THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:
BECK: EPISODES 19-21 & 22-24
2013; $34.99/set; UR
Thanks to everyone who wrote in telling us how much they enjoyed the relatively unknown Danish drama “Borgen” we introduced last month. Here’s a Swedish detective show you’ll also be rabid fans of in short order. Peter Haber stars as the titular and somewhat “Columbo”-ish detective. A man seemingly bereft of social skills whose only goals in life are to put the bad guys away — which he does methodically — and be a better father to his adult daughter (a work in progress). His partner, Mikael Persbrandt, is just the opposite: a flashy renegade cop who eschews protocol, literally torturing suspects to get to the truth. Individually they are trouble, together they are unstoppable. New to video: Episode sets 19-21 and 22-24, though all 18 earlier episodes are also available in various sets. Subtitled and highly addictive.
BORGEN: SEASON 2
2013; $44.98-$49.98; UR
To everyone who’s been clamoring for more of this Danish “West Wing,” written large across the icy Nordic sky … leave us alone, already! The 24-hour press-corps continues to hound the first female Prime Minister (Sidse Babett Knudsen), now a divorced mother of two, even as international wars encroach on their fragile sovereignty, threatening the delicate alliances that keep everything afloat. But it is blonde hottie Birgitte Hjort Sørensen — providing much of the welcome Nordic nudity — who remains her deadliest foe: a crafty newswoman who is not above screwing up a crisis when there is nothing else to report. Even more compelling than Season 1.
ALIEN CRASH AT ROSWELL: THE UFO TRUTH LOST IN TIME
2013; $14.98-$16.98; UR
These wonderfully hokey docs from Reality Entertainment remind us of Leonard Nimoy’s old “In Search Of” series — quite a compliment! Here we follow Major Jesse Marcel, “commander of the most technologically advanced bomb group in the world,” who “discovered” a downed UFO in the New Mexico desert in 1947, following a “harrowing and record-breaking storm.” You get the idea: Lots of hyperbole and overstatement with flashy, colorful graphics. Of course we liked it! Big dumb fun on a budget.
BEAUTY AND THE LEAST
2012; $19.98-$24.98; UR
After spending 12 years stoned out of his gourd in community college, Ben (Ben Banks) falls hard for lithe barista Mischa Barton (there’s a lot of that going around). When he uncovers her long-hidden secret, he sets out with friends to right a very serious wrong and maybe become an adult in the process. Not terrific by any means, but a change of pace for writer/director Bryce Clark, who writes for “Yo Gabba Gabba!” Aka “Ben Banks.”
HANSEL & GRETEL GET BAKED
2013; $21.98-$29.98; UR
Lara Flynn Boyle is hilarious as the cannibal granny who lures teenagers to her home with killer weed, then eats their flesh to grow young and beautiful. But the actual stars are Michael Welch and Molly C. Quinn, sibs who discover her evil deeds, though no one will believe them. A loving homage to low-rent stoner/slasher movies with cameos by scream-vets Lochlyn Munro and Yancy Butler. Gangs of fun.
JACK TAYLOR: SET 1
2010; $34.98-$49.98; UR
This excellent British private-eye show soars for two reasons: first, the imposing, breathtaking lands of western Ireland, and second, Jack Taylor (Iain Glen, “Game of Thrones,” “Downton Abbey”), as mule-headed and ornery a drunken ex-cop as ever who brawled his way out of a pub. But Jack is the perfect man to wrestle the truth from the rugged crags of Galway. In this set, he’s on the trail of serial murderer, a vigilante group and — our favorite story — a sadistic nun nicknamed “Lucifer.” Beauty, intrigue, fisticuffs, humor and the best of the Ol’ Sod in equal measure. Highly recommended.
2012; $20.98-$26.98; R
This Canadian flick is a minor masterpiece. A First Nations teen (the Canadian equivalent of “Native American”) embodies every young person who ever felt they didn’t fit in. He pulls together with two friends to unearth a dark secret from his past. We won’t say more of the plot, but the real reason to watch this is the relationship between the three teens: It’s as if you, the viewer, are invisible and privy to an intimate world where they are free to be vulnerable and frightened, each gaining courage from the others. One of the best films we’ve ever seen; a perfect indie that succeeds by keeping its story simple but heartfelt and, above all, real. With Benjamin Bratt in a pivotal role.
2013; $19.98-$40.98; R
This Halle Berry/Abigail Breslin vehicle didn’t exactly burn up the box office, but there’s a lot to like. When Breslin gets stuffed in a car truck, abducted, she’s smart enough to keep her cell phone hidden until she can call 911. Berry, still recovering from an emergency gone horribly wrong, is the operator who answers the call. The filmmakers unnecessarily throw in incest and gore to give it an R rating, and Berry’s guilt-trip is more hindrance than help, but the two central actresses crank up the tension while Morris Chestnut and others keep the pot simmering. We liked it.
THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE
2013; $14.98-$35.98; PG-13
Steve Carell is the titular magician, part of a Siegfried and Roy-like Vegas team with Steve Buscemi. Once rulers of The Strip, today the two can’t stand each other, and, to make matters worse, their livelihood is threatened by street stunter Jim Carrey. Only an over-the-top stunt of their own can save their act, but has time simply passed them by? This isn’t a “bad” film, per se; there are plenty of laughs and enough dumb physical gags to keep things upbeat. But with this kind of talent, we were expecting so much more. Worth a look; with Olivia Wilde, James Gandolfini, Alan Arkin, Jay Mohr, Brad Garrett and more.
A more complete listing and free vids at videotapeworm.com.