You can have your pick this weekend at the video store: recent movies or old movies. There are several of each among the new releases.
First, four major motion pictures that played theaters in 1988:
“Punchline” (RCA/Columbia, $89.95, R) examines the lives of two aspiring comedians. Tom Hanks and Sally Field star in the late ’88 release, which The Times’ Sheila Benson found “bold, sneaky and brilliant.”
“Clean and Sober” (Warner, $89.95, R) places Michael Keaton in a rare serious role as a man trying to escape addiction to alcohol and other drugs. Benson wrote that the drama has “a quality of risk and an urgency to the story that sweeps almost every quibble away.”
“Moon Over Parador” (MCA, $89.95, PG-13) has Richard Dreyfuss as an unemployed actor who winds up impersonating the director of a Caribbean country. The comedy was directed by Paul Mazursky (“Down and Out in Beverly Hills”), who “keeps you entertained even when the movie isn’t quite working,” said Michael Wilmington in The Times.
“Crocodile Dundee II” (Paramount, $89.95, PG) picks up where “Croc I” left off, with Mick Dundee (Paul Hogan) in the Big Apple, but the action and comedy move back to Australia. The $109 million-grossing movie is “almost as much fun as the first,” wrote Kevin Thomas in The Times. It’s “nothing special as an action adventure but shrewdly effective as a projection of a mythical hero.”
The oldies but goodies are led by a true classic, Preston Sturges’ “Sullivan’s Travels” (MCA, $29.95). Possibly the most significant of the director-writer’s several great ‘40s comedies, this 1941 masterpiece is a brave blend of the slapstick, the serious and several moods in between; a Hollywood director (Joel McCrea) and friend (Veronica Lake) disguise themselves as tramps to find out what the “real” America is like.
Coincidentally, another movie notable for going against the grain of the standard Hollywood script is also being released this week on video--at its restored, original length and in letter-box format. Far less successful than Sturges’ film, and actually quite irritating at times, Martin Scorsese’s “New York, New York” (MGM/UA, $29.95) is still fascinating for its attempt to portray a central character (Robert De Niro) who’s obnoxious from the start, for its Big Band-era setting and for certain stylistic touches. Liza Minnelli plays the long-suffering mate.
Other movies of interest newly on tape: “The Chocolate War” (M.C.E.G./Forum, $89.95, R, 1988), “The General Died at Dawn” (MCA, $29.95, 1936) with Gary Cooper, “Reap the Wild Wind” (MCA, $29.95, 1942) starring John Wayne, “A Date with Judy” (MGM/UA, $19.95, 1948) featuring Jane Powell, and “Neptune’s Daughter” (MGM/UA, $19.95, 1949) with Esther Williams. OTHER VIDEOS
“Shirley MacLaine’s Inner Workout” (Vestron, $29.98, 70 minutes) may do for New Age stress-reduction techniques what Jane Fonda’s workouts did for aerobics. MacLaine’s meditation methods are based on the Hindu system of chakras, the seven “spinning wheels of energy” that lie, according to theory, within every person. It may sound loopy to most Westerners, but the actress and author gives a clear, concise explanation before moving into the valuable “inner workouts.” Highly recommended.
The simple special effects that help MacLaine illustrate her points were supplied by video artist Ken Jenkins, who has his own new tape out. There’s nothing simple about the abstract, ever-moving images that make up his “Illumination” (Immediate Future Productions, $29.95). The half-hour tape is a continuously astounding video kaleidoscope. Information: (800) 727-0009.