Issue April 9, 2013

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, April 16

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

DJANGO UNCHAINED

2012; $22.98-$39.98; R

Jamie Foxx outshines an impressive cast (Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson) as the brutal, untamed slave used as a tool of revenge by bounty hunter Waltz — while Foxx hunts for his own enslaved wife (Washington). This film is a flawlessly written and brilliantly directed effort by Quentin Tarantino, but it’s not for everyone: It is a violent ode to a violent genre — relentless, savage and demeaning. That being said, it is also the perfect grindhouse experience, inspired by Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 genre-busting spaghetti western “Django.” (Watch for that film’s star, Franco Nero, in a cameo as Amerigo Vessepi.)

REPO MAN

1984; $19.98-$39.98; R

One of our absolute favorite flicks — now on a Criterion Edition Blu-ray! Emilio Estevez is a dead-end punk who lives in a world of violence and drugs until he meets Repo Man (Harry Dean Stanton) and learns the Zen of auto repossession. Meanwhile, a mysterious doctor drives through the night with (dun dun DUNNN) something in his trunk, while Tracey Walter ruminates on missing persons and time travel. And it all comes together in a slam-bang existential ending that’s part “Naked Lunch” and part “Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.” A must-own!

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AT THE GATE OF THE GHOST

2011; $14.98-$29.98; R

Aka “The Outrage,” this is a Thai take on Kurasawa’s classic he-said/she-said drama “Rashomon.” After the trial of a brutal murderer, a young monk goes to discuss what he saw with his father. On the way he and a poor man ride out a storm in a burial tunnel where an old beggar guides them through the trial from each participant’s identical — yet completely different — point of view. The ending here is uniquely framed in a Buddhist perspective. Thought-provoking.

DRAGON

2011; $19.98-$29.98; R

This enigmatic sort-of martial arts movie is a Chinese take on Viggo Mortensen’s “A History of Violence.” Donnie Yen plays a quiet man in a small village who recognizes a pair of brutal gangsters as they come into town. When they attack a shopkeeper, he jumps into action, displaying incredible feats of skill, but this attracts the attention of a detective who accuses him of being a notorious former gangster. This, in turn, draws more criminal elements into town to see if he is, in fact, their missing turncoat. Highly recommended.

EMPIRE OF SILVER

2009; $29.98-$34.98; UR

A deep, complex tale from China based on real events. Over a century ago, in the heart of their “Wall Street” period, a young man, one of four brothers, is in line to inherit his father’s vast, crumbling banking empire. But he wants nothing to do with it because his father has married the young man’s one true love. The story also explores the effect the plague of Christianity had as it first swept over the more urban areas of the country. A historical soaper of the first order.

ESCAPEE

2011; $16.98-$24.98; R

Dominic Purcell makes a terrific psychotic killer in this low-rent indie thriller. He’s quietly tucked away in a padded cell until a pretty co-ed (Christine Evangelista, nummy nummy) comes by to study him. That night — in the midst of a convenient hurricane! — he escapes in a bloody rampage, looking for the girl. OK, it’s a total piece of crap, but it’s an entertaining piece of crap! Great bad-movie fun.

IRON MAN: RISE OF TECHNOVORE

2013; $20.98; PG-13

Marvelites will recognize this as the excellent animated tales of billionaire Tony Stark. A young nut-job named Ezekiel Stane creates a “techno-organic” armor that seems even more incredible than Iron Man’s. But when Stane turns terrorist, Iron Man is accused of his crimes, putting Stark on the run from both S.H.I.E.L.D. and a new technology that threatens all life on Earth. Good stuff. ’Nuff said?

NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN

2012; $24.98; R

An indie Aussie starring-vehicle for heartthrob Ryan Kwanten (Jason Stackhouse of “True Blood”). He plays a hedonistic young man who discovers that he will be infertile in a month, so he sets about trying to impregnate every woman he can find. But despite its stroke-flick plot, this is a very smart, funny, caring movie about finding what you want out of life. We liked it.

ONE DAY ON EARTH

2012; $26.98-$29.98; UR

A truly unique and immersive cinematic experiment, this is the first film ever made in every country on Earth on the same day: October 10, 2010. The result is a seamless look at the interconnectedness of all things on our fragile globe, the loss of even the least of which could make your life unbearable — if not impossible. From birth to death and beyond, we see the oneness of all things. Warning: This movie can be a sensory overload if you are unprepared. Don’t resist; just open your mind to the experience and enjoy.

PEDAL-DRIVEN

2011; $26.98-$29.98; UR

An action-packed documentary on the rift between an ever-growing number of mountain bikers whose trails are destroying sensitive woodlands, home to extinction-threatened creatures, and the understaffed, underfunded federal land managers trying to protect them. While the topic is contentious, the filmmakers show that there is a simple solution, but it requires that capacity Americans seem to have lost of late: cooperation. A beautiful ride.

SUGARTOWN

2011; $24.98-$29.98; UR

This short-lived romcom series from GB didn’t go over all that well, but we thought it was charming, sweet, fun and funny. A pair of brothers, one committed to the family/small-town candy business and the other a shallow big-time developer, clash when they must decide the business’ fate. But that is just a prelude to the clash that occurs when the rich brother sets his sights on the poor one’s fiancee. Miranda Raison (“Vexed,” “My Week With Marilyn”) is simply wonderful as the betrothed in question, with Tom Ellis (“Buffalo Soldiers”) and Shaun Dooley (“Misfits”) as the brothers. Recommended.

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