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December 10, 1985|Terry Atkinson | Compiled by Terry Atkinson

VIDEOCASSETTES

"Jane Fonda's New Workout." Karl-Lorimar. $39.95. Seemingly set on institutionalizing our national passion for physical fitness, Fonda leads her fifth workout video with customary agility. The new workout, already a best seller, is a crisp package combining a 35-minute beginners class and 55-minute advanced class. Useful for solitary exercise at home or for those struggling in a workout group, the video offers effective instruction, with voice-over coaching, camera close-ups of footwork and additional tips on the cassette box. The Fonda routine leaves no muscle unstretched. 1/2--CONNIE KOENENN

"Madonna Live: The Virgin Tour." Warner Music. $29.98. This follows the typical concert video format of putting you in the best seat in the hall and letting the action speak for itself. That means the video is almost always a letdown if you've seen the concert itself, because you lose the spontaneity and energy of the live setting. Still, the Queen of Bellybutton Pop has far too much personality to be totally neutralized; sparks do fly at times. More of that personality--as displayed in teasing opening and closing offstage glimpses--documents how much livelier things could have been. 1/2--ROBERT HILBURN

"Weird Al Yankovic: The Compleat Al." CBS-Fox. $29.98. "Too Much Al" would be a better title. Yankovic's cutesy parodies of pop hits are tolerable in small doses but 97 minutes is a lot to swallow. This collection of eight videos interspersed with a comic biography is mostly a yawner. By far his best video/record is "Eat It," a fun-'n'-food-filled spoof of Michael Jackson's "Beat It." In contrast, his others--including "Like a Surgeon," "I Lost on Jeopardy" and "I Love Rocky Road"--seem forced and juvenile. Even the comic biography isn't very comical. 1/2--DENNIS HUNT

"Water's Path." Paramount. $29.95. Most videocassettes--from "Beverly Hills Cop" to "Madonna Live"--try to stir us up. But the meditation-oriented record label Windham Hill has a new line of relaxation tapes meant to cool down the viewer. "Water's Path," the best seller of the bunch, is a beautifully filmed look at good old H20's course from cloud to river through waterfall to ocean, set to soothing but never syrupy instrumental sounds from the label's artists. It's well done in all respects, including the editing, which lingers just long enough on each pacifying image. Ahhhh. --TERRY ATKINSON

COMPACT DISCS

"Hounds of Love." Kate Bush. EMI. It's no accident that two Pink Floyd albums (12 and 6 years old, respectively) are on Billboard's latest list of CD best sellers. The group's overall approach may be overblown, but its sound is often sensational. Bush uses sound in equally imaginative ways--sometimes jarring, then caressing, as she reflects on the universal search for psychological comforts. While relentlessly abstract at times, she works in a more accessible style in tunes like "Running Up That Hill." An arresting and hauntingly personal work. 1/2--R.H.

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