August 19, 2003 --
"ALL THAT JAZZ"
Maybe all that quick-cut editing will date it down the road. But for now, this Best Picture-winner is the most unabashed, old-fashioned and entertaining musical we've had in years ($29.99; Miramax). Everyone is good, but the revelation is Catherine Zeta-Jones, who gives her best performance since "The Mask of Zorro" in 1998. Extras include commentary from director Rob Marshall and the great screenwriter Bill Condon, along with the amusing Zeta-Jones/Queen Latifah duet "Class." Also check out 1979's Bob Fosse biopic "All That Jazz" ($14.98; Fox), which takes its name from, of course, "Chicago."
"BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE"
"ROGER & ME"
Arguably the most successful documentary of all time, "Bowling for Columbine" ($26.98; MGM) is cheeky fun, whatever you think of director Michael Moore's politics. Highlights include the animated history of America, Moore goofily claiming Canadians don't lock their front doors, and that showdown with Charlton Heston. See how far he's come as a film maker by watching "Roger & Me" ($19.98; Warner Bros.), the fitfully funny but mean-spirited 1989 documentary that first made his name.
"INGMAR BERGMAN TRILOGY"
Some Ingmar Bergman classics - namely "Wild Strawberries" and "Fanny and Alexander" ($79.95; Criterion) - are warmer and funnier than casual filmgoers might expect. Others - like this trilogy of films about faith made in the early '60s - are just as austere as Bergman films should be. Originally meeting with mixed critical reception, these three films ("Through a Glass Darkly," "Winter Light" and "The Silence" all from 1961-1963) are now ripe for reappraisal, and Criterion does them justice. Extras include "Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie," a 1963 documentary that's almost twice as long as the movie Bergman was making.
"THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE"
"THE TRIALS OF HENRY KISSINGER"
This is clearly the age of documentaries and one more example of that is "The Kid Stays in the Picture" ($27.95; Warner Bros.), the story of producer Robert Evans and his triumphs and travails in Hollywood making movies like "The Godfather" and "China town." Among the hour of extras is one gem: the plea Evans made in 1971 to keep the board of directors from shutting Paramount Pictures for good. A documentary that clearly was not made with cooperation of its subject is "The Trials of Henry Kissinger" ($29.95; First Run Features), a gleefully muckraking film that insists the politico should be tried as a war criminal.
"LAUREL & HARDY"
This comic duo has always seemed to live in the shadow of other comedians, be it Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton or the less sophisticated Abbott & Costello. It hasn't helped that their best work has been in a fine mess for years - hard to find and poorly presented when available. That could change with "Laurel & Hardy" ($19.98; Hallmark), a compilation of the film "Sons of the Desert" and four shorts, including the Oscar-winner "The Music Box," where the pair to move a piano Delightful.
If you're enjoying the "Mayor of Casterbridge," check out the 1978 version starring Alan Bates and penned by Dennis Potter ($59.95; Acorn); the Griswolds went on "Vacation" ($19.98; Warner Bros.) 20 years ago, but you can check out their home movies on this deluxe edition; David Gordon Green follows his acclaimed debut "George Wash ington" (2000) with the awkward but affecting romantic drama "All the Real Girls" ($24.95; Columbia TriStar); and the first two entries in the hotly anticipated Merchant- Ivory collection are 1979's "The Europeans" and 1984's "The Bostonians" ($29.95 each; HVE).
Coming out next Tuesday:
"The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" theatrical version with peeks at "Return of the King"; "The Simpsons: Season Three"; a deluxe "Animal House"; and the first season of "ER."