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[VIDEO VAULT]

by Mark Burger

marksburger@yahoo.com

DVD PICK OF THE WEEK: MOONRISE KINGDOM (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)Wes Anderson’s charming, quirky, award-winning box-office sleeper provides an all-star cast with a terrific showcase, yet it’s two talented newcomers who take center stage.Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) are kindred spirits who decide to run off together. He’s abandoning his Scout troop, she’s fleeing her unhappily married parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand). They set up camp on the shores of a New England island, unaware of both an impending storm and the far-reaching repercussions of their flight.Anderson coaxes winning, winsome performances from Gilman and Hayward, as well as from the grown-ups in the cast, including Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton and unflappable Bob Balaban (who narrates). There’s even a surprise cameo by Harvey Keitel in a riotous role. The score by prolific Alexandre Desplat (more than half a dozen in 2012 alone) adds the final touch on this wacky winner. Rated PG-13.

CAPTAIN CORNELIUS CARTOON’S CARTOON LAGOON”: VOLUME ONE (Cartoon Lagoon Studios): The first in a proposed series of comedy DVDs ($12.99 retail) in which a ship’s crew of puppets finds the time to riff on classic cartoons of yesteryear (Casper the Friendly Ghost, Woody Woodpecker, Gumby, etc.).  Rated PG-13.

“CHILLER”: THE COMPLETE TELEVISION SERIES (Synapse Films): A two-DVD collection ($29.95 retail) of the five-episode horror anthology originally broadcast in the UK on ITV. Guest stars included Nigel Havers, Sophie Ward, John McEnery, Anthony Haygarth, Martin Clines, Kevin McNally and Phyllis Logan.

CHRISTMAS IN COMPTON (LionsGate Home Entertainment): Breezy, scattershot yuletide comedy with Omar Gooding (Cuba Jr.’s younger brother) as an aspiring music producer trying to forge ahead with his career — sometimes by underhanded means — while also maintaining his family’s Christmas tree lot in Compton. The holiday sentiment works better than the fast-rap comedy, although Eric Roberts has fun as (surprise!) a sleazy music exec. The standout is reliable Keith David as Gooding’s dad, who preaches self-esteem — even to little kids. Rated PG-13.

“CHRISTMAS WITH DANNY KAYE” (Inception Media Group): A self-explanatory DVD ($14.98 retail) featuring two holiday episodes from Danny Kaye’s Emmy-winning CBS variety series: Mary Tyler Moore and Nat “King” Cole are the guests for the 1963 episode, Wayne Newton and Peggy Lee are on hand for the 1966 episode.

“THE DEFINITIVE DOCUMENT OF THE DEAD” (Synapse Films): A new special edition ($19.95 retail) of Roy Frumkes’ enjoyable, long-gestating (begun in 1978!) documentary about filmmaker George A. Romero’s career with in-depth attention paid to Night of the Living Dead (1968) and its follow-ups, particularly Dawn of the Dead (1979). This was originally designed as a teaching tool regarding independent filmmaking but took on a life of its own.

“HISTORY IN 3-D BLU-RAY SET” (A&E Networks Home Entertainment): A self-explanatory triple-bill ($79.95 retail) of feature-length History Channel documentaries: WWII in 3-D, Titanic: 100 Years in 3-D and History of the World in Two Hours in 3-D.

HOT CURVES (Alpha Home Entertainment): Norman Taurog directs Benny Rubin and Rex Lease as ballplayers who lead Pittsburgh’s pennant chances in this mild 1932 comedy that spends too much time away from the baseball diamond.

INSIDE JOHN LENNON (Passport Video/Entertainment One): Henry Stephens narrates this all-too-short 2003 documentary that examines the all-too-brief life and career of John Lennon (1940-1980). No new revelations here, but certainly watch-able — especially for Beatles buffs.

LITTLE CHURCH AROUND THE CORNER (Alpha Home Entertainment): Kenneth Harlan stars as a young clergyman wracked with guilt over leaving the impoverished mining town where he was born in this silent 1923 melodrama based on Marion Russell’s play. Hokey in retrospect but also well made for the time — and less preachy than most of today’s faith-based films.

THE LONG SHOT (Alpha Home Entertainment): Gordon Jones and Marsha Hunt (still going strong at 95) headline this 1939 programmer as a veteran jockey and young woman who team up forces to thwart the corrupt horse trainer (C. Henry Gordon) who ruined her uncle (Harry Davenport). Fairly routine until a surprising twist ending.

MIRACULOUS JOURNEY (Alpha Home Entertainment): Rory Calhoun, Virginia Grey, Thurston Hall and Audrey Long are among the survivors of a hijacked airliner that crashes into the African jungle, where they face further peril. Competent 1948 programmer produced by Sigmund Neufeld and directed by his brother Sam Newfield (under the name Peter Stewart).

OSOMBIE (Entertainment One): Yes, it’s true — Osama Bin Laden (Walter A Carmona) has come back from the grave as a zombie bent on continuing his worldwide reign of terror, in this low-budget action shocker, now available on DVD and Blu-ray (each retail for $19.98).

SEVEN KEYS TO BALDPATE “SHIPPING WARS”: SEASON ONE (A&E Networks Home Entertainment): Independent movers vie for the opportunity to ship “the un-shippable” in all 10 episodes from the inaugural 2012 season of the popular A&E Television Network reality series. The two-DVD collection retails for $19.95.

SILENT NIGHT (Anchor Bay Entertainment): This remake of the controversial 1984 “killer Santa” shocker is better-made than the original, with elements of black comedy and whodunit, but tends to wear out its welcome. Malcolm McDowell is miscast but amusing as a hardboiled sheriff trailing the killer on Christmas Eve while Jaime King (as a delectable deputy) bids fair to become a 21st-century Scream Queen following the remakes of My Bloody Valentine, Mother’s Day, and now this. Rated R.

SIXTEEN FATHOMS DEEP (Alpha Home Entertainment): This 1932 programmer afforded Lon Chaney Jr. (billed by his real first name, Creighton) an early leading role as an ambitious, athletic sponge diver working along the California coast. Top-billed Sally O’Neil plays Chaney’s love interest and George Regas the villain. Good underwater photography, too.

“SPARTACUS: VENGEANCE”: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON (Anchor Bay Entertainment): Liam McIntyre swaggers in the title role through all 10 episodes of the 2012 season of the award-winning Starz Original series set in ancient Rome. The DVD boxed set retails for $49.98, the Blu-ray boxed set for $59.99. Both contain extensive special features.

“TOTAL TINSEL COLLECTION” (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment): A twin-bill of animated madefor-TV Disney holiday comedies about a team of Santa’s elves working to ensure a successful Christmas: Prep & Landing (2009) won four Emmy Awards including Outstanding Animated Program and the 2011 follow-up Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice won an Emmy for Outstanding Individual in Animation. The DVD boxed set retails for $19.99, the Blu-ray combo for $20.

MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. © 2012, Mark Burger.

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