DVD PICK OF THE WEEK: BIG (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment)
Among the spate of late-’80s “body-switch” comedies (Vice Versa, 18 Again, etc.), this 1988 effort from director Penny Marshall was by far the best, with Tom Hanks in a delightful performance that earned him his first Oscar nomination as Best Actor.Young Josh Baskin (David Moscow) wishes to be “big” — and he wakes up one morning as a 30-year-old man (enter Hanks). His bumbling transition to adulthood is both endearing and amusing, and played beautifully by Hanks.Josh ends up working at a Manhattan toy company where his child-like enthusiasm fits right in, and he even woos co-worker Susan Lawrence (a never-better Elizabeth Perkins). Yet deep down, he really is just a kid — leading to a bittersweet but inevitable conclusion.The screenplay, by Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg (Steven’s sister), also received an Oscar nomination, and a charming cast includes Robert Loggia, John Heard, Jared Rushton, Jon Lovitz and Mercedes Ruehl (as Josh’s mom).The 25 th -anniversary DVD/Blu-ray combo ($19.98 retail) includes documentaries, deleted scenes and more. Rated PG.
“LIFETIME 12 FILMS OF CHRISTMAS” (Lions- Gate): A six-DVD collection ($24.98 retail) of holiday films broadcast on Lifetime: The Road to Christmas (2006), Recipe for a Perfect Christmas (2005), Home by Christmas (’06), A Christmas Wedding (’06), Holiday Switch (’06), A Very Merry Daughter of the Bride (2008), Under the Mistletoe (’06), Holiday Wishes (’06), Christmas in Paradise (2007), Deck the Halls (’05), His & Her Christmas (’05) and Will You Merry Me? (’08).
CHRISTMAS BOUNTY (WWE Studios/Warner Home Video): One-joke holiday fluff with Francia Raisa as a teacher drawn back into her family’s bounty-hunting business. The sort of Christmas comedy that involves car chases and shoot-outs. Even at 73 minutes, it’s too long.
CLIMBING HIGH (VCI Entertainment): Carol Reed directed this cheerful 1938 romantic comedy satirizing the fashion industry, with Jessie Matthews an aspiring model and Michael Redgrave the fellow whose eye she catches. Highlights include the malfunctioning wind machine, Alastair Sim as a comic-relief Socialist (!) and Francis L Sullivan’s as an opera-obsessed escaped mental patient.
DANGER IN THE MANGER (Inception Media Group): David Tennant plays twin brothers in writer/director Debbie Isitt’s loose family comedy about schoolchildren participating in an annual Christmas song competition. The kids are cute but this goes on a wee bit long. Also known as Nativity 2, as it’s a follow-up to the 2009 British comedy, with Marc Wootton reprising his role as a goofy teacher.
“THE I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL: COLOR- IZED FOR KIDS OF ALL AGES” (CBS DVD/Paramount): A DVD collection ($16.99 retail) of three episodes from the classic TV sitcom “I Love Lucy,” including “The Christmas Special,” “Lucy’s Italian Movie” and “Lucy Goes to Scotland,” which can be watched in black-and-white or color.
“INSPECTOR GADGET” (Flatiron Film Company/Cinedigm): Don Adams provides the voice of the title character, a mechanized lawman with a few screws loose, in this popular animated series that ran in syndication from 1983 to 1985. The DVDs for “Inspector Gadget: Season One, Volume One,” “Inspector Gadget: Season One, Volume Two,” “Inspector Gadget: Season Two, Volume One” and “Inspector Gadget: Season Two, Volume Two” each retail for $24.95. The “Inspector Gadget Mega- Set,” which includes all 86 episodes from the original series, retails for $99.95. The special holiday episode “Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas” retails for $12.95.
IRON MAN & HULK: HEROES UNITED (Marvel/ Buena Vista Home Entertainment): Two of Marvel Comics’ most popular characters team up in this self-explanatory, PG-rated, CGI-animated fantasy adventure featuring the voices of Adrian Pasdar and Fred Tatasciore as the title characters.
THE LONE RANGER (Walt Disney Studios): The seemingly fool-proof formula of high-concept big-screen summer fare from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Gore Verbinski and leading man/executive producer Johnny Depp missed the box-office bulls-eye in this expensive Western (rated PG-13), with Depp as Tonto to Armie Hammer’s title character. The DVD retails for $29.99, the DVD/Blu-ray combo for $39.99
LOST AND FOUND (Entertainment One): Jim Broadbent narrates this award-winning, animated adaptation of Oliver Jeffers’ bestselling children’s book about a boy who embarks on a journey to the South Pole — in a rowboat — to return a lost penguin. Short and sweet.
ON THE RIVIERA (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment): The Blu-ray debut ($24.99 retail) of the 1951 musical comedy starring Danny Kaye (who won a Golden Globe) in a dual role as a wealthy playboy and a nightclub singer, based on a Rudolph Lothar/Hans Adler play. Gene Tierney and Corinne Calvet are the leading ladies. Oscar nominations for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration (Color) and Best Musical Score (Alfred Newman).
THE PAINTING (GKIDS/Cinedigm): Jean- Francois Laguionie’s award-winning animated feature (originally titled Le tableau) explores the class struggle within a fabled kingdom that represents an artist’s unfinished canvas. In French with English subtitles.
SHE’S STILL NOT OUR SISTER (One Village Entertainment): This sequel to the 2011 TV gospel play She’s Not Our Sister continues the conflict within the Walker clan, featuring much of the same cast (including Kellita Smith, Jazmin Lewis, Tony Grant and Clifton Powell), and retailing on DVD for $14.98.
SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS (Image Entertainment): Well-intentioned but unbelievably overwrought, overlong melodrama with Lexi Ainsworth as a rebellious teen who learns some hard lessons during the holiday season. Nice to see Eric Roberts (as Ainworth’s dad) in a low-key lead role, but the story takes some very unpleasant turns the film can’t adequately handle.
THE SOUND OF MUSIC LIVE! (Universal Studios Home Entertainment): Carrie Underwood assumes the role of Maria in this new version of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical classic, which was broadcast live on NBC. The DVD retails for $22.98.
STORM RIDER (Arc Entertainment): Danielle Chuchran stars as a troubled teen who finds purpose in her life when she trains an orphaned horse in this PG-rated family drama co-starring Kevin Sorbo, Kristy Swanson and C. Thomas Howell. The DVD retails for $20.99.
SUPER BUDDIES (Walt Disney Studios): The seventh (!) in the popular G-rated comedy franchise about talking puppies, who this time embark on an adventure as superheroes. The voiceover cast includes John Ratzenberger, Colin Hanks and John Michael Higgins. The DVD retails for $29.99, the DVD/Blu-ray combo for $36.99.
“THOMAS & FRIENDS: THE THOMAS WAY” (HIT Entertainment/LionsGate): The lovable locomotive keeps on rollin’ in this DVD compilation ($14.98 retail) of CGI-animated episodes from the long-running “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends” TV series.
THE ULTIMATE LIFE (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment): Needless, boring follow-up to the 2006 melodrama based on Jim Stovall’s bestseller, this one both a prequel and a sequel, with Bill Cobbs and Lee Meriwether reprising their roles and James Garner seen in footage from the first film. Filmed throughout North Carolina, including the Piedmont Triad, but that’s no reason to watch it. Rated PG. !
MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. © 2013, Mark Burger.H