubrickStanley Kubrick was only 31 years old when Kirk Douglas (star of Kubrick's classic Paths of Glory) recruited the young director to pilot this epic saga, in which the rebellious slave Spartacus (played by Douglas) leads a freedom revolt against the decadent Roman Empire. Kubrick would later disown the film because it was not a personal project—he was merely a director-for-hire—but Spartacus remains one of the best of Hollywood's grand historical epics. With an intelligent screenplay by then-blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo (from a novel by Howard Fast), its message of moral integrity and courageous conviction is still quite powerful, and the all-star cast (including Charles Laughton in full toga) is full of entertaining surprises. Fully restored in 1991 to include scenes deleted from the original 1960 release, the full-length Spartacus is a grand-scale cinematic marvel, offering some of the most awesome battles ever filmed and a central performance by Douglas that's as sensitively emotional as it is intensely heroic. Jean Simmons plays the slave woman who becomes Spartacus's wife, and Peter Ustinov steals the show with his frequently hilarious, Oscar-winning performance as a slave trader who shamelessly curries favor with his Roman superiors. The restored version also includes a formerly deleted bathhouse scene in which Laurence Olivier plays a bisexual Roman senator (with restored dialogue dubbed by Anthony Hopkins) who gets hot and bothered over a slave servant played by Tony Curtis. These and other restored scenes expand the film to just over three hours in length. Despite some forgivable lulls, this is a rousing and substantial drama that grabs and holds your attention. Breaking tradition with sophisticated themes and a downbeat (yet eminently noble) conclusion, Spartacus is a thinking person's epic, rising above mere spectacle with a story as impressive as its widescreen action and Oscar-winning sets. —Jeff Shannon
Speed [VHS]
John Wright, Jan de BontEverything clicked in this 1994 action hit, from the premise (a city bus has to keep moving at 50 mph or blow up) to the two leads (the usually inscrutable Keanu Reeves and the cute-as-a-button Sandra Bullock) to the villain (Dennis Hopper in psycho mode) to the director (Jan De Bont, who made this film hit the ground running with an edge-of-your-seat opening sequence on a broken elevator). This is the sort of movie that becomes a prototype for a thousand lesser films (including De Bont's lousy sequel, Speed 2: Cruise Control), but Speed really is a one-of-a-kind experience almost anyone can enjoy. —Tom Keogh
Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan [VHS]
Nicholas MeyerAlthough Star Trek: The Motion Picture had been a box-office hit, it was by no means a unanimous success with Star Trek fans, who responded much more favorably to the "classic Trek" scenario of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Inspired by the "Space Seed" episode of the original TV series, the film reunites newly promoted Admiral Kirk with his nemesis from the earlier episode—the genetically superior Khan (Ricardo Montalban)—who is now seeking revenge upon Kirk for having been imprisoned on a desolated planet. Their battle ensues over control of the Genesis device, a top-secret Starfleet project enabling entire planets to be transformed into life-supporting worlds, pioneered by the mother (Bibi Besch) of Kirk's estranged and now-adult son. While Mr. Spock mentors the young Vulcan Lt. Saavik (then-newcomer Kirstie Alley), Kirk must battle Khan to the bitter end, through a climactic starship chase and an unexpected crisis that will cost the life of Kirk's closest friend. This was the kind of character-based Trek that fans were waiting for, boosted by spectacular special effects, a great villain (thanks to Montalban's splendidly melodramatic performance), and a deft combination of humor, excitement, and wondrous imagination. Director Nicholas Meyer (who would play a substantial role in the success of future Trek features) handles the film as a combination of Moby Dick, Shakespearean tragedy, World War II submarine thriller, and dazzling science fiction, setting the successful tone for the Trek films that followed. —Jeff Shannon
Star Trek the Motion Picture: Special Longer Version
William Shatner, Robert Wise12 Minutes of New Footage
Star Trek VI - The Undiscovered Country [VHS]
Nicholas MeyerStar Trek V left us nowhere to go but up, and with the return of Star Trek II director Nicholas Meyer, Star Trek VI restored the movie series to its classic blend of space opera, intelligent plotting, and engaging interaction of stalwart heroes and menacing villains. Borrowing its subtitle (and several lines of dialogue) from Shakespeare, the movie finds Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) and his fellow Enterprise crew members on a diplomatic mission to negotiate peace with the revered Klingon Chancellor Gorkon (David Warner). When the high-ranking Klingon and several officers are ruthlessly murdered, blame is placed on Kirk, whose subsequent investigation uncovers an assassination plot masterminded by the nefarious Klingon General Chang (Christopher Plummer) in an effort to disrupt a historic peace summit. As this political plot unfolds, Star Trek VI takes on a sharp-edged tone, with Kirk and Spock confronting their opposing views of diplomacy, and testing their bonds of loyalty when a Vulcan officer is revealed to be a traitor. With a dramatic depth befitting what was to be the final movie mission of the original Star Trek crew, this film took the veteran cast out in respectably high style. With the torch being passed to the crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation, only Kirk, Scotty, and Chekov would return, however briefly, in Star Trek: Generations. —Jeff Shannon
Star Trek: 25th Anniversary Special [VHS]
Christopher Jones, Donald R. BeckTalk about slapdash. Here's a tribute to Star Trek hosted by Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner, and within the first half-hour they've run out of things to talk about related to Star Trek. Though there are clips from both classic Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation, they seem like an afterthought: montage fodder that only occasionally chooses a topic (like humorous catch phrases of the characters) and looks at it thoroughly. Otherwise, there's way too much time devoted to letting Nimoy shill for the Star Trek VI movie and reminisce about the special effects in Star Trek IV (which he happened to direct). Aside from superficial treatment of the Trekkie phenomenon (better explained in the movie Trekkies), the fan base is barely mentioned—and what's the deal with LeVar Burton's tour of Space Camp? It looks like an outtake from Reading Rainbow. This doesn't even count as a greatest-hits video because the organization is so haphazard. The whole thing smacks of moneymaking exploitation. —Marshall Fine
Superdad
Teenage Dream [VHS]
Paul Lynch
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II - The Secret of the Ooze [VHS]
Tom Sawyer [VHS]
True Lies [VHS]
James CameronFrom The Terminator to Titanic, you can always rely on writer-director James Cameron to show you something you've never seen on the big screen before. The guy may not consistently pen the most scintillating dialogue in the world (and, especially in this movie, he doesn't seem to have a particularly high regard for women), but as a director of kinetic, push-the-envelope action sequences, he is in a class by himself. In True Lies, the highlight is a breathtaking third-act jet and car chase through the Florida Keys. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a covert intelligence agent whose wife of 15 years (Jamie Lee Curtis) finally finds out that he's not really a computer salesman and who becomes mixed up in a case involving nuclear arms smuggling. Tom Arnold is surprisingly funny and engaging as Schwarzenegger's longtime spy partner, and Bill Paxton is a smarmy used-car salesman (is that redundant?) whom Arnold thinks is having an affair with his wife. Purely in terms of spectacular action and high-tech hardware, True Lies is a blast. —Jim Emerson
Twister [VHS]
Jan de BontTwister was a mega-million-dollar blockbuster—helmed by a director (Dutchman Jan de Bont) hot off another scorcher hit (Speed)—that flaunted state-of-the-art digital effects and featured a popular leading actress (Helen Hunt) who would win an Academy Award for her next film (As Good As It Gets). But ask anybody who's seen it and they'll tell you who the real star of Twister is: the cow. Not to give anything away, but the cow is one of those inspired little touches (like, say, Bronson Pinchot's career-making cameo in Beverly Hills Cop) that adds a touch of personality to a gigantic Hollywood production. The story is blown out the window after an impressive prologue in which Hunt's character, as a little girl, witnesses her daddy being sucked into a tornado. Basically, Hunt and Bill Paxton are thrill-seeking meteorologists chasing twisters in order to study them (and help warn people of them, of course) with a new technology they've developed. If you thought the Kansas tornado in The Wizard of Oz was every bit as scary as the Wicked Witch of the West, then this may be the movie for you. —Jim Emerson
Waterworld [VHS]
Kevin CostnerLet's be honest: this 1995 epic isn't nearly as bad as its negative publicity led us to expect. At the time it was the most expensive Hollywood production in history (it had a Titanic-sized $200 million budget), and the film arrived in theaters with so much controversy and negative gossip that it was an easy target for ridicule. The movie itself, a flawed but enjoyable post-apocalypse thriller, deserves better. Waterworld stars Kevin Costner as the Mariner, a lone maverick with gills and webbed feet who navigates the endless seas of Earth after the complete melting of the polar ice caps. The Mariner has been caged like a criminal when he's freed by Helen (Jeanne Tripplehorn) and enlisted to help her and a young girl (Tina Majorino) escape from the Smokers, a group of renegade terrorists led by Dennis Hopper in yet another memorably villainous role. It is too bad the predictable script isn't more intelligent, but as a companion piece to The Road Warrior, this seafaring stunt-fest is adequately impressive. —Jeff Shannon
Wizard of Oz [VHS]
King Vidor, Mervyn LeRoy, Richard Thorpe, Victor FlemingWhen it was released during Hollywood's golden year of 1939, The Wizard of Oz didn't start out as the perennial classic it has since become. The film did respectable business, but it wasn't until its debut on television that this family favorite saw its popularity soar. And while Oz's TV broadcasts are now controlled by media mogul Ted Turner (who owns the rights), the advent of home video has made this lively musical a mainstay in the staple diet of great American films. Young Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland), her dog, Toto, and her three companions on the yellow brick road to Oz—the Tin Man (Jack Haley), the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), and the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger)—have become pop-culture icons and central figures in the legacy of fantasy for children. As the Wicked Witch who covets Dorothy's enchanted ruby slippers, Margaret Hamilton has had the singular honor of scaring the wits out of children for more than six decades. The film's still as fresh, frightening, and funny as it was when first released. It may take some liberal detours from the original story by L. Frank Baum, but it's loyal to the Baum legacy while charting its own course as a spectacular film. Shot in glorious Technicolor, befitting its dynamic production design (Munchkinland alone is a psychedelic explosion of color and decor), The Wizard of Oz may not appeal to every taste as the years go by, but it's required viewing for kids of all ages. —Jeff Shannon

DVD features
The Wizard of Oz DVD released in 1999 was loaded with extra features, but it's now safe to throw away that version in all its cardboard-package glory in favor of this new two-disc edition. First things first: All the bonus material from the earlier disc is there (with one small exception). That includes the Angela Lansbury-hosted documentary The Making of a Movie Classic; the outtakes and deleted scenes, including Judy Garland's "Over the Rainbow" reprise and the home-movie recording of "The Jitterbug"; the sketches and stills and composer Harold Arlen's home movies; the audio underscores and radio programs; the 1979 interviews with Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger, and Jack Haley; and other items too numerous to mention. (Some text introductions to the features have been replaced by narration by Lansbury, for whatever reason.) Brand-new to the 2005 edition is a sharp restoration using Warner's Ultra Resolution process and an accompanying featurette on how it's done. The technicians also discuss how the sound was remixed, though that would have been more effective had it included surround-sound demonstrations (the featurette is in 2.0). Other features on the new set include a commentary track by critic John Fricke supplemented by vintage cast interviews (he offers a lot of trivia, and debunks the myth that Shirley Temple was ever close to getting the Dorothy role); profiles of nine cast members and clips of other movies they appeared in (including Toto); a lightly animated 10-minute storybook again narrated by Lansbury; 2001 and 2005 behind-the-scenes featurettes; and a 1950 Lux Radio Theater broadcast. Oh, and if you were still wondering about the missing material mentioned above—the 1999 disc included one-minute excerpts of three early treatments of The Wizard of Oz. Those excerpts are not included in the two-disc special edition, but the third disc of the three-disc collector's edition includes the complete versions of those treatments and more. —David Horiuchi