- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 14, 2002

Sort of a "J.D.'s Revenge" meets "Candyman" by way of "Nightmare on Elm Street," longtime Spike Lee cinematographer Ernest Dickerson's Bones falls short of scare classic status but amply delivers the genre goods. It's our …

Video pick of the week
"Bones" due Feb. 26 from New Line Home Entertainment (priced for rental VHS, also available on DVD) gives us four middle-class youths (three of them siblings) who buy a dilapidated ghetto building with plans to transform it into a sleek dance club. In the doing, they unwittingly unearth and reanimate late neighborhood protector Jimmy Bones (Snoop Dogg), who promptly seeks to settle the score with those who betrayed him two decades before.
Director Dickerson ("Demon Knight") and veteran genre scripters Adam Simon (of "Brain Dead" and "Carnosaur") and Tim Metcalfe (known for "Kalifornia" and "Fright Night 2") fill in their skeletal framework with shocks, gore and frightful imagery galore. The enthusiastic young cast brings high energy to the nonstop action, while cult icon Pam Grier gets to stretch as a local psychic, portraying her character both in her mature present and foxy, Afro-topped past. The Artist Formerly Known as Snoop Doggy Dogg lends a measure of spectral dignity and an array of eye-assaulting pimp finery as the avenging Jimmy Bones.
New Line's Platinum Series DVD, meanwhile, grants fear fans ample opportunity to chill all night, as there's much audiovisual meat on this "Bones." The disc includes two original documentaries "Digging Up Bones" and "Urban Gothic: Bones and Its Influences" along with deleted scenes, audio commentary by Messrs. Dogg, Dickerson and Simon and not one but two versions of the music video "Dogg Named Snoop." Horror hounds are bound to dig it.

Comedy quartet
On the upcoming comedy front, several recent theatrical titles are slated to hit homevideo shelves over the next few weeks. Columbia/TriStar leads the way with a trio of new releases: Drew Barrymore, Steve Zahn, James Woods and Lorraine ("The Sopranos") Bracco in Penny Marshall's fact-based dramedy Riding in Cars With Boys; along with the canine sports romp Soccer Dog, starring James Marshall and Olivia d'Abo; and the sci-fi satire 2001: A Space Travesty, toplining Naked Gun" alum Leslie Nielsen.
Elsewhere, the ubiquitous Snoop Dogg joins Dr. Dre in the urban comedy The Wash (Trimark). Ben Stiller cavorts behind and before the camera in his male fashion-model farce Zoolander (Paramount), featuring Owen Wilson (of "The Royal Tenenbaums"), Will Ferrell and Christine Taylor. All four titles will be priced for rental VHS and also available on DVD.

Thumb fun
Speaking of yocks, if you haven't long since overdosed on "Blair Witch Project" parodies, check out Steve ("Kung Pow: Enter the Fist") Oederkirk's "The Blair Thumb" (Image Entertainment, $9.98 DVD). Shot in the magic of "thumbation," wherein your standard actors are replaced by mobile thumbs with human faces, the 28-minute "filmette" hilariously nails the grating self-indulgence and whininess of the original "BWP" characters. Extras include a choice of "sane" or "insane" audio commentary, storyboards, outtakes and coming attraction trailers. "The Blair Thumb" represents the last, and funniest, laugh on that since-faded media phenomenon.

For espionage lovers, Image Entertainment returns slick spy guys Bill Cosby and Robert Culp to the small screen with two new editions of "I Spy" (1965-1968), the first TV adventure series filmed in authentic international locales. I Spy: The Robert Culp Collection assembles a total of seven episodes written by, as well as co-starring, Mr. Culp, who also provides an informative audio commentary.
Volume I offers three shows: "So Long, Patrick Henry," "The Loser" (guest starring Eartha Kitt) and "The Tiger." Volume 2 presents four episodes: "Court of the Lion," "The Warlord," "Magic Mirror" (with Ricardo Montalban) and "Home to Judgment." The DVDs are tagged at $14.99 each.
Phan mail

Dear Phantom: What's the story behind Byron Haskin's sci-fi film The Power? Been waiting years for this favorite to be released on VHS (and now DVD) with no result! I know it was released as part of a double bill on laserdisc but it came and went before I started on that technology.
A film fan, via e-mail
That intriguing George Pal production has only surfaced on laser thus far. We believe MGM still holds the rights, and the film would certainly make an ideal addition to that label's ongoing "Midnite Movies" DVD/ VHS line. Here's hoping!

Send your video comments and queries to Phantom of the Movies, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002 or e-mail us at: [email protected] And check out our Web site at www.videoscopemag.com.

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