- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Martin Short expands his already rotund “Primetime Glick” television character to feature-film proportions in the frequently hilarious romp Jiminy Glick in LaLaWood, new this week from MGM Home Entertainment ($24.96). It’s our…

DVD pick of the week

Sporting a seamless fat suit, negligible attention span and multi-octave voice, Jiminy, a celebrity journalist wannabe toiling for a Butte, Mont., TV station, realizes a longstanding dream of covering the elite Toronto Film Festival in search of glossy scoops.

There, our aggressively clueless hero, his endearingly coarse spouse Dixie (Jan Hooks) and their tubby twin sons Matthew and Modine (Landon Hansen, Jake Hoffman) encounter a chain-smoking David Lynch (also Mr. Short), who promptly throws a surreal wrench into their plans.

While the wraparound plot is sufficiently clever in its own right, it serves chiefly as an apt frame for Mr. Short and his comic crew to work their semi-improvisational magic in a series of consistently funny bits.

Especially deft here are John Michael Higgins (late of “A Mighty Wind”) as a sleazy, language-mangling Russian hustler/producer, and Corey Pearson as a petulant movie star-turned-auteur whose vanity project, “Growing Up Gandhi,” becomes the butt of the fest’s critics — except for Jiminy (of course), who rallies to its cause.

Several celebrity cameos by the likes of Kurt Russell, Kevin Kline, Steve Martin and Whoopi Goldberg add further spice to the proceedings.

Unlike Jiminy, the DVD extras are a bit thin: a few extended scenes and separate audio commentaries by director Vadim Jean and screenwriters Mr. Short, his brother Michael Short, and Paul Flaherty. While those surface as welcome additions, a full behind-the-scenes documentary would have been appreciated here.

Still, if you’re looking for a comedy worthy of repeat viewings, “LaLaWood” is the place to go.

Collectors’ corner

Two very different auteurs receive gala new digital tributes:

• Universal Studios Home Entertainment presents Alfred Hitchcock — The Masterpiece Collection ($119.98), a 15-disc bonanza containing 14 films: Psycho, Vertigo, Rear Window, The Birds, Saboteur, Shadow of a Doubt, The Trouble With Harry, Rope, Marnie, Topaz, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Torn Curtain, Frenzy and Family Plot. The set adds more than 14 hours of extras, including audio commentaries, nine featurettes, newsreel footage, the documentary “Masters of Cinema: Alfred Hitchcock,” and much more.

For those truly hooked on Hitch, the same label issues the classic TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season One (three-disc, $39.98), with all 39 debut season episodes plus extras.

m Ventura Distribution salutes another distinctive, decidedly maverick moviemaker (and action star), Tom (“Billy Jack”) Laughlin, via the five-disc Billy Jack 35th Anniversary Ultimate Collection ($59.99).

The set assembles the high-energy Billy Jack debut The Born Losers (1967), the seminal Billy Jack (1971), The Trial of Billy Jack (1974) and Billy Jack Goes to Washington (1977), plus a bonus disc brimming with extras.

Tele-video

MPI Home Video leads the TV-on-DVD way with a trio of fresh sets. Jed Clampett and brood cavort in the extras-enriched The Beverly Hillbillies: The Ultimate Collection Volume 1 (four-disc, $34.98), while vampire Barnabas Collins strikes again in the 40-episode Dark Shadows DVD Collection 20 (four-disc, $59.98) and David Jason returns as the eponymous detective in the British police series A Touch of Frost Season 7 and 8 (two-disc, $39.98).

Universal focuses on a pioneering paranormal journalist-sleuth in Kolchak: The Night Stalker (three-disc, $39.98), starring Darren McGavin in all 20 episodes of the 1974-75 series.

In cathode comedy developments, Bob Newhart and friends resurface in the 1970s The Bob Newhart Show: The Complete Second Season (three-disc, $29.98), with select audio commentaries and a new featurette. Warner Home Video contributes the campus-set dramedy Gilmore Girls: The Complete 4th Season (six-disc, $59.98), and Paramount Home Entertainment goes the animated route with the irreverent Drawn Together: Season One (two-disc, $26.99).

The ‘A’ list

Among recent theatrical releases making their digital debuts, Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn headline in Sydney Pollack’s international suspenser The Interpreter (Universal, $29.98), sporting featurettes, deleted scenes and an alternate ending.

Erstwhile “The X Files” investigator David Duchovny moves behind the camera for the coming-of-age drama House of D (Lions Gate Home Entertainment, $27.98), co-starring Robin Williams and Tia Leoni and packed with bonus material.

Remake mania proceeds apace with MGM Home Entertainment’s Amityville Horror ($28.95), with Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George.

Phan mail

Dear Phantom: My husband and I watched a Christopher Walken film called Comfort of Strangers. Perhaps you could work your magic and help us find this treasure.

Anne Markert, via e-mail

Paul Schrader’s offbeat 1991 drama (Madacy Entertainment, $7.98) is now available via Amazon.com and other online sources.

Send your video comments and queries to Phantom of the Movies, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002, or e-mail us at phanmedia@aol .com. Check out our Web site at www.videoscopemag.com.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide