Jayne Loader'sPublic Shelter
An interactive multimedia sequel to the 1982 cult-documentary The Atomic Cafe (which Jayne Loader co-directed),Public Shelter is probably the largest gathering of information on atomic weapons and energy to this date -- science fiction and science fact. By incorporating a design that utilizes the medium to the utmost (each chapter is set up like a Web home page, with hypertext links to all 15 megs of fully-indexed data), the experience takes the form of an eye-opening and wryly comic self-led journey through the apocalypse. (A technical note: quality viewing is strictly enforced, so be sure your computer has all the system requirements. The product won't even load if your monitor can't be set to thousands of colors.) Though the CD contains some potentially scary stuff -- recently declassified documents on topics such as government-sponsored human radiation experiments, scenes from historic atomic bomb propaganda films, revealing data on nuclear accidents, and 18 original songs -- don't be afraid. "Edutainment" isn't frightening when it's well done. (Jayne Loader will be the special guest speaker at the public AIVF meeting Monday, July 29. See "Short Cuts," p.40, for complete info.) -- Jen Scoville
D: Martin Scorsese; with Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone,
James Woods, Don Rickles,
VHS Home Video
Waterloo Video 1016 W. 6th
The Mob of the Seventies moves West to Vegas in Scorsese's latest two-cassette epic. When successful small-time operator Sam Rothstein (De Niro) is taken off the streets to apply his lucrative touch to the fabulously swank Tangiers casino, it becomes his job to keep business booming and on the up-and-up in appearance while the bosses back East enjoy the fruits of his labors -- and they can be messy ones. Scorsese's characteristically flashy cinematography -- obscure camera angles, quick cuts, and slow pans -- get lost on a small television screen, but come off even more stylized with the infamously garish time period as a backdrop. The story itself seems bogged down by narration (especially in the beginning), but who can resist the soundtrack, the costumes, this cast? While De Niro relaxes in a comfortable role and Joe Pesci gives his usual (but accomplished) maniacal tough-guy performance, both Sharon Stone and James Woods outdo themselves in characters so repugnant, they belong in the decade for which they were written. -- Jen Scoville
D: Edward Burns; with Edward Burns, Mike McClone, Jack Mulcahy.
The Brothers McMullen
VHS Home Video
Vulcan Video, 609 W. 29th
Love is in the air as the three Irish-American McMullen brothers wrestle with how to fit happiness and ladies into the same sentence. The only similarity between these three guys is their heritage, but they find plenty to talk about over beers when it comes to romance. While Patrick wonders whether to marry his Jewish girlfriend, Jack experiments with infidelity in his marriage. Barry, played by Edward Burns (who also wrote, produced and directed the project), is the film's big heartthrob. This is a small movie, low-budget, and with no big names, but it succeeds as a direct hit for the heart without being schmaltzy.
-- Kayte VanScoy
CD ROM for Mac* or Windows
Wow! It's like an album, movie, and coffee- table book rolled into one! Unfortunately, that rolling squeezed out most of what was inside, it seems. Of the five hours of audio and video promised on the box, wouldn't you think there would be some complete Who songs? No such luck, nor is there much reward in wading through the tiny snippets of new interviews with Roger Daltrey, and fans and crew who "were there." Seriously, buy the movie, the album, and a coffee- table book, and sit back and enjoy them instead.