Video Vault – Nov 23, 2016
MARK BURGER’S VIDEO VAULT
DVD PICK OF THE WEEK
SNOOPY, COME HOME (CBS DVD/Paramount): The Blu-ray bow ($24.99 retail) of the second – and best – of the animated features based on Charles Schulz’s Peanuts characters, released in 1972.
As the title implies, Snoopy (voiced by producer/director Bill Melendez) leaves Charlie Brown behind at the behest of Lila, the little girl who was Snoopy’s previous owner and is now hospitalized. Joined by his feathered friend Woodstock (making his screen debut), Snoopy has many obstacles to overcome, not the least of which is the recurring gag “No Dogs Allowed” – which gets him and Woodstock booted many a time.
Charming and wistful, there’s the unforgettable sequence where Snoopy bids farewell to the Peanuts gag, which brought a tear to the eye of many a youngster (this one included), capped off by a classic punchline in which each character gives him a farewell gift. Rest assured, however, that a happy ending’s in the offing. Rated G. ***½
AMAZONIA (LionsGate): Martin Sheen narrates this award-winning, G-rated documentary following the adventures of Sai, a capuchin monkey at large in the vast (but endangered) Brazilian rainforest, available on DVD ($14.98 retail).
“THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW CHRISTMAS SPECIAL” (CBS DVD/Paramount): A self-explanatory DVD ($14.98 retail) of two holiday-themed episodes from the long-running and much-beloved CBS sitcom starring Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Ron Howard and Frances Bavier: The Christmas Story (1960) and The Pickle Story (1961).
“BILL GAITHER’S HOMECOMING HYMNS” (Time Life): A 10-DVD collection ($99.95 retail) of 150 concert performances by Bill Gaither and the Gaither Vocal Band, as well as special guests George Jones, Jeff & Sheri Easter, Alabama, The Oak Ridge Boys, Vestal Goodman and others, plus bonus CD and 48-page hymn book.
BLINKY BILL: THE MOVIE (Shout! Kids Factory): Ryan Kwanten provides the voice for title character (a cuddly koala bear) in this PG-rated animated feature based on Dorothy Wall’s children’s classic The Complete Adventures of Blinky Bill, also boasting the voice-over talents of Toni Collette, Rufus Sewell, David Wenham, Richard Roxburgh, Barry Otto, Robin McLeavy and Barry Humphries, available on DVD ($14.98 retail) and DVD/Blu-ray combo ($24.97 retail).
A BOY NAMED CHARLIE BROWN (CBS DVD/Paramount): The Blu-ray bow ($24.99 retail) of the initial 1970 animated feature that introduced Charles Schulz’s Peanuts character to the big screen, with the riotous climax seeing Charlie Brown compete in the National Spelling Bee. The original song score, by Rod McKuen (!) and Vince Guaraldi, earned an Oscar nomination. Rated G. ***
THE CAPTIVE (Olive Films): Cecil B. DeMille’s 1915 silent drama (based on his own play) is set during the Balkan Wars and stars Blanche Sweet as a simple farm girl who falls in love with Turkish nobleman House Sweet was thought for years to be a “lost film” until discovered in 1970 and now at last available on DVD ($19.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($24.95 retail).
“DON McLEAN: STARRY STARRY NIGHT” (Pop Twist/MVD Entertainment Group): The popular singer/songwriter performs in concert at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, TX, performing such hits as “Castles in the Air,” “Angry Woods,” “It Was a Very Good Year,” “And I Love You So,” “Singin’ the Blues” and, of course, “American Pie.” The DVD retails for $19.95.
“HEE HAW: SALUTE!” (Time Life): A selection of full episodes from from the 23-year run (1969-’92) of the popular comedy/variety series, which was canceled by CBS in 1971 but became a syndication juggernaut, with hosts Roy Clark and Buck Owens joined by guests Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, Tanya Tucker, Loretta Lynn and many more, available on a single DVD ($12.95 retail) of three episodes and a three-DVD “collector’s edition” ($29.95 retail) of six episodes.
HOUDINI (Olive Films): Superstar couple Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh play the master magician Harry Houdini and devoted wife Bess in this historically dubious but entertaining and colorful 1953 biographical melodrama based on Harold Kellock’s book, available on DVD ($19.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($24.95 retail). ***
“JUSTIN HAYWARD: LIVE IN CONCERT AT THE CAPITOL THEATRE” (IM3/MVD Entertainment Group): The title tells all in this DVD ($19.95) in which the legendary Moody Blues composer/guitarist/vocalist performs a myriad of hits including “Tuesday Afternoon,” “Your Wildest Dreams,” “Nights in White Satin,” “It’s Up to You/Lovely to See You” and more.
“MURDOCH MYSTERIES: A MERRY MURDOCH CHRISTMAS” (RLJ Entertainment/Acorn): A feature-length, holiday-themed episode from the long-running, award-winning mystery series starring Yannick Bisson as the early 20th-century forensics sleuth William Murdoch, with guest stars Ed Asner, Brendan Coyle and Kelly Rowan, available on DVD ($24.99 retail).
“MY LITTLE PONY: EQUESTRIA GIRLS – LEGEND OF EVERFREE” (Hasbro Studios/Shout! Kids Factory/Shout! Factory): The students of Canterlot High embark on an all-new adventure in this animated feature based on the perennially popular “My Little Pony” franchise, available on DVD ($14.98 retail) and DVD/Blu-ray combo ($24.97 retail).
MY MANY SONS (Well Go USA Entertainment): Judge Reinhold portrays Don Meyer (1944-2014), among the most successful college basketball coaches in history even after a car accident left him paralyzed in this fact-based drama, available on DVD ($24.98 retail).
“NICKELODEON FAVORITES: A VERY NICK JR. CHRISTMAS” (Nickelodeon/Paramount): A self-explanatory DVD collection ($14.99 retail) of holiday-themed episodes from such popular, award-winning Nickelodeon animated series’ as “Blaze and the Monster Machines,” “Shimmer and Shine,” “Dora and Friends,” and more.
“THE PASSION LIVE” (Shout! Factory): Tyler Perry hosts this musical adaptation of the Biblical saga of Jesus’ resurrection, originally broadcast on FOX and boasting a star-studded cast including Trisha Yearwood (Mary), Seal (Pontius Pilate), Chris Daughtry (Judas), Prince Royce (Peter) and Jerncarlos Canela (Jesus), available on DVD ($14.98 retail).
“PAW PATROL: PUPS SAVE CHRISTMAS” (Nickelodeon/Paramount): A self-explanatory DVD collection ($14.99 retail) of six holiday-themed episodes from the award-winning animated children’s series about courageous canines doing good.
“SHOUT BROADWAY” (Shout! Factory): The first wave in a series of Broadway musicals being presented on Blu-ray: the Arthur Laurents/Jule Styne/Stephen Sondheim Gypsy ($29.99 retail) starring Imelda Staunton; Leonard Bernstein’s Candide ($24.98 retail) starring Kristin Chenoweth and Patti LuPone; and Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street ($29.99 retail) starring LuPone, George Hearn and Neil Patrick Harris.
SNOWTIME! (Shout! Kids Factory/Shout! Factory): Ross Lynch, Sandra Oh, Lucinda Davis, Heidi Lynne Weeks and Angela Galuppo lend their voices to this family-friendly, PG-rated animated feature about children who arrange a massive snowball fight to celebrate winter break, available on DVD ($14.98 retail) and 3-D DVD/Blu-ray combo ($24.97 retail).
THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS (Monarch Home Entertainment): Attorney Jen Lilley’s attempts to sell a haunted inn are complicated by the presence of handsome ghost Thomas Beaudoin in this pleasant diversion bolstered by its attractive leads. **½
TALENT HAS HUNGER (First Run Features): Producer/director/cinematographer Josh Aronson’s documentary feature, filmed over a seven-year period, follows the dedication of master cello teacher Paul Katz as he guides his students through their tutelage, available on DVD ($24.95 retail).
“THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES: THE BOB HOPE SPECIALS” (Time Life): The title tells all in this six-DVD collection ($59.95 retail) of 13 digitally restored and unedited NBC comedy/variety specials starring the beloved entertainer Bob Hope (1903-2003) and featuring a star-studded line-up of guest stars including Jack Benny, Bing Crosby, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, James Cagney, Groucho Marx, George Burns, Johnny Carson and many more. Time Life has also released “Bob Hope: Hope for the Holidays” ($12.95 retail), a compilation of holiday-themed vignettes featuring such luminaries as Crosby, Benny, Redd Foxx, Eleanor Roosevelt (!) and others.
“THE WONDER YEARS”: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON (Time Life): A four-DVD collection ($29.95 retail) of all 22 episodes from the 1992-’93 season of the beloved ABC situation comedy starring Fred Savage (Emmy nominee as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series) as Kevin Arnold, an all-American teen growing up in early ’70s suburbia, with Daniel Stern providing narration as the grown-up Kevin. Emmy nomination Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy Series or Special.
– (Mark Burger can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. Copyright 2016, Mark Burger) HYPERLINK “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”email@example.com