Issue March 19, 2013

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, March 26

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

FROM BEYOND

1986; $19.98-$29.98; R

Director Stuart “Re-Animator” Gordon once again sets the corpse of H.P. Lovecraft a-’whirlin’ with this interdimensional kinkfest about a group of (snicker) medical researchers who sit around stimulating their pineal glands (which wiggle from their foreheads on a stalk) with a “Praetorius Resonator.” Hey, whatever works for you. What works for us is prim-and-proper Barbara Crampton slipping into her black latex dominatrix outfit. Talk about stimulated glands! (Insert rimshot here.) Co-stars include Jeffrey Combs, Ted Sorel and someone named Bunny Summers. One of our all-time favorite films, now available in a Blu-ray Collector’s Edition. Enjoy.

MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: XXVI

2013; $44.98-$59.98; UR

It only took them 26 tries, but they finally got it just right. Our favorite MST3K set so far includes Bert I; Gordon’s amazing “The Magic Sword” with Basil Rathbone and Estelle Winwood; “Alien From L.A.” — a real stinker! — with Kathy Ireland; the 007 rip-off “Danger! Death Ray” starring a former “Tarzan” actor; and Universal Studio’s classic 1956 sci-fi howler “The Mole People.” With four bonus featurettes, host Joel Hogsdon, four of their very best flicks, and some of the most inspired riffing of the entire series, this is a must-own for any MSTie. Hey! The line forms here! Quit pushin’!

•••

CHEERFUL WEATHER FOR THE WEDDING

2012; $19.98-$24.98; UR

We didn’t expect to like this “Limey bride-to-be fretting she’s marrying the wrong man” comedy-drama, but it won us over quickly. On the surface it’s a stodgy British comedy of manners as former lovers Felicity Jones and Luke Treadaway await Jones’ wedding to another man, while mom Elizabeth McGovern steamrolls everyone into making this the perfect wedding. But it’s the unsophisticated little sister, Ellie Kendrick (Ivy Morris from “Upstairs Downstairs”), who steals the show with her wide-eyed observations. A fun movie with a great cast.

FRANKENSTEIN THEORY

2012; $19.98; UR

The fair-haired lads behind “Last Exorcism” cooked up this found-footage/Frankenstein mash-up that travels to the frozen North to prove that Mary Shelley’s penultimate horror novel was based on — dum, dum, DUMMM! — real events! Unlike the book, the monster they find is more Bigfoot than Modern Prometheus, but it’s still a fun night-vision slog through bloody snow.

KILLING THEM SOFTLY

2012; $19.98; R

Based on the 1974 crime novel “Cogan’s Trade,” a trio of morons rob a Mob-run card game in New Orleans. Smart career move, huh? The mobsters, who are suffering from their own post-Katrina economic slowdown, bring in hitman Brad Pitt to clean up the mess and send a message to any other morons who might be listening. A stunning mess of a film with some brilliant performances by Pitt, James Gandolfini (natch) and Ray Liotta.

MAIGRET: SET 8

2013; $59.98; UR

For the uninitiated, “Maigret” is a long-running and wildly successful French detective series based on the novels of Georges Simenon. The titular character (Bruno Cremer), a nearly silent investigator with Sherlockian powers of observation and deduction, is as thrilling to watch as a lit firecracker. But what we liked most was the way that each clue is there for all to see, allowing the viewer to solve the damn-clever crimes along with everyone else — or try to, anyway. These things are breathtaking in their scope and beautifully photographed amid a perfectly realized panorama of 1950s Paris. Only problem is, now we have to buy sets 1-7!

MEN AT WORK: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON

2012; $26.98-$35.98; UR

This TBS series about four buds who work at a “men’s magazine” brings together Danny Masterson (“That 70s Show”), Adam Busch (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), Michael Cassidy (“Argo”) and James Lesure (“Las Vegas”) in what might be called a “(lack-of) sex comedy.” That gives them lots of opportunity for male bonding, hot babes and stupid man-tricks, yet limits the expected pulchritude and naughty talk to Turner’s draconian levels. Still a fun ride with fresh little Meredith Hagner and a couple of episodes with Amy Smart.

PANIC IN THE STREETS

1950; $18.98-$24.98; UR

This is one of the most underrated movies we know, a classic late-’40s crime caper set in The Big Easy with Richard Widmark as a public health inspector who discovers that a shot-up floater down at the docs carries the bubonic plague. And the killers are now infected, too — potentially infecting the entire city if they can’t be found in time! Decades ahead if its time from director Elia Kazan, and now available on Blu-ray. Recommended.

PARENTAL GUIDANCE

2012; $29.98; PG

Billy Crystal and Bette Midler babysit three horrible grandkids while working-stiffs Marisa Tomei and Tom Everett Scott toil elsewhere in this “let’s run roughshod over old people” kid-flick. The best thing about this turkey are the kids, including Bailee Madison (2010’s “Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark”), Joshua Rush (“Escape From Planet Earth”), and a particularly evil little snot named Kyle Harrison Breitkopf (TV’s “Being Human”). Frankly, we’d never let a kid anywhere near this thing, but it’s your funeral.

THE BORGIAS: THE SECOND SEASON

2012; $33.98-$65.98; UR

Second season (and suspiciously long-delayed release) of this powerhouse Showtime series starring Jeremy Irons, François Arnaud, and Holliday Grainger as Lucrezia, with skinny-sexy Lotte Verbeek to do the nude scenes that Grainger refuses to do. A shocking, complex — and completely true — tale of power, corruption and the ruthlessness of the Catholic church in 15th century Italy as Rodrigo (Irons) uses his position as Pope Alexander VI to do all manner of savagery in the name of God and family.

THE COMEDY

2012; $23.98; UR

Fans of “Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” are the target audience for this slacker, er, comedy starring Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, Gregg Turkington (aka “Neil Hamburger”), and James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem. Kinda dark and a little lonely at times, it follows Tim’s patented aging hipster as he confronts inheriting his dad’s estate, knowing that it means he’ll never have to make anything of himself.

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