‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’

Woody Allen writes and directs this romantic tale set in that fine Spanish city. Friends Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson), spending their summer in Spain, are two young American girls of different viewpoints on romance yet fall for the same Casanova artist Juan Antonio Gonzalo (Javier Barden). Things get really saucy with the appearance of Penelope Cruz as Juan’s ex-wife who comes back into his life. Cruz is up for a Best Supporting Oscar with her turn as Maria Elena. (Weinstein/Genius)

‘Australia’

Aussie natives Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman are the featured performers in this drama set in Australia just before WWII. Kidman is an English aristocrat who inherits a sprawling ranch and reluctantly deals with a stock-man in order to protect her new property from a takeover plot. Jackman helps her drive 2,000 head of cattle over unforgiving landscape and part of their experience is the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by Japanese forces firsthand and life with Aborigines. Fellow Aussie Baz Luhrmann co-wrote and directed the picture. (Fox)

‘Bangkok Dangerous’

Nicolas Cage is Joe, a hired assassin. Looking to get out of the killing business after one more big-money hit, he makes a mistake that now makes the hunter the hunted. The picture was shot during an actual coup de’tat in Thailand. The double disc also offers an alternate ending and a look at the cinema of Hong Kong. (Lionsgate)

‘Ping Pong Playa’

Jimmy Tsai stars as a Chinese American Christopher “C-Dub” Wang, a gangsta-talking wannabe with far flung dreams of becoming a pro basketball player. For now he is stuck in the real world that includes a dead-end job, living in the suburbs, dealing with his bossy older brother and running his Mom’s ping pong classes. (Image)

‘Mary Poppins’ 45th Anniversary Edition

This Disney classic, winner of five Academy Awards, features some fancy footwork and rousing vocals by Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke who play a magic maid and a cheerful artistic chimney sweep respectively. There is a magic carpet full of bonus material. It is simply Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. (Disney)

‘The Secret of the Magic Gourd’

An animated adventure from the beloved children’s novel is about our endless limits of imagination. A young boy of 11 discovers a mythical, magical gourd while fishing and what ensues is a wild ride of wish fulfillment and life experiences. Games and interactive tools, a music video, bloopers and a behind-the-scenes segment are part of the extra materials. (Disney)

‘Dallas’ Season 10

Here is a celebration of a decade’s worth of lying, cheating, backstabbing and greed that run in the blood of the Ewing family in Big Oil, Texas. The strong cast includes Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray, Barbara Del Geddes, Steve Kanaly, Howard Keel and Priscilla Presley. All 29 episodes on three discs provide a lot of turmoil in Texas. (Warner Bros)

‘Spin City’ The Complete First Season

The behind-the-scenes comedy about the big city workings of a large metropolis features Michael J. Fox as the lead spinner for his mayoral bos, played by Barry Bostwick. This ABC series became a hit when it debuted in 1996. The four disc set also includes the pilot episode. “Spin City” creator Gary David Goldberg worked with Fox in creating “Family Ties,” a hit series from the early Eighties. (Shout Factory)

‘The 60’s’

A definitive work from one of the most astounding decades in American history. This mega set collection of 14 discs include titles: The Vietnam War, Race to the Moon, Voices of Civil Rights, JFK: A Presidency Revealed and Days of Rage and Wonder. Indeed a thorough and thought-provoking presentation of a world-changing era. (A&E)

Randy Williams can be reached at writtenbyrw@yahoo.com.

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