MORE NEW RELEASES
If fantasy-adventure fans don’t get a charge out of “Batteries Not Included” (MCA, $89.95, PG), at least it might help keep them occupied until “E.T.” arrives Oct. 27. Like “Cocoon,” “Batteries” concerns elderly humans who have a run-in with beings from outer space. “Presented” but not directed by Steven Spielberg (who did direct “E.T.,” just to confuse you), “Batteries” stars Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn.
Speaking of fantasy, “Willow"--made by Spielberg’s pals George Lucas and Ron Howard--is coming to videocassette Nov. 22. RCA/Columbia will release it at $89.95.
What else is new this weekend? Would you believe another fantasy film? It’s “Lady in White” (Virgin Vision, $89.95, PG-13), a ghost story even eerier than most--and with strong if non-unanimous critical support.
More down-to-earth is “The Milagro Beanfield War” (MCA, $89.95, R). Pitting poor Latino farmers against big business, this well-meaning film was directed by Robert Redford, who stayed behind the camera and let Sonia Braga, Chick Vennera, Ruben Blades and Christopher Walken do the emoting. Most critics sounded like they would have preferred a bean-bag war.
A new home-video company, Connoisseur, makes its debut this week with six international film classics: “Black Orpheus” (see review above), “Shoot the Piano Player” ($79.95), “Wild Strawberries” ($59.95), “The Garden of Delights” ($79.95), “General Della Rovere” ($59.95) and “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” ($69.95). The Connoisseur line is distributed through Tamarelle’s International. Information: (213) 653-8873.
Hitting the video stores before theatrical baseball films like “Bull Durham” and “Stealing Home,” “Long Gone” (Lorimar, $89.95) should score with renters, especially since the 113-minute minor-league drama received some good reviews when shown recently on HBO. It stars William Petersen as player-manager of the forlorn Tampico Stogies.
“Shadow of a Doubt” (MCA, $29.95), the 1943 film Alfred Hitchcock once called the favorite of his works, concerns what happens when the “Merry Widow Murderer” (Joseph Cotten) hides himself away with unsuspecting relatives in a small California town. MCA has also marked down the Hitchcock classics “Psycho,” “Vertigo,” “Rear Window,” “The Birds,” “The Trouble With Harry,” “Frenzy” and the 1956 version of “The Man Who Knew Too Much” to $19.95.
Early in his directorial career, Phil Kaufman told the story of Jesse James and his gang in “The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid” (MCA, $29.95).
Directed by Penelope Spheeris (“Decline of Western Civilization”), “Dudes” (IVE, $89.95, R) is a rough-and-rowdy tale of city kids who find the wide-open spaces of the desert not so relaxing. Jon Cryer stars.
Other Videos and News
Movies-on-tape aren’t the only videos that can make you laugh or cry.
In the laugh category, Warner is releasing “The Best of Abbott and Costello Live” ($19.98), an hourlong collection of the team’s sketches from the early-'50s “Colgate Comedy Hour.” And if saving money brings smiles to the faces of Prince’s fans, Warner has reduced the “Lovesexy” singer’s two films, the highly praised “Purple Rain” and the much-derided “Under the Cherry Moon,” to $19.98. Also down to that price: Mel Gibson in “Lethal Weapon,” Sly Stallone in “Over the Top,” Clint Eastwood in “Firefox.”
More price drops and vintage humor: MGM/UA has lowered the tag on five cartoon cassettes, including “The Secret of Nimh” at $19.95 and “Tex Avery’s Screwball Classics” ($14.95). The latter is an animation-buff must--a collection of eight incredibly wacky cartoons, filled with Avery’s trademark bug-eyed wolves and undistressed damsels.
On the serious side, MGM/UA has just made “Four Days in November” available on video for $29.95. The two-hour David L. Wolper documentary on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy will be followed on Sept. 29 by CBS/Fox’s “John F. Kennedy: The Commemorative Video Album” ($19.98), a 110-minute retrospective produced for home video by CBS News. Nov. 22 will mark the 25th anniversary of the President’s death.
Also new this week: “Dr. Heimlich’s Home First-Aid Video” (MCA, $19.95), a 36-minute illustration by Heimlich of his anti-choking technique, plus information on how to handle other health emergencies.
Get-out-of-the-house videos: EZTV is presenting an evening of “Goddess Videos” at 8 tonight, including “Our Lady of L.A.,” “Lunatune” and “Remembering the Witches.” Information: (213) 657-1532. Meanwhile, LACE will be offering continuous screenings of Erika Suderburg’s new video “Displayed Termination,” a 25-minute “contemplative collage.” Information: (213) 624-5650.
Coming soon to your video store: “Cinderella” (Oct. 4), “Supercallenetics” (Oct. 6), “Beetlejuice” (Oct. 19), “Three Men and a Baby” (Nov. 15).