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Surprise! Summer Video Season May Also Get Hot; Deceased Pop Stars Featured in 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven'

May 16, 1986|DENNIS HUNT | Times Staff Writer

Summer is usually a blah period for home video, with so many people on vacation or spending time outdoors. So, video companies usually don't release many major videocassettes.

But this summer is starting to look more interesting for home-video fans. July 1 release dates of two potential hits, "The Jewel of the Nile" and "The Best of Times"--were announced here last week. Now, it looks as if there'll be some competition.

"White Nights," featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines, will be released by RCA/Columbia on July 2. Music is a crucial part of this film's appeal. The sound track includes two No. 1 singles--Lionel Richie's Oscar winner, "Say You, Say Me" and Phil Collins' "Separate Lives."

On July 10, MCA says, it will release Terry Gilliam's surrealistic comedy "Brazil," which won the L.A. Film Critics 1985 best picture award. While the acclaim wasn't translated into big box office, it may lure renters.

On July 14, "Spies Like Us," director John Landis' comedy about the Cold War, is out on Warner Video. Most critics didn't like it, soundly panning stars Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase, but fans shelled out $60 million to see it.

This week's releases: Vestron's "To Live and Die in L.A.," Embassy's "Eleni," Playhouse's "Bad Medicine" and MGM/UA's "Death Wish 3." In the middle of next week, fans will undoubtedly flock to the stores to rent MCA's "Back to the Future," which should dominate sales and rental charts at least until early July. Jim Jarmusch's award-winning comedy "Stranger Than Paradise" also debuts next week.

"Jagged Edge," the thriller starring Jeff Bridges and Glenn Close, should be one of next month's major rental titles. It's a June 4 release on RCA/Columbia.

POP MUSIC: "Rock 'n' Roll Heaven" (MGM/UA, $29.95) presents footage, mostly TV clips, of dead pop stars singing their hits. Bobby Darin performing "Mack the Knife" and Otis Redding agonizing on "Try a Little Tenderness" are the highlights, but the Danny and the Juniors and Jackie Wilson segments are also high quality. Just released on MGM/UA at $29.95.

"Pete Townshend's Deep End--The Brixton, England Concert" is 90 minutes of Townshend at his best, performing 18 songs, some from his solo period and some from his Who days. Just released by Atlantic at $29.98.

"Five From the Firm," a 26-minute cassette of the Firm, a pairing of revered singer Paul Rodgers and former Led Zeppelin guitar whiz Jimmy Page. So far this band has been a major disappointment, artistically and commercially. These low-energy videos are disappointing too. Just out on Atlantic at $19.98.

Noteworthy recent releases: "Bob Marley and the Wailers--Live at the Rainbow" (MusicVision , $29.95), "Falco: Rock Me Falco" (A&M, $19.95) and "The Ike and Tina Turner Show" (Vestron Musicvideo, $16.95),

Futures: "Dick Clark's Best of Bandstand" (June 11), "Ricky Nelson in Concert" (June 19) and "Fats Domino Live" (June 19).

OLD MOVIES: The one James Bond movie that got really poor notices was "Casino Royale" (1967), the work of five directors, including John Huston. David Niven, playing a burned-out Bond, heads an all-star cast that includes Woody Allen, William Holden, Peter Sellers and Deborah Kerr. Over the years, this costly, sloppy spoof has gained a reputation for being funny--for the wrong reasons. Available on June 4 on RCA/Columbia at $69.95.

Originally in black and white, "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946) has been turned into a color movie that, for many tastes, isn't particularly satisfying. Industry insiders are predicting that many film buffs--notorious purists--won't like the color version. Buffs, of course, are the biggest audience for a movie like this. Some have already complained that the whole tone of this Frank Capra movie, which stars James Stewart, has been changed by the color. It was just released by Hal Roach Film Classics at $39.95.

Just out on Nostalgia Merchant at $19.95: "Morning Glory" (1933), featuring Katharine Hepburn's Oscar-winning performance as an ambitious actress, and "Kitty Foyle," a love story starring Ginger Rogers, that won her the 1940 best-actress Oscar.

HORROR/ACTION: Two years ago, controversy killed "Silent Night, Deadly Night." A sacred institution, detractors charged, was being desecrated. This movie wasn't widely released because too many people were offended by the notion of a homicidal maniac dressed as Santa Claus. For those who have been dying to see it, USA released it this week at $79.95.

George Romero's "Day of the Dead," the final installment of his famed zombie trilogy, will be available next week (Media, $79.95). Those who like extremely grisly movies will appreciate "The Mad Butcher" (1975), with Victor Buono, a B-movie horror classic just out on Magnum at $59.95. From Prism, the underrated "Night Train to Terror," a scary thriller, is due next week at $79.95.

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