Straight Talk, PG, 1992, 91 min., Hollywood Pictures Home Video, Digital Stereo Surround, close captioned.
Mistakenly identified as a Chicago radio station's new on-air psychologist, dance instructor/telephone operator Dolly Parton becomes an instant hit for her unique homespun advice. Everyone, save a news reporter played by James Woods, is charmed by her no-nonsense approach to her listeners' problems. Also stars Charles Fleischer (Welcome Back Kotter, voice of Roger Rabbit)..
Christopher Columbus, NR, 1991, 128 min., Warner Home Video, $89.95.
An all-star cast, including Faye Dunaway, Oliver Reed, Max Von Sydow and Eli Wallach star in this historic drama on the life of explorer Christopher Columbus. Rather than glamorize or romanticize its title character, this film portrays the explorer in all his flawed complexity.
Fawlty Towers: The Complete Gift Set, NR, CBS-Fox Video, $54.98.
John (Monty Python) Cleese portrays the master of hotel mismanagement in four classic comedy episodes from the popular import series.
Blackadder's Christmas Carol, NR, 45 min., CBS-Fox Video, $19.98.
The BBC's Blackadder crew wreaks havoc upon the Charles Dickens classic. Stars Robbie (Nuns on the Run, The Pope Must Diet) Coltrane and Miranda (Empire of the Sun) Richardson.
Dr. Who, NR, four videos, various running times, CBS-Fox Video, $19.98.
Four classic adventures of the longest running science fiction series of all-time, Dr. Who: The Tomb of the Cybermen (1967, 100 min.); Peter Troughton (the second Doctor) stars in a "lost" episode. When first released in Great Britain, this tape went to No. 1 in its first week of release; Shada (1984, 101 min.) Peter Davidson (the sixth Doctor) must find a book containing the "most dangerous secrets in the world before it falls into the wrong hands if it hasn't already;" The Cave of Androzani (1984, 101 min.) _ Peter Davidson's last appearance as Dr. Who; The Pertwee Years (1970, 1971 and 1973, 88 min.) _ An overview of Joh Pertwee's tenure as the third Doctor, narrated by Pertwee. Contains three classic episodes and never-before-seen and behind-the-scenes footage.
Black Box: Video Dreams: 1991, NR, 1991, 45 min., BMG Video, $14.98.
Live concert footage and music videos from the group's debut gold album. Includes performances of Everybody, Everybody, Ride on Time and I Don't Know Anybody Else filmed live at Energy Rave in London's Arena in 1990.
Take Home a Classic, NR, 10 tape set, PolyGram Video, $259.50, Stereo Hi Fi cassettes.
Leading symphonies, top opera performers and the best of ballet and modern dance companies are collected in this "instant classical video library." Tapes include performances of Swan Lake (starring Rudolf Nureyev), La Boheme, Pavarotti in concert and The Metropolitan Opera Gala 1991: 25th Anniversary at Lincoln Center.
Spies, NR, 1992, 26 half-hour episodes, Columbia House Video Library.
The Arts and Entertainment cable network's series on the world of espionage in the 20th century is slowly becoming available on video. Spies focuses on the men and women who played in "the most dangerous game" as spies, saboteurs, code-breakers and traitors. Only available by calling (800) 638-2922.
Movie/video buffs can now experience Cinemania on their computers.
Microsoft's Cinemania Movie Guide computer program offers users a massive amount of movie/video information right at their fingertips. The program includes:
Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide 1992, containing more than 19,000 movie listings dating from 1914 to 1991.
Baseline's authoritative Motion Picture Guide, containing 700 entries.
More than 3,500 film industry biographies and filmographies, hundreds of articles on movie topics from Baseline's Encyclopedia of Film and a glossary of film terms.
The program allows users to search through the myriad of entries by genre, actor, release date, star rating, Academy Awards and MPAA ratings. It also includes more than 500 movie stills, dialogue from nearly 100 movies, a list of Oscar nominees and winners and a "video shopping list."
_ Compiled by JIM BULLARD