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‘Shaun’ alumni subvert English village in ‘Fuzz’

- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 9, 2007

Those lampooning lads who made a laughingstock of the living dead in "Shaun of the Dead" now set their satiric sights on idealized rural English life and over-the-top cop movies in the wild sendup Hot Fuzz, new from Universal Studios Home Entertainment ($29.98). It's our ...

DVD pick of the week

When London police officer Nicholas Angel's (co-writer Simon Pegg) extreme heroics show up his fellow flatfeet, he finds himself reassigned to bucolic Sandford, a sleepy, seemingly crime-free village, where he's partnered with Danny Butterman ("Shaun" costar Nick Frost), a bumbling slacker obsessed with Hollywood action flicks like "Point Break" and "Bad Boys II."

But soon enough a bizarre series of bloody "accidents" plagues the hitherto somnolent hamlet, propelling Nicholas and Danny into law-enforcement overdrive to uncover a sweeping conspiracy.

As they did in "Shaun," Messrs. Pegg, Frost and director/co-writer Edgar Wright successfully merge sharp celluloid parody with solid character-based comedy. Among the more amusing characters on view are former James Bond Timothy Dalton as a megalomaniac entrepreneur, Jim Broadbent as the local chief inspector, and, in a nod to the original "The Wicker Man," which "Hot Fuzz" likewise references, that film's star Edward Woodward, cast here as town historian Tom Weaver.

While not every bit scores a bull's-eye, there's more than enough honest mirth, ranging from the subtle to the downright rude, to please "Shaun" fans and general comedy lovers. Extras include featurettes, promotional tour footage, outtakes, a trivia track and more.

Tele-video

Comedies likewise dominate the week's TV-on-DVD slate. Buena Vista Home Entertainment spotlights John Ritter in 8 Simple Rules: The Complete First Season and Tim Allen in Home Improvement: The Complete Seventh Season (three-disc, $23.99 each), and offers The Muppet Show: The Complete Second Season (four-disc, $39.99).

The related Walt Disney Entertainment issues two family-friendly laugh-getters, Cory in the House: All-Star Edition and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody: Sweet Suite Victory ($19.99 each).

Elsewhere, BBC Video has the Britcom My Hero: The Complete Second Season ($19.98), Anchor Bay Entertainment contributes Roseanne: Season 8 (four-disc, $39.98), 20th Century Fox rounds up Homer and brood for The Simpsons: Season 10 (four-disc, $49.98), and Shout! Factory welcomes back Marlo Thomas as That Girl: Season Three (four-disc, $39.99).

In a more earnest vein, Paramount Home Entertainment puts the accent on youth and family life, respectively, in The Hills: The Complete Second Season (three-disc, $39.99) and Soul Food: The Second Season (five-disc, $49.99). HBO Video continues its epic historical series Rome: The Complete Second Season (five-disc, $99.98), crammed with cast and crew audio commentaries and featurettes.

Lionsgate goes the paranormal route with The Dresden Files: The Complete First Season (three-disc, $39.98), while WGBH Boston Video unveils the public TV series The Kids of DeGrassi Street (three-disc, $39.95).

Collectors' corner: Elvis

Vintage Elvis Presley rules in a wealth of new releases:

• Paramount's Lights! Camera! Elvis! Collection (eight-disc, $69.99) gathers eight films — Blue Hawaii, Easy Come, Easy Go, Fun in Acapulco, G.I. Blues, Girls! Girls! Girls!, King Creole, Paradise, Hawaiian Style and Roustabout.

• MGM Home Entertainment's four-disc Elvis Movie Legends Collection ($39.98) assembles the showcases Clambake, Follow That Dream, Frankie and Johnny and Kid Galahad.

• Warner Home Video's Elvis: The Hollywood Collection (six-disc, $49.92) furnishes Charro!, Girl Happy, Kissin' Cousins, Live a Little, Love a Little, Stay Away, Joe and Tickle Me.

• Four of Warner's Elvis-related titles receive separate special editions — Jailhouse Rock, Viva Las Vegas ($19.97 each) and the double-disc documentaries This Is Elvis and Elvis: That's the Way It Is ($20.97 each).

More for collectors

Warner Home Video travels farther back to salute two enduring screen icons in its Myrna Loy and William Powell Collection (five-disc, $49.92), supplying the duo's Double Wedding, Evelyn Prentice, I Love You Again, Love Crazy and Manhattan Melodrama, along with vintage cartoons and shorts.

The 'A' list

Four comedies top the list of recent theatrical releases making their digital debuts — the Ice Cube vehicle Are We Done Yet? (Sony Pictures, $28.95), the Chris Rock project I Think I Love My Wife (20th Century Fox, $29.98), the CGI action romp TMNT and the kids-amok chucklefest Unaccompanied Minors (both Warner, $28.98 each).

DreamWorks Home Entertainment counter-programs with Shia LeBeouf in D.J. Caruso's voyeuristic thriller Disturbia ($29.99).

Animated antics

In cartoon news, Warner issues the long-anticipated 60-title Popeye The Sailor 1933-1938 set (four-disc, $64.92), armed with commentaries, documentaries and more. Universal counters with The Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection (three-disc, $39.98), assembling some 75 theatrical cartoons along with bonus featurettes.

Phan mail

Dear Phantom: Since it was first revealed in "Collectors' Corner," I've failed to find the Tyrone Power Collection.

B. Berard, via e-mail

That vintage 20th Century Fox collection is now available for purchase via Amazon.com.

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.