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Aisle Seat August Mania

FREDDY VS. JASON, Tons of New DVD Reviews
Plus: A Full-Blown MAIL BAG Special Edition!

By Andy Dursin

It doesn't take a genius to know that movies like "Freddy Vs. Jason" -- like the brilliant "Bride of Chucky" before it -- are never going to get good reviews from mainstream critics. It's easier to spend the better part of a thousand words bashing how ridiculous the entire concept of a movie like this battle-of-the-horror-titans is than praising what it actually does right.

Of course, we're not talking about a film of deep substance like a Kurosawa work. "Freddy Vs. Jason" is all about having a bloody good time, a jokey horror vehicle where the anti-hero of the Elm Street series -- Freddy Kruger himself -- does battle with the goalie-masked Jason, who along with Michael Myers helped secure the slasher genre as the principal horror venue of the '80s.

After years of stops and starts, endless rumors and aborted scripts, FREDDY VS. JASON (***) has finally been released to boffo box-office receipts and satisfied horror fans who grew up watching the "Elm Street" and "Friday the 13th" movies throughout the last two decades.

Robert Englund is back as Freddy, and looks like he's having the time of his life as the dream-master tries to stage a comeback. In order to do so, though, he has to resurrect Jason Vorhees, and use the knife-wielding maniac to kill off the next generation of Elm Street teens. In doing so, Freddy will gain power and be able to enter "reality" again -- though Jason ultimately has other ideas about Freddy infringing on his turf.

The younger leads (Monica Keena, Jason Ritter) are a cut above for this kind of material, but it's all about Freddy and Jason here. The outrageous special effects and fights deliver the goods, as does a full-fledged fisticuffs brawl that serves as the movie's climax. Fans of both series should have a great time watching the duo duke it out, while the script wisely avoids the overly self-referential tone of the "Scream" films: it's tongue-in-cheek but doesn't insult its core audience, instead garnering laughs through amusing, character- driven dialogue.

Director Ronny Yu also helmed "Bride of Chucky," and while "Freddy Vs. Jason" doesn't quite have the genre-pushing satirical component of that 1998 release, it's nevertheless a better movie than it has any right to be. This is a nostalgic, over-the-top affair that finds the right balance between horror and humor, and if nothing else, ends up being a far more exciting confrontation than "King Kong Vs. Godzilla." For dumb end-of-summer fun, it's well worth the price of admission.


Aisle Seat DVD Pick of the Week

THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE. 93 mins., 2002, R, Warner Home Video. ANDY'S RATING: ***. COMPOSER: Jeff Danna. SCRIPT: Brett Morgen, from the book by Robert Evans. DIRECTORS: Brett Morgen, Nanette Burstein. DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Additional interviews with Evans; vintage promo featurette; audio commentary by the filmmakers. TECHNICAL SPECS: 1.85 Widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Digital.

Robert Evans' fascinating expose into his rise, fall, and semi-rise from the ashes of the Hollywood studio system made for a terrific book and a superbly-crafted documentary narrated by Evans himself.

Loaded with personal anecdotes and vintage clips, THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE charts Evans' unusual growth from an East Coast sporting goods mogul to a Hollywood supporting actor, then later one of the key players at Paramount during the studio's rise in the '70s. At Paramount, Evans fostered classics like "Chinatown," "Love Story," and "The Godfather," helping to usher in the new contemporary face of '70s cinema. His run-ins with directors like Francis Ford Coppola and Robert Altman became legendary, though as the '80s progressed, his battles shifted to personal addictions like cocaine -- sending his career into a downward spiral that he nearly didn't escape from.

The film, adapted by Brett Morgen and directed by Morgen with Nanette Burstein, is a must for any movie buff, filled with fascinating trivia about one of the last great eras in Hollywood moviemaking. The vintage clips are priceless, and whenever they're not running, the film utilizes still photos that are digitally enhanced to give them a three-dimensional sense of movement.

At 93 minutes, some may feel that THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE only skims the surface of its topic. Certainly one might want to further explore Evans' saga in his own, unabridged words, but the movie is nevertheless an energetic, highly watchable effort that film aficionados should not miss.

Warner's DVD offers a colorful, vibrant 1.85 transfer -- even the clips from films like "The Sun Also Rises" are nothing short of pristine (viewers may be disappointed, though, in the lack of clips from Paramount films since they figure so prominently in the narrative). The 5.1 sound is fine, and the extras include a commentary track from Morgen and Burstein, additional recent interviews with Evans, his full-length Paramount promo reel from the early '70s, and other goodies designed for the movie buff in mind.


Song And Dance

CHICAGO. 113 mins., 2002, PG-13, Miramax. ANDY'S RATING: ***1/2. CAST: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, John C. Reilly, Christine Baranski, Taye Diggs, Colm Feore, Lucy Liu. COMPOSER: Music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, arranged by Paul Bogaev; Original score by Danny Elfman. SCRIPT: Bill Condon, adapted from the Broadway show by Bob Fosse and Fred Ebb. DIRECTOR: Rob Marshall. DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by Marhsall and Condon; Deleted Musical Number "Class," Featurette. TECHNICAL SPECS: 1.85 Widescreen, 5.1 DTS and Dolby Digital sound.

The long-awaited filming of Bob Fosse, John Kander and Fred Ebb's Broadway musical came to the screen late last year, where it became a box-office smash and the recipient of six Oscars including Best Picture. This faithful adaptation of its source has Renee Zellweger as a nightclub-wannabe who's imprisoned for murdering her lover. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays the torch singer Zellweger emulates who's also on murderer's row in '30s Chicago, while Richard Gere essays the high-priced attorney who ultimately represents both.

Director Rob Marshall and screenwriter Bill Condon employ the device of having most of the musical numbers originate from the minds of the various characters -- a decision that results in production numbers that are, more or less, faithfully reproduced from Fosse's stage version. You may get tired of the cross-cutting between the movie's "reality" and fantasy sequences, but Marshall's direction is sure-handed most of the way and the choreography (based on Fosse's original staging) is vibrant.

The song adaptations, meanwhile, are excellent and the performances right on the money: Zeta-Jones (in her Oscar-winning role) is sensational while Zellweger proves to be a pleasant surprise as the anti-heroine. John C. Reilly and Christine Baranski shine in supporting roles. Only Gere seems a little out of his element, with a singing voice that at times resembles Buddy Hackett (!), but he does, to his credit, manage to pull off a few deft dancing moves. Despite the lack of a strong story and subtext, CHICAGO is a breezy blast of musical entertainment with a memorable score and zesty song sequences. Anyone who enjoys a good musical -- the kind they just don't make anymore -- is urged to check it out.

Miramax's DVD offers a colorful, strong 1.85 transfer with potent 5.1 DTS and Dolby Digital soundtracks. The disc's extras are OK but could have been more extensive (perhaps another, more features-laden DVD will follow). What's here includes a commentary track with Condon and Marshall, which is fairly informative, though it might have been equally fascinating to hear the creators of the original show discuss the long road of CHICAGO to the silver screen; the deleted musical number "Class" with Zeta-Jones and Queen Latifah; and a promotional featurette.


ALL THAT JAZZ. 123 mins., 1979, R, Fox. ANDY'S RATING: **1/2. CAST: Roy Scheider, Jessica Lange, Ann Reinking, Leland Palmer, Ben Vereen, Cliff Gorman, John Lithgow. COMPOSER: Music arranged by Ralph Burns. SCRIPT: Robert Alan Aurthur, Bob Fosse. DIRECTOR: Bob Fosse. DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary by Roy Scheider; on-set interviews with the star; on-set footage of Fosse at work; the original trailer. TECHNICAL SPECS: 1.85 Widescreen, 2.0 Dolby Surround.

Self-indulgent, challenging, mostly-autobiographical film from director Bob Fosse ultimately wears out its welcome, though fans of dance and the stage would do well to check out Fox's long-awaited DVD. ALL THAT JAZZ is the auteur's statement about his own life: Roy Scheider plays Fosse's alter-ego, a theater director who boozes too much, smokes too much, womanizes too much, and works too hard. His failing health results in Scheider alternating between reality and fantasy, where a harbinger of death appears in the form of Jessica Lange (whom Fosse was involved with at the time of its production). The production numbers range from realistic, expertly-executed set-pieces (such as the movie's stellar opening, set to George Benson's "On Broadway") to excessive and gaudy sequences with naked bodies and loud late '70s rock music.

For many, a little of ALL THAT JAZZ will go a long way, though the movie has predictably developed a sizable cult following among Fosse devotees. Scheider's strong performance carries much of the movie, but at a little over two hours, the film is ultimately too self-indulgent for its own good. Fox's DVD offers a fairly good 1.85 widescreen transfer with an OK Dolby Surround soundtrack. Special features include vintage on-set clips of Scheider being interviewed and Fosse at work, the original trailer, and a new commentary track with Scheider, who reflects upon his work on the movie. It's a bit sporadic but perfectly interesting for fans, and adds to the value of this bargain-priced ($14.95) DVD.


New From Columbia TriStar

EL MARIACHI Special Edition. 81 mins., 1993, R, Columbia TriStar. ANDY'S RATING: **1/2. CAST: Carlos Gallardo, Consuelo Gomez, Peter Marquardt. COMPOSER: Robert Rodriguez. SCRIPT-DIRECTOR: Robert Rodriguez. DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: New transfer from the original negative; Director Commentary; Rodriguez's short film "Bedhead"; "10 Minute Film School" featurette; "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" sneak peek. TECHNICAL SPECS: 1.85 Widescreen, Dolby Surround.

DESPERADO Special Edition. 103 mins., 1995, R, Columbia TriStar. ANDY'S RATING: **1/2. CAST: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Joaquim De Almeida, Steve Buscemi, Cheech Marin, Quentin Tarantino. COMPOSER: Los Lobos. SCRIPT- DIRECTOR: Robert Rodriguez. DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Director Commentary; trailers; featurette; "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" preview. TECHNICAL SPECS: 1.85 Widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Digital stereo.

Long before the phenomenon that is "Spy Kids," Robert Rodriguez burst onto the scene with his low-low-low budget action pic EL MARIACHI, which became a huge hit on the indie circuit. Rodriguez proved he was capable of filming a competent thriller for a fraction of the price of the typical Hollywood action movie -- a sensibility he's carried with him even in the studio-backed pictures he's produced since.

With the release of the third film in his "El Mariachi" series, "Once Upon a Time in Mexico," due out shortly, Columbia has re-issued both EL MARIACHI and its entertaining though inferior Hollywood sequel, DESPERADO, on DVD. Fans, though, may note that these are basically just separate re-packagings of the Special Edition DVD set that contained both pictures, with the added bonuses of "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" previews and, in the case of EL MARIACHI, a reportedly superior transfer.

Both movies are good fun though each tends to wear thin after a while -- particularly in the case of DESPERADO, which sports a superior cast than its predecessor, including Antonio Banderas and many Rodriguez regulars. However, at 103 minutes, the film wears out its welcome with repetitive action sequences, while the inclusion of Quentin Tarantino in the cast accentuates the movie's "Pulp Fiction" influence -- one that was overly prevalent in mid '90s action films.

EL MARIACHI has been restored from Rodriguez's original negative, according to the packaging. The 1.85 transfer is still grainy and the movie looks "cheap," but it's likely superior to the previous DVD package. DESPERADO looks fine in its 1.85 transfer with a stronger 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack, and the commentaries by Rodriguez on both movies are definitely worth a listen for fans.


WILDER NAPALM. 109 mins., 1993, PG-13, Columbia TriStar, available September 9. ANDY'S RATING: ***. CAST: Debra Winger, Dennis Quaid, Arliss Howard. COMPOSER: Michael Kamen. SCRIPT: Vince Gilligan. DIRECTOR: Glenn Gordon Caron. DVD TECHNICAL SPECS: 1.85 Widescreen, 2.0 Dolby Surround.

Barely released, quirky 1993 film was directed by Glenn Gordon Caron ("Moonlighting") and written by future "X-Files" scribe Vince Gilligan.

Dennis Quaid and Arliss Howard play brothers with ESP powers that enable both to start fires at will. Debra Winger plays Vida, a free spirited woman who comes between both the demure Wilder (Howard) and the more out-going, scheming Wallace (Quaid), who decides to utilize his powers for personal fame and celebrity.

Quaid, Howard, and Winger are all terrific in this seemingly indescribable mix of character drama, comedy, and ESP thriller, nicely scored by Michael Kamen (one of his most satisfying works) and directed with a sure hand by director Caron. This is an uneven but consistently entertaining movie that has developed a bit of a cult following over the years, mainly due to its disarming, offbeat tone. Winger has rarely been as appealing as she is here, while Howard (her off-screen husband) and Quaid are each superb as wildly different siblings fighting for the same woman.

Columbia TriStar's DVD is fairly no frills: the 1.85 widescreen transfer is adequate and the Dolby Surround soundtrack also acceptable. No extras are included, but WILDER NAPALM is the kind of movie one should be happy is released on DVD in the first place. It's letterboxed and looks better than the old, grainy laserdisc, and for fans that should be more than enough incentive to give the disc a spin.
 


BASIC. 99 mins., 2003, R, Columbia TriStar. ANDY'S RATING: **. CAST: John Travolta, Connie Nielsen, Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Daly, Brian Van Holt, Giovanni Ribisi, Taye Diggs, Harry Connick, Jr. COMPOSER: Klaus Badelt. SCRIPT: James Vanderbilt. DIRECTOR: John McTiernan. DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Director commentary; trailers; featurettes on the production and Vanderbilt's script. TECHNICAL SEPCS: 2.40 Widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Digital surround.

Just about the only thing basic about BASIC is its title. John McTiernan's good- looking military thriller is a convoluted web of lies that takes the viewer on a puzzle- solving expedition that's nearly impossible to comprehend, although some of the performances are charismatic enough to keep you watching in spite of its problems.

John Travolta is a DEA agent called in by pal Tim Daly to question two surviving military cadets (Giovanni Ribisi, Brian Van Holt) involved in a training mission gone awry. Their drill instructor, Samuel L. Jackson, is apparently dead, along with several of their peers, and it's up to Travolta and military investigator Connie Nielsen to figure it all out piece by piece.

James Vanderbilt's script is stuffed with so many twists and turns that not only is it difficult to put together the pieces of the puzzle (the film is told in separate flashbacks by different characters with their own versions of what happened), but after a while you may not care at all. In fact, the ending is so outrageous that all you can do is throw your arms up in the air and shrug it off.

Despite its non-stop paranoia/conspiracy theories, BASIC is well shot in widescreen by Steve Mason and boasts enough atmosphere to hold your attention if you stay with it. Vanderbilt's scenario is set during a hurricane in the jungles of Panama, and the constant lightning and thunder will produce a decent workout for your home theater set up. The performances are also an asset: Travola is laid back and more engaging than he's been on-screen lately, while Nielsen (under-utilized in William Friedkin's "The Hunted") is terrific as a woman not intimidated by her male associates. They'll keep you watching -- but prepared to be frustrated and baffled by the plot as it unfolds.

Columbia's DVD looks great (in 2.40 widescreen) and boasts a thundering Dolby Digital soundtrack, containing a functional Klaus Badelt score. Extras include an OK commentary by director McTiernan and featurettes looking at the production from the perspectives of both the filmmaker and the screenwriter. The original trailer is also included.


For the Kids

STITCH! THE MOVIE. 64 mins., 2003, G, Disney. ANDY'S RATING: **1/2. VOICES OF: Chris Sanders, Daveigh Chase, Tia Carrere, David Ogdien Stiers, Ving Rhames. MUSIC: Michael Tavera. DIRECTOR: Tony Craig, Robert Gannaway. DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive games for kids; music video. TECHNICAL SPECS: 1.66 Widescreen, 5.1 DTS and Dolby Digital sound.
 
Cute made-for-video sequel to last year's delightful "Lilo & Stitch" follows the furry blue extraterrestrial on a new adventure with his Hawaiian pals. It turns out that Stitch's mad scientist creator, Jumba, has actually brought his 625 other experiments to Earth with him (Stitch, as you might recall, was Number 626), and the little critters threaten to burst out once Jumba is kidnapped by a nefarious intergalactic hamster.

Colorful animation and sporadic laughs help off-set a routine plot that basically serves as a pilot episode to the forthcoming LILO & STITCH TV series. The actors who provided the principal voices for the movie are back, making this feel that it isn't just another inferior small-screen adaptation. Still, while kids will be entertained, it's unlikely that STITCH! THE MOVIE will hold up as well on repeat viewings, since it's less a self- contained story than it is a set-up for the series.

Disney's DVD offers a gorgeous 1.66 widescreen transfer with nicely textured 5.1 DTS and Dolby Digital soundtracks. Extras include plenty of interactive games for kids and ads for the upcoming TV show, which looks like a Stitch-ian version of Pokemon or those other "collect the creatures" series/games that are so popular with the little guys these days.


Quick Capsules

THE QUIET AMERICAN (***, 101 mins., 2002, R, Miramax): Michael Caine plays a British journalist in Saigon during the early '50s, whose existence is threatened by a brash American (Brendan Fraser) who falls in love with his girlfriend (Do Thi Hai Yen). Graham Greene's novel was adapted by Christopher Hampton and Robert Schenkkan for Phillip Noyce's atmospheric, well-performed film, expertly acted by Caine in an Oscar- nominated role. Fraser, meanwhile, is also fine as the idealistic American who doesn't quite know what he's getting himself into. Miramax's DVD boasts an excellent commentary track with Noyce, Hampton, Caine, and co-producer Sydney Pollack among others, discussing the conception and shooting of the production; a Sundance Channel special; reviews of Greene's novel, plus a historical timeline of Vietnam. The 2.35 transfer is excellent, as is the 5.1 Dolby Digital sound boasting a one-note Craig Armstrong score.


LEVITY (*1/2, 100 mins., 2003, R, Columbia TriStar): Screenwriter Ed Solomon made his feature directorial debut with this well-intentioned but painfully slow-moving study of an ex-con (Billy Bob Thornton), recently released from prison, who tries to adjust to life on the outside. Holly Hunter, Morgan Freeman, and Kirsten Dunst play a few of the individuals who try and help Thornton find redemption. Solomon is best known for writing comedic projects like "Men in Black," the "Bill & Ted" movies, and "Charlie's Angels," but LEVITY is an overly earnest examination of redemption and change, and more or less illustrates why it reportedly took him nearly 20 years to write it: this is a tough-going character drama with a protagonist whom you really couldn't care less about. Columbia TriStar's DVD offers a 1.85 widescreen transfer with 5.1 Dolby Digital sound (Roger Deakins' cinematography is the best thing about the movie), along with a promotional featurette and commentary from Solomon and a few crew members. Maybe he should stick with comedy next time, eh?


CASEY'S SHADOW (**1/2, 116 mins., 1978, PG; Columbia TriStar, available September 9): Flavorful, atmospheric Martin Ritt film stars Walter Matthau as a cranky ol' horse trainer who tries to raise his three sons and develop a race-worthy contender in the process. Essaying a part similar to his "Bad News Bears" role, Matthau carries this odd mix of kids' film and adult drama, with some PG-level profanity and a few graphic sequences making this a questionable choice for young children. As with any Ritt film, though, CASEY'S SHADOW does evoke a certain time and place, with able supporting performances turned in by Alexis Smith and Murray Hamilton. Carol Sobieski's script also develops characters whom you care about throughout the film, though Patrick Williams' county-twanged score comes up limp -- it's too bad Elmer Bernstein's original score was jettisoned prior to its release. Columbia TriStar's DVD looks great but, unfortunately, is full-frame only, thereby cropping the original Panvision dimensions and curtailing the overall entertainment value of the disc.


Aisle Seat Mail Bag

From John Altomari:

Just letting you know that I've been digging your Aisle Seat contributions. Always a pleasure and a good read.
 
I am embarrassed to admit that I'm excited about the FREDDY vs. JASON film. I guess it's the fact that I am a horror fan and have always considered the first NIGHTMARE film to be a classic of the genre. The others were too campy and the thrill - and scare- were gone.
 
But I'm just curious if you've had the chance to see FvJ yet and if you'd recommend it -- (I guess I should wait for your review) -- I heard one comment that it was as though the movie was made purposely to reflect a campy film made in 1986.
John, I don't know if FREDDY VS.JASON is going to appeal to the die-hard horror crowd that might have been hoping for a seriously scary genre work -- but, as I noted in my review, I liked it for what it was.

From Scott Shortliffe:

As a long time fan of your column, it pains me to write in with a quibble, but I cannot help but point out that the historian whose voice is heard in "Seabiscut" is David McCullough, not "McCollouch" or "McColloch." And whether or not you like the use of his voiceover, one cannot do much better than his books (hell, "The Great Bridge" makes bridge engineering fascinating and suspenseful!).
 
Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed "Seabiscut" - including the narration. But I share your disappointment with the score. Heck, I thought that Randy Newman and Americana would be a slam dunk, and admittedly there are some fine individual cues, but nothing terribly memorable emerged. I wonder what Basil Poledouris would have done with it - his "Lonesome Dove" score is still an underappreciated gem and demonstrates, to me at least, that he could have hit this one out of the park.
 
In any case, I always look forward to reading your views, whether I agree with them or see them as the ravings of a demented loon - they're articulate, entertaining and thought provoking. Keep up the good work!
From Preston Neal Jones:
Dear Andy,

Or, should I call it, THE STUNTED? I can't believe you gave this one three stars, which I'd say are about three stars too many. "Well worth a look for action fans." Well, maybe -- but certainly not for movie fans. I caught THE HUNTED at a sneak preview, and I kept waiting for the story to finally start. Before I knew it, suddenly the movie was over, and there never had been a story. At only ninety-odd minutes, clearly they had room to tell a story if they'd cared about doing so, but obviously nobody gave a damn. The only good thing I can say about THE HUNTED is that it left me so hungry for a good movie that I walked around the multi-plex after it was over and found, thank God, BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM, (which had just opened). Andy, you're starting to worry me. It's not your fault, but clearly, having to watch so many contemporary movies is starting to warp your sensibilities and lower your critical standards. I prescribe plenty of bed rest, in front of a TV locked onto Turner Classic Movies.

From Peter Dishal:
Andy,

Regarding William O'Hara's question about "The 300 Spartans," from a DVD website:

20th Century Fox has delayed The 300 Spartans because of an issue with the transfer. The disc, originally due on June 3rd, will be announced with a new street date in the future.

Thanks Peter!


Aisle Seat Q&A
 
From Al Foster:
Hi Andy, well, please, what is this about a Dirty Dancing CD rerelease? Are we getting some John Morris here, finally? I thought the CDs were in constant availability anyway, so what's the deal about a "soundtrack re-issue" - with LINER NOTES, THAT IS!?
Al, the tentative release date for the Special Edition DIRTY DANCING CD is by the end of the year (don't worry, I'll be sure to plug it here when the appropriate time comes!). As far as Morris' score goes, I wondered whether or not he scored the entire film or just small portions of it -- either way, there's hardly any of his music in the film (less than a handful of brief cues). This CD will boast remastered sound, the complete contents of the original 2-volume soundtrack set newly re-sequenced, and my extensive analysis of the DIRTY DANCING phenomenon -- surely enough to warrant a purchase in my humble opinion ;)

From Mike Skerritt:

Hey Andy,

I was just curious to know if you knew anything about a release for 'Young Sherlock Holmes' on DVD from Paramount any time soon. Considering the the weight of all the key players behind the scenes (including Chris Columbus!), I'm surprised this underrated gem from 1985 hasn't been released yet. Any idea when we might see it?

Also, the current release of The Karate Kid features only a full-frame presentation. Do you know if Columbia has any plans to give this iconic 80's movie the special presentation treatment?

Thanks a lot, always look forward to the Aisle Seat!

Mike, you're all set on YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES, which will be out in widescreen and 5.1 surround from Paramount this fall. THE KARATE KID is available in widescreen everywhere EXCEPT the U.S., and I'd bet that Columbia will get around to remastering the title in its proper aspect ratio sooner than later (I hope, anyway!). Speaking of which: wasn't Elisabeth Shue just "da bomb" back in the '80s? (and where exactly IS she these days??).

From Tim Burden:

Hi Andy,

Really enjoy your features, many thanks! I know you have probably been asked this countless times but any word on the 'Young Sherlock Holmes', 'The Accidental Tourist', 'Harry & The Hendersons' and 'Twin Peaks Season 2' releases on DVD?

No word on HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS or TWIN PEAKS' second season, though if Universal can find the means to release a DTS widescreen edition of SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND (yes, I did try and get a review copy, by the way), what's to hold them back from a little Lithgow love?

From Matt Manning:
Hi Andy. As with everything on the FSM website, I always enjoy your article, so much so that now I feel compelled to ask one of those "what's happening with THIS particular title" type questions.

"Masquerade". Reasons to justify a DVD release: It's from 1988 and belongs to MGM (I mean they released "Mannequinn" didn't they??). It's sexy and lavish and it has beautiful women (devotee of the beautiful Meg Tilly talking here but you've also got Kim Cattral) and 'classic' hunks from that time (Doug Savant and of course Rob Lowe whose renewed rise in popularity due to "West Wing" and "Austin Powers" ought to be enough to warrant cashing in).

Okay, it's not a great film (playing a character that had to keep the audience guessing as to his true motives, Rob Lowe was wooden to say the least) but there's unquestionably still an audience for it, propelled by an edgy John Barry score and one tends to forget how explicit (for mainstream) that sex scene between Meg and Rob was back then in those pre-Basic Instinct days!

And yet a "Masquerade" DVD does not exist nor have I read any rumours of one. Have you heard anything on the grapevine? Crying out for one, n'est pas?

Matt, I still have my MASQUERADE laserdisc, which was released not by MGM but rather by CBS/Fox back in the days when MGM/UA was in REALLY dire financial straits (as opposed to the semi-dire fiscal condition they're in now). I agree it's high time for a DVD release: you've got a lush John Barry score, a naked Meg Tilly, an overacting John Glover, plus a script by Dick Wolf, who has since gone onto become a TV mogul thanks to his LAW & ORDER franchises. Like anything else it seems these days, hopefully it'll just be a matter of time.


IN TWO WEEKS: More DVDs, movie reviews, your comments and more as the Aisle Seat celebrates its amazing 6th Anniversary! Direct all emails to dursina@att.net and we'll catch you then. Excelsior!


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