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by Mark Burger

Mark Burger’s VIDEO VAULT

“THE PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES 2008 WORLD SERIES COLLECTOR’S EDITION” (A & E Home Video): After 28 long years, one of Major League Baseball’s most venerable franchises was crowned World Champions — for only the second time in the ballclub’s 125-year history. In doing so, the Philadelphia Phillies let loose a barrage of good will throughout the City of Brotherly Love. The Phillies have only been in six World Series, and this triumph helped break a long-standing tradition of long suffering. (Don’t I know it!) The Tampa Bay Rays, enjoying only the first winning season of their 11-year history, went from worst to first and stunned the baseball world by winning the American League pennant over last year’s champs, the Boston Red Sox. But their Cinderella story would end in the World Series. This 8-DVD boxed set, which retails for $79.95, includes the full broadcasts of all five 2008 World Series games (including Game 5, which was called because of rain and then resumed two days later), along with Games 4 and 5 of the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers and a bonus disc of highlights from the season and the post-season, including the incredible parade down Broad Street.

2008 WORLD SERIES FILM: PHILLIES VS. RAYS (Shout! Factory): For those who can’t get over — or can’t get enough — of the Philadelphia Phillies’ World Series title (that would be me), here’s a featurelength documentary recapping all the highlights from the post-season, in which the Phillies defeated Milwaukee in the NLDS, Los Angeles in the NLCS (with yours truly cheering on in-person) and then Tampa Bay in the World Series — notching a perfect 7-0 post-season record at home. Who could have predicted it? Not I… but it sure made my year. Terrence Howard provides appropriately dramatic narration, with many of the participants from both teams (including the Phillies’ Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels and manager Charlie Manuel) weigh in. This special-edition DVD, which friends of mine will undoubtedly be buying and/or receiving as Christmas gifts, retails for $29.99 — about a dollar a year since the Phillies last won the World Series. (For an exclusive interview with NLCS and World Series MVP Cole Hamels, see Page 38.)

ALSO ON DVD

THE BOURNE TRILOGY (Universal Studios Home Entertainment): A collection of the hit action films based on Robert Ludlum’s best-selling novels, starring Matt Damon as the unstoppable Jason Bourne, an amnesiac who traces his troubled (and violent) past to the inner recesses of the CIA. Doug Liman directed the first film, The Bourne Identity (2002), while Paul Grengrass took over for The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), which earned Academy Award nominations for best sound, editing and sound editing. The first film was fun, but the series got better with each successive installment, and a fourth one’s on the drawing board. Julia Stiles co-starred in all three films (but was unbilled in the first), all of which are rated PG-13. The DVD boxed set retails for $34.98, the Blu-ray boxed set for $89.98.

“BURKE’S LAW” — SEASON ONE, VOLUME TWO (VCI Entertainment): The remaining 16 episodes from the 1963-’64 season of the ABC-TV prime-time detective series with Gene Barry as the suave Los Angeles playboy and police captain Amos Burke, who’s got a knack for solving crimes. Produced by Aaron Spelling and packed with guest stars: Gena Rowlands, Dick Clark, Terry-Thomas, Andy Devine, Edgar Bergen, Carolyn Jones (then married to Spelling), William Shatner, Kevin Mc- Carthy, Dorothy Lamour, Gloria Grahame, Eddie Bracken, Fernando Lamas, Aldo Ray, Tab Hunter, Bert Parks, Linda Darnell, Jim Backus, Elizabeth Montgomery, Mickey Rooney, Telly Savalas, Broderick Crawford and more. This boxed set retails for $29.99.

“DARK SHADOWS” — THE BEGINNING #6 (MPI Home Video): Episodes 179-209, which aired March-April 1967, of the cult soap opera, created by Dan Curtis, which depicts the strange goings-on in the mysterious New England seaside town of Collinsport. The ensemble cast includes John Karlen, Dennis Patrick, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Mitchell Ryan and Joan Bennett, who earned an Emmy nomination for outstanding achievement in daytime programming (individuals). These mark the last episodes before the vampire Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) made his entrance. This boxed set retails for $59.98.

“ESPN INSIDE ACCESS: MIKE TYSON” (ESPN Home Entertainment/Genius Products): An indepth profile of one of the more controversial heavyweight boxing champions in the history of the sport, featuring exclusive interviews, fight highlights, and rare behind-the-scenes footage. This DVD retails for $19.95.

FORGOTTEN NOIR & CRIME — COLLECTION FOUR (VCI Entertainment): A selection of nine film noir B-movies, in three volumes and all making their homevideo debuts. Volume 10 includes Counterspy Meets Scotland Yard (1950), based on a popular radio serial; Radar Secret Service (also ’50) with John Howard; and 1950’s Motor Patrol. Volume 11 includes Dennis O’Keefe and Peter Lorre in Mr. District Attorney (1941), based on a radio serial; Highway 13 (1948) starring Robert Lowery; and Western Pacific Agent (1950) starring Kent Taylor.  Volume 12 includes Sky Liner (1949) starring Richard Travis and Rochelle Hudson; Treasure of Monte Cristo (1949) starring Glenn Langan and Adele Jergens; and 1951’s Roaring City starring a pre-“Leave It to Beaver” Hugh Beaumount. This boxed set retails for $29.99.

THE GODFATHER — THE COPPOLA RESTORATION (Paramount Home Entertainment): Newly restored and re-released, this collection of Francis Ford Coppola’s classic Godfather trilogy is, for many movie buffs this holiday season, “an offer you can’t refuse.” The 1972 adaptation of Mario Puzo’s best-seller The Godfather (****) won Academy Awards for best picture, actor (Marlon Brando — who refused it) and adapted screenplay (Coppola and Puzo), with additional nominations for best director, supporting actress (Al Pacino, James Caan and Robert Duvall), costume design, editing, sound and editing. The 1974 sequel, The Godfather — Part II (****) may be the best of the three films and won Oscars for best picture, director, supporting actor (Robert De Niro), adapted screenplay, original score and art direction/set decoration, with additional nominations for best actor (Al Pacino), supporting actor (Lee Strasberg and Michael V Gazzo), supporting actress (Talia Shire) and costume design. The long-awaited finale, 1990’s The Godfather — Part III (**’) is a grand-scale, operatic production looking for a sharper, more coherent story, but it still earned seven Oscar nominations: Best picture, director, supporting actor (Andy Garcia), cinematography, art direction/set decoration, editing and original song (“Promise Me You’ll Remember” — which everyone seems to have forgotten). In terms of pop culture, the impact of these films cannot be underestimated and the first two, at least, are great American filmmaking. The third one’s a nice try. Each film is rated R. The five-disc boxed set retails for $72.99, individual DVDs for $19.99. The four-disc Blu-ray boxed set retails for $119.99.

A GRANDPA FOR CHRISTMAS (RHI Entertainment/Genius Products): A well-acted bit of Christmas corn, with the indefatigable Ernest Borgnine as a retired movie tough guy who tries to bond with the granddaughter (Juliette Goglia) he never knew he had, after his estranged daughter (Tracy Nelson) is injured in a car accident. Warmly played by all, including Jamie Farr, Katherine Helmond, Richard Libertini and Quinn Redeker. My college roommate, Dean Galanis, was a set assistant on this film and acted as Borgnine’s driver. He loves Ernie. Who doesn’t? **’

“MICHIGAN BEAT OHIO STATE” (Genius Products): For college football fanatics, this special-edition DVD ($29.95 retail) consists of three complete, original broadcasts of big games in which the Michigan Wolverines defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes: Nov. 22, 1969 (24-12), Nov. 25, 1995 (31-23), and Nov. 22, 1997 (20-14). But, as you’ll see below, Michigan hasn’t won every game of this storied college rivalry….

“OHIO STATE BEAT MICHIGAN” (Genius Products): Lest Buckeyes fans feel slighted, this special-edition DVD ($29.95) consists of three complete broadcasts of games in which Ohio State beat Michigan: Nov. 17, 1979 (18-15), Nov. 23, 2002 (14-9), and Nov. 18, 2006 (42-39).

“PRIDE 2006: TOTAL ELIMINATION ABSOLUTE” (Pride Worldwide LLC/BCI): Martial artists mix it up in the first round of the Pride Fighting Championship’s 2006 Open Weight Grand Prix Tournament, held in Osaka, Japan. Among those duking it out are Josh Barnett, Mark Hunt, Kazuyuki Fujito, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, “Minotauro” Nogueira, “Zuluzinho” Martins and others. This special-edition DVD retails for $19.98.

PSYCHIC KILLER (Dark Sky Films): This watchably awful — and awfully watchable — 1975 shocker stars Jim Hutton (in his final screen role) as a middle-aged mama’s boy who develops the supernatural ability to kill his enemies. Utter nonsense, but played with a (misplaced?) sense of conviction by a star-studded (in B-movie terms) cast: Paul Burke, Julie Adams, Nehemiah Persoff, Aldo Ray, Neville Brand, Della Reese (!), Rod Cameron, Whit Bissell, Stack Pierce and filmmaker Greydon Clark. This was the last feature film directed by former actor Ray Danton, who was married to Adams at the time. Rated PG. **

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (Warner Home Video): The Blu-ray debut ($34.99 retail) of screenwriter/director Frank Darabont’s towering 1994 adaptation of the Stephen King story, depicting life in a Maine penitentiary as seen through the eyes of an innocent man (Tim Robbins) convicted of murder and the laconic lifer (Morgan Freeman) who befriends him. Although not a box-office hit upon its release, this has become one of the most beloved films of the 1990s — and not undeservedly. Academy Award nominations for best picture, actor (Freeman), adapted screenplay, cinematography, editing, sound and original score. Rated R. ****

“STAR TREK” — THE ORIGINAL SE- RIES: SEASON THREE REMASTERED (CBS DVD/Paramount Home Entertainment): The Starship Enterprise goes into that great night, in this collection of 24 episodes from the 1968-’69 (and final) season of the classic NBC-TV sci-fi series created by Gene Roddenberry. The cast, as if you didn’t know, includes William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols and Walter Koenig. This is the quintessential example of cult television at its zenith, having spawned a billion-dollar franchise that has included feature films, spin-off series’ and more merchandising than you can shake a Tribble at. Nimoy earned an Emmy nomination as outstanding continued performance by an actor in a supporting role in a series. Each episode has been digitally remastered, and special features include the original 1964 black-and-white pilot, “The Cage.” Yeah, I’ll admit it — I’ve been to a few “Star Trek” conventions in my day, but I never dressed up in a Starfleet uniform. What am I, a geek? This boxed set retails for $99.99.

“TENNESSEE TITANS 3 GREATEST GAMES” (NFL Films/Warner Home Video): The expansion pro football team, previously known as the Houston Oilers, gets its own DVD showcase ($26.95 retail) that highlights three of the franchise’s biggest wins, including the 1999 AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars — all in their original, full broadcasts.

TERMINATION POINT (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): A ripple in time could cause the end of the world (and the universe) as we know it, in this sci-fi thriller featuring Jason Priestley and Lou Diamond Phillips. Some neat ideas, but a bigger budget and a better script would have helped — a lot. Rated PG-13. **

“UFC CLASSICS COLLECTION: GIFT SET VOLUME 2” (LionsGate Home Entertainment): For fans of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, this collection includes four volumes: “UFC 5: Return of the Beast,” “UFC 6: Clash of the Titans,” “UFC 7: The Brawl in Buffalo” and “UFC 8: David vs. Goliath.” Various matches feature the hard-hitting likes of Don Frye, Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock and others. This four-DVD boxed set retails for $34.98.

VICE (Genius Products): Another dose of cops ‘n robbers, with Michael Madsen and Daryl Hannah (both executive producers) as undercover narcotics detectives who find themselves — and those around them — in harm’s way when a shipment of drugs from their latest bust goes missing. Good score (by Cliff Martinez), good cinematography (by Andrzej Sekula) and some good moments, but familiar stuff nonetheless. Dedicated to actor Chris Penn. Rated R. **

“WARNER BROS. CLASSIC HOLIDAY COLLECTION — VOL. 2” (Warner Home Video): A selection of four Christmas-themed “golden oldies”: Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon topline 1941’s Blossoms in the Dust, which earned Academy Award nominations for best picture, actress (Garson) and cinematography (color), with a win for art direction/set decoration (color); It Happened on 5 th Ave. (1947) earned an Oscar nomination for best original story; Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh star in Holiday Affair (1949); and All Mine to Give (1958) stars Glynis Johns and Cameron Mitchell. The boxed set retails for $29.98, individual titles for $19.98.

WATERWORLD (Universal Studios Home Entertainment): An “extended edition” of director Kevin Reynolds’ 1995 futuristic fable in which the world has been covered by water. Kevin Costner (who also produced and reportedly took over direction from Reynolds) plays the Mariner, a lone warrior drawn into a titanic battle — no pun intended — to protect Jeanne Tripplehorn and Tina Majorino from the malevolent minions of one-eyed, scenery-chewing Dennis Hopper. The film’s release was preceded by countless reports of a troubled production and a budget that reached record proportions (for that time) — but it’s hardly the disaster wags predicted and was not the box-office flop that people still seem to think it was. Although the ending falls flat, there are some surprising and exciting action sequences leading up to it. I liked it, so sue me. Oscar nomination for best sound. Rated PG-13. ***

Mark Burger can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. Copyright 2008, Mark Burger

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