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DVD SNEAKS

Miss it the first time?

November 13, 2005|Paul Brownfield; Richard Cromelin; Booth Moore; Lewis Segal; Mark Swed; Kenneth Turan; Charles McNulty; Robert Lloyd; Kevin Thomas; Robert Hilburn; Christopher Hawthorne; Agustin Gurza

Whether it's a fleeting television series or an enduring cinematic classic, chances are good that you can find it on DVD. The format is also the place

to look for specialist fare -- rock documentaries, say, or films that set fashion trends in motion, or boxed sets that trace the careers of legendary performers. A dozen Times critics offer suggestions for discs they deem worthy of a spin, or even of a permanent spot on your media shelf.

Television

Paul Brownfield

"Northern Exposure": Why can't they make more like this early '90s gem, set in small-town Alaska and starring Rob Morrow as a New York-educated doctor doing his residency among the kooky denizens of the tundra?

"Lost": If you don't know what all the fuss is about, you can relive last year's first season, from plane crash to discovery of a mysterious hatch.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday November 13, 2005 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 38 words Type of Material: Correction
Latin music writer -- The DVD Sneaks feature titled "Miss it the first time?" in today's Calendar section offering DVD recommendations from writers covering various segments of the arts misspelled staff writer Agustin Gurza's first name as Augustin.

"Late Night With Conan O'Brien: The Best of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog": Triumph, a creation of writer Robert Smigel, is a foul-mouthed dog puppet/Don Rickles-esque insult comic and regular contributor to "Late Night." This is a must-see for Triumph's visit to costumed fans waiting in line for "Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones."

"Cracker": Great British series, circa 1993, starring Robbie Coltrane as forensic psychiatrist Eddie Fitzgerald. "Fitz," in addition to being savantish about the criminal mind, has a broken marriage and a gambling and booze problem. A so-called procedural at its best before people were throwing that term around.

"Christmas With SCTV": Two Christmas specials, from 1981 and '82, from the Canadian group that included Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara and the late John Candy. It's hit-and-miss, but the hits (Dave Thomas as Liberace, for instance, or the extended parody "Neil Simon's Nutcracker Suite") are still sublime.

*

Pop music

Richard Cromelin

"The Last Waltz" (Martin Scorsese, 1978): Scorsese's film is anchored by the Band's 1976 farewell concert in San Francisco, but with such guest performers as Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton et al, it is a towering testimonial to rock's 1960s generation.

"Dont Look Back" (D.A. Pennebaker, 1967): The quintessential rock documentary on rock's quintessential poet, Bob Dylan.

"24 Hour Party People" (Michael Winterbottom, 2002): Conveys the euphoric hedonism of the rave scene in Manchester, England.

"Pulp Fiction" (Quentin Tarantino, 1994): Tarantino's twangs (Dick Dale's "Miserlou") and twists (Urge Overkill doing Neil Diamond's "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon") redefine the music-movie dynamic.

"No Direction Home: Bob Dylan" (Martin Scorsese, 2005): Scorsese's straightforward approach shows trust in the power of the artist and the early '60s.

"Something Wild" (Jonathan Demme, 1986): This dark caper comedy is driven by a great soundtrack, with songs by David Byrne and Celia Cruz and some wild versions of "Wild Thing."

"A Hard Day's Night" (Richard Lester, 1964): Some fans complain about the sound mix and picture ratio, but the Beatles' first movie itself is indispensable.

"Mayor of the Sunset Strip" (George Hickenlooper, 2003): Uncomfortably intimate study of L.A.'s eternal scene-maker, Rodney Bingenheimer, illustrates the hold music can take on someone.

"The Long Goodbye" (Robert Altman, 1973): Altman's Raymond Chandler adaptation makes a game of placing John Williams and Johnny Mercer's title song in elevators, Mexican funeral bands, doorbells, etc.

*

Fashion

Booth Moore

"Zoolander" (Ben Stiller, 2001): Many have tried to lampoon the fashion industry, but no one has been more successful than Stiller, casting himself as male model Derek Zoolander with the signature "Blue Steel" gaze. There's a flimsy plot involving the assassination of the Malaysian prime minister, but all you really need to know is that Hansel (Owen Wilson) is Zoolander's nemesis. Tension rises until the two decide to settle their differences on the runway in a "walk off," refereed by David Bowie. Also look for cameos by Karl Lagerfeld, Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger and more.

"Legally Blonde" (Robert Luketic, 2001): Harvard didn't know what hit it when Elle Woods arrived in Cambridge in a hot-pink leather suit, with her dog, Bruiser, in a matching pink varsity sweater. And it's a joy to watch the East Coast stuffed shirts warm to her over-the-top L.A. style.

"Breakfast at Tiffany's" (Blake Edwards, 1961): When did the little black dress become the little black dress? When Audrey Hepburn made it so. In every frame of this movie, she's immensely chic, whether she's dressed in a Hubert de Givenchy gown or a trench coat, head scarf and oversize black sunglasses.

"Bonnie and Clyde" (Arthur Penn, 1967): Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty may have been on a deadly crime spree, but they looked great doing it, thanks to Theodora Van Runkle. Dunaway's beret launched a thousand imitators and buoyed the sluggish hat business.

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