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'Player,' 'Mr. Saturday Night' and 'Under Siege' Top Recent Releases

April 02, 1993|DENNIS HUNT

The restored "Pinocchio" isn't only available on laserdisc. The 1940 movie, arguably the most charming and technically stunning of all Disney's pre-1960 animated features, has been restored and re-released on video as well ($25)--it was originally on home video in the mid-'80s.

Here are other recent video releases:

"The Player" (Columbia TriStar, no set price). Director Robert Altman's witty, acerbic look at the underbelly of Hollywood deal-making, couched in a murder-mystery, with Tim Robbins as a beleaguered studio executive and Whoopi Goldberg as the cop investigating the murder of a screenwriter. A treat for those who know the inside workings of Hollywood, but even with the blitzkrieg of cameos, it's not that much fun for most of the general audience. Includes fascinating outtakes and an illuminating interview with Altman.

"Under Siege" (Marner, $95). Tommy Lee Jones, playing an intriguing character--a brilliant ex-CIA agent heading a gang that hijacks a battleship filled with nuclear weapons--elevates this above the violent action-adventure norm. The hijackers tangle with a cook (Steven Seagal) who's a former Navy SEAL. Seagal is wooden as usual but the action sequences are marvelously staged.

"Mr. Saturday Night" (New Line, no set price). Written, produced, directed and starring Billy Crystal, this drama about a callous comic--the stereotypical mean, miserable funnyman--is largely a labor because spending time with the character isn't much fun. A so-so, schmaltzy film worth seeing mainly for the performance of best supporting actor nominee David Paymer, playing the comic's tormented brother-manager. An added featurette offers interesting outtakes, including a funny nightclub routine.

"Gas Food Lodging" (Columbia TriStar, no set price). Writer-director Allison Anders' little movie was generally overlooked but it's a first-rate family drama about a waitress (Brooke Adams) coping with two difficult daughters (Ione Skye and Faruza Balk). Though sappy in spots, it offers keen insights and excellent performances.

"Crossing the Bridge" (Touchstone, $95). Another small film that never got its well-deserved attention, this is a tale of three young friends (Josh Charles, Jason Gedrick and Stephen Baldwin) caught up in a drug-smuggling caper. Well-written and exceptionally acted, with focus on complexities of their friendship.

"Little Nemo: Adventure in Slumberland" (Hemdale, $25). The songs may be low-quality but that's the only major flaw in this absorbing animated feature, an Alice-in-Wonderland type adventure with some incredibly cute characters--including Icarus the flying squirrel.

"Michael Palin's Pole to Pole" (A&E, $70). This exciting, informative, four-tape set covers a six-month trip, with actor Michael Palin as travel guide, from the North Pole to the South Pole, trekking through places like Russia, Norway and Zambia. The Victoria Falls and Arctic Ocean adventures are spectacular.

Upcoming

"Consenting Adults," "Husbands and Wives," "Reservoir Dogs" and "Leprechaun" (Wednesday); "Passenger 57," "The Public Eye," "Sarafina!," "Hero" and "The Mighty Ducks" (April 14); "Night and the City" and "Aspen Extreme" (April 21); "Bob Roberts," "Dr. Giggles," "Enchanted April" and "A Brief History of Time" (April 28); "Trespass" and "The Distinguished Gentleman" (May 5); "A River Runs Though It" (May 19); "Body of Evidence" (June 16).

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