SEATTLE'S WITTY marquee-mongers billed this film as "Spinal Tap Unplugged!" And there's a fair parallel between the gleeful takedown of rock stars that Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, and company once perpetrated and their send-up of folk music this time around. (Wind debuts on disc Sept. 23, at which time you can also purchase a three-pack of Wind, Best in Show, and Waiting for Guffman for $64.98.)
Joined by Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey, and Show's blond, butch dog handler, Jane Lynch, the Wind team perfectly impersonates imaginary folkies exemplifying the cluelessly earnest, endlessly meek denizens of the '60s scene; together they perform tunes that border on genius pastiche. It's all done live (including the many musical interludes), so part of the fun is watching the talented cast improvise its way out of tight spots. It makes for subtle humor, often dependent on your folkways scholarship, and it's just not the gut-buster Tap and Show are. You're following 16 characters in four groups, and the focus gets muffled.
Still, Wind is a must-see, especially since the DVD offers three lovely, funny songs you haven't heard before; 15 trimmed scenes; the entire, uncut live concert you only see bits of in the film; and smart, optional commentary tracks on practically everything included on the disc (Guest and Levy accompany the entire feature). Dig the giant Lava Lamps filled with balloons in the Folksmen's calamitous 1968 protest-rock video! TIM APPELO
AND DIG THAT Paul Rudd, who's represented in two Sept. 23 DVD releases: The Château and Neil La Bute's The Shape of Things. Also out, Javier Bardem fans will dig The Dancer Upstairs, which is only slightly less slow-moving and depressing than the epic Holocaust doc Shoah. Holes is a superior kid flick, while Wes Craven's 1977 The Hills Have Eyes remains a scary fright flick. New to disc, Allison Anders' 1992 Gas, Food, Lodging is also worth a look, and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes has some giggles. But pass on Daddy Day Care, Dreamcatcher, and Hollywood Homicide. Criterion is also pushing the creepy French Murderous Maids along with Merchant-Ivory's Bombay Talkie and Heat and Dust. EDS.