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Disneyland: The Christmas Star (1986)
ON DVD AT LAST!
Disney is releasing this Yuletide classic Sept. 7, 2004.
One of the truly great Christmas films. Ed Asner, Fred Gwynne, Rene Auberjenois, and writer/ director Alan Shapiro and his talented crew make this Dickens-esque family perennial a must-see. If you like "A Christmas Carol", "Miracle on 34th St.", you will also love "The Christmas Star". Originally made for Disney's Sunday Night Movie, it has run for years on X- Mas but, unfortunately, was never released on video -- until now.
Do yourself a favor and get a copy!
Tiger Town (1983)
A DISNEY TREASURE COMES TO DVD
"Tiger Town" is 75 minutes of unpretentious, lovingly rendered magic. Written and directed by 25-year-old Alan Shapiro, "Tiger Town" tells the story of a 12-year-old Detroit Tigers fan, and a veteran ballplayer -- patterned after Al Kaline -- who leads his team to a pennant after a midseason slump.
The boy, played by Justin Henry, believes that he can will his idol into performing well through fierce concentration in the stands. He and the seasoned slugger, played by Roy Scheider, meet in only one brief scene. They have a connection, but it would ruin it to label it. You could call it a film about baseball and faith, but that sounds corny and this film isn't.
Much of the production focuses on baseball action, and it's elegantly and excitingly executed with a fervent fan's eye for intriguing detail. Crisp photography, adroit sound modulation, deft editing and a bright, economical score all add to the impact of this charismatic mood piece. The film was shot at Tiger Stadium, and at other Detroit locations, which are evocatively conveyed.
Henry's low-key performance in this film is winsome without being protoypically Disneyesque. As the ballplayer with the blazing bat, Scheider doesn't have many lines, but the range of emotions registered on his face during his triumphs and slumps are priceless. Former Tigers manager and baseball legend Sparky Anderson, Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell, and ex-Supreme Mary Wilson make cameo appearances and enhance the authentic flavor of the film.
But it's Shapiro's success, right down to the tension he builds as Henry almost misses the final game. Packed with inventiveness, vitality and economy, "Tiger Town" strikes home. Shapiro's brought of a gem of a film.
The Crush (1993)
Seriously fun entertainment!
Alternating between gothic horror and hilarious camp, "The Crush" is one of the great cult films. Writer/Director Alan Shapiro's young discovery, Alicia Silverstone, delivers her greatest role to date -- no kidding. This is pure fun entertainment, I highly recommend renting it. I will see anything writer/director Alan Shapiro makes.
A really well made film.
Yes, it's "Flipper". But writer/director Alan Shapiro has put together a gem of a version. Spectacular above and underwater photography from "Jaws" veteran Bill Butler and haunting music by Joel McNeely and Crosby, Stills & Nash make this truly memorable family entertainment. Shapiro, whose last film was improbably "The Crush", shows himself once again to be an extremely talented -- and versatile -- filmmaker. Rent it!