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Top 10 DVD Releases for the week of December 2, 2002


There are few better things than curling up in front of a fantasy movie that will sweep you up. This week's DVD picks, including films by Hayao Miyazaki, Mel Brooks, and Lotte Reiniger, are poised to take your mind off the real world for hours at a time.

1. The Thief of Bagdad

The villian does wear a mustache, but otherwise there is no connection to current events: this fantastic 1940 film, shot in wartime England, is a magical delight from 1001 Arabian Nights. Starring Conrad Veidt and Sabu.
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2. My Neighbor Totoro

This early Miyazaki classic deserved a better release, but I am glad that this gentle, loving childrens' story is available on DVD at all.

3. Nijinsky

Australian director Peter Cox dramatizes the life and letters of celebrated Russian ballet dancer Vaclav Nijinski. With the voice of Derek Jacobi.
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4. The Producers

If you couldn't get tickets for the smash Broadway production, see the film that started it all--still one of Mel Brooks' funniest.
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5. Esther Kahn

Summer Phoenix is ravishing in the title role as a young Jewish actress trying to become a star. Ian Holm plays her coach.
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6. Sex - The Annabel Chong Story

An unsettling documentary about the porn star and feminist scholar.
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7. Happy Times

Jie Dong joins the esteemed list of beautiful Chinese actresses. Her shining presence is reason enough to see this formula-driven tragi-comedy by Zhang Yimou.

8. Siddartha

Filmed in Northern India, Conrad Rooks' 1972 adaptation of Herman Hesse's novel shines with Sven Nykvist's gorgeous cinematography.

9. Drunken Master

Jackie Chan's 1979 success is a must-own for all fans of drunken kung-fu.
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10. The Adventures of Prince Achmed

Generally considered the first animated feature, Lotte Reiniger's silhoutte film still enchants 75 years after its making.
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