Issue August 26, 2009

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price DVD releases on Tuesday, Sept. 1

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

TCM GREATEST CLASSIC FILMS: HORROR FILMS

2008; $27.95, UR

Wow! Turner Classic really knows how to package great old horror classics! This two-disc set contains Vincent Price’s career-making stunner, “House of Wax” (1953, 2-D version), along with arguably the greatest literary haunted-houser ever, Robert Wise’s “The Haunting” starring Julie Harris. Then, taking a cautious step back in time, we find local boy Tod Browning’s follow-up to “Dracula,” 1941’s “Freaks” — a movie so shocking that it nearly ended his career — and the Spencer Tracy version of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” Much closer to the book than other versions, Hyde’s cruelties are focused on the lovely Ingrid Bergman — with luscious Lana Turner as Jekyll’s bride-to-be! As perfect a quartet of films as could be imagined …

TCM GREATEST CLASSIC FILMS: SCI-FI

2008; $27.95, PG

… Unless the topic is sci-fi! Starting with Stanley Kubrick/Arthur C. Clarke’s vision of man’s ultimate destiny, “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), we move to our far-more-likely end (as illiterate cannibals) in “Soylent Green” (1973) with Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson in his final role (as a Triscuit). Another step back in time reveals Leslie Nielsen and the jaw-dropping beauty of Anne Francis in “Forbidden Planet,” then George Pal’s perfect take on H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine” (1960) with Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux. Simply brilliant.

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ALIEN PLANET

2005; $14.95, UR

A fun Discovery Channel “doc” that depicts man’s first discovery of life on another planet, Darwin IV, represented as realistically as possible with live action and CGI renderings based on the best scientific evidence available.

BEATIFIC VISION

2008; $29.95, UR

ESPN favorite Michael Vega stars in this gay “getting romance advice from the ghost of my deceased lover” outing. Gay or straight, this simple little romantic-dramedy is fun and life-affirming; a good, solid date movie, regardless of how you define “date.”

DISNEY NATURE EARTH

2007; $29.95-$39.95, G

James Earl Jones narrates the U.S. version of this amazing doc culled from the vast archives of the BBC and Discovery Channel’s “Planet Earth” project. (The British version is narrated by Patrick Stewart.) Told as an interwoven series of animal-family tales, this marks Disney’s most ambitious foray into live-action nature films since the days of “Charlie, the Lonesome Cougar.” Recommended.

DRIFTER: HENRY LEE LUCAS

2009; $26.95, R

Antonio Sabato Jr. stars as real-life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, who claimed to have killed 600 people (though the true number is probably far less) from the mid-’70s to mid-’80s. His death sentence was commuted by Gov. George W. Bush, and he died peacefully in a Texas prison in 2001.

GRACE

2009; $26.95-$34.95, R

Gorgeous Jordan Ladd stars in this rare beast: a truly good chick-horror flick. Her unborn child, dead in the womb, is allowed to come to term — and is born alive! But instead of mother’s milk, it has a ravenous appetite for blood. Oh, what’s a mother to do?

MGM BLAXPLOITATION CLASSICS

$14.95 each, UR

A wonderful gang-bang of sly black actioners from the ’60/’70s, most as two-disc double features! Titles include “Blacula/Scream Blacula Scream” (William Marshall); “Slaughter/Slaughter’s Big Ripoff” (Big Jim Brown); the fabulous “Cotton Comes To Harlem” starring Godfrey Cambridge and Raymond St. Jacques as detectives Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson; and “Black Mama, White Mama/Foxy Brown,” “Coffy/Friday Foster” and “Sheba, Baby,” all starring Pam Grier. “Sheba,” of course, was written and directed by local boy William Girdler and shot rat-cheer in Louisville in 1974! (And watch for Charlie Kissinger from WDRB’s “Fright Night” creature-feature as Phil.) Man! Movies just don’t get any better than this! An absolute steal.

PLASTIC MAN: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION

2008; $44.95, UR

Whoa-boy! Talk about obscure! A four-disc set containing all 36 cartoons from the late ’70s. Don’t remember? They came on right after “Super Friends” on Saturday mornings. A Hanna-Barbera/Ruby-Spears co-production, Plastic Man could stretch himself into any shape — usually catching the bad guys more by accident than design. Also includes the adventures of tiny Mighty Man and Yukk, the world’s ugliest dog, plus Rickety Rocket, a living spaceship built by cool black dudes like Johnny Brown (Preacher from “Everybody Hates Chris”).

POOH’S HEFFALUMP HALLOWEEN MOVIE

2005; $29.95, G

Forgive this guilty fave of ours from Disney. Roo and his little pal Lumpy are about to go trick-or-treating for the first time when Tigger scares them with stories of the dreaded Gobloom! A damn-fun snipe-hunt ensures, and everyone learns a valuable lesson. Ahhhhh.

SHAUN THE SHEEP: LITTLE SHEEP OF HORRORS

$14.95, UR

What more could you possibly want to know? Absolutely perfect Halloween fun for the wee ones from those Wallace and Gromit guys.

SIMPLY RED 25: GREATEST VIDEO HITS

2009; $28.95, UR

We are big fans of Mick Hucknall, the extraordinary talent at the center of that ever-changing orchestra that is Simply Red (reportedly disbanded this year). Since mesmerizing early MTV-ers with “Holding Back the Years,” their sound became more World Music oriented, while never losing that unique Manchester jazz vibe that is so captivating. Recommended.

STATE OF PLAY

2009; $29.95, PG-13

Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Helen Mirren star in this excellent thriller that no one wanted to watch at the theater. Crowe is a reporter who uncovers a murder by Affleck, but corrupt business and political operatives manipulate the system, covering up the crime and putting Crowe at risk. A bit too real after having just survived the dark Bush/Cheney years, we guess.

SUGAR

2008; $28.95-$39.95, PG-13/R

Great biopic on Miguel “Azcar” Santos, the talented pitcher who fought his way out of Dominican Republic slums to play in an Iowa minor league team on his way to the majors, hoping to rescue the remainder of his family back home from a life of poverty and misery. Simply wonderful.

 

Other DVDs of Interest:

ALL IN THE FAMILY: COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON

1975; $24.95, UR

BROTHERS & SISTERS: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON

2008; $59.95, UR

HEROES: SEASON 3

2008; $59.95, UR

ROB DYRDEK’S FANTASY FACTORY: THE FIRST SEASON

2009; $24.95, UR

SUPERNATURAL: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON

2009; $59.95-$79.95, UR

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: THE COMPLETE SEASON 8

$14.95, UR

TWO AND A HALF MEN: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON

2009; $44.95, UR

 

A more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com.