Note to disappointed Terry Gilliam fans: If you want to see an "update" of the Brothers Grimm folk tales that actually works, check out "The Best of Fractured Fairy Tales, Volume 1." The new collection of 15 episodes of the low-tech but high-wit cartoon, which ran from 1959 to 1964 on the various versions of producer Jay Ward's "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show," includes take-offs on the Cinderella, Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood stories, as well as many others featuring British-accented frogs, kvetching witches and fairy godmothers sporting legal contracts. They are just as funny to adults as kids. (Funnier, maybe. Don't let the fact that it's stocked in the children's section fool you.)
An additional 22 episodes are included on the four-disc "Rocky & Bullwinkle and Friends: The Complete Season 3," along with adventures of Mr. Peabody, the talking dog, his "boy," Sherman, and other Ward staples. Both titles are distributed by Classic Media.
With their mix of sly social satire and silly puns, Ward's cartoons have had a far-reaching influence on today's crossover and adult-oriented animation. The middle initial "J." -- used in winking homage to the show's creator in the names Rocket J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose -- was also chosen by Matt Groening for Homer J. Simpson, and by SpongeBob SquarePants creator Stephen Hillenburg for his Sheldon J. Plankton character. Coincidence? I think not.
Extras on both collections include early (and weirdly edgy) live intros to the shows featuring a Walt Disney-bashing Bullwinkle hand puppet that was just as likely to drool over sexpot Tuesday Weld as to urge children to pull the knobs off their television sets.
To most of her fans -- even to some of her relatives -- she is, eternally, "Garbo." At once iconic and sadly, idiosyncratically human, the late, enigmatic Swedish film star born Greta Gustafson on Sept. 18, 1905, would have been 100 this month.
To celebrate the centennial of the actress's birth, Warner Bros. has come out with "Greta Garbo: The Signature Collection," a 10-disc, 10-film box set that features such classics as "Anna Christie," "Grand Hotel" and "Camille," along with a previously unavailable documentary made for the Turner Classic Movies television channel. Simultaneously erotic and yet icy; monumental and flawed; seeming to seek the spotlight even as she shunned it, Garbo was a woman of many dualities and contradictions, all of which are explored in this set, which covers her early silent-film work to her penultimate film, "Ninotchka." As one of her admirers in the TCM documentary puts it, "I find it strange that she made movies in the first place."
For all you Garbo-holics -- and you know who you are; one of you tried to bribe me when my review copy arrived in the mail -- this collection's a keeper.
TWO FROM KOREA
A bigger success in Europe and the U.S. than in his native South Korea, thanks to his critically acclaimed 2003 "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter . . . and Spring," filmmaker Kim Ki-duk has two movies out on DVD this week: last year's haunting "3-Iron" (see review on this page); and "The Coast Guard" (Tartan Video).
Set among a military platoon, the 2002 drama revolves around dueling breakdowns: the first involving a soldier (Jang Dong-kun) who accidentally shoots a civilian he has mistaken for a spy, and the second involving the victim's traumatized girlfriend, who was in the middle of a beach-side tryst at the time of the killing.
Gritty, surreal and replete with arresting visuals -- Ki-duk is a painter as well as a former member of the Korean military -- the film resonates with a topical issue: the danger of our own overzealousness in the name of national security, exemplified not just by questionable detentions of U.S citizens, but by the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, an unarmed Brazilian electrician killed in a London Tube station by British police looking for suspects in the July 7 bombings in London.