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Video News : New Releases : Movies

When the Times Sunday Calendar compiled its annual “critics’ consensus” last Sunday, there was a surprise No. 1 favorite 1988 film. “The Thin Blue Line,” Errol Morris’ documentary examining the circumstantial evidence that may have convicted the wrong man in a Texas cop-killing, topped “Bull Durham” (No. 2) and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (No. 3) in the poll of 100 American newspaper and magazine reviewers. Since a lot fewer people saw “The Thin Blue Line” in theaters than those fictional pictures, many video renters may be asking for a peek at the documentary this weekend, when HBO Video releases it on cassette. (The price for the MPAA-unrated work is $89.99.)

Pat McGilligan and Mark Rowland, who conducted the poll, also listed the 10 movies that the critics disliked the most; another of this week’s video releases placed fourth on that list: “The Great Outdoors” (MCA, $89.95, PG), an excruciatingly unfunny comedy starring Dan Aykroyd as an obnoxious guy who torments brother-in-law John Candy during a summer vacation. Also new from MCA: “Phantasm II” ($89.95, R), an unexceptional 1988 horror sequel.

Take MASH’s Loretta Swit, veteran English comedian Peter Cook, and two of those brilliant actors from the wild British TV show “The Young Ones” (Rik Mayall and Alexei Sayle), put them in a black comedy about nuclear war, and you’ve got “Whoops Apocalypse” (MGM/UA, $79.95, R), which received extremely limited theatrical release last year.

MGM/UA also has two marginal oldies on tape this week for $29.95 each: “Never So Few,” a 1959 WWII drama set in Burma and starring Frank Sinatra, and “Guns of the Magnificent Seven,” a 1969 Western sequel starring George Kennedy and James Whitmore. The same company has reduced “Ice Station Zebra” to $29.95, a price fans of the Cold-War thriller can afford even if they’re not Howard Hughes (whose favorite film this reportedly was).

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Two superstar names appear on two new non-movie videocassettes. One, Jane Fonda, has been there many times before; her latest fitness tape, “Jane Fonda’s Complete Workout” is $29.98 from Warner. Michael Jackson’s “Moonwalker” (CMV, $24.98) was reviewed in Tuesday’s Calendar by Dennis Hunt, who wrote: “Forget the hype about ‘Moonwalker’ being avant-garde cinema or 94 minutes of mind-blowing surrealism. This is just a collection of music videos promoting Jackson’s ‘Bad’ album. . . .”


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