Combustible Celluloid

Digital Watch

Odds & Ends

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The following is a list of current titles that I never had time to review and eventually had to give up on. I'm only human and the time comes to face reality; there just isn't enough time in the day to watch everything. I prefer to look at it as a kind of spring cleaning garage sale.

The Cheetah Girls (2004)
This Disney Channel teen movie from Disney features Saturday morning TV idol Raven as a member of a singing/dancing group who discovers the pitfalls of stardom. It comes with an alternate ending, five music videos and a "behind the scenes" video.

Circle of Deceit (1981)
Kino video has released this highly acclaimed early film by Volker Schlondorff, who had just scored with The Tin Drum. A great cast includes Bruno Ganz as a reporter who travels to Beirut to cover the Lebanese war. Film director Jerzy Skolimowski (Deep End) co-stars as his photographer and Hanna Schygulla (The Marriage of Maria Braun) plays his lover.

The Day of the Locust (1974)
John Schlesinger directed this film, based on Nathaniel West's novel, about Hollywood excess in the 1930s. Donald Sutherland stars alongside Karen Black and Burgess Meredith was nominated for an Oscar. The legendary Waldo Salt wrote the screenplay, and Conrad Hall (American Beauty) was the cinematographer.

Miracle (2004)
Everyone tells me that Miracle is better than it looks, but I had a hard time convincing myself to invest the two hours and fifteen minutes finding out. It's based on the true story of the U.S. hockey team beating the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics. The underrated Kurt Russell plays the team's coach with heavy makeup, hair and accent. Disney's two-disc set comes with all kinds of making-of materials, but it would have been cool to include footage of the real match.

Miracle of Marcellino (1991)
This religious family movie is a remake of a 1955 film. During the 16th century, a group of friars find a baby on their doorstep and raise him. At age six, he is adopted into the home of a wealthy Count, but runs away after seeing the violence of a hunting trip. He is injured during a storm, wakes up in the monastery and takes comfort in Jesus. VCI Entertainment's DVD comes with a making-of documentary, a trailer, optional English or Spanish language tracks and English subtitles.

Peter Pan (2003)
I've never really been interested in the Peter Pan story, and there have been two perfectly good versions already, the 1924 silent version and the 1953 Disney version. I couldn't understand why anyone really wanted to make a new one, unless it was an excuse to load the thing up with computer-generated special effects. Most of the actors are unfamiliar to me, except Ludivine Sagnier, from Swimming Pool. Director P.J. Hogan has so far had one hit (My Best Friend's Wedding) and one miss (Muriel's Wedding). In any case, the DVD has lots of kid-friendly extras.

Safe Conduct (2002)
Bertrand Tavernier's film sounds interesting; it tells the story of two filmmakers who must decide what to do when WWII breaks out, collaborate with the enemy or join the resistance. This is a subject that must be close to Tavernier's heart, but I generally don't like war movies and Safe Conduct runs nearly 3 hours. Needless to say, it just kept getting bumped to the bottom of the pile. Koch Lorber's DVD comes with a photo gallery, a trailer and production notes.

Spider-Man vs. Doc Ock (2004)
Getting ready to hype the new Spider-Man 2, Buena Vista has released this animated short that also comes with an episode of the old 1967 show. I love Spider-Man as much as the next guy, but I've seen a couple of these cartoons by now and they don't do much for me.

June 22, 2004
Best Buy Co, Inc.