Hello Future, I see DVDs!

New DVD and Video Highlights For Tomorrow
Ah yes, it is that time again. The day when all of that money you have been saving gets spent as there are several great new DVD and Video titles to buy. Hopefully it is actually raining as tomorrow is a rainy day!
The Simpsons Season Two- This is the season “The Simpsons” was saved from itself. An immediate smash hit on Sunday nights, the show was switched by Fox to Thursdays at 8 opposite the blockbuster sitcom “The Cosby Show.” And thank God. “The Simpsons” – like Tarantino or God -seemed to be everywhere in 1989. It did well against “Cosby” but not near the numbers it did the first year, turning the animated classic from a pop cultural juggernaut to an almost below-the-radar hit. The show would appear in the Top 20 or 30 for years to come, but it didn’t dominate the airwaves, letting the writers and voice cast go on to create some of the most subversive and funny half hours on television. (And I know that this set came out 2 weeks ago, but I just finished watching the whole thing, so I thought it was time to mention it again!)
Hopscotch- Movies given the Criterion treatment are almost always critically acclaimed works or cult favorites that deserve to be considered classics. Sure the occasional Armageddon sneaks in (hey, Criterion has to pay the bills, you know). But by and large its stamp of approval is given sparingly and with good reason. Hopscotch isn’t the joke that Armageddon is, but it is surely the most unexpected addition to the canon in a while. An amusing little caper, it tells about an aging C.I.A. agent (the shambling Walter Matthau) shunted aside thanks to politics. He publishes a memoir revealing the secrets of virtually every spook agency in the world, making him a target for everyone from his old bosses to the KGB. Glenda Jackson plays the woman who gives him succor and shelter. They made a great team, having previously paired off in House Calls. And whenever I hear the letters FBI I think of their reference in this movie.
Reservoir Dogs: Special Edition/Pulp Fiction Collector’s Edition/Jackie Brown Collector’s Edition- Here’s a shocker: Quentin Tarantino has been out of the spotlight so long, we actually miss the guy. That would have been heard to believe five years ago when he was virtually omnipresent. Just as surprising is the fact that all three of his features come bursting with extras, but without the de rigueur commentary track. It must be hard to say no in the first flush of fame, but Tarantino seems to have learned the trick. As for the movies, Reservoir Dogs is a gem; Pulp Fiction has a brilliant first act, a clever structure,and some serious flaws, but deserves its landmark status; and Jackie Brown – like its star Pam Grier – looks better and better with the passing of time.
Iris- With Ronald Reagan reportedly unable to recognize his wife Nancy and Charlton Heston announcing poignantly (if rather enigmatically) that he is exhibiting Alzheimer’s-like symptoms, the timing is sadly right for Iris. This quietly ambitious drama shows author Iris Murdoch in the throes of that terrible illness while flashing back to her young romance with devoted husband John Bayley. The movie mostly sidesteps Murdoch’s bisexuality (it’s based on his memoir, after all) and doesn’t really give you any sense of Murdoch the artist. But Judi Dench gives a bewildered stare and you’re lost. Kate Winslet (who looks awesome) and Jim Broadbent are also strong, but the real find here is Hugh Bonneville who plays the young Bayley: he resembles Broadbent to a stunning degree and seems to have just as much talent to boot.