Issue February 24, 2010

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price DVD releases on Tuesday, March 2

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

2009; $17.95-$35.95, PG

Spike Jonze worked directly with author Maurice Sendak to bring his much-beloved children’s book to the screen in a big way. When Max, an imaginative and unruly 9-year-old, is sent to bed without his supper, he invents a magical land filled with huge fuzzy monsters who crown him king. Perfectly recaptures that exuberant, uncontainable childhood joy that we sorry adults have let slip from our fingers by growing up instead of growing closer. Filled with love, adventure and imagination; a very special movie. Let the wild rumpus start!

2012

2009; $15.95-$39.95, PG-13

This Roland Emmerich end-of-the-world actioner suffered from over-hype, but we loved every friggin’ minute of it. John Cusack spends 160 minutes reliving every movie buff’s cliffhanger fantasy as buildings, trees, water — hell, the Earth, itself — declares all-out war on humanity. Woody Harrelson is terrific as the wild-eyed conspiracist who knows exactly what’s coming (and embraces it!), while Amanda Peet makes good eye-candy — unneeded amid all the apocalyptic overkill going on. A good, old-fashioned effects-action-chaser in a box. Don’t miss it.

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BIKINI JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF EROS

2009; $13.95, UR

Professional nekkid-babe Christine Nguyen reprises her Jones character in this wonderfully silly adventure-skinflick co-starring 2007 Penthouse Pet of the Year Heather Vandeven.

BITCH SLAP

2009; $16.95, UR

A hilarious throwback to the heady days of the exploitation film, circa 1970. It’s all out war as three tough chicks (Julia Voth, Erin Cummings and America Olivo) set out to retrieve their share of stolen jewels from a desert hideout. A joyous journey through B-movie mammaries, mayhem and socially unacceptable behavior. Enjoy.

BOLLYWOOD HERO

2009; $24.95, UR

If you didn’t catch this great IFC miniseries, here’s your chance to join in the fun. Would-be actor Chris Kattan heads to Mumbai to star in “Peculiar Dancing Boy,” and hopefully jumpstart his career. What he finds is an Indian culture too bizarre for words, weird rivalries, career-crazed starlets and life-threatening dance numbers. Seriously weird and wonderful with Maya Rudolph, Julian Sands and cameoes by Jennifer Coolidge, David Alan Grier and Keanu Reeves.

GENTLEMEN BRONCOS

2009; $22.95-$27.95, PG-13

As far as we can tell, this little indie never made it to the theaters, which is a crime against humanity. From the director of “Napoleon Dynamite” comes the tale of a would-be author (Michael Angarano) whose crappy masterwork is stolen by his literary idol and accidentally turned into the crappiest movie ever made. Was given terrible reviews by the mainstream press, but we liked it.

PONYO

2008; $17.95-$24.95, G

Director Hayao Miyazaki’s latest animated dazzler follows a 5-year-old boy who befriends a goldfish princess who desires, more than anything in the world, to be human. A far simpler and less-immersive experience than Miazaki’s “Spirited Away” or “Princess Mononoke,” more along the lines of “My Neighbor Totoro” — which is still high praise, indeed. Lots of big-name American voices just detract from the experience; we recommend watching the subtitled option. Also available: “Spirited,” “Mononoke” and “Totoro” on DVD for $19.95 each.

RETURN TO THE 36TH CHAMBER

1980; $19.95, UR

“The 36th Chamber of Shaolin” (1978; available this week on Blu-Ray for $13.95) ranks as one of the greatest martial arts epics ever made. This sequel reunited master fighter Gordon Liu with director Lau Kar-leung in one of the oddest — and best — kung-fuers of the ’80s. This time Liu is a con man who impersonates his own character from the original film. Some have claimed this weird plot allowed the filmmakers to recycle unused footage from the first film, but we’ve never seen any evidence that is true. A legendary pairing of martial arts talents that belongs on every collector’s shelf.

THE BIBLE: JESUS

2000; $13.95, UR

Better known as just “Jesus” (apparently a popular name in some parts of the world), Jeremy Sisto stars in this mytho-bio-pic along with Gary Oldman, Debra Messing and Jacqueline Bisset, not one of which looks the least bit Middle Eastern. Sisto, by the way, was born “Jeremy Merton Sisto” after Kentucky’s beloved philosopher-monk, Thomas Merton. His dad, Dick Sisto, a famous jazz musician, once hosted an excellent jazz radio show on Louisville’s WFPK.

THE PRIVATE LIVES OF PIPPA LEE

2009; $27.95, R

Robin Wright Penn is the titular hottie, married to decrepit, old Alan Arkin, who moves them to a boring retirement community against her wishes. With help from friends Mike Binder, Maria Bello and Keanu Reeves, she has a nervous breakdown after finding hubby Arkin in bed with Winona Ryder. Ick.

THIS EMOTIONAL LIFE

2010; $27.95, UR

A great PBS outing with Harvard psycho-prof Daniel Gilbert explaining the chemistry, triggers and mechanisms behind human emotions and how to use this knowledge to find happiness in your daily life. While that alone was enough for us, it also includes “insights” from celebs Chevy Chase, Larry David, Alanis Morissette, John Leguizamo and others. Being happy is all about how you stack the blocks.

WE LIVE IN PUBLIC

2009; $24.95, UR

The Internet is now 40 years old and has delivered on man’s greatest dream: the ability to instantly share the experience of anyone, anywhere. Of course, this came at a cost. Here, Internet luminary Josh Harris fills you in on just how high that cost will go: the complete loss of privacy and all personal liberty. Don’t believe it? Look around. We’re all media whores who would sell our souls for five seconds of fame. An interesting look at a man who quite literally shaped the world of the 21st century. Recommended.

 

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