video vaultDVD PICK OF THE WEEK JOHN CARPENTER: MASTER OF FEAR COLLECTION (Universal Studios Home Entertainment): Universal gets the jump on the Halloween season with a four-film boxed set devoted to the works of filmmaker John Carpenter, whose 1978 classic Halloween is one of the touchstones of the horror genre — and he continued to make good, scary movies throughout the 1980s and ’90s. This collection includes the superb 1982 version of The Thing (****), one of the few remakes to surpass the original film and anchored by a great ensemble cast headed by Kurt Russell, to say nothing of Rob Bottin’s amazing special effects; Donald Pleasence heads the cast of 1987’s imaginative, if somewhat inscrutable, sci-fi fantasy Prince of Darkness (***); Roddy Piper (the one and only) and Keith David star in the subversive, semi-satirical sci-fi thriller They Live (***); and the 1995 remake of Village of the Damned (***), although not quite as good as the original is still a worthy updating, featuring Christopher Reeve (in the last role before his tragic riding accident), Kirstie Alley and Linda Kozlowski. For chills and suspense this Halloween, the “John Carpenter: Master of Fear Collection” ($19.98 retail) delivers both in spades — none more so than The Thing. All four films are rated R.
ALSO ON DVD
17 AGAIN (Warner Home Video): A slight, trite riff on It’s a Wonderful Life and Mr. Destiny, with Matthew Perry as a divorced dad who wishes he could be a teenager again. Presto — he becomes Zac Efron. The expected complications ensue… for those who care. Rated PG-13. *½
BARBIE AND THE THREE MUSKETEERS (Universal Studios Home Entertainment): Alexandre Dumas could not have foreseen Barbie becoming the centerpiece of his classic adventure story, a new animated feature ($19.98 retail) that sees the famous fashion doll teaming up with three friends to save Paris from an insidious plot to overthrow the throne.
THE BATMAN DOUBLE FEATURE (DC Comics/Warner Home Video): A twin bill of animated features ($14.97 retail) based on the perennially popular DC Comics character: The Batman/Superman Movie (1998) features the voices of Tim Daly as Superman, Kevin Conroy as Batman, Dana Delany as Lois Lane, Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor and Mark Hamill as the Joker; The Batman vs. Dracula (2005) features the voices of Rino Romano as Batman and Peter Stormare as the Count.
BIONICLE: THE LEGEND REBORN (Universal Studios Home Entertainment): “Star Trek” veterans Michael Dorn and Armin Shimerman lend their voices to this animated science- fiction adventure feature ($19.98 retail) based on the popular series of LEGO children’s toys. BRING IT ON: FIGHT TO THE FINISH (Universal Studios Home Entertainment): The fifth (!) in the cheerleading franchise sees Christina Milian as the new girl in school who leads her team to the championship. Tired and predictable in equal measure. Universal is also releasing the Bring It On All-Star Pack ($39.98 retail), which includes all five films. Rated PG-13. *
“BROTHERS & SISTERS”: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment): Sally Field, Rachel Griffiths, Calista Flockhart, Rob Lowe and Ron Rifkin head a star-studded ensemble cast in all 24 episodes from the 2008-’09 season of the prime-time ABCTV drama about the relationships within a large California family. Field earned an Emmy nomination as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. This boxed set retails for $59.99.
HANNAH MONTANA THE MOVIE (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment): Miley Cyrus brings her hit Disney Channel series to the big screen in this award-winning (Teen Choice and MTV Movie Award), feature-length comedy in which she takes a breather from show business by visiting the family farm in Tennessee. Available as a singledisc DVD ($29.99 retail), a two-DVD special edition ($39.99 retail), or a three-disc Blu-ray combo ($44.99 retail). Rated G.
“THE MENTALIST”: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (Warner Home Video): Simon Baker earned an Emmy nomination as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his performance as a celebrity psychic who teams with the police to solve crimes after his family is slain by a serial killer, in all 23 episodes from the 2008-’09 season of the top-rated, prime-time CBS-TV crime drama. This six-DVD boxed set retails for $59.98.
MICKEY MOUSE CLUBHOUSE: MICKEY’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment): The title tells all in this feature-length cartoon ($26.99 retail), based on Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice in Wonderland and spun off from the popular Disney Channel series, with Mickey Mouse and other favorite Disney characters.
NFL: HISTORY OF THE SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (NFL Films/ Warner Home Video): It has never won a Super Bowl, but this two-disc boxed set ($26.95 retail) explores the 50-year history of the San Diego’s football franchise whose star players have included Dan Fouts, Lance Alworth, Kellen Winslow, Charlie Joiner and Ernie Ladd.
PHANTASM II (Universal Studios Home Entertainment): Don Coscarelli’s 1988 sequel to his 1979 cult smash makes its long-awaited DVD debut. Reggie Bannister and Angus Scrimm (as the malevolent Tall Man) reprise their roles, with James LeGros (stepping in for A. Michael Baldwin), Paula Irvine, Samantha Phillips and Kenneth Tigar also battling those lethal metallic spheres. Good fun for the Phantasm faithful. Rated R. ***
“SONNY WITH A CHANCE: SONNY’S BIG BREAK” (Walt Disney Studios Entertainment): A compilation of four episodes ($19.99 retail) of the top-rated Disney Channel family sitcom series starring Demi Lovato as a Midwestern teenager who comes to Los Angeles to join a sketch comedy show called “So Random!”
“THE SUITE LIFE ON DECK: ANCHORS AWAY!” (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment): A selection of four episodes ($19.99 retail) from the popular Disney Channel series, spun off from “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody,” with Cole and Dylan Sprouse (Cody and Zack, respectively) as twins who tend to make mischief wherever they go — including aboard a semester-at-sea scholastic program aboard a cruise ship.
“SUPER FRIENDS”: THE LOST EPISODES (DC Comics/Warner Home Video): A selection of 24 rare episodes from the early ’80s’ revival of the animated “Super Friends” Saturday-morning series (based on DC Comics’ “Justice League of America”), featuring such favorite superheroes as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and the Wonder Twins. This two-DVD boxed set retails for $26.99.
“SUPERNATURAL”: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON (Warner Home Video): Jensen Ackles and Jared Padelecki return as the brothers Winchester, doing battle with the forces of evil in all 22 episodes from the 2008-’09 season of the popular, prime-time CW Television Network series. This boxed set retails for $55.98 (DVD) and $79.98 (Bluray).
THE TIGGER MOVIE (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment): It’s a year early, but this is the 10th-anniversary special edition ($29.99 retail) of the 2000 animated feature based on the classic characters from AA Milne’s best-selling series of children’s books. Narrated by John Hurt. Not bad, but hardly in a league with Disney’s finest. Rated G. **
“TWO AND A HALF MEN”: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON (Warner Home Video): Charlie Sheen (Emmy nominee as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series), Jon Cryer (Emmy winner as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series) and Angus T. Jones are back in all 24 episodes from the 2008-’09 season of the top-rated, prime-time CBS-TV sitcom about two brothers and one brother’s son who share a beachfront house in California. This four-DVD boxed set retails for $44.98. To comment on this story, send your e-mail to: email@example.com Mark Burger can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92.
Copyright 2009, Mark Burger !