Van Gogh's Starry Night

by Albert Boime

CD-ROM for Windows or Mac*

Voyager Ever wish you could study the seductive painting of the swirling night sky for hours, look carefully at each section, into each crevice formed by the paint? Return to Van Gogh's Starry Night as many times as you'd like with Albert Boime, an art history professor at UCLA, who takes you on a trip where the truth is in the details. Included in the two hours of audio are over 250 contemporary, related images; Van Gogh's famous correspondence; and an illustrated essay on astronomy in art. The quality of Voyager's titles make them shine, and this one continues to impress and engage. -- Jen Scoville

Dolores Claiborne

D: Taylor Hackford; with Kathy Bates, Jennifer Jason Leigh, David Strathairn

VHS Home Video Rarely do the movies based on Stephen King's work surpass his books, but this film is an exception. Screenwriter Gilroy took a mediocre book and turned it into an excellent and enjoyable movie that explores the life of a dysfunctional family in rural Maine. You'll have to get over the fake Eastern accents in the movie just as you had to get over the artificial, first-person point of view in the book. Once you do, though, Bates' fearfully confident Dolores, Leigh's credible alcoholic angst, and Strathairn's disturbingly genuine drunken abuse will set you on edge. In this case, don't judge the movie by the book.

-- Sarah Hamlin


CD-ROM for Windows

Microprose Software

Do you dream of global rule? Fantasize about defining the destiny of all humanity? Do you have the patience to spend years, decades, even centuries slowly building your base of power? Can you stomach crushing all who come between you and your quest? Civnet is the multi-player version of Civilization, a terrific strategy game from several years ago. You can play against computer-generated opponents, but the real fun is setting up a game between humans. Networked PCs or a modem allow you to prove dominance over your peers. Microprose is working on a sequel that has been called both Civilization II and Civilization 2000. Its release date has yet to be announced.

-- Kurt Dillard

How Tasty Was My

Little Frenchman

D: Nelson Pereira dos Santos; with Ana Maria Magalhåes, Eduardo ImBassahy Filho, Manfredo Colasanti.

VHS Home Video Set in 1557 colonial Brazil, a French adventurer is captured by a cannibalistic Indian tribe in the jungle. Chosen as the chief's slave, he receives a wife, hut, food, and hunting gear -- but after eight moons is to be eaten. Made in 1971, this darkly humorous commentary on colonialism is a product of the Brazilian Cinema Novo movement which sought to develop a nationalist film culture. Despite the simplistic style, the intriguing content piques interest. It's slow -- but scenery, music, Tupi language, and a steady story move it along. Not knowing what to expect, I was left a little hungry.

-- Stephany Baskin


for Sony PlayStation

id software and Williams Electronics It's time to grab your shotgun and save the world... again. For those few gamers who haven't played Doom yet, there's now a version of this enormously popular PC title for the PlayStation. This rendition of the classic, first-person shooter contains most of the levels from both Doom and Doom II, along with a few new ones (unless they're from Ultimate Doom, which I haven't seen) to keep old hands on their toes. The graphics feature enhanced lighting effects not found on the PC or any other version and the control is excellent. For players who have two PlayStations, two TVs, two copies of the game, and a link-up cable, deathmatch and cooperative modes are possible. Take no prisoners.-- Bud Simons

Search and Destroy

D: David Salle; with Griffin Dunne, Rosanna Arquette, Illeana Douglas, Ethan Hawke, Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, John Turturro.

VHS Home Video Sleazy loser Martin (Dunne), spurred by late- night cable TV self-help philosopher's (Hopper) book, makes big plans to produce said book on the big screen. Thwarted by money problems and a severe case of polyester-itis, Martin teams with a crew of quirky creeps to raise money and prove his worth as a producer. With this cast, you expect a bit of weirdness, and this movie delivers it in offbeat scenes of black comedy and eerie desperation. Listen to all the different pronunciations of your favorite F-word! See Christopher Walken sing karaoke! See a well-known artist turn into a film director! -- Sarah Hamlin

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