Friday, November 23, 2007

More reviews...I'm currently watching "Twin Peaks" for the first time before Steve B. gets the deluxe gold box edition for Xmas. I never saw it when it was broadcast originally, and I have to say that despite liking some of David Lynch's films, I find this show a disappointment so far. It moves at a snail's pace and the supposedly funny stuff strikes me as arch and snarky. Well, maybe it will improve...

There's lots of television in this week's DVD column.

The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones Volume One

OK, I love history, but there are plenty of people who don't, especially kids. This new 12-disc volume of the television series "The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones" just might make some people interested in history.

The premise of the show is simple: famed adventurer and archeologist Indiana Jones had an exciting life well before the stories told in the three success feature films. The television series, which ran from 1992-1994, caught up with Indy when he was 10 years old, a teenager and then a young man.

Along the way, his path is crossed with many real-life historical figures from Lawrence of Arabia to Sigmund Freud to Theodore Roosevelt. The shows have a very high production value and feature guest stars such as Max Von Sydow, Daniel Craig and Catherine Zeta-Jones, among others.

Well-written, the exciting shows sneak the history in and after each episode there are documentaries that bring greater detail to the stories of these real people.

These shows are really family entertainment: everyone can enjoy them. This set is a worthy investment for any family's DVD collection.

Benny Hill: Complete and Unadulterated Collection Mega Set

Once upon a time, most Americans knew two things about British television: the serious stuff on "Masterpiece Theater" and comedian Benny Hill. Undoubtedly the most successful British television import, Hill's brand of naughty comedy was well received by Americans and now fans can get a collection of 48 hours of Hill's shows in their original British cut.

The American half-hours were edited from the original hour-long shows Hill did for Thames Television. This new set from A&E Home Video presents all of those shows, plus two biographies of Hill and a bunch of other extras including a reunion of members of "Hill's Angels."

The documentaries reveal a thoughtful, intelligent man who always had a pencil and a scrap of paper on him to write down gags, Hill started his television career at the BBC and there are a few clips from these shows included in the documentaries.

Americans grew to love him for his later shows that presented a combination of silent sketches, bawdy jokes, young women in scanty costumes and British gags that went over well despite cultural differences.

Personally I find Hill to be a scream. His work has such an innocence about it that defuses its naughty qualities. As the Hill's Angels point out the male characters in the sketches were always the butt of the joke and never the women. None of them complained about what some people thought was the inherent sexism of the show.

These shows still hold up and if you're a big fan you'll want to get this mega set.

The Devil Came on Horseback

When former Marine Captain Brian Steidle signed up as a military observer for the African Union monitoring the cease-fire between the two sides in the Sudanese civil war, he had no idea he was going to make an impact with American foreign policy.

The photos and reports he collected on the slaughter of innocent black Africans by Arab tribesmen hired by the Sudanese government brought the genocide in Darfur to the American political stage.

Steidle's story is one of courage, outrage and persistence and this film is an oftentimes harrowing, unflinching look at the evil one human can do to another.

Seldom have I seen a documentary that can truly make one question the fundamental nature of the human species. This film does that.

See this film. That's all I can say.

For more information, log onto http://www.thedevilcame

© 2007 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

1 comment:

SRBissette said...

Hmmm, Benny Hill: thumbs up; Twin Peaks, maybe thumbs down.

It speaks volumes, my friend!

I just finished reading ESCAPE! yesterday, and loved it. Great book, Mike, and long overdue as an overview of what happened in the '90s to animation.