A Jack Kerouac ROMnibus

CD-ROM for Windows and Mac*

Penguin Electronic Even if I weren't Jack's biggest fan, I'd have to say this CD-ROM is one of the most comprehensive and technologically superior I've seen so far, succeeding where others fail because it offers more than a book or a video. I'd buy it just to own the famous clip that greets you at the start, of Kerouac reading on the Steve Allen Show. So the disk's other features -- a thoroughly annotated manuscript of The Dharma Bums, a gallery of rare photographs, an annotated flow chart of the layered relationships of beat icons, an archive of legible journal pages in Kerouac's own hand, and video clips of Kerouac's contemporaries -- are icing on the cake. Ann Charters, editor of the Portable Beat Reader, served as literary consultant on the project, and this CD-ROM makes a perfect companion to my dog-eared copy of that book.

-- Jen Scoville Born to Be Wild

D: John Gray; with Wil Horneff, some guy in a monkey suit, Helen Shaver, John C. McGinley, Peter Boyle.

VHS Home Video

Sight and Sound When Katie (some guy in a monkey suit), befriends an adolescent rebel (Horneff) at the university primate lab, wackiness ensues. The unlikely cross-species buddy team races for the Canadian border, narrowly avoiding the evil clutches of Katie's rightful master. Born to Be Wild is nothing short of hysterical as the "gorilla" displays amazing cognitive skills -- reading the newspaper, playing with a Vue-Master, getting rocked by John Kay & Steppenwolf, and ultimately giving a courtroom speech on morality. Intensely predictable and rife with inanity, this film maintains a constant stupor as the boy playfully wrestles the gorilla to the ground over a veggie burger and subsequently saves the animal from drowning in three feet of water. -- Taylor Holland


D: Jacques Rivette: with Michel Piccoli, Jane Birkin, Emmanuelle Béart, Marianne Denicourt, David Burgztein, Gilles Arbona.

VHS Home Video

New Yorker Films French director Rivette adds previously unseen footage and new twists to this shortened version of his four-hour-long La Belle Noiseuse. A young couple, Marianne and Nicolas, visit famed artist Frenhofer and wind up in a bizarre predicament when Marianne is chosen as the model for his unfinished masterpiece. Strained relations and emotions reach unknown levels creating a drama devoted to subsurface complexities and to the task at hand... producing a painting that needs "blood on the canvas" to be complete. Divertimento captivates with its sublime collection of talents that augment the entertaining plot.

-- Stephany Baskin

Prince Interactive

CD-ROM for Mac

Warner Bros./Graphix Zone So, why do you like Prince? His music? Buy an album. His videos? Get a videotape or laserdisc. His insufferable pomposity? Bingo! You've found your product. In this intensely Myst-derived "game," the "Modern-day Mozart" of the title invites you to wander around his "playground of fantasy and music." Unfortunately, this is about as much of a treat as wandering around a rich friend's house after a cross-country drive: Sure, it's pretty and lavish, but after you wander around a bit, you just want to find the guest room and take a nap. And as far as I got, anyway, the host didn't even bother to show up. -- Ken Lieck



Interactive Magic

Apache is a fine game, but it's missing something. The sound is good, but not great; the graphics are nice, but not compelling; the battles are fast-paced and frenetic -- it's very easy to mistakenly wipe out the friendlies during combat. Apache has a lot going for it -- you can play with or against your friends in multiplayer mode, or fly the helicopter in arcade mode if you don't want to learn how to fly a real chopper. The game can run in both VGA and SVGA modes; in the lower resolution a great deal of detail is lost and it's hard to see what's going on, while in high-res mode the frame-rate is slow. If you love games like Falcon 3.0 and Gunship 2000, you'll have a blast with Apache, but if you've never tried a flight sim before, I suggest looking for something else. -- Kurt Dillard

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