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Cliffhanger Serials

This column continues next week in our next exciting chapter

By BRIAN THOMAS     May 13, 2003

This week's DVD peeve expands on a part of last week's peeve: menu issues. As one reader put it: "I personally hate it when a movie automatically starts and doesn't go to the menu first. No override function to get past some long and drawn out DVD menus that transfer you to the next screen. Now don't get me wrong, those are cool for the first couple of times but when you just want to get where you're going it gets really stupid." While some menu programmers have wised up and allowed viewers to fast forward through extensive menu intros or even pause menus, in case you want to stop the music and answer the phone or something many DVDs still force you to wait while they set up every time. Another navigation issue is for DVDs like TV episode collections that don't have a "play all" feature, forcing you back to the menu each time. Some programs even make you go to the chapter menus for each episode just to start the episode playing.


SPOTLIGHT OF THE WEEK


Hey Cinescape readers, remember when we used to all go to the show every Saturday for a matinee program of two features, cartoons and several chapterplay episodes? What, you don't? Well, even I'm not that old, but I can remember watching episodes of the Flash Gordon serials on TV every Sunday morning. Now you can recreate the experience somewhat by putting on an episode or two between features on movie night, keeping folks entertained while you run down to the 7-11 for more chips. These titles are available from several labels due to their "public domain" classification (notably in some handsome sets from VCI), but this week Madacy adds four to their catalogue.


[ ]     DICK TRACY (Madacy) [IMG2R]1937 serial starring Ralph Byrd on 2 discs. And no annoying Warren Beatty.
[ ]    
FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE (Madacy) 1940 serial (the third and last Flash serial from Universal) on 2 discs.
[ ]     NEW ADVENTURES OF TARZAN (Madacy) "New" meaning 1935 in this serial starring Olympic champ Herman Brix (later known as Bruce Bennett), produced by Edgar Rice Burroughs himself. 2 discs.
[ ]    
THE PAINTED STALLION (Madacy) 1937 serial on 2 discs starring Duncan Renaldo and Hoot Gibson as Jim Bowie and Kit Carson.
[ ]    
ZORRO'S FIGHTING LEGION (Madacy) 1939 serial on 2 discs pits the masked man against spooky ghost riders.


NEW RELEASES


[ ]     BLIND TARGET (Sub Rosa) Jess Franco directs his most political movie in years, a kidnapping thriller which stars Lina Romay, Linnea Quigley and Rachel Sheppard. Special edition includes behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes with producer's commentary, a clip from the Spanish version, gallery [IMG3R]and more.
[ ]    
COMEDIAN (Buena Vista) Or SEINFELD 2: THE DOCUMENTARY. Jerry guides us on a behind-the-scenes look at stand-up comics, with deleted scenes, director's commentrak, interviews, and more.
[ ]    
DEADLIER THAN THE MALE (Hen's Tooth) This 1966 widescreen effort tried to turn Bulldog Drummond (Richard Johnson) into 007.
[ ]    
DEMON SLAYER (New Concorde) Five troubled teens in a demon-infested abandoned mental hospital.
[ ]    
THE EMMANUELLE COLLECTION (Anchor Bay) Box set includes EMMANUELLE, EMMANUELLE 2, and GOODBYE EMMANUELLE, the original French adult trilogy starring Sylvia Kristel that launched dozens of trashy "sequels."
[ ]    
EQUILIBRIUM (Buena Vista) The action movie remake of FAHRENHEIT 451, with director's commentrak, behind-the-scenes, etc.
[ ]    
FULL CONTACT (Columbia TriStar) In this Ringo Lam action classic, Chow Yun-fat is betrayed by Simon Yam and Anthony Wong. Left for dead, he comes back for revenge. Includes both anamorphic widescreen and fullscreen versions, with English or [IMG4R]Cantonese tracks.
[ ]    
GACY (Lions Gate) Dramatized true crime account of suburban Chicago serial killer/clown John Wayne Gacy. Not likely to equal the Brian Dennehy TV miniseries version TO CATCH A KILLER, but we'll see.
[ ]    
THE HOT CHICK (Buena Vista) A mean teen girl wakes up as Rob Schneider. Includes director's commentrak, deleted scenes, alternate ending, music video, etc.
[ ]    
THE MONKEES: Season 1 - Special Edition (Warner Bros.) The adventures of the Prefab Four in a special 6-disc set. Includes all 32 episodes, audio commentary on 7 episodes, original pilot, vintage commercials, interviews and gallery, all in a great box that looks like a "record player."
[ ]    
RAPID EXCHANGE (First Look) Our Lance Henriksen flick of the month is this heist picture set onboard a 747.
[ ]    
SABRETOOTH (Lions Gate) A scientist clones a smilodon, one of the most ferocious animals in the planet's history. Good move.
[ ]    
SCREAM BLOODY MURDER (York) Slasher thriller pits schoolgirls vs. a serial killer while trapped in a junkyard.
[ ]    
SHOWER OF BLOOD (Dead Alive) Great title, but this vampire horror comedy unfortunately has nothing to do with Fortean events during which blood rains from the sky. Lots of topless [IMG5R]girls, though.
[ ]    
STRANGE FREQUENCY (Paramount) An anthology of four music-themed horror stories, with Roger Daltry and Judd Nelson.
[ ]    
THE THREE STOOGES GO AROUND THE WORLD IN A DAZE (Columbia TriStar) Aged Moe, Larry and Curly Joe try their hand at foreign diplomacy in this 1960s feature.
[ ]    
WILDER (MTI) Pam Grier and Rutger Hauer star in this detective thriller, aka SLOW BURN.
[ ]    
THE X-FILES: The Complete Seventh Season (Fox) 6-disc set includes clips in foreign languages, deleted scenes, f/x featurette and PS2 game preview.
[ ]    
ZERO WOMAN: THE ACCUSED (Central Park Media) Japanese feature about a woman working for the secret assassination bureau of the police.


ANIME ADDITIONS


[ ]     BRIGADOON: Volume 1 - Marin & Melan Blue [IMG6R](Tokyopop) Episodes 1-5.
[ ]    
DESCENDANTS OF DARKNESS: Volume 3 - Tarot Curse (Central Park Media) Episodes 7-9, plus a virtual tarot card reading.
[ ]    
G.I. JOE: The Original Miniseries (Rhino) 2-disc set features both original miniseries, plus interviews with writers Marv Wolfman and Ron Friedman, and a Snake Eyes action figure.
[ ]    
LEVEL 13.NET: Weird and Mysterious (Image) Collection of top anime shorts from around the world.
[ ]    
NIGHTMARE CAMPUS #2 (Central Park Media)
[ ]    
PATLABOR: THE MOBILE POLICE #5 (Central Park Media)
[ ]    
REVOLUTIONARY GIRL UTENA: Rose Collection #6 - The Beginning of the End (Central Park Media)
[ ]    
REVOLUTIONARY GIRL UTENA: Black Rose Saga Collection (Central Park Media) Episodes 14-26.
[ ]    
SAILOR MOON SUPER S: Pegasus Collection #7 (Pioneer)
[ ]    
YOU'RE UNDER ARREST: Box Set 3 episodes 25-36 (AnimEigo)


Come back next week for another edition of CINESCAPE's DVD Shopping List!


DVD Shopping List is our weekly DVD column.

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