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by Inlander Staff

Mary Poppins 40th Anniversary Edition

Don't make fun - Julie Andrews was luminous in this 1964 Disney hit and no doubt inspired more than a few hospital emergency room visits with the whole umbrella routine. This really lovely little special edition includes "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocius," (a 50- minute making-of documentary), a "magical musical reunion" with Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and Robert Sherman, and the new animated short "The Cat Who Looked Like a King." Good fun from Disney's golden age of live action/animation (see also, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). -- Sheri Boggs

Ramones Raw

While not always pretty -- OK, almost never pretty -- Ramones Raw (Image) effectively captures the sights, the sounds and the smells of the four godfathers of punk as they 1-2-3-4 it on various tours across America and around the world. It's a funny, fast-paced, hair-raising and frequently way too personal five-hour collection of home movies (shot mainly by drummer Marky), TV appearances, concert footage and other ephemera from different Ramones eras together with -- best of all -- beautifully filmed footage of a 1980 concert in Vatican City with the band (Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Marky) in its prime that was originally broadcast once on European TV and then essentially forgotten. Lots of extras, lots of Easter eggs, and more information about the band than even fans may want to digest in one sitting. Essential viewing for die-hards and an intriguing history lesson for anyone interested in a completely unvarnished look at the bizarre inner workings of one of the most important bands in rock. -- Mike Corrigan

Hell's Angels

With both Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and The Aviator on movie screens this year, we got to hankering after good old-fashioned airborne melodrama. Hell's Angels, produced and co-directed by reclusive millionaire Howard Hughes, is the kind of torchy cinema the 1930s produced so well. Recreating the air battles of World War I, Hell's Angels features a stunning zeppelin disaster, Howard Hughes in his own plane stunts and 18-year-old bombshell Jean Harlow playing it slinky for the boys on the ground. Unbelievably bad dialogue and some truly stunning aerial scenes make for some right fine entertainment. -- Sheri Boggs

A History of Britain

Simon Schama (Citizens, Rembrandt's Eyes, The Embarrassment of Riches) wrote three volumes of English history to which this 15-episode video documentary (covering the Stone Age to the present and shown on the BBC and the History Channel) is the companion. With his usual narrative ability to tell stories through vivid sense impressions, his irreverence and his attention to gory details, Schama tosses boring timelines in favor of evocative details about the personalities of British history: Eleanor of Aquitaine, Thomas a Becket, Elizabeth I, Oliver Cromwell, Queen Victoria, Thomas Babington Macaulay, Winston Churchill, George Orwell. -- Michael Bowen

Seinfeld Seasons One and Two

If you just can't wait until Feb. 8 (that's when the Limited Edition Gift Pack with the playing cards and the salt and pepper shakers comes out), get the Jerry, Elaine, Kramer or George in your life Seasons One and Two, just out on DVD. Restored to their original NBC lengths (a minute or two longer), the first 18 episodes are further augmented by commentaries by all four main players as well as show co-creator Larry David. We're especially looking forward to "In the Vault," a series of never before-seen material that was cut in editing, and "How It Began," in which Larry and Jerry remember how the show almost never got made. -- Sheri Boggs

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 7

If the Buffy fan on your list lives in Spokane, this is a must-have -- because this is the season few of us got to see. The local station that had carried it previously dropped it when the show switched network affiliations. And after the electrifying events of seasons 5 and 6 (Willow going wicked, Buffy's sacrificial plunge, that "let's tear the house down" Buffy/Spike sex scene) it was quite the letdown to know the final season was underway without any easy way to view it. By the time Season 7 was aired here, many of us had already given up.

But that's ancient history. This is the perfect end-of-season set, with six discs, 22 episodes, lots of outtakes, a Season 7 overview and even the "Willow Demon Guide" DVD-ROM. All of which serves to remind you (surprisingly poignantly at times) why you loved the show so in the first place. -- Sheri Boggs

The Kids in the Hall Season 2

Kids in the Hall, Canada's answer to Monty Python and Lorne Michael's funnier alt version of Saturday Night Live, introduced their funniest and most enduring material in Season Two (1990-1991). Still in dresses, still smirking at their own lines, the kids hit their stride here with holdovers from Season One (kilt-wearing Buddy, the head-crusher, Kathy with a "K") as well as the introduction of Hecubus, the spawn of Satan; the Chicken Lady; and my all-time favorite, Gavin the lonely neighborhood kid ("Are you gonna invite me in for dinner? All I eat are onions.") -- Sheri Boggs

Three Colors Trilogy: Blue, White and Red

In France's tricoleur, each stripe represents a different ideal. Back in 1993, Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski gave each an ironic twist. Blue means liberty -- but of the sort that Juliette Binoche, widowed by an auto accident, will attain by enduring her grief? A husband seeks an odd kind of revenge against his ex-wife (Julie Delpy) -- is that what the white of equality means? As for the red of fraternity in the third film of the trilogy, the retired judge who spies on others may be taking the concept of neighborliness a bit far. Even the cinematography takes on bluish, whitish and reddish tones. -- Michael Bowen

Publication date: 12/16/04

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