Issue April 8, 2008

Video TapeWorm: Releases through Tuesday, April 15

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS
DRACULA VS FRANKENSTEIN
1971; DVD $12.95, UR
A legendary hack-job that has nothing whatsoever to do with Universal Studios. Z-film auteur Al Adamson stumbled across aging thesps J. Carrol Naish (from 1944’s “House of Frankenstein”) and Lon Chaney Jr., so he gathered Angelo Rossitto, bizarre Dracula-obsessed stockbroker Roger Engel (renamed “Zandor Vorkov” by Forrest J. Ackerman, who also appears), buxom Regina Carrol (“Satan’s Sadists”) and Russ Tamblyn to make this mad-doctor-at-a-seaside-funhouse monstrosity that has to be seen to be believed. Contains the original “Frankenstein” lab equipment courtesy of Ken Strickfaden, and the final film appearance of both Chaney and Naish! A real find.

JUNO
2007; DVD $29.95-$39.95, PG-13
Ellen Page — who was nominated for an Oscar for her performance — absolutely walks away with this clever, well-written, funny and insightful film as the 16-year-old who has to grow up quickly when she finds herself very unexpectedly pregnant. With Michael Cera as her clueless best friend/boyfriend, and Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman as the prospective adoptive parents she “interviews.” Oscar nom for Best Picture, it is simply wonderful at every step; a minor masterpiece from director Jason Reitman (another Oscar nom) and writer Diablo Cody (Oscar win) with an overlooked but excellent soundtrack.


A SHOT AT LOVE WITH TILA TEQUILA: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON UNCENSORED
2008; DVD $39.95, UR
Raised in a Buddhist temple in Texas, former Playboy find Tila “Tequila” Nguyen is the uncontested bisexual Queen of Cyberspace with literally millions of friends on MySpace. In this reality show, she challenges 16 straight guys and 16 lesbians to live under one roof and vie for her, er, “affections.” Truly one of the signs of the apocalypse, there’s still no denying that she’s the hottest little bitch that ever drew breath — 424 sleazy minutes on three titillating discs.

ALIENS VS. PREDATOR: REQUIEM
2007; DVD $29.95-39.95, R/UR
The AVP juggernaut churns on, this time dropping slimy aliens into a little Colorado town that quickly begins belching out hundreds of the hard-shelled, acid-filled bug-creatures. Then a Predator arrives, causing even MORE carnage as the last of the survivors try to escape before the U.S. government steps in to end things once and for all. Gangs of fun.

BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD
2007; DVD $27.95, R
Film legend Sidney Lumet directed this amazing film — amazing for how both good and bad it is! The cast — Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, Marisa Tomei — are all first-rate, and the direction and acting are incredible. But the writing quickly becomes tedious, as does the plot about a pair of loser brothers who plan to rob their own parent’s jewelry store at Christmas. Many critics loved this indie faux-noir. We are not so afflicted.

IMPULSE
2008; DVD $24.95, R
Willa Ford from “Dancing with the Stars” stars opposite Angus Macfadyen as the wife who wants to spice up her sex life with a little role-play involving a perfect stranger. Problem is, this stranger is stranger than most, leading to seductive trouble.

IN THE NAME OF THE KING: A DUNGEON SIEGE TALE
2008; DVD $27.95, PG-13
A army of he-man warriors and strong-willed damsels battle an evil wizard and his bestial army until they run out of tokens in this Dungeon Siege vidgame spin-off. With Jason Statham, Leelee Sobieski, John Rhys-Davies, Ray Liotta, Matthew Lillard, Burt Reynolds, Will Sanderson, Ron Perlman, Claire Forlani, Kristanna Loken and scores more. A bit of mindless fun and some anachronistic foolery (“Use the Force, Farmer!”) for effect.

LARS AND THE REAL GIRL
2007; DVD $27.95, PG-13
Ryan Gosling stars in this clever, fun tale that could have gone bad in so many ways. He plays a nice guy who has given up on love in favor of a life-sized doll named Bianca. But when he becomes attracted to a girl a work, it forms a comic triangle that is truly inspired.

LIVE REVOLUTION ROCK
2008; DVD $14.95, UR
There’s something special about this doc on The Clash, beginning with rare video recordings of their earliest jam sessions all the way to their groundbreaking Shea Stadium concert of 1982 — generally considered one of the high water marks of that decade. And that “something” is director Don Letts, a Grammy-winning music director and their long-time collaborator. A singular experience for music lovers, not to be missed.

LOCH NESS TERROR
2007; DVD $24.95, R
Hilariously bad — and just plain stupid — SciFi Channel outing about an obsessed Nessie hunter who has tracked the “killer plesiosaur” to … Lake Superior! (It being so much cheaper to film there.) He believes she’s there to spawn a new generation of monsters and take over the world. Unredeemable dreck of the kind we just can’t seem to stop watching.

RETRIBUTION
2006; DVD $26.95, R
Oooh, this is soo cooool!!! Kiyoshi Kurosawa (“Pulse”) helms this tale of a Japanese detective on the trail of a serial killer, but the path keeps leading him to … himself! And when a red-draped ghost appears … well, we won’t spoil it.

RUNNING WITH ARNOLD
2007; DVD $19.95, UR
There’s something wonderfully bizarre about watching this documentary on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s California gubernatorial campaign (originally titled “Pumping Politics”). We suggest a double feature with “Hercules in New York” in which Zeus carries around a cardboard lightning bolt wrapped in aluminum foil. Awesome.

THE BACKWOODS
2006; DVD $26.95, R
This one will really get under your skin. Two couples rent a vacation home in rural Spain, circa 1978. While there, they discover a deformed, feral child chained to a neighbor’s house. They rescue her, only to find themselves the target of a shotgun-wielding mob out for their blood! With Gary Oldman and Paddy Considine.

OTHER DVDS OF INTEREST

AMERICAN DAD, VOL. 3
2007; DVD $39.95, UR
MELROSE PLACE: THE FOURTH SEASON
DVD $59.95, UR
SEX AND THE CITY: THE COMPLETE SERIES
2008; DVD $299.95, UR