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* LOOK AND LISTEN

Going Way Beyond 'Antz': It's the Bugs' World After All

November 19, 1998|LYNNE HEFFLEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Video

Bug City: Amazing Insect Warriors, Really Gross Bug Stuff, Incredible Insects. Schlessinger Media. 25 minutes each. $12.95 each. (800) 843-3620. "Antz" and "A Bug's Life" aren't the whole story: For the real, sometimes yucky nitty-gritty on creepy crawlies, check out these three informative, well-filmed videos, hosted by entomologist Art Evans, actress Christina Ricci and a puppet named Bugsy Seagull. Evans' commentary and the up-close photography are a fascinating window on a world of leaf-cutters, masters of camouflage, astounding life cycles, defense mechanisms and survival techniques. A lot is packed into each 25-minute film. A sampling: an eye-poppingly weird caterpillar launching an attack on ant eggs, useful but squirmingly disgusting maggots, titanic beetles locked in combat and a raise-your-own mosquitoes how-to. "Be sure to put a good lid on it," says Dr. Art.

*

Madeline. Columbia TriStar Home Video. $15.95. 89 minutes. The film based on Ludwig Bemelmans' classic about the smallest girl at a Parisian boarding school is charmingly true to the spirit of Bemelmans' books early on, until its interjection of unpleasant wrangling between Madeline and some of her peers and clashes with Madeline's friend Pepito strike a false note. Frances McDormand, however, as the school's Miss Clavel, is delightfully right in this tale involving kidnappers and the school's cranky owner (Nigel Hawthorne), whose plans to sell the property must be foiled.

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