THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:
2012; $19.98-$29.98; R
One of the sleazier indie movies of late, this is an odd mix of literary excesses, horny men, not-so-innocent innocents, and the voyeuristic glory of San Francisco Bay. Ashley Hinshaw is perfect as the unhappy young woman who finds herself a rising star in the dark world of adult films. Almost no one around her has pure motives as she slides ever further into the abyss, while always keeping a watchful eye on her baby sister. With Lili Taylor as her mom, Jonny Weston as her sleazy boyfriend, Dev Patel as her only good friend, high-profile walk-ons by James Franco and Heather Graham, and adorable little Maya Raines as the sister.
2012; $19.98-$39.98; PG-13
The original “Taken” was an opportunity for Liam Neeson — whose butt-kicking creds include such greats as “Darkman” — to, er, kick butt in pursuit of daughter Maggie Grace, kidnapped and sold to Arab sex-slavers. This is more of the same, with the father of one of the original kidnappers out for revenge by trapping Neeson and wife Famke Janssen. Kim returns to help them escape while Neeson goes postal on all the baddies in great style. An unnecessary sequel, but not unappreciated (though we wouldn’t mind seeing this done up in a proper “R” version).
30 NIGHTS OF PARANORMAL ACTIVITY WITH THE DEVIL INSIDE THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
2012; $14.98-$29.98; R
Just what it sounds like: A throw-anything-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks spoof of current movies, ranging from found-footage spookers to possession films to Swedish literary mysteries — with the Batman trilogy thrown in for good measure. The cast is heavy on up-and-coming comics (though vet French Stewart pops up occasionally) and some good indie actors including Olivia Alexander who stole our hearts in Roger Corman’s “Attack of the 50-Foot Cheerleader.” Fun.
ANTHONY JESELNIK: CALIGULA
2012; $12.98-$14.98; UR
Fans of Jimmy Fallon (support groups available) will recognize Jeselnik as frequent guest “Ron Dempsey, the Flashback Master” and as a largely uncredited show writer whose wit agrees with Fallon. He’s also become a familiar sight on Comedy Central roasts, “Conan” and “The Burn”; but, this is his first solo stand-up show for Comedy Central, and he wants to make sure you remember his name. Worth checking out.
2012; $24.98-$29.98; UR
A solid, entertaining doc on Dee-Troit City, asking: “Is Detroit’s economic collapse a precursor to a general collapse of all U.S. manufacturing, or did they screw this up themselves?” The filmmakers deserve kudos for focusing on the citizenry who, despite the fact that their collective home is going down the crapper, love it too much to leave. Funny, quirky, profound and thought-provoking — what more could you want?
FAREWELL, MY QUEEN
2012; $24.98; R
The times of Marie Antoinette were some of the most interesting in Western history, in many ways marking the evolutionary transition from a ruling elite to the elected self-governance we enjoy today. Diane Kruger shines as the doomed Antoinette, who carries on a “secret” lesbian relationship with Gabrielle de Polignac (Virginie Ledoyen) in this steamy telling of her end. But the movie’s focus is on Lea Seydoux as the mistress of the Queen’s library, who quietly uses the chaos to get closer to Her Majesty herself. In French with subtitles.
2012; $17.98-$24.98; PG-13
A surprisingly good thriller about a teenage girl who fantasizes about love, having only classic-movie romances to guide her. Into her life drops a spoiled rich kid, leading to shy, PG-13 passion. But the boy may know more about the disappearance of a local girl than he’s willing to say. Stars Lindsey Shaw from “Pretty Little Liars” and Jean-Luc Bilodeau from “Piranha 3DD.” Nicely captures the yearnings and over-imaginative excesses of being 16. We liked it.
THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH
1934; $24.98-$39.98; UR
This early work by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day, finally available on Blu-ray as part of the Criterion Collection, still ranks as one of best movies ever made. Stewart and Day play a happy married couple, vacationing with their son in Switzerland, who get innocently embroiled in an assassination plot. A quick-moving film filled to the brim with action, daring escapes, great characters (including Peter Lorre’s English-language film debut), explosive, unexpected humor, and provocative locales. A must-own.
2012; $16.98-$39.98; PG-13
This would have been just another bit of spooky PG-13 hokum if not for the cast. Jeffrey Dean Morgan (“Watchmen”) and Kyra Sedgwick (“The Closer”) pick up a wooden box at a yard sale, which attracts the interest of their young daughter, played by the amazing Natasha Calis (“The Firm”). It seems that the box contains a deadly spirit that claims the girl and intends to consume her whole. This cast really deserved a more intense script, but the film is entertaining if not groundbreaking.
THOMAS & FRIENDS: MUDDY MATTERS
2013; $9.98-$14.98; UR
Yes, we actually watch all these Thomas The Tank Engine vids, and this one may be our favorite. Why? Because it tells kids to turn off their damn smartphones and get the hell out of the house — go play in the mud like a kid’s supposed to! Well, at least that’s what we got out of it …
2010; $24.98; UR
If you’re a foodie, then you already know about the Michelin Guide, the de facto bible of the restaurant industry whose ratings and reviews can make or break a restaurant. This fun doc follows 10 gourmet chefs, focusing on the constant struggle to obtain and continue the coveted Michelin 3-star rating, without which their careers are kaput. It’s the Food Channel with depth.
TO ROME WITH LOVE
2012; $19.98-$35.98; R
Woody Allen’s ensemble love letter to Rome and everything Italian. Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penelope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, Ellen Page and more romp, frolic, love and fight and reunite amid opera and architectural masterpieces, all with a thick layer of fresh mozzarella. A classic throw-caution-to-the-wind comedy like they just don’t make anymore. Sublime, silly and neurotic.
A more complete listing and free vids at videotapeworm.com.