A weekly update of video releases

Dates in parentheses indicate a full-length review of the film in the Monitor.

* THE JUNGLE BOOK - (PG, Disney Home Video). The title is something of a misnomer, because this live-action movie doesn't rely on Rudyard Kipling's classic for much more than the names of its characters. Jason Scott Lee is convincing as Mowgli, a boy who was raised by wolves, but his four-legged costars steal the show. The plot pits Mowgli, who must protect himself, his friends, and the jungle from exploitation, against William Bonn (Cary Elwes, who is suitably slimy as the urbanely treacherous English captain). Lush scenery and exciting stunts (including a 50-foot plunge off a waterfall) make this movie well worth watching, but parents take note: In its belabored attempts to point out who the real savage is, the movie may become too scary for very young children. (Dec. 23, 1994)

- Yvonne Zipp

* ED WOOD - (R, Touchstone Home Video). Filmmaker Tim Burton's tribute to eccentric director Ed Wood, king of B sci-fi movies. The picture borrows its black-and-white look and stylized dialogue from those endearingly junky 1950s films. The central story concerns the friendship between Wood (Johnny Depp) and the aging, drug-addicted Bela Lugosi, Hollywood's best-known Dracula. Martin Landau deservedly won an Oscar for best supporting actor as the gruff but tenderhearted Lugosi, whose bittersweet scenes are the movie's high points.

- April Austin

* INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE - (R, Warner Home Video). On the surface, this film paints - with the ghoulishness and gore typical of the genre - the story of three vampires in the Old South. But underneath lies a more complex tale for humans about the value of life and the seeming pervasiveness of evil. Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, as vampires Lestat and Louis, avoid the pitfalls of stereotypical vampires. Kirsten Dunst plays a younger vampire, adding another dimension about the corruption of youthful innocence. Based on Anne Rice's bestseller. (Nov. 14, 1994)

- Judy Nichols

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