Issue December 21, 2006

Video Tapeworm: Releases through Tuesday, Jan. 2.

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

SNAKES ON A PLANE
2006; DVD $28.95, R
Samuel L. Jackson proves he’ll do anything for a buck in this deliberately cheezy B-flick actioner about, uh, an airplane full of snakes. He’s an FBI agent accompanying a witness ready to testify against a vicious mobster. To silence him, the mobster has planted a “living bomb” of pheremone-enraged poisonous vipers that spend the rest of the movie jumping out at the hapless — and untalented — passengers. But the whole movie’s just a big goof; an excuse for Z-grade actors to scream and die while Sammy screams macho action-clichés. Big Dumb Fun at its finest.

THE COVENANT
2006; DVD $28.95-38.95, PG-13
HD release of the year’s shiniest supernatural train-wreck starring Moody White-Boyz, Chick S’Hafnekkid and Chee-Z-SFX. Some hunky dudes are the good guys, the last descendants of a coven of Salem witches. Some other hunky dudes are the bad guys, descended from other witches. They’re irresistible to gorgeous young women and they fight each other in colorful and noisy ways. A big-ol’ sack of flashy eye-candy and a soundtrack full of the hottest flashes-in-the-pan that 2006 had to offer. Shallow, stupid and entertaining. Our kinda flick!


DARK PORTALS: THE CHRONICLES OF VIDOCQ
2006; DVD $26.95, R
Say what you want, the French know how to make a great detective movie. Case in point: this wonderfully colorful, inventive and intelligent tale set in 19th-century Paris. The famed detective, Vidocq, vanishes. His nemesis, The Alchemist, has a perfect alibi. Only the detective’s humble assistant seems to have a clue to the mystery. Good subtitled stuff!

GLORY
1989; DVD $29.95, R
Special-Edition release of a vastly underrated film about the first black regiment to fight for the North in the Civil War. Denzel Washington (who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor) stars along with Matthew Broderick, Cary Elwes and Morgan Freeman. Two discs with all the usual goodies.

HOUSE OF WAX (2005)
2005; DVD $14.95, R
Now available for cheap, this gratuitous and sexy, wicked and cheezy, obvious and dumb remake-in-name-only of a horror classic. Busty Elisha Cuthbert leads a pack of horny twentysomethings as they stumble into an easily-combustible nightmare of psychopaths and sculptors. The highlight, of course, is Paris Hilton getting poked in the head … er, impaled through the brain.

JILLIAN MICHAELS FOR BEGINNERS: BACKSIDE
2006; DVD $14.95, UR
You know we love you, but, Baby, you are really starting to bulge. Why don’t you put down that Christmas cookie and take a look at this workout tape. It’s part of a series and will make your butt look soooo good. Hey, where you goin’? Hey!

LOVE’S ABIDING JOY
2006; DVD $24.95, PG
For those of you wondering what Michael Landon’s kid has been up to lately: He’s become a writer/director of family-themed TV hokum like this, the fourth installment from Janette Oke’s “Love Comes Softly” series. Despite the bodice-ripper title, it’s in the “Little House on the Prairie” mold.

MILLION DOLLAR MYSTERY
1987; DVD $14.95, UR
How many of you remember this goofy entry from the mid-’80s that promised to pay $1 million to any patron who could unravel the mystery? Dunno who won (wasn’t us), but it’s still a fun little outing as Tom Bosley wanders into an Arizona diner and croaks — but not before giving obscure clues to where $4 million is buried.

MOONLIGHT SWORD AND JADE LION/BLOODY FISTS
2006; DVD $12.95, UR
A pair of legendary Kung Fu-ers, now available together for cheap! “Lady Kung Fu” Mao Yin (better known as Angela Mao, from “Enter the Dragon”) stars in the first, a heroic quest from China’s past (aren’t they all?). Highlighted by the best “battle in a dumpling house” we’ve ever seen! Then, in “Fists,” fight choreographer Yuen Wo Ping (“The Matrix,” “Kill Bill”) pits Chan Sing — channeling Clint Eastwood — against a squad of killers out to control the flow of a certain herb.

SHOTTAS
2002; DVD $24.95, R
Cult gangster thriller about two friends who rise to the top of Jamaica’s hard-boiled street gangs before seeking their fortunes in America. Stars blood, guts, gunplay, Kymani Marley, Spragga Benz, Wyclef Jean and one of the best soundtracks ever.

SPARKLE
1976; DVD $19.95, PG
Wow! We wondered whatever became of this! Irene Cara (“Fame”) and Lonette McKee are part of a struggling girl-group a la “The Supremes” who are blasted into stardom, only to find it lonely at the top. But the action is just a thin excuse for a killer soundtrack from Curtis Mayfield — with help from Aretha Franklin! Includes a bonus CD.

THE DARKROOM
2006; DVD $19.95, UR
Don’t let the box art fool you: Lucy Lawless has only a bit part, the real star is a terrific script and the best of indie sensibilities. The low-rent tale of a troubled teen who befriends an escaped mental patient with terrifying visions of murder — which he may have committed! A very good thriller with a clear sense of purpose; well worth your time.

OTHER DVDS OF INTEREST

ARTIE LANGE’S BEER LEAGUE
2006; DVD $26.95, R
DEATH OF A PROPHET: THE LAST DAYS OF MALCOLM X
1981; DVD $14.95, UR
MARTIN: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
1992; DVD $29.95, UR
THE BOLLYWOOD DANCE WORKOUT WITH HEMALAYAA
2007; DVD $14.95, UR

A more complete listing and free vids at www.VideoTapeWorm.com!