Issue December 31, 2012

The Video Tapeworm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, Jan. 8

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

COMPLIANCE

2012; $14.98-$29.98; R

Aptly named Dreama Walker does a great job in this titillating tale of a fast-food worker who is stripped and sexually violated by her manager at the behest of a phony police officer on the phone. And if that sounds familiar, it’s because this was inspired by the real events at a Mt. Washington McDonald’s in 2004. The movie strives to reveal just how stupidly obedient the average person can be in the face of supposed authority — even if that authority isn’t proven — but we’ll be the first to admit that the thought of watching the blond-haired, doe-eyed star doff her duds was part of the draw. Is it exploitation or does it serve to illuminate the passive nature of man? You decide.

HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET

2012; $24.98; PG-13

Louisville’s own Jennifer Lawrence shines in this run-of-the-mill mystery thriller that is, quite frankly, beneath her talents. But she never lets on, completely losing herself alongside “Mom” Elisabeth Shue in a spooky tale of matricide, coming of age, missing mini-psychopaths, and taking up with the wrong guy (Max Thieriot). The movie badly wants to be Hitchcock, but the talent behind the camera simply isn’t up to the effort. That being said, this demonstrates how well a nothing-movie can be made effective and entertaining with the right talent up front — and Lawrence makes one helluva scream queen! Don’t miss it.

•••

ARCHER SEASON 3

2011; $31.98; UR

This goofy animated spy-spoof has become one of our guiltiest of little pleasures. In this season, master spy Sterling Archer continues to baffle, confound and screw over his own agency, partly by design but mainly due to stupidity. His now-cyborg fiancée is giving him lip, the deadly Bionic Barry takes over the KGB, and Malory — Archer’s mom and his boss — stays busy screwing every guy she can mount. This thing is a grand mal hoot!

BEARCITY

2010; $14.98-$31.98; UR

The “bears” in the title refer to the large, hairy lumberjack-like studs of New York’s specialty gay scene. The plot of this twinkie romcom reads like “Sex and the City,” with a newbie trying to fit into a tight-knit bunch of beefy, bearded gay pals who seem to devote every waking minute to the pursuit of men. It’s all played for fun and friendship, just like SATC, and we can’t help but notice how much these guys look like hormone-depleted Kim Cattrall at that series’ end. Fun.

DREDD

2012; $18.98; R

A more faithful version of the venerable and strikingly violent comic book than Silvester Stallone’s 1995 effort set in a dystopian future where motorcycle-riding “judges” have the power to accuse, try and execute criminals on the spot. Karl Urban does a good job, as always, in the title role, despite having to work with a massive helmet covering his face through most of the movie. A nonstop running blood bath.

FRANKENWEENIE

2012; $27.98; PG

Tim Burton — do we really need to go on?! — returns to his roots, retelling one of his earliest live-action efforts in state-of-the-art physical animation. A clever boy-scientist jumpstarts his beloved pet “Sparky” after a car accident but has trouble keeping it a secret. When less-noble friends steal his method, a mad chase ensues with some neat surprises — including Gamera! But what makes this so endearing is Burton’s affection for the genre, with character names like Elsa Van Helsing, Edgar “E” Gore, Shelly, and visuals that meld suburbia with the Universal Studio back lot. Absolutely freakin’ wonderful.

NOW IS GOOD

2012; $16.93-$22.99; PG-13

We are big fans of Dakota Fanning and have forgiven her for appearing in “The Twilight Saga” (hey, a girl’s gotta eat). Here she plays a burgeoning woman-child with an incurable disease who decides to make the most of her remaining days by going through the wildest, craziest rebellion any teenager ever had — keeping it PG-13, of course. She ends up with a boyfriend (natch) and an arrest record in this uplifting tale of making the most of life, based on Jenny Downham’s book, “Before I Die.”

SEAL TEAM SIX: THE RAID ON OSAMA BIN LADEN

2012; $16.98; UR

This drama from the National Geographic Channel aims to re-enact the preparations and execution of the title raid in as much realism as the medium allows. Cam Gigandet, Anson Mount, Freddy Rodríguez, Xzibit and a handful of other second-tier actors give it their all in a fact-based, you-are-there outing, largely directed using actual footage from the raid. It’s no “Zero Dark Thirty” but provides plenty of righteous action and a satisfying stiff at the end.

THE GOODE FAMILY: THE COMPLETE SERIES

2009; $20.98-$22.98; UR

Few people today remember this 2009 one-season wonder from Mike Judge, creator of “King of the Hill.” The Goodes are a family of, well, do-gooders who make a conscious effort to always do the “right” thing — and usually find that each right thing just makes something else worse. Join them as they recycle until their home is a trash-heap, try to “teach” the dog to be a vegan, and perform a very creepy father/daughter abstinence-pledge/mock-marriage ceremony. This was simply too good for TV; highly recommended.

TWO-LANE BLACKTOP

1971; $31.98-$39.98; R

Our pick for the greatest road movie ever made. Soft-rocker James Taylor and Dennis “Beach Boy” Wilson, in their first and only acting roles, star as gearhead slackers in a primer-gray ’55 Chevy. They are racing Warren Oates’ shiny new GTO across the highways of America, but the race is just a vehicle for their encounters with hitchhikers (Harry Dean Stanton), the law, small towns, and sweet nookie (Laurie Bird). The very definition of an American Classic, now given the Criterion Blu-ray treatment; a must-own for any movie fan. (FYI: The childlike Ms. Bird committed suicide in 1979 at the home of boyfriend Art Garfunkel, not long after appearing in “Annie Hall.” She was 25 years old.)

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