Issue September 27, 2011

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, Oct. 4

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

1991; $49.95, G

When we’re not busy being God’s snarky, über-sophisticated gift to video reviews, we’re ordinary beer-spilling movie-slobs like you. So what do we watch for pleasure? Great stuff like this excellent Disney musical take on the classic tale of a beautiful girl who sacrifices her own freedom to save her father from a horrible beast. Angela Lansbury makes a great teapot and Jerry Orbach shines as the singing candlestick. One of the greatest movies ever made, now in a wicked five-disc Blu-ray and 3-D combo set, with additional material.

THE LION KING

1994; $39.95-$49.95, G

Simply put: The Greatest Movie in History — now available in 3-D! The story, borrowed from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” is superb and the music excellent, ranging from catchy tunes to unforgettable melodies with insightful, haunting lyrics. Computer animation melds seamlessly with hand-drawn Disney masterwork to produce a living tableau of life and death and rebirth. It’s a breathtaking personal journey, played out in caricature, pantomime and ochre. And it’s fun! What more could you possibly want?

•••

AMER (BITTER)

2009; $29.95, UR

Fans of Dario Argento should check this out. A surreal, challenging — and very erotic — tale of three events in a woman’s life that come to define her dark sexuality. But that doesn’t begin to cover the mind-bending way in which Giallo-like visuals meld with French themes to create a movie unlike anything we’ve ever seen. In French, with subtitles. Highly recommended for adventurous movie fans.

BUCK

2011; $24.95, PG

A moving documentary on Buck Brannaman, the real American cowboy behind the movie “The Horse Whisperer.” Horribly abused as a child, he refused to use whips on horses, learning instead how to empathically connect with the powerful and gentle creatures. He now travels the world teaching others how to do it. A big hit at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

DEAD ALIVE

1992; $19.95, UR

Without peer as the most outrageous — and funny — horror movie ever made! Then-unknown New Zealand director Peter Jackson (“Lord of the Rings”) throws all sense of proportion out the window as his hero (Timothy Balme) resorts to grinding his zombified relatives into pulp with a gore-covered lawnmower! All the while trying to hide his family’s, er, “dysfunction” from his new girlfriend! By the time his monstrous, 20-foot-tall grandma tears the roof off the house, you’ll be howling (and looking for dry shorts). A must-own, now on Blu-ray!

DRACULA: THE VAMPIRE AND THE VOIVODE

2011; $19.95, UR

A fun little documentary on the “true” history of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” with lots of spooky recreations. (FYI, voivode is Slavic for “leader of warriors.”)

FAST FIVE

2011; $29.95-$34.95, PG-13

Vin Diesel’s “Fast and Furious” franchise has never been accused of being entertainment suitable for Mensa meetings, so we were surprised to discover what an intelligent, kick-ass flick this is! Despite co-starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, they played it smart by dropping the now-dated “street racing” theme in favor of a heist-caper with hot babes. Paul Walker returns, joined by Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Elsa Pataky and more. Entertaining as hell.

GEORGE: A ZOMBIE INTERVENTION

2011; $21.95, UR

A fun, no-budget love letter to George Romero, about friends who gather together to help their rotting pal stop eating people and check into Zombie Rehab. Doesn’t go well. (Recommended drinking game: Take a shot for each Romero-created character or place-name you spot.)

KEN BURNS: PROHIBITION

2011; $39.95, UR

Doc Wunderkind Ken Burns co-directed this look at 1930s America with long-time collaborator Lynn Novick (“War,” “Baseball”). A thrilling and fun six hours of drunky-American broadcast material, plus two more in bonus content. Terrific as always.

SCREAM 4

2011; $29.95, R

David Arquette, Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox return to reprise their roles in this continuation/relaunch of the seminal ’90s slasher franchise. Most of the rest of the massive cast — including Anna Paquin, Kristen Bell, Alison Brie, Hayden Panettiere, Rory Culkin, Adam Brody, Heather Graham and Emma Roberts — wind up dead in clever ways for returning director Wes Cravens.

SILENT NIGHT, ZOMBIE NIGHT

2011; $16.95, UR

A fun, no-budget drama that mashes together zombies and “The Santa Clause” from indie auteur Sean Cain. At Christmastime, a cuckolded L.A. police officer is about to walk out of his marriage and drop his police partner when a viral outbreak traps the three together, forcing them to fight for their lives.

THE CAPTAINS: A FILM BY WILLIAM SHATNER

2011; $19.95, UR

Shatner wrote, directed and starred in this wicked look at the five other men and women who have occupied the captain’s chair during 40-plus years of the “Star Trek” franchise: Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Bakula and Chris Pine. Actually, the whole thing is about Shatner, but that’s not a criticism. Kewl, goofy and irreverent.

THE PEE-WEE HERMAN SHOW ON BROADWAY

2011; $19.95-$24.95, UR

Yes, you read that right: Paul Reubens recently took his groundbreaking, reality-bending and much-beloved 1986-1990 TV show to Broadway’s Stephen Sondheim Theatre, and HBO recorded the whole thing just for you! Ah-ha! Our highest recommendation.

TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON

2011; $29.95-$44.95, PG-13

“Transformers 1” was fun, No. 2 was horrible, so what about No. 3? Better than No. 2 by a long shot, but not as fresh as No. 1. And we kinda missed Megan Fox’s ample butt, but her replacement butt, undie-model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, provides tight, skinny coverage of that plot point. Shia LaBeouf — no longer in danger of cinematic overexposure — returns to slide down a quickly tilting skyscraper in the extended, eye-popping battle climax. Gangs o’ Big Noisy Fun.

VEGGIE TALES: VEGGIE CHRISTMAS FAVORITES

2011; $20.95, UR

The peripatetic peppers and peas back off a bit from their usual Christian proselytizing in favor of a surprisingly inclusive and secular — and entertaining — trio of Christmas tales. Two of them focus on America’s rampant seasonal consumerism, while the third uses two dueling pageants to teach a lesson about love, cooperation and sharing. The latter is just a bit preachy, but less so than their usual fare.

WEIRD AL YANKOVIC LIVE!: THE ALPOCALYPSE TOUR

2011; $19.95, UR

Our buddy Weird Al returns to the live stage for a long overdue mash-up and reprise of his best stuff, including “Perform This Way,” “White & Nerdy” and “Amish Paradise.” With a cameo by Phil Collins.

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