It’s summer deja vu this fall on home video with several of the summer’s big titles arriving in video stores.
On Oct. 21, Warner Home Video releases “Batman & Robin” ($23), starring George Clooney as the Caped Crusader. Universal unleashes Steven Spielberg’s dino-mite $200-million-plus blockbuster “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” ($23) on Nov. 4. Columbia TriStar plans to release at sell-through prices the biggest box-office hit of the year, “Men in Black,” in November. Paramount has scheduled the Nicolas Cage-John Travolta action-thriller “Face/Off” for Nov. 18, and Cage’s other summer action flick, Touchstone’s “Con Air,” will touch down Dec. 9.
Also due that day, from Columbia TriStar, is Julia Roberts’ comeback comedy “My Best Friend’s Wedding.”
The biggest non-summer title due this fall is the 1996 best picture Oscar winner, “The English Patient” (Miramax), starring Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas and Juliette Binoche. Anthony Minghella’s acclaimed romantic drama makes its long-awaited video bow on Sept. 23 in both the pan-and-scan and letterbox formats.
Fiennes and Binoche also star in Paramount’s rarely seen 1992 version of Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights,” due Oct. 14.
Action films and thrillers abound this fall. Paramount’s “The Saint,” starring Val Kilmer, is on tap for Sept. 16. Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche try to save Los Angeles from molten lava in “Volcano” (Fox), arriving Sept. 30. “Anaconda” (Columbia TriStar), the surprise spring hit about a voracious snake, follows on Oct. 7. One of Kurt Russell’s best films, Paramount’s taut “Breakdown,” rolls into video stores on Oct. 14. Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dennis Rodman kick butt in the action flick “Double Team” (Columbia TriStar), also due Oct. 14.
For comedy fans there’s Jim Carrey’s “Liar Liar” (Universal, $23) on tap for Sept. 30; Mike Myers’ groovy retro comedy “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” (New Line, Oct. 21); and the lavish but goofy Bruce Willis sci-fi adventure “The Fifth Element” (Columbia TriStar, Oct. 28).
The laughs are few and far between in “Fathers’ Day” (Warner, Sept. 23), a wan farce that wastes the talents of Billy Crystal and Robin Williams. Bette Midler is in fine form in “That Old Feeling” (Universal, Oct. 7), but the jokes are as stale as last week’s bread. And the less said about the Danny Glover and Joe Pesci comedy “Goin’ Fishin’ ” (Hollywood, Nov. 11) the better.
Among the films you may have missed this spring worth checking out are the well-received bio-pic “Selena” (Warner, Sept. 23), starring Jennifer Lopez; Sidney Lumet’s political thriller “Night Falls on Manhattan” (Republic, Oct. 14), starring Andy Garcia; the nifty John Cusack comedy “Grosse Point Blank” (Hollywood, Oct. 14); the uneven black romantic comedy “Addicted to Love” (Warner, Oct. 28), starring Matthew Broderick and Meg Ryan; and the sweetly goofy “Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion” (Touchstone, Nov. 4), starring Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow.
For kids, there’s Walt Disney’s restored version of its 1959 animated classic “Sleeping Beauty” ($27). The musical fantasy, which has been unavailable for several years, arrives Sept. 16. Disney’s 30th anniversary edition of its bouncy musical “The Jungle Book” ($27), follows on Oct. 14, and “Beauty the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas” ($27), Disney’s direct-to-video sequel to its 1991 hit “Beauty and the Beast,” is scheduled for Nov. 11.
Fox goes the direct-to-video route with its family film “Casper: A Spirited Beginning” ($20). The fantasy, starring Steve Guttenberg, hits the shelves Sept. 9.
Other family titles include MGM’s “Warriors of Virtue” ($20), due Sept. 23. Universal’s direct-to-video animated adventure “Hercules & Xena--The Animated Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus” ($20) arrives Oct. 14, and the Jonathan Taylor Thomas flick “Wild America” (Warner, $23) follows on Oct. 21. On tap for Oct. 28 is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s holiday comedy “Jingle All the Way” (Fox, $20).
Next week: some less commercial, but still noteworthy, fall video releases.