DEFINITELY VIEW-WORTHY DISCS : MUCHO MACHO MEN.
Macho, macho men. They all seem to be coming to DVD. First, there's Clint Eastwood's ``The Man With No Name Trilogy'' (MGM; $59.90). The set includes the three Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns that helped to create Eastwood's tough-guy image - ``A Fistful of Dollars,'' ``For a Few Dollars More'' and ``The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.'' Leone's expressive style is often over the top, but that - and Clint's steely stare - is what makes these films fun.
While Eastwood went to Italy to become a star, bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger came to America, where he starred in ``Predator,'' ``Commando,'' ``The Running Man'' and ``Total Recall,'' which make up ``The Arnold Schwarzenegger Collection'' (Fox; $56.95). All four are top-level action films, especially Paul Verhoeven's ``Recall'' and John McTiernan's ``Predator.''
Tough guys didn't begin with Clint. Gary Cooper was the prototype, but in the Oscar-winning ``High Noon'' (Republic Pictures; $24.90) the actor plays a lawman who must make a choice of conscience. This remastered DVD is a stellar example of how to bring a classic to life. It includes a making-of documentary hosted by critic Leonard Maltin that has interviews with co-star Lloyd Bridges, director Fred Zinnemann and producer Stanley Kramer.
For those romantically inclined, there are a number of terrific DVDs out there. Try a couple of Nora Ephron-directed Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan films. First, there's the special-edition ``Sleepless in Seattle'' (TriStar; $27.95), which includes witty commentary by Ephron and her sister Delia, who was the co-writer, as well as a featurette on love in the movies and a music video of Celine Dion and Clive Griffin singing ``When I Fall In Love.'' Then there's ``You've Got Mail'' (Warners; $24.90), which has a host of fun extras, including commentary by Ephron and producer Lauren Shuler-Donner, a behind-the-scenes documentary and an interactive map tour of places visited in the movie.
For those of you who want a reason to pull out those hankies, on Dec. 14 Columbia is releasing ``The Way We Were: Special Edition'' ($24.95). This 1973 pairing of Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford even had my dog by the end. This new edition includes commentary by director Sydney Pollack as well as a 70-minute documentary that features new interviews with Streisand and Pollack.
For the kids
There will be plenty out there to entertain the kids. Disney is releasing nine of its classic animated features on DVD in the next two months, but one of my favorites is ``Mulan'' ($39.99). Based on a Chinese fable about a young girl who disguises herself as a man to help her family and her country, ``Mulan'' is both inspiring and entertaining for adults and kids. Unfortunately, the DVD that includes some extras like music videos from Christina Aguilera and Stevie Wonder with 98 Degrees, won't be available until Jan. 6.
The other DVD Disney titles, which are likewise only available for 60 days, are the wonderful ``Pinocchio,'' ``Lady and the Tramp,'' ``101 Dalmatians,'' ``Peter Pan,'' ``The Little Mermaid,'' ``Lion King II: Simba's Pride,'' ``Hercules'' and ``The Jungle Book.''
And Warners did a fabulous job of restoring ``The Wizard of Oz'' ($24.90) to glorious Technicolor. The DVD even includes a number of terrific extras. Also newly restored is the Beatles animated film ``Yellow Submarine'' (MGM; $29.98). A treat for kids and boomers, the DVD has tons of fun features.
Paramount releases the collector's edition of ``Chinatown'' ($29.90) on Tuesday, to mark the 25th anniversary of the film noir homage starring Jack Nicholson. Included on the DVD are never-before-seen interviews with director Roman Polanski, screenwriter Robert Towne and producer Robert Evans.
Earlier this year, Frank Capra's ``Lost Horizon'' (Columbia $27.95) was remastered. Included on the DVD are three deleted scenes and commentary by critic Charles Champlin and film historian Robert Gitt.
The ``Die Hard Trilogy'' (Fox; $55.95) stars Bruce Willis as constantly messed-up but always wisecracking NYPD Detective John McClane. Though the three DVDs offer little in the way of extras, they are a treat for those who like puns with their guns.
Director Terry Gilliam's three-DVD ``Brazil'' collection (Criterion; $59.95) probably is overkill, but Gilliam never was afraid of excess in this Kafka-esque tale. Nevertheless, the director's cut of the film and the documentary ``The Battle for Brazil,'' which tells the story of the former Monty Python player's battle with the studio for final cut, are fascinating.
A number of features by the outrageous Monty Python comedy troupe have come out on DVD this year, including ``And Now for Something Completely Different'' (Columbia; $24.95), ``Life of Brian'' (Anchor Bay; $24.98) and ``Monty Python and the Holy Grail'' (Columbia; 24.95). There's also the work from their landmark TV show - ``Monty Python's Flying Circus: Set 1, Episodes 1-6'' and ``Episodes 7-13'' (A&E; $44.95 each).
Fans of the Marx Brothers will enjoy ``The Marx Brothers Box'' (Image; $59.95), which contains three of their best films - ``Animal Crackers,'' ``Horse Feathers'' and ``Duck Soup.'' Since the studios couldn't figure out what to do with the mad trio/quartet (if you count Zeppo), there was always a lot of junk in their films and the spirit of anarchy always shined through.
``Bruce Lee: The Master Collection'' (Fox; $99.99) is a five-disc set that includes ``The Chinese Connection,'' ``Fists of Fury,'' ``Game of Death,'' ``Return of the Dragon'' and the documentary ``Bruce Lee: The Legend.'' None of these are great films, but watching the charismatic martial arts expert in action is enough for fans.
``Robobox'' (Orion; $59.99) includes the three ``Robocop'' movies. The first, directed by Paul Verhoeven, is the best, but the others have their moments. Not for the faint of heart.
Four critically acclaimed films all deserve a spot in anyone's DVD collection - ``Saving Private Ryan,'' (DreamWorks; $34.99), ``The Blair Witch Project'' (Artisan; $29.90), ``The Matrix'' (Warner; $24.98) and ``The Iron Giant'' (Warner; $22.95).
Photo: (1) no caption (The Man With No Name Trilogy)
(2) no caption (High Noon)
(3) no caption (Mulan)
(4) no caption (Sleepless in Seattle)
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|Title Annotation:||L.A. Life|
|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Nov 19, 1999|
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