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DVD & VIDEO.

Give the gift of movies with these entertaining, extras-laden DVDs for all tastes--or, for your unadventurous friends, videotape

[1] THE FLIP WILSON SHOW (Rhino Home Video) For those of you old enough to have watched this 1970-1974 series when it originally aired (and you know who you are), you'll instantly recall the effervescent Geraldine and her trademark alibi, "The devil made me do it!" Little did you know, you were watching history as well: The show was the first successful variety show hosted by an African-American and the first to portray an African-American doing drag. This fun release includes episodes with Lily Tomlin, Joe Namath, and DVD-only Lucille Ball.

SHORT SHORTS (Picture This Home Video) This set of girl filmfest favorites includes "Maid of Honor," about that touchy subject, lesbian nonmonogamy; "Cache," about four sassy bank robbers; "Koko," about a young French thief; "Go Dyke Go," an animated spoof on Dr. Seuss; and Jenni Olson's great "Sometimes," a rewarding 30-second visual essay on what being butch is all about. Altogether, a rare treat for the grrrl in your life.

SANDRA BERNHARD: I'M STILL HERE ... DAMN IT! (Palm Pictures) A very ripe pregnancy in a see-through designer dress doesn't hinder Bernhard's ribald skewering of everyone from Mariah Carey to Courtney Love in this San Francisco performance based on her Broadway stage show. She also doesn't hold back from roughly chastising those in her audience, reminding them that she's filming an HBO special and not just doing some "tacky club gig." As a bonus: There are 30 extra minutes of nonbroadcast footage included.

X-MEN: SPECIAL EDITION (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment) Our good gay Sir Ian McKellen plays the nefarious baddie Magneto, who is out to get our fearless mutant X-Men, in this flashy special effects tour de force.

Through their unique genetic codes, the X-Men manipulate the weather, unleash bolts of energy, and absorb people's life forces (sounds suspiciously similar to the gay gene code). This DVD edition includes the movie's trailer, excerpts of director Bryan Singer's interview on PBS's The Charlie Rose Show, and 10 minutes of deleted scenes.

[2] GROOVE (Columbia TriStar Home Video) The first U.S. feature about the rave scene, Groove was funded in part by ravers' money and filmed in actual rave warehouses. And, yes, the critics raved (well, most of them) about this happens-in-one-night story of boys meeting girls (and other boys) at an underground dance party. (Juggled among the many characters here is a gay couple who just can't seem to find the party.) Don't know your house music from your jungle from your techno? Here's your chance to experience them all.

[3] SHOW ME LOVE (Strand Releasing) This immensely satisfying tale from Sweden about puppy love between a 14-year-old girl and a 16-year-old female classmate is quirky and genuine. Agnes, a vegetarian computer geek, hankers after blond, bored, "in-crowd" Elin, who is the object of desire of all the boys and who wants to run off to Stockholm to become Miss Sweden. On a dare at a party, Elin kisses Agnes to see if Agnes is really a lesbian. But instead something gets switched inside of Elin, and madcap yet poignant passion ensues.

HEAD ON (Strand Releasing) This dark Australian film about Ari, a 19-year-old Greek man, and his self-destructive life is bold in its depiction of a gay lead we wouldn't dare choose as a poster boy. Drugs, anonymous sex, cheating, and lying come easy to Ari as he rebels against his family's oppressive, overbearing values and his father, who calls him a whore dog. Like Ari, the film is fully loaded and ready to fire, and with the levels of honesty, realism, and depth to this gripping depiction, it obviously didn't come out of Hollywood.

[4] SET ME FREE (EMPORTE-MOI) (Home Vision) This coming-of-age story is one both gay men and lesbians can relate to: In 1963 Quebec, Hanna spends her time fantasizing in the local movie theater and fixating on a beautiful actress playing a doomed character. Unable to lit in at her Catholic school, Hanna feels lost after her mother breaks down, leaving her no same-sex role model, so she picks up a camera and begins to awkwardly film her mother to make up the connection. Out director Lea Pool is one of Canada's best, proven by the film's subtle and distinguished tone.

A LITTLE SONG, A LITTLE DANCE ...

Whether you're a habitue of "show tunes night" at your local karaoke bar or just someone who likes to sing along with Turner Classic Movies, three new DVD releases will charm the big gay musical-comedy lover in you, just in time for holiday list, making.

Even though George Cukor's A STAR IS BORN (1954--Warner Home Video) underwent major restoration in the mid '80s, the film has, shockingly, never been available in the letter-boxed format until now. At last, Cukor's CinemaScope compositions can be fully appreciated on the new VHS and DVD releases, which fit the whole widescreen picture onto your TV set. Fans of the film and its star, Judy Garland (who gives, arguably, her greatest performance here), will want to snap up the DVD, which offers three abandoned attempts at "The Man That Got Away." Also included are deleted segments ("When My Sugar Walks Down the Street" from the epic "Born in a Trunk" sequence, plus some audio snippets), along with trailers for all three versions of Star (the Streisand version's trailer is almost as funny as the Streisand version itself) and newsreel footage of the film's gala premiere.

But Judy fanatics will need to ask Santa for both A Star Is Born and ANNIE GET YOUR GUN (1950--Warner Home Video), which not only makes its video debut but also surfaces for the first time anywhere since 1973. Annie stars Betty Hutton and toward Keel as sharp-shootin' legend Annie Oakley and dashing marksman Frank Butler. Garland was originally cast as Oakley, and the new VHS and DVD releases include footage of two numbers she filmed,

"I'm an Indian Too" and "Doin' What Comes Natur'lly." The DVD offers an extra track and outtakes as well as dailies. Finally, there's a musical from another planet--literally.

[5] THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975--20th Century Fox Home Entertainment) silver-anniversary double, DVD edition pretty much has it all--deleted sequences. commentary (from Richard "Riff Raff" O'Brien and Patricia "Magenta" Quinn), outtakes, a documentary, trailers, a trivia game, and a soundtrack with audience-participation sounds. There's even a hidden function (what those in the DVD trade calls an "Easter egg") that allows you to see the film the way creator O'Brien intended--in black-and-white up through the "Time Warp" number (a la The Wizard of Oz). Turn up the volume, invite your trashiest friends over, and sing along to your heart's content.

--Alonso Duralde
COPYRIGHT 2000 Liberation Publications, Inc.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:holiday buying guide to video recordings and digital video disks
Author:Link, Matthew
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Buyers Guide
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 21, 2000
Words:1127
Previous Article:PICTURE THESE.
Next Article:SWEET CHARITY.
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