Issue February 14, 2012

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, Feb. 21

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

TOWER HEIST

2011; $18.98-$29.98; PG-13

Without the amazing cast, this would have been just so-so, but when you bring together Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Michael Peña, Gabourey Sidibe, Téa Leoni, the long-lost Eddie Murphy (in fine form) and Alan Alda as the oily bad guy, you can completely ignore the fact that it stars Ben Stiller! He’s the manager of a high-tech Manhattan high-rise who invests his employees’ pensions into Alda’s funds. But Alda turns out to be a swindler, so Ben gathers everyone together to steal Alda’s fabled nest egg from his penthouse apartment. This is just too cool; our highest recommendation.

UNDERDOG: THE COMPLETE SERIES

2012; $46.98-$69.98; UR

There’s no need to fear, the complete “Underdog” boxed set is here! For the first time ever, EVERY “Underdog” cartoon, plus EVERY classic short from the series (Go Go Gophers, Klondike Kat, Commander McBragg, etc.), plus bonus cartoons, alternate intros/outros, new featurettes, commentaries and much more on nine discs. That’s more than 21 FRIGGIN’ HOURS of Wally Cox’s lovable Shoeshine Boy, plus Sweet Polly Purebred, the evil Simon Bar Sinister and Riff Raff. Get off the damn couch, man! A must-own.

•••

J. EDGAR

2011; $14.98-$28.98; R

A top-notch cast, led by Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role, recreates the little-known life of the man who lead the FBI for nearly 50 years. Director Clint Eastwood presents J. Edgar Hoover as a multi-faceted man who never let the truth get in the way of protecting America’s interests — or his own. He was unabashedly ruthless, feared by all who knew him, but at heart a momma’s boy who, it is said, dressed in women’s clothes while persecuting those with non-traditional gender identities. Great stuff, with Naomi Watts, Armie Hammer and Judi Dench as J. Edgar’s mother.

MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE

2011; $16.98-$29.98; R

One of the best drama/mysteries of recent times, this film grabs you in seconds and doesn’t let go until the very end. The woman of the title (a surprising Elizabeth Olsen) flees a dangerous cult and finds refuge at the home of her icy sister, Sarah Paulson — or is that just a fantasy? Or maybe the twisted recollections of an unhinged mind? You may find yourself changing your opinion over the course of the film — we’ve noticed that everyone seems to take away something different. The only consensus is that 1) this is a very good movie, and 2) John Hawkes is terrifying as the manipulative commune leader.

MONSTERS IN THE WOODS

2012; $24.98; UR

We loved this over-the-top little indie horror. A no-budget filmmaker sends his cast into the woods to add more sex and violence to his latest masterpiece — and they accidentally kill him! Then, after one of the crew convinces everyone to stay and finish the movie, they are attacked by a pack of hell hounds! And then rescued by a pair of angels! From there it gets weird. Fun.

NURSE JACKIE: SEASON THREE

2011; $29.98-$39.98; UR

Fans of this great Showtime series know that, at the end of Season 2, Jackie’s husband and best friend arrange an intervention over her pill-popping. Not that it had any effect, of course — except to make her more desperate! Twelve hilarious episodes on three discs, starring Edie Falco.

THAT SHOW WITH JOAN RIVERS: VOL. 1-3

1968; $24.98; UR

Before Joan Rivers became a red-carpet-riding hag with more facelifts than teeth, she made her mark in a remarkable 30-minute syndicated daytime talk show on WNBC-TV in NYC called “That Show.” Produced by husband Edgar, it was seen five days a week, with each day featuring a different celebrity and a different topic (which rarely meshed, just for the fun of it), and Joan talking nonstop throughout. It was pretty amazing. Check it out in this 18-episode set.

THE FADES: SEASON ONE

2011; $31.98-$39.98; UR

This has quickly become our favorite BBC America show. A teenager (Iain De Caestecker) plagued by apocalyptic nightmares discovers he can see the ghosts of people who haven’t “moved on” — and that some of them are learning to break back into our world! A truly brilliant and entertaining approach to the genre. Our highest recommendation.

UNFORGIVEN

1992; $25.98-$34.98; R

Arguably one of the best movies ever made, now available in a 20th Anniversary Blu-ray edition. The winner of four Oscars including Best Picture and Director (Clint Eastwood), this is simply a Western masterpiece. Eastwood stars as a retired gunman who agrees to one last job to provide for his family. There are so many amazing characters here — Morgan Freeman as his partner, dirty sheriff Gene Hackman and the immortal Richard Harris as “English Bob” — you’ll find yourself wishing the movie would never end. An absolute must-own.

WEEDS: SEASON SEVEN

2011; $29.98-$39.98; UR

With Season 7, former suburban soccer mom (and major hottie) Mary-Louise Parker has just completed three long years in prison and heads to NYC to start over — selling pot, that is! But her new life is threatened by all the old friends who come to call.

WORLD ON A WIRE

1973; $19.98-$39.98; UR

We’re always amazed at how few Americans have ever heard of this amazing bit of futurism by German master Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Originally made for TV, the three-hour adventure reads like a film noir set in a future world owned and run by global corporations (sound familiar?). Once a cybernetics engineer uncovers a computer program called Simulacron, which can simulate reality, he begins noticing odd incongruities in the world around him. A truly surreal, wonderful and exciting bit of outré cinema from the Criterion Collection that you’ll be talking about for weeks.

ZAAT

1971; $17.98-$19.98; UR

You’ve no doubt heard that “Plan 9 From Outer Space” is supposed to be the worst movie ever made. Well, that’s BS: This lost bit of drive-in lunacy clears that bar in street shoes. A mad Nazi scientist turns himself into an upright walking catfish, then kidnaps beautiful women in order to breed a master race of monsters. Simply awful … of course we liked it!

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