Other new releases

What’s the biggest surprise of 1973’s “Paper Moon”, the delightful Depression-era comedy about a con artist and the little girl who becomes his sidekick? Is it that Tatum O’Neal could give such a funny, layered performance when she was only 9 years old? Is it that director Peter Bogdanovich could dump his wife Polly Platt for Cybill Shepherd yet still benefit from her terrific creative contributions? (In the accompanying documentary, we realize Platt did the production design, had the key insight of casting Tatum, sewed many of her costumes and even found the location for the memorable closing shot.) Or perhaps the biggest surprise is that Bogdanovich could turn out three classics in a row – “The Last Picture Show,” “What’s Up Doc?” and this – and then doing almost nothing of value ever since. Also just out: Bogdanovich’s 1968 debut “Targets” and one of his many later flops, 1974’s “Daisy Miller.”
Hello, low I.Q.-ers! Despite years of experience catching all the adult jokes worked into Looney Tunes, it was still a kick to discover all the satire packed into 1961 debut season of “Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends.” They mocked the Cold War with Boris and Natasha, they mocked do-gooders with Canadian Mountie Dudley Do-Right, and they even mocked the show’s sponsor General Mills. Plus you get segments starring Moose and Squirrel, “Fractured Fairy Tales,” Sherman and Peabody and much more. A gem, with extras including promo spots, commercials and even advice for the lovelorn from a Bullwinkle hand puppet.
Those preferring their sci-fi without satire will snatch up season three of “Babylon 5,” with Bruce Boxleitner in full command and the story lines getting ever more complicated (in a good way).
Anyone caught off-guard by the assured tone of director Iain Softley’s terrific costume drama “Wings of a Dove” hadn’t seen 1993’s “Backbeat.” This sweaty little drama takes an almost impossible premise – depicting the early German tour of a scruffy new band named The Beatles – and manages to turn it into a compelling film (thanks to Ian Hart as Lennon and Stephen Dorff as bassist Stu Sutcliffe). The sensational music is courtesy of a super group including Dave Grohl, David Pirner and Mike Mills.
Also out:
Chris Rock runs for higher office in “Head of State,” but deservedly got a lot less attention than Arnold Schwarzenegger; A professional tracker is called in to capture an AWOL soldier in “The Hunted”, with Tommy Lee Jones, Benicio Del Toro and Connie Nielsen; Hilary Duff charms in the slight comedy “The Lizzie McGuire Movie,” making you wonder how Disney could let her go; Miramax head honchos Harvey and Bob Weinstein direct the 1986 rock ‘n’ roll flick “Playing for Keeps,” featuring Marisa Tomei; the uniquely awful disaster “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”; and Ray McAnally’s engaging central performance as a socialist prime minister taking flak on all sides in the creaky but fun political thriller “A Very British Coup.”
Next Tuesday:
Oscar-winning musical “Chicago”; Bob Fosse’s searingly autobiographical “All That Jazz”; Michael Moore’s muckraking hits “Bowling for Columbine” and “Roger & Me”; and for those anticipating another possible tour by the duo, “Simon & Garfunkel: The Concert in Central Park.”