Scanlines

The Addiction

D: Abel Ferrara; with Lili Taylor, Christopher Walken, Edie Falco, Annabella Sciorra, Michael Fella.
Waterloo Video, 1016 W. Sixth

Director Ferrara (King of New York, Bad Lieutenant) is on familiar ground in this stylized, modern-day vampire film starring Lili Taylor as the NYU grad student literally sucked into the philosophy of evil after an undead Sciorra bites her on the neck. The Addiction takes a more cerebral approach to the eternal concept, the dark side being something inherent to which we give ourselves in moments of weakness; its taste, once acquired, rouses the desperate hunger of a junkie craving a fix. The film is hindered by the same qualities that make it so interesting, namely its moody metaphor which beats us over the head at times with horrible depictions of war (evil in men is a communal addiction), and some heavy ideological dialogue (though it's delivered by a talented cast). Russell Simmons of rap record business fame served as producer, his influence apparent in the soundtrack, and on the streets.

-- Jen Scoville


I Married a Witch

D: René Clair; with Fredric March, Veronica Lake, Robert Benchley, Susan Hayward.
VHS Home Video

Veronica Lake is nothing short of betwitching in this 1942 comedy that later hocus-pocused into TV's Bewitched. Lake's incandescent glow blurs the sharp black-and-white edges of Fredric March's classical face, and when they finally kiss you gulp back the knot in your throat. Beautiful. So, too, this wisp of a movie, which at 77 minutes moves briskly yet seamlessly through the story of blithe spirit Lake who visits March on the eve of his being elected governor and being married. Seems a storm freed her and her father from the oak tree where their witches' souls were imprisoned by March's puritanical ancestor who burned them there. Now, they're back to wreak a little havoc on poor Wallace Wooley. Guess what happens.... -- Raoul Hernandez


Havoc

Reality Bytes
Windows 95/Macintosh CD-ROM

Havoc is set sometime in the future. On each level, players pilot one of three tanks against the hordes of enemy tanks and embattlements. To finish a level, simply destroy everything in sight and find the exit. The battles are fought outdoors on rough-looking terrain reminiscent of Big Bend. The coolest feature in the game is its support for multi-player battles, a necessary embellishment since the computer-controlled enemies are tragically stupid and predictable. Whatever potential the game had for fun was lost when the designers decided to ignore both mice and joysticks. To control the tank's movements, it's required to use the keyboard, a ridiculously inept input device these days. -- Kurt Dillard


Pee-wee's Playhouse Vol. 2: "Luau for Two"

D: Stephen R. Johnson; with Pee-wee Herman, Lynne Stewart, Phil Hartman, Shirley Stoler, John Paragon.
VHS Home Video
Vulcan Video, 609 W. 29th

Perfect for both young and old audiences, Pee-wee Herman's ingenious Pee-wee's Playhouse allows viewers to go bonkers while learning a little lesson about life. In this episode, Pee-wee wins a Hawaiian dinner for two and must decide which of his many Playhouse friends to invite along. Will it be the glamorous Miss Yvonne (Stewart), the curmudgeonly Captain Karl (Hartman, pre-Saturday Night Live fame), or perhaps the sneaky Mrs. Steve (Stoler)? Watch as Pee-wee wrestles with this dilemma while still making time for cartoons, Connect the Dots, and other Playhouse standards. -- Alison Macor


Pee-wee's Playhouse Vol. 12: "Pee-wee Catches a Cold"

D: Wayne Orr and Paul Reubens; with Pee-wee Herman, Lynne Stewart, Vic Trevino, William Marshall.
VHS Home Video
Vulcan Video, 609 W. 29th

When that perennial kid Pee-wee Herman finds himself sidelined by a nasty cold, his Playhouse friends try their best to cheer him up. Miss Yvonne's (Stewart) nurse's outfit may do the trick, but the King of Cartoons' (Marshall) entertaining animation proves equally enticing. Taking time out to demonstrate the infinite possibilities of a pair of giant underwear (wear it as a vest, for instance), Pee-wee also reminds us that "our emotions are very close to the surface when we're sick." Infirm viewers take note!

-- Alison Macor

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