Issue August 2, 2011

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, Aug. 9

 

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

PAUL

2011; $29.95-$34.95, R

Fans of “Shaun of the Dead” have been salivating, waiting for this goofy alien-among-us comedy to make it to DVD. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost join up again and invite Seth Rogen to be the voice of Paul, the friendly — if a bit warped — little E.T. who’s damn tired of everyone asking him about anal probes. Co-stars include Sigourney Weaver, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Jane Lynch and a host of others. An absolute joy to all us alien fanboys, nerds and conspiracy wonks. With tons of bonus goodies; our highest recommendation.

SUPER

2011; $24.95, R

We are not big fans of Rainn Wilson from “The Office,” but this is a very watchable vehicle for his peculiar skills. When his wife becomes a druggie, he dons a cape and mask to become “The Crimson Bolt,” a superhero with no superpowers. What saves the flick, however, is the good script and amazing co-stars, such as Ellen Page (who says, “Actually, the guy’s kinda got a point. I mean, I wonder all the time why no one’s never just stood up and become a real superhero”), Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Michael Rooker and Nathan Fillion.

•••

CAMERAMAN: THE LIFE & WORK OF JACK CARDIFF

2011; $24.95, UR

If you can’t place the name, the late Jack Cardiff was the man who found the inner beauty of Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren, and made you a part of such great flicks as John Huston’s “The African Queen” and King Vidor’s “War and Peace.” In a career that spanned 70 years, he set the standard for camerawork. His legacy informs every movie you have ever seen. This doc lets you hear from a score of great and grateful stars who owe their careers to his talent.

CAMP HELL

2011; $26.95, R

Yeah, it’s another summer-camp teen-massacre flick, but what sets this apart is the setup and the cast. A Christian backwoods outing teaches pasty teens the ways of the Lord, the perils of the flesh, and the horror of the devil. But this time the preacher-teacher has brought a little of the devil in with him. Nice, with a cast that includes Dana Delany, Andrew McCarthy, Bruce Davison as the priest and extended cameos by Jesse Eisenberg and Connor Paolo.

CHOOSE

2010; $24.95, UR

Gorgeous blonde Katheryn Winnick still has nightmares about her mother’s suicide, while her dad, Kevin Pollak, is busy solving a spate of brutal homicides. The killings are all the work of a sadist who gives his victims impossible choices — like which family member to kill — leaving the survivors broken and insane. When Winnick is contacted by the killer, a deadly game unfolds. Surprisingly low on gore, but suspenseful.

DOCTOR WHO: THE SUN MAKERS

1977; $24.95, UR

Finally available on DVD, this long-neglected four-part episode comes from the Tom Baker/Leela/K-9 years. They arrive on Pluto, where the populace is warmed by six small suns, yet they live in an oppressive, heavily taxed corporate society. Scripter Robert Holmes dreamed up the story (the villain is a sentient and immobile blot of fungus) after a tax audit that went on for weeks. One of the very best episodes from the show’s Golden Age.

EVIL THINGS

2011; $26.95, R

A far-better-than-it-has-to-be chiller in the “Paranormal Activity” or “Cloverfield” style. A generic group of attractive young people head out for a party way back in the piney woods — filming it all on a hand-held vidcam — and get set upon by … what? Head and shoulders above its peers, this is a fun — and very scary — flick with a great ending. Recommended.

JUMPING THE BROOM

2011; $30.95-$35.95, PG-13

So far, 2011 has been The Year of the Chick Flick. They all feature weddings, bridesmaids, hunky groomsmen, a bit of spice, a couple with cold feet and noisy parents. So that you can tell them apart, this is the black one, starring Paula Patton (“Precious”) and Laz Alonso (“Fast & Furious”), snooty Angela Bassett and Brooklyn badass Loretta Devine. Beats the hell out of all that overrated Tyler Perry crap.

MARS NEEDS MOMS

2011; $29.95-$49.95, PG

It seems that Martian babies spring from the ground like radishes and there simply isn’t a good mom left on the planet to take care of all of them. What to do? Why, make a clever play on a great old sci-fi title and kidnap a mom from Earth, of course. That cheap motion-capture technique behind “The Polar Express” makes all the action scenes a bit off-putting, but you get used to it by the end. But what really sets this otherwise generic Disney CGI outing apart is the nicely warped voicework of Seth Green, Dan Fogler and Joan Cusack.

WIDE OPEN

1975; $24.95, UR

A long-lost but never-forgotten nudie from Sweden, aka “Sängkamrater.” During the heyday of the drive-in, this bizarre sexploiter played a number of places in town, including the Preston Drive-In (now a Lowe’s parking lot), and TheatAire-X in Clarksville. The plot — if you can follow it — doesn’t get in the way of the talent, especially the sweet and stunning Christina Lindberg, who wanders from scene to scene being abused by her boyfriends and loved by everyone else. A truly erotic experience that capped the end of porn’s Golden Age, and not seen on these shores since. Recommended.

YOUR HIGHNESS

2010; $29.95-$39.95, R

Natalie Portman pays back the studio for all those Oscars by making this cheap, quickie comedy with Danny McBride and James Franco as a pair of knights on a quest to free a princess from an evil wizard. Unexpectedly, Portman plays the Amazonian warrior who comes to their rescue. Crude, vulgar and base at every turn, it wobbles between comic genius and simple stupidity. The only real problem is McBride, who simply doesn’t have the chops for this, but with a cast that includes Justin Theroux and Zooey Deschanel, you can usually overlook him. The “joining of the moons” gag is priceless. A great date flick.

A More Complete Listing and Free Vids at www.videotapeworm.com.