Digital Breakdown: Going back in time with ‘Bobby’ 

Five years after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, his brother Robert suffered the same fate. He was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles in 1968. "Bobby" is a fictional tale that’s not strictly about details of RFK’s life, but rather a homage to him and the era from which he came. The film’s story is told through the eyes of a number of different characters in and around the hotel played by Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, AnthonyHopkins, William H. Macy, Nick Cannon (yes, that Nick Cannon), Elijah Wood and others. Director Emilio Estevez successfully follows the lives of 22 people in the hotel; the thread they share is that RFK’s death will change them forever. The movie is an interesting, complex exercise that turns the clock back on history. Unfortunately, there’s not much in the way of extras on the DVD. I’d wait for a special edition that likely will come out later and rent this.

Price: $28.95.

Rent or buy: Rent.

THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO, SEASON 1, VOLUME 1

This release follows a disturbing trend in DVDs in which full seasons are separated into two parts, making people pay nearly twice as much. Instead of a DVD priced at $50, you have to get two DVDs priced at $38.99. "The Streets of San Francisco — Season 1, Volume 1" is only half of 1972-73 season, with 14 episodes on four discs. The shows have been remastered for digital video and sound, and they do look fabulous. But why not just give everyone the full boat? The DVD also includes the original pilot episodes, an Army Archerd interview, and a four-minute interview from the original set with the stars.

Price: $38.99.

Rent or buy: Buy.

THE UNTOUCHABLES — SEASON 1, VOLUME 1

Sometimes retro television blows the pants off anything else going today. There isn’t a finer G-men vs. mob saga than "The Untouchables" TV series, which was based on the stories of Eliot Ness and his war against Al Capone and Bugsy Siegel. Before there was "The Godfather," before "Goodfellas" and way before "The Sopranos," there was "The Untouchables." Unfortunately, much like "The Streets of San Francisco," the DVD includes only 14 episodes (half the season) from 1959-60 on four discs. It also has the original pilot that was a television movie.

Price: $38.99.

Rent or buy: Buy.

PHANTASM/PHANTASM 3

One of the original horror franchises is getting a facelift from Anchor Bay Home Entertainment. The release of "Phantasm" has been remastered by director Don Coscarelli, and it includes two new featurettes, new interview outtakes and vintage special features from previous versions, including deleted scenes and audio commentary. There’s also "Phantasm 3" making its DVD debut in an unrated director’s cut edition from Coscarelli, along with an audio commentary, a behind-the-scenes featurette, DVD-ROM features and more. These are must-have for fans of horror.

Price: $19.98 each.

Rent or buy: Buy!

DORIS DAY COLLECTION — VOLUME 2

Just in time for Mother’s Day come more films featuring America’s sweetheart Doris Day. Six movies from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s are remastered for high-quality video and audio; it’s the best these films have looked in a long time. The set includes "Romance on the High Seas," "My Dream is Yours," "I’ll See You in My Dreams," "On Moonlight Bay," "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" and "Lucky Me." Included are vintage short films and cartoons from an era when things were a bit simpler.

Price: $59.92.

Rent or buy: Buy.

Other DVDs being released Tuesday: "Batman: The Complete Third Season," "Teen Titans: The Complete Third Season," "Hacking Democracy," "The Aura" and "Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple."

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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