"A Midsummer Night's Dream" _ Not even Shakespeare can save this. It's a purely superficial rendition of the master's comedy. If you're really interested, check out Max Reinhardt's 1935 version, with James Cagney as Bottom and Mickey Rooney as Puck. Sure it's cut, and it's over the top _ but unlike the '99 version, it isn't dull.
"The Professionals" _ Writer-director Richard Brooks's ode to the last days of cowboy macho features great performances by Lee Marvin and the most underrated movie star of all time, Robert Ryan. The vistas are spectacular in the wide-screen DVD format.
"The Haunting" (1963) _ Forget the high-tech, low-imagination version in theaters now. Be an old fogy and rent Robert Wise's brilliant adaptation of Shirley Jackson's story, The Haunting of Hill House. Julie Harris and Claire Bloom are magnificent in one of the most chilling ghost stories ever filmed. It also has a quality that eludes most contemporary films _ a subtext.
WHO FRAMED HIM?
While there won't be any additional major features included, Buena Vista Home Video is releasing the vastly underrated Los Angeles satire Who Framed Roger Rabbit on DVD on Sept. 28. The 1988 comedy is a marvelous blend of live action and animation and features some wonderful inside jokes about other movies _ including Chinatown and The House of Wax. ... Yellow Submarine, the Beatles' bright and peppy animated film, is being reissued on VHS and coming to DVD for the first time on Sept. 14. Terrific songs and a behind-the-scenes featurette are included on the DVD.