NEWLN: UPI Arts & Entertainment -- VideoViewNEWLN:(1200)NEWLN:release at will
JACK E. WILKINSON United Press International
What's new on the home video scene.... NEWLN:MOVIES
'Aladdin and the King of Thieves' -- Aladdin and Jasmine finally get hitched, locate his long-lost dad among the notorious 40 Thieves and join him in a quest for a fabled treasure. But, that's merely the plot of this final chapter of the super-successful Disney trilogy. The main focus is on the return of Robin Williams as the voice of the big blue wisecracking genie, virtually assuring this entertaining, direct-to- video animated adventure will be a huge hit. With his scattergun humor and demonic energy, Williams restores the quicksilver wit lacking in the first sequel, 'The Return of Jafar' (he sat that one out in a dispute with Disney), fussily and frantically flittering about, slamming through endless blue-faced impersonations from Marlon Brando to Tinkerbell, firing off one-liners faster than a speeding bullet. It's a lot better in most respects than 'Jafar,' which sold 11 million copies. 1996. 82 minutes. Animated. Walt Disney Home Video. $24.99.
'Things To Do in Denver When You're Dead' -- Get past the tricky title which suggests a black comedy for there's nothing funny about this intriguing but unlikely crime thriller concerning a simple little caper that goes sour. Andy Garcia is a well-dressed con man called Jimmy the Saint who's forced by a creepy wheelchair-bound mob boss (Christopher Walken) to do him a small favor: scare a guy who's stolen his son's girlfriend. Sounds easy, but Jimmy lines up a team of violent misfits, most notably Critical Bill (Treat Williams), an over-the-top sicko who uses corpses as punching bags, and things quickly go haywire. Two people die and Jimmy and his gang are promptly targeted for brutal extermination. Gabrielle Anwar appears briefly as Jimmy's girlfriend. 1996. 115 minutes. Miramax Home Entertainment. Rated R.
'Mr. Wrong' -- Comedian Ellen DeGeneres, in her feature film debut, plays Martha, a single, content 30-something under constant pressure from family and friends alike to get married. She finally meets 'Mr. Right' (Bill Pullman), or so she thinks. He's handsome, successful, fun. But, as the courtship proceeds, she finds he's also strange, dense, so devoted to getting her to the altar that he just about drives her nuts. She wants to break up but he never gets a clue. To make matters worse, he's got a homicidal ex-girlfriend literally gunning for Martha. Things get outlandish after a while and mayhem seems to outweigh humor in this somewhat screw-loose effort at a screwball comedy. 1996. 97 minutes. Touchstone Home Video. Rated PG-13.
'Darkman III: Die Darkman Die' -- The third segment in the troubled times of Dr. Peyton Westlake (Arnold Vosloo), the horribly disfigured scientist turned phantom hero, defending his life and his super-strength formula from a power-mad mobster (Jeff Fahey). Diverting if rather routine direct-to-video high-tech actioner in which everyone, at one time or another, tends to overact. 1996. 87 minutes. MCA/Universal Home Video. Rated R.
'Barb Wire' -- Busty Pamela Anderson Lee plays a renegade entrepreneur and bounty hunter who rejoins the freedom fighters in an America of the future, ensnared in the iron grip of its second Civil War. Pam's Barb is sexy, tough, resourceful and totally unbelievable. Based on a comic strip character. 1996. 109 minutes. PolyGram Home Video. In both R-rated and unrated versions.
'Tornado!' -- This low-budget 'Twister' ripoff has a similar story (storm chaser Bruce Campbell, armed with a new machine to help predict tornadoes, looking for the 'big one'), lots of talk about global warming and the meteorological havoc it's causing, lots of wind but no flying cows. 1996. 89 minutes. Hallmark Home Entertainment. Not rated.
In the vintage corner... 'The Manchurian Candidate' -- One of the most suspenseful political thrillers ever made, although mirroring the darkest side of politics, has been brought back by MGM/UA as part of its Vintage Classics series. In this searing 1962 John Frankenheimer flick, Laurence Harvey is a brainwashed Korean War veteran, controlled by evil mom Angela Lansbury, programmed to kill during his party's nominating convention with Frank Sinatra, as his former commanding officer, trying to stop him. Exceptional, but hardly an ideal political convention movie. For that, check out Gore Vidal's 'The Best Man' (1964) in which Henry Fonda and Cliff Robertson vie for the nomination amid intense backroom maneuvering. ------ VIDBITS
'Broken Arrow,' the John Travolta-Christian Slater actioner about stolen nuclear weapons, has moved back into the No. 1 slot of the latest Billboard video rental chart. The futuristic fantasy '12 Monkeys' drops back to No. 2 with 'Heat,' 'Mr. Holland's Opus' and 'Dead Man Walking' holding firm in the next three slots. One newcomer this week: The Adam Sandler golfing comedy 'Happy Gilmore' bowed at No. 8....
'Ghost in the Shell' is the current best-seller, followed by 'Heavy Metal,' 'Playboy: The Best of Jenny McCarthy' and Clueless.' '...Coming up: 'Mary Reilly' with Julia Roberts as Dr. Jekyl's maid, 'Faithful,' 'Mulholland Falls' and 'All Dogs Go to Heaven 2.'...
Sure sign the holidays are not far away: Republic is again ushering in 'It's a Wonderful Life,' a digitally remastered version of the famous 1946 Frank Capra film, on Sept. 17....Look who's making a comeback. Pee-Wee Herman returns to video in a new 'Pee-Wee's Playhouse' series from MGM/UA, initial offering due Nov. 5....The Cabbage Patch Kids, patterned after those popular, pudgy dolls 'adopted' by millions of kids over the past decade, are making their home video debut in two 30-minute videos from BMG....
Snowball Productions has released the first episode of the 'Mr. Humdinger' series, 'Mr. Humdinger Goes Fishing,' hoping to hook smallfry (ages 3-8)....Paramount aims for the same audience with new segments of 'Rugrats,' 'Allegra's Window,' the 'Oz Kids Collection' and 'The Adventures of Corduroy' in October....
With family films making up about half of all home video sales, moviemakers release dozens of them every month. Many, of course, are animated kid flicks, targeting a segment of the population that can be quite a persuasive buying force. When it comes to animated features, Disney almost has the field sewn up. Take this summer and fall, for example, as distributors gear up for another lucrative holiday season. 'Aristocats' still is selling well, 'Aladdin and the King of Thieves' has just hit the shelves, and 'Toy Story,' 'James and the Giant Peach,' 'Muppet Treasure Island' and 'Oliver and Company' are in the wings....New non-Disney animated features include MGM/UA's 'All Dogs Go to Heaven 2' later this month and 'Land Before Time III' from MCA/Universal in December.... ------ Billboard's top 10 videocassette movie rentals
1. Broken Arrow -- FoxVideo 2. 12 Monkeys -- MCA/Universal Home Video 3. Heat -- Warner Home Video 4. Mr. Holland's Opus--Hollywood Pictures Home Video 5. Dead Man Walking -- PolyGram Video 6. Rumble in the Bronx -- New Line Home Video 7. The Juror -- Columbia TriStar Home Video 8. Happy Gilmore -- MCA/Universal Home Video 9. Get Shorty -- MGM/UA Home Video 10. Leaving Las Vegas -- MGM/UA Home Video