- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Writer-director Paul Greengrass’ intense docudrama Bloody Sunday, new from Paramount Home Entertainment (priced for rental VHS, $29.99 DVD), drops the viewer squarely into the atrocity of the title, when British troops massacred unarmed Irish protesters in Derry, Northern Ireland, on Jan. 30, 1972. It’s our…

Video pick of the week

Mr. Greengrass takes us step-by-step through the events leading up to the infamous incident, focusing primarily on organizer Ivan Cooper (James Nesbitt), an Irish-Protestant parliamentarian seeking to show solidarity with the primarily Catholic marchers. As Cooper and cohort plan a peaceful Sunday afternoon civil rights procession through the streets of Derry, British military officials prepare a hard-line response, vowing to arrest the rock-throwing young “hooligans” expected to be present at the demonstration.

Once the march gets under way, emotions quickly escalate, particularly among pumped British “paras,” elite commandos who, as the clash gains in momentum, substitute live ammo for the customary rubber bullets and literally run wild through the streets, firing at will. Mr. Greengrass follows the action through to its grim aftermath, where British officials refuse to take responsibility for the violent fiasco.

Though it’s necessarily light on character development, beyond Mr. Cooper and a few of his intimates, “Bloody Sunday” scores as both gripping drama and meticulous history. For viewers interested in learning more about the latter, the DVD edition includes the documentary “Ivan Cooper Remembers,” featuring interviews with both the real figure and the actor who portrays him, “History Retold” (cast and crew interviews) and two separate commentary tracks, one by Mr. Greengrass and Mr. Nesbitt and another by Don Mullan, co-producer and writer of the original book, “Eyewitness Bloody Sunday.” One caveat, though: For most American viewers, the English subtitles are a must.

The ‘A’ list

Franchise frenzy proceeds apace with MGM Home Entertainment’s planned June 3 launch of the James Bond blockbuster Die Another Day ($29.98), starring a returning Pierce Brosnan as 007, with Halle Berry and Rosamund Pike serving as his latest film flames. The double-disc “Special Edition” offers seven — count ‘em — seven hours of bonus materials, ranging from audio commentaries (including a track shared by actors Brosnan and Pike) to a making-of documentary, featurettes on various production phases, a Madonna music video, DVD-ROM features and more.

Couchside Trekkers, meanwhile, can prepare to engage when Star Trek Nemesis ($26.98), with Patrick Stewart and his “Next Generation” crew, beams down into vidstores next week via Paramount Home Entertainment. The extras-enriched DVD comes complete with audio commentary by director Stuart Baird, behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes, photo gallery and more. Both titles will also be available on VHS (priced for rental).

Video verite

In documentary developments, two ambitious new DVD sets have recently surfaced. Kultur Video (kultur.com) presents The Adventure of Photography ($39.98), a double-disc, four-hour history of the photographic image, covering everything from war to fashion photography, plus celebrated photographers from Ansel Adams to Andy Warhol.

VCI Entertainment (vcientertainment.com) takes us back to the thrilling, anxiety-ridden days of yesteryear with its three-disc Forever ‘50s ($49.95), assembling more than eight hours of vintage newsreels, “Atomic Modern Shorts” (including the Jack Webb paranoia classic “Red Nightmare”) and movie trailers.

First Run Features debuts the World War II documentary Fire on the Mountain ($29.95), a detailed look at the 10th Mountain Division, America’s only winter warfare unit. Extras include interviews with directors Beth Gage and George Gage, the bonus short “The 10th Mountain Division in the 21st Century,” a photo gallery and more.

Mondo Ferrigno

Comic-book superheroes are not only busting out on multiplex screens but booming on home video as well. Last week, Anchor Bay Entertainment released a double-disc tribute to television’s original The Incredible Hulk ($29.98), pairing two made-for-TV features, “The Incredible Hulk Returns” and “Trial of the Incredible Hulk,” both starring Bill Bixby as scientist David Banner and muscleman Lou Ferrigno as his mean, green alter ego. Extras include “Standing Tall,” a new feature-length documentary with Mr. Ferrigno, the Ferrigno interview “Muscling in on Movies,” “Incredible Hulk” creator Stan Lee in “The Marvelous World of Stan Lee,” and more.

Phan mail

Dear Phantom: Has Disney changed the far-too-long title of its film The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon? I cannot find this on video. I can’t believe it would not have been released, considering the praise it received from critics.

Maria Luisa, via e-mail

In fact, that football-themed movie mouthful is now available from Movies Unlimited (moviesunlimited.com) for $9.99 (VHS only).

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: phanme[email protected] Check out our Web site at www.videoscopemag.com.

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