Out on Video

CARTOONGATE

Released in time for the 1996 election season, this anthology contains a varied collection of animated films about politics, candidates, and voters. The best items are the earliest, beginning with a Charles M. Jones cartoon produced in 1944 with labor-union money and rooting for Franklin Delano Roosevelt to win the election and the war that was then raging. Other tantalizing entries include some lively pro-Eisenhower spots from 1952 and 1956, a 1960 public-service pitch asking Americans to support the party of their choice, and a Popeye cartoon from 1956 wherein our hero battles Bluto for Olive Oyl's deciding vote. The more recent animations, such as a part-live-action comedy about two hustlers who run a cartoon character for president, are less impressive, lowering the cassette's overall quality. Produced by Greg Ford. (Not rated; Kino Video)

THE GREAT CHASE

Big chases, small chases, fast chases, and slow chases are the focus of this look at action sequences from the silent-movie era. The narration is careless with film-history facts and often neglects to give the titles of excerpted films; and so much time is given to an edited-down version of Buster Keaton's classic "The General" that spectators would be better off with a cassette of the real thing. Still, the picture will do some good if it reminds young audiences what lively entertainments silent films could be. (Not rated; Home Vision Cinema)

JLG/JLG - "December Self-Portrait" is the subtitle of Jean-Luc Godard's profoundly introspective 1994 film, which ruminates about art, life, and philosophy from the standpoint of a brilliant screen artist who has chosen to pursue his career on the margins of mainstream cinema rather than sell out to the mass-media scene. The results are more like a dense modern poem than a conventional storytelling movie, but its gorgeous music and ravishing shots of the Swiss countryside should make it appealing for audiences far beyond the worldwide following he already has. (Not rated; Cinema Parallel)

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