After Thwarted Kidnapping Plans, Whitmer Calls for Unity

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]

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For those who like to watch

By |2006-02-23T09:00:00-05:00February 23rd, 2006|Entertainment|

While this winter has been one of the warmest in recent memory, there are still plenty of cold days to come. This means, of course, plenty of reasons to curl up on the couch with one of these new DVDs.

Fade To Red: Tori Amos Video Collection (Rhino)
My first introduction to Tori Amos was in 1993 when I saw her video for “Silent All These Years.” I was in junior high and would watch MTV in the morning while I waited for my ride to school. When that video came on I was immediately drawn in. It was unlike anything I had ever seen or heard before, plus I thought this strange woman singing was gorgeous. Over the course of her career, Tori Amos has racked up a host of fascinating cinematic portraits we so blithely call videos. While she got some air time on MTV in the beginning, as MTV shifted away from music, few people have gotten to see many of her more recent videos. Thankfully, she’s gone and collected all of them on this two DVD set. “Fade To Red” contains 19 videos, including early hits like “Winter” and new videos from her latest CD “The Beekeeper,” as well as two bonus videos. Amos provides commentary on each, which sheds a lot of light on some of the bizarre yet fascinating cinematic choices on display here.

All-American Girl: The Complete Series (Shout! Factory)
If you blinked during the 1994-95 television season you probably missed “All-American Girl,” Margaret Cho’s short-lived sitcom about a second-generation Korean American torn between two very different cultures. For those who remember Cho’s early stand-up act, she often joked about her parents and made fun of their reaction to American culture and life. While these were often her funniest bits (I still laugh when I think of her imitating her mother taking a shopping trip to Mervyn’s), that hilarity never quite translated to sit-com format. Though the series had its shortcomings, it was groundbreaking in that it brought an Asian-American family to TV for the first time. It was also the show for which Cho was initially told she was too fat to play herself. Whether you loved it, hated it or never had the chance to see it, you can now watch all 19 episodes thanks to this four disc DVD set. Bonus features include Cho commentary as well as an interview with Cho and co-star Amy Hill, the actress who played Grandma, discussing everything from casting to racial dynamics on TV.

Ant: America’s Ready (NWE)
Yes, he’s named after a bug but he’s a hell of a lot funnier and when he invades your living room this month on DVD you don’t have to bust out the Raid. You’ve seen him as a contestant on “Last Comic Standing” and as the host of “Celebrity Fit Club.” He’s also been on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and Comedy Central. Ant is a little gay man that really gets around and is one of the hottest comics in the country. On “America’s Ready” Ant riffs on everything from homophobia to family to sports. “Gay people invented sports,” says Ant. “Think about it. Boxing: two topless men in silk shorts fighting over a belt and a purse.” And that’s a joke he can say on TV. The unrated “America’s Ready” lets Ant get down and dirty.

RENT (Sony Pictures)
There’s no day but today to catch RENT if you missed it on stage or in the theatres. RENT the movie is the film version of Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning rock opera. Based on “La Boheme,” RENT tells the story of a group of young people in New York’s East Village struggling to get by and grappling with life, love and AIDS. The film centers around Mark (Anthony Rapp), who is making a documentary film about himself and the lives of his friends as a way to cope with life, and Mark’s roommate Roger (Adam Pascal), who deals with life’s knocks in a less healthy way. The film also stars Rosario Dawson, Jesse L. Martin, Idina Menzel, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Tracie Thoms, and Taye Diggs. The two-disc special edition DVD includes three hours of extras including director and selected cast commentary, a feature length documentary, plenty of biographical info on Jonathan Larson, deleted scenes and musical performances.

The Erasure Show – Live In Cologne (Mute)
Why not warm up this winter by staging your very own sing-and-dance-along with Erasure? Recorded live in Cologne last March, “The Erasure Show” is from the group’s tour for their most recent album, “Nightbird.” This live performance was recorded in 5.1 surround sound and features performances of new tunes plus classic hits like “A Little Respect” and “Chains of Love.” “The Erasure Show” also contains footage from a 2003 Copenhagen concert, a short film on the making of the tour, an interview with Andy Bell & Vince Clarke and videos for the “Nightbird” tracks “Breathe,” “Don’t Say You Love Me” and “All This Time Still Falling Out Of Love.”

Dorian Blues (TLA)
Precocious, adorable if not a little nerdy, Dorian (Michael McMillian) is just your average kid. He’s also just figured out he’s gay. “Dorian Blues” is a funny and touching coming-of-age story that manages to bypass most clichŽs of the genre while easily getting away with what clichŽs it does incorporate. Dorian’s dad is an anti-gay conservative, his brother is an all-American football hero and his mother is distracted and disengaged. Will he make it out of high school and to the freedom of college alive? First-rate acting by the cast and fine writing and directing from Tennyson Bardwell make this a must-see.

The Golden Girls: The Complete Fourth Season (Touchstone)
Considering how the current TV landscape is dominated by the young and beautiful, one wonders if a show like “The Golden Girls” could make it today. Alas, I doubt it, but not because the show focused on four older ladies, but because they just don’t make sit-coms this good or this funny any more. The comic trials and tribulations of Dorothy (Bea Arthur), Sophia (Estelle Getty), Rose (Betty White) and Blanche (Rue McClanahan) will never be forgotten as each season of the show is being released on DVD, the most recent being season four which included a lesbian plot twist and a notorious guest spot by Bob Hope.

Eraserhead (Absurda/Subversive)
Hard-core David Lynch fans have been waiting for this moment for years: “Eraserhead,” a long-time cult favorite, is now on DVD in a newly restored version. Everyone else probably doesn’t care. But if you’ve seen this bizarrely surrealistic cinematic enterprise, whether you loved or loathed it, you’ve never forgotten it. Hailed as Lynch’s finest work by some, decried as senseless and difficult by others, this new DVD is “Eraserhead’s” chance to move beyond film school cliques and art house snobs to either charm or confound the masses. Those excited about “Eraserhead” on DVD should also pick up the newly released “Short Films of David Lynch,” a collection of the director’s many short films, including rare early works like “The Alphabet.”

Ellen: The Complete Season Three (A&E Home Video)
Ah, yes, the show that changed the face of lesbians and gays on TV forever. This month season three of “Ellen” hits the stores taking viewers back to the glory days of 1994, well before she came out on the show and the cover of Time magazine. Back then she just managed her bookstore and hung out with her friends, a plot so simple, only someone like Ellen could make it work. Guest stars during this season included Kathy Griffin, Martha Stewart, Janeane Garofalo, Carrie Fisher, Mary Tyler Moore and Kathy Najimy.

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