The Wacky Einstein, 'Halloween' Killer, Hollywood Insider

Posted: March 01, 1990

Four recent films - an Australian comedy, a satirical look at the movie business, an Argentine thriller and yet another Halloween outing - aren't the only interesting new things at the video store this week: There's a passel of classic films and music videos for every taste as well.

YOUNG EINSTEIN (1989) (Warner) $89.95. 91 minutes. Yahoo Serious, Odile Le Clezio, John Howard, Pee Wee Wilson. * * * If you're jaded by the cookie- cutter comedies churned out by Hollywood, head for this upbeat farce from down under. Serious directs and stars in an often hilarious and revisionist account of the great man's youth as a scion of a clan of Tasmanian apple growers: He splits the atom and discovers the theory of relativity while trying to put bubbles in beer in an explosive experiment. A happy, zesty mix of farce, sight gags, parody and satire.

THE BIG PICTURE (1989) (RCA/Columbia) $89.95. 100 minutes. * * 1/2 Kevin Bacon, Emily Longstretch, Martin Short, Michael McKean. Though it's an insider's look at Hollywood, The Big Picture is not for insiders only. It boasts a wry, understated performance by Bacon as aspiring director Nick Chapman, who so eagerly wants to make his own Secaucus Seven-type personal film that he agrees to every imaginable compromise. As long as Nick sells out, the film is sharp. But once Nick redeems himself in the last reel, The Big Picture is just another Hollywood fantasy about how nice guys finish first.

APARTMENT ZERO (1989) (Academy) $89.95. 114 minutes. * * Hart Bochner, Colin Firth. Rate it zero for conduct, zero for concept and 100 for chutzpah. Lopsided thriller by Argentine Martin Donovan that combines the human-rights fervor of The Official Story with the human-wrongs fever of Psycho and photographs it with the louvered lighting and gloss of a fashion spread. As characters who are Norman Bates and Klaus Barbie knockoffs, Firth and Bochner generate erotic heat and laughs, but this movie is ludicrous.

HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS (1989) (CBS/Fox) $89.98. 96 minutes. * Donald Pleasence, Danielle Harris. Predictable tripe whose opening credits feature a knife slashing through the titles - fair warning that we are in the presence of a hack director. He is a Swiss named Dominique Othenin- Girard and an Alp should fall on his head. Halloween 6 is already in preparation. Perhaps Myers will do us all a favor and turn into a pumpkin.

RECENT MOVIES

BAIL OUT (1989) (Vestron) $89.98. 88 minutes. Linda Blair, David Hasselhoff. Action outing: A nasty bail bondsman sends his three toughest bounty hunters after a kidnapped heiress - not becuase he likes her, but

because he loses $1 million if she misses her court date.

DADDY'S BOYS (1987) (RCA/Columbia) $69.95. 85 minutes. Daryl Haney, Laura Burkett. Crime comedy set in the 1930s: A family bank-robbery team's operation is complicated when one son decides to go solo.

DISTURBANCE (1989) (VidAmerica) $79.98. 81 minutes. Timothy Greeson, Lisa Geoffreion. Psycho-thriller: A schizophrenic's violent nightmares seem to be coming true.

THE GUMSHOE KID (1989) (Academy) $79.95. 98 minutes. Jay Underwood, Tracy Scoggins. After inheriting a half-interest in a rundown detective agency, a recent Harvard grad soon finds himself embroiled in murder and kidnapping.

JAILBAIT: BETRAYED BY INNOCENCE (1989) (Monarch) $79.95. 96 minutes. Barry Bostwick, Lee Purcell. A middle-aged filmmaker's passionate affair with a 16- year-old student leads her policeman father to charge him with statutory rape.

THE LAST WARRIOR (1989) (SVS) $79.95. 94 minutes. Gary Graham, Cary-Hirouki Tagawa. Drama set on a South Pacific island during the final days of World War II: A lone American Marine and a lone Japanese soldier prepare for a final battle, with a novice nun standing between them.

THE RUNNIN' KIND (1989) (CBS/Fox) $79.98. 100 minutes. David Packer, Steven Eckholdt. A young law school grad rebels against his father's plans for his future and becomes a member of a previously all-girl rock band.

STAR QUEST (1989) (VidAmerca) $79.98. 90 minutes. Tracy Davis, Hans Bachman. Science-fiction adventure: A genetically engineered woman created by an evil corporate conglomerate begins to develop human emotions, deciding to rebel against her creators.

THE THIRD SOLUTION (1989) (RCA/Columbia) $79.95. 113 minutes. Treat Williams, F. Murray Abraham, Danny Aiello. The Cold War threatens to go red hot when the murder of a seemingly innocent American in Red Square leads to the discovery of a secret pact between the Kremlin and the Vatican.

WILDEST DREAMS (1989) (Vestron) $79.98. 84 minutes. James Davies, Heidi Paine. Fantasy-comedy in which a man finds a magic lamp-style genie and asks for the sex-crazed girl of his dreams. Problem: Every girl over whom the genie casts the spell is the wrong one, but the spell can't be lifted. Soon our hero has a half-dozen love-crazed admirers - and a half-dozen angry boyfriends out for his head.

VINTAGE FILMS

AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER (1957) (CBS/Fox) $39.98. 115 minutes. * * * Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr. Shipboard lovers promise to reunite six months after their voyage, but a tragic accident prevents their reunion. A real tearjerker.

THE BABE RUTH STORY (1948) (CBS/Fox) $19.98. 107 minutes. * * William Bendix, Clair Trevor, William Frawley. Bendix couldn't quite pull it off, and this formulaic screen bio falls into every trap the formula offers.

DESK SET (1957) (CBS/Fox) $39.98. 103 minutes. * * * * Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Gig Young, Joan Blondell. Familiar fare from these warriors. This time the venue is a TV network - she works there; he's sent in to improve efficiency. You know the rest.

THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR (1947) (CBS/Fox) $39.98. 104 minutes. * * * * Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, George Sanders. A young widow moves to the seashore and finds that her quaint cottage is haunted by the ghost of the sea captain who once owned it. Many funny episodes.

GOOD-BYE, MY LADY (1956) (Warner) $59.95. 95 minutes. Walter Brennan, Phil Harris, Brandon de Wilde. Beloved adaptation of the James Street novel about a small dog whose entrance into the dreary lives of a Southern man and his son brings unexpected joy.

HEAVEN CAN WAIT (1947) (CBS/Fox) $39.98. 112 minutes. * * * * Don Ameche, Laird Cregar, Gene Tierney. Remarkably tender love story that uses comedy and fantasy to show the metamorphosis of a scoundrel. (Not to be confused with the Warren Beatty Heaven Can Wait, which was actually a remake of a movie called Here Comes Mr. Jordan).

THE PRIDE OF ST. LOUIS (1952) (CBS/Fox) $19.98. 93 minutes. Dan Dailey, Joanne Dru. Bio of baseball legend Dizzy Dean, following his career as he moves from the minors to the majors.

MUSIC

B.B. KING LIVE IN AFRICA (1989) (HBO) $19.99. 43 minutes. Footage of the legendary blues guitarist performing at a 1974 music festival in Zaire. Songs include "The Thrill Is Gone," "Sweet Sixteen" and "Why I Sing the Blues."

COUNTRY STARS: A NEW TRADITION (1989) (HBO) $19.99. 55 minutes. Three generations of country-and-western stars gather to play favorites. Songs include "Give a Little Love," "Don't Be Cruel" and "No Memories Hanging 'Round." Part of the HBO cable network's Super Sessions series.

DUETS (1990) (MPI) $12.98. 15 minutes. Bassist Rob Wasserman performs with Lou Reed and Aaron Neville.

AN EVENING WITH SAMMY DAVIS JR. AND JERRY LEWIS (1989) (Vestron) $29.98. 59 minutes. Comedy and music combine as these two old pros team up for a one- time-only performance at Bally's in Las Vegas.

GUN - "TAKING ON THE WORLD" (1990) (A&M) $9.98. 20 minutes. Three songs by the heavy metal band, including their single "Better Days."

THE LEGENDS OF ROCK & ROLL (1989) (HBO) $19.99. 55 minutes. James Brown, Ray Charles, Bo Diddley, Fats Domino, B.B. King and Little Richard share the stage. Songs include "I Feel Good," "The Fat Man" and "I'm a Man." Part of the HBO cable network's Super Sessions series.

LES PAUL & FRIENDS: HE CHANGED THE MUSIC (1989) (HBO) $19.99. 55 minutes. The famed guitarist leads a stage full of stars from across the musical spectrum, including Rita Coolidge, David Gilmour, Steve Miller and Stanley Jordan. Songs include "Over the Rainbow," "Georgia on My Mind" and "I'm a Fool to Care." Part of the HBO cable network's Super Sessions series.

THE NEVILLE BROTHERS & FRIENDS: TELL IT LIKE IT IS (1989) (HBO) $19.99. 55 minutes. Guests ranging from Herbie Hancock and Bonnie Raitt to 60 Minutes' Ed Bradley join the New Orleans combo. Songs include "Yellow Moon," "Falling Out of Love" and "Brother John/Iko Iko." Part of the HBO cable network's Super Sessions series.

THE POINTER SISTERS LIVE IN AFRICA (1989) (HBO) $19.99. 38 minutes. Footage of the popular music trio performing at a 1974 music festival in Zaire. Songs include "Steam Heat," "OK Jazz" and "Salt Peanuts."

SANDI PATTI - THE "MAKE HIS PRAISE GLORIOUS" LIVE CONCERT (1990) (A&M) $19.98. 120 minutes. The Christian singer performs "Let There Be Praise," ''Love Will Be Our Home" and "In Heaven's Eyes."

COMEDY

ELAYNE BOOSLER: BROADWAY BABY (1989) (Vestron) $59.98. 60 minutes. The popular female comic cracks up a Broadway crowd with her usual topics: sex, pets, shopping, Mom and more.

INSTRUCTION

BOB MANN'S COMPLETE AUTOMATIC GOLF (1989) (VidAmerica) $19.98. 80 minutes. Compilation of three of Mann's instruction tapes - Bob Mann's Automatic Gold, Vol. I; Bob Mann's Automatic Gold, Vol. II, and Bob Mann's Golf: The Specialty Shots - on one cassette.

MADE FOR TELEVISION

COLD SASSY TREE (1989) (Turner) $79.98. 95 minutes. Faye Dunaway, Richard Widmark. Adaptation of the novel by Olive Ann Burns. The turn-of-the-century Southern town of Cold Sassy, Ga., is shocked by the May-December romance between a Yankee milliner and recently widowed man.

DARK SHADOWS, VOLS. 9-12 (1989) (MPI) $79.98. 420 minutes on four cassettes. Four more volumes, with five episodes on each 105-minute cassette, in the ongoing release of the entire 1966-71 TV series starring Jonathan Frid as the evil vampire Barnabas Collins.

GLITZ (1988) (Warner) $79.95. 95 minutes. Jimmy Smits, Markie Post. Adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel about a Miami cop and a nightclub singer who join forces to solve a prostitute's murder.

DOCUMENTARIES

DURRELL IN RUSSIA, VOLS. 3 & 4 (1989) (Crocus) $9.95 each. 30 minutes each. Two more in the series that looks at a side of the Russian people few Americans have seen. Titles: The Endless Day and Children in Nature.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC (Vestron) $29.98 each. 60 minutes each. Three more titles in the PBS series: Elephant (1989), Hong Kong: A Family Portrait (1979) and Reptiles and Amphibians (1968).

OTHER

SHADES OF LOVE (1990) (Lorimar) $79.95 each. 150 minutes each. Two more cassettes in the series of romance novels on video. Each contains two stories: Moonlight Flight/Champagne for Two and Indigo Autumn/Lilac Dreams.

MARKDOWNS

CBS/FOX VIDEO has announced two sets of price reductions. Now $19.98: Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid (* * * * '69), From the Terrace (* * * '60), Hombre (* * * * '67), The Hustler (* * * * '61), The Long Hot Summer (* * * '58), Pride of the Yankees (* * * * '42), Quintet (* * '79) and The Verdict (* * * * '82). Now $14.98, three music videos starring Billy Joel: Billy Joel: The Video Album I, Billy Joel: The Video Album II and Billy Joel Live From Long Island.

PLAYHOUSE VIDEO has reduced the entire Faerie Tale Theater series to $14.98: Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp, Beauty and the Beast, The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers, Cinderella, The Dancing Princess, The Emperor's New Clothes, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Hansel and Gretel, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Little Mermaid, Little Red Riding Hood, The Nightingale, The Pied Piper of Hamlin, Pinocchio, The Princess and the Pea, The Princess Who Had Never Laughed, Puss in Boots, Rapunzel, Rip Van Winkle, Rumpelstiltskin, Sleeping Beauty, The Snow Queen, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Tale of the Frog Price, The Three Little Pigs and Thumbelina.

WARNER HOME VIDEO has reduced these videos to $19.98: The Accidental Tourist (* * '88), Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (* * * * '75), Being There (* * * * '79), Bird (* * * * '88), Bullitt (* * * * '68), Chariots Of Fire (* * * * '81), Cool Hand Luke (* * * * '67), Dangerous Liaisons (* * * * '88), Days Of Wine And Roses (* * * * '63), Klute (* * * * '71), A Little Romance (* * * '79), The Music Man (* * * * '62), Splendor in the Grass (* * * * '62), A Streetcar Named Desire (* * * * '51) and Summer Of '42 (* * * '71).

COMING NEXT WEEK

Robert Englund, a.k.a. Freddy Krueger, dons a different horrific face in PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and MCA bets that if they release it, it will rent: Kevin Costner in FIELD OF DREAMS.

RATINGS:

* * * * Excellent

* * * Good

* * Fair

* Poor

(Videos with no stars were not reviewed by The Inquirer.)

|
|
|
|
|