DVD PICK OF THE WEEK: TIME BANDITS (The Criterion Collection)
Toward the end of “Monty Python,” filmmaker and founding member Terry Gilliam struck out on his own with this delirious, dazzling 1981 fantasy that remains one of his best films.Craig Warnock (in his screen debut) plays Kevin, an English lad whisked away on the adventure of a lifetime by a group of larcenous little people who possess a map revealing holes in time, through which they pillage and plunder, pursued by the Supreme Being (Ralph Richardson), from whom they stole the map, and Evil (David Warner), whose intentions should be obvious.Along the way, Kevin and his newfound friends encounter a sunny, star-studded cast including Sean Connery (as Agamemnon), Ian Holm (bringing a singular melancholy to Napoleon Bonaparte), Shelley Duvall, Katherine Helmond, Peter Vaughan and “Python” partners John Cleese (as Robin Hood) and Michael Palin (who co-wrote the script with Gilliam).Irreverent, inventive and wildly entertaining, the film is also graced with Mike Morna’s bouncy score featuring the theme song “Dream Away” by George Harrison, whose Hand- Made Films produced Time Bandits. All told, a timeless treat for all ages. The two-DVD collection retails for $29.95, the Blu-ray for $39.95. Both contain audio commentary, vintage interviews and more. Rated PG.
“ANCIENT ALIENS”: THE COM- PLETE SEASONS 1-6 (LionsGate): A self-described DVD boxed set ($99.98 retail) of all 82 episodes from the 2009-’14 seasons of the popular History Channel documentary series exploring the origins of mankind and the universe.
AVA & LALA (Arc Entertainment): Writer/editor/director Wang Yunfei’s PG-rated animated feature focuses on a mischievous young martial artist (Maile Flanagan as the voice of Lala) embarks on a journey to a mystical land populated by magical animals and voiced by an all-star cast: Mira Sorvino, George Takei, J.K. Simmons and Tom Arnold. The DVD retails for $20.99.
“DENVER, THE LAST DINO- SAUR”: COMPLETE SERIES (Cinedigm/VCI Entertainment): A self-explanatory DVD collection ($59.99 retail) of all 50 episodes from the entire run (1988-’90) of the animated children’s fantasy series about the misadventures of an intelligent dinosaur (voiced by Pat Fraley) who hatches in modern-day California.
DOLPHIN TALE 2 (Warner Home Video): Director Charles Martin Smith also penned the screenplay to this sequel of his fact-based 2011 box-office hit, which continues the PG-rated adventures of Winter the dolphin and reunites the original film’s cast, too: Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Harry Connick Jr., Kris Kristofferson, Nathan Gamble, Austin Stowell, Cozi Zuehlsdorff, Juliana Harkevy and Winston- Salem’s own Austin Highsmith, joined by real-life surfer Bethany Hamilton and a new dolphin called Hope. The DVD retails for $28.98, the DVD/Blu-ray combo for $35.99.
“DRAWING WITH MARK” (TDC Entertainment): A pair of instructional DVDs for children based on the popular, Emmy-nominated PBS series hosted by one-time Disney illustrator Mark Marderosian: Let’s Go to the Zoo & Zoo Stories and Take Flight, As the Wheels Turn & Fire Station. Each DVD retails for $14.98.
“HAPPY DAYS”: THE SIXTH SEASON (CBS DVD/Paramount): Richie (Ron Howard), Fonzie (Henry Winkler) and the gang are back in all 27 episodes from the 1978-’79 season of the popular, award-winning ABC sitcom set during the fabulous ‘50s. Robin Williams reprises his guest role as “Mork,” paving the way for “Mork & Mindy,” and Marion Ross earned an Emmy nomination as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. The four-DVD boxed set retails for $42.99.
THE HERO OF COLOR CITY (Magnolia Home Entertainment): This G-rated fantasy is set in mythical Color City, which is in danger of losing all color unless a group of Crayons can save the day and restore a brighter hue. A star-studded voice-over cast includes Christina Ricci, Rosie Perez, Craig Ferguson, Jessica Capshaw, Sean Astin, Wayne Brady and Owen Wilson. The DVD retails for $26.98, the Blu-ray for $29.98.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS (Arc Entertainment): This award-winning tearjerker (originally titled Watercolor Postcards) stars Laura Bell Bundy as a burned-out actress who returns to Texas to bury her mother and take custody of her half-sister (Bailee Madison). Screenwriter Conrad Goode, John C. McGinley, Jonathan Banks, Claudia Christian and Joan Van Ark also appear. Rated PG-13. The DVD retails for $20.99.
“I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SPE- CIAL: COLORIZED FOR KIDS OF ALL AGES” (CBS DVD/Paramount): The title tells all in this limited-edition DVD ($14.99 retail) featuring colorized and the original black-and-white versions of holiday-themed episodes from the popular sitcom starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
“THE LEGEND OF KORRA – BOOK THREE: CHANGE” (Nickelodeon/Paramount): The award-winning, animated Nickelodeon fantasy series sees the titular heroine (voiced by Janet Varney) attempting to rebuild the “Air Nation” while also battling escaped criminals with evil designs on the Earth Kingdom, in all 13 episodes from the 2014 season, available on DVD ($19.99 retail) or Bluray ($34.99 retail).
A LETTER TO MOMO (GKIDS/Cinedigm): Writer/director Hiroyuki Okiura’s award-winning, animated fable (originally titled Momo e no tegami) focuses on a young girl (voiced by Karen Miyama) grieving the loss of her father who discovers three mischievous spirits in her attic. The DVD retails for $19.97, the DVD/Blu-ray comnp for $29.95.
LOST CHRISTMAS (Inception Media Group): There’s an appropriately Dickensian tone to this Emmy-winning British TV movie starring executive producer Eddie Izzard as a mysterious stranger who helps heal the hearts of troubled folk in modern-day Manchester, including newcomer Larry Mills as a young orphan, Jason Flemyng as his Fagin-like fence and Geoffrey Palmer as a lovelorn antiquarian. The “magical” ending actually negates all that has preceded it!
“THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS”: THE FINAL SEASON (Shout! Factory): A five-DVD collection ($29.93 retail) of all 36 episodes from the 1962- ’63 season of the popular CBS sitcom starring Dwayne Hickman in the title role of a clean-cut, all-American teenager forever in search of his dream girl, based on Max Shulman’s short stories.
“PEE-WEE’S PLAYHOUSE”: THE COMPLETE SERIES (Shout! Factory): A self-explanatory collection of all 45 episodes from the entire run (1986-’91) of the popular CBS Saturday-morning children’s series (which won 22 Emmy Awards!) showcasing Paul Reubens’s signature character Pee-Wee Herman, with Laurence Fishburne, Phil Hartman, William Marshall and S. Epatha Merkerson also aboard. The new eight-disc Blu-ray collection retails for $149.99 and includes bonus features. Shout! Factory has also released “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse: Seasons One and Two” on DVD ($29.93 retail).
“PHINEAS AND FERB: STAR WARS” (Disney): Since Disney now owns Lucasfilm and is making the next Star Wars feature, the award-winning Disney Channel animated series puts its own stamp on the George Lucas classic in this full-length episode featuring the voices of series regulars Ashley Tisdale, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Vincent Martella, Richard O’Brien, Caroline Rhea and Alyson Stoner. The DVD ($19.99 retail) includes bonus episodes and a collectible keychain.
“REGULAR SHOW: RIGBY PACK” (Cartoon Network/Warner Home Video): A DVD compilation ($19.82 retail) of 16 episodes from creator J.G. Quintel’s Emmy-winning, animated Cartoon Network comedy series following the misadventures of park rangers Mordecai (a blue jay) and Rigby (a raccoon). As the title implies, these episodes put Rigby front and center. !
MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. © 2014, Mark Burger.