Issue September 10, 2013

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, Sept. 17

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

DAY OF THE DEAD

1985; $16.98-$29.98; UR

This is chapter three of George Romero’s original zombie series, and while it has long been available on Blu-ray, this is a Blu-ray Collector’s Edition: newly remastered with complete audio commentary by Romero, Tom Savini and actress Lori Cardille — plus 31 minutes of production footage, courtesy of Savini, and much more! In this chapter, the last surviving humans huddle in an underground bunker foolishly attempting to control test-zombies, while other rotters rule the surface world. Is this edition worth the cost? Only if you want to show future underground-dwelling Americans how The End was predicted by a balding horror-nebbish in Pittsburgh!

WORLD WAR Z

2012; $14.98-$54.98; PG-13/UR

In a phrase: Brad Pitt makes a zombie movie. He spends much of the picture being shuttled from one disaster zone to another, watching the best mass-zombie-attack scenes ever created by a computer, safely from a distance. Coming in waves, swarming across overturned cars, up trees, filling in the gaps between tall buildings, with no concern for their own safety, focused only on spreading, devouring, consuming and destroying, this is the scariest cinematic carnage since Madonna’s “MDNA” tour video. Not a masterpiece, but very entertaining; the sort of film that the SciFi Channel might dream of doing if they weren’t such schmucks.

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A GIRL AND A GUN

2013; $24.95; UR

A lively, blistering, un-preachy dissertation/doc on why so many women are packin’ heat today. Traditionally considered a “guy thing,” the truth of the matter — the ratio of concealed-carry permits between women and men, for example — will startle you. Bottom line: Many women say that guns make them feel empowered, and the skyrocketing rate of female gun violence (almost exclusively against men) may just be the beginning of a new world order. Recommended.

A LETTER TO THREE WIVES

1948; $19.98-$24.98; UR

For those unaware of their own cultural history, this is one of the most celebrated and adult dramas of all time. The three wives in question are Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell and Ann Sothern, and the letter is from a slutty “friend” (voiced by an unseen Celeste Holm), telling them that she intends to run away with one of their husbands — but not which husband. What ensues is one of the best-written, best-directed ensemble pieces imaginable, courtesy of legendary director/co-writer Joseph L. Mankiewicz. And, yes, we secretly have crushes on each of the wives, three of the loveliest women Hollywood ever ruined. Join us.

BEHIND THE CANDELABRA

2013; $13.98-$24.98; TV-MA

Liberace was flaming before flaming became an adjective: a flamboyant, sequin-covered superstar entertainer who spread his Las Vegas empire from coast to coast during television’s variety heyday. He was also gay before gay became a noun, “secretly” having a raucous relationship with the much younger Scott Thorson. Here Michael Douglas and Matt Damon recreate the home life of the two in all its glitter and pain for director Steven Soderbergh. In turns campy, shocking, surprising, tender, enabling, devastating, funny and cruel — just like real life! Recommended.

GRIMM: SEASON TWO

2012; $38.98-$69.98; UR

There’s nothing particularly deep or thought-provoking about this fun little “let’s go chase the spooky things” romp from NBC, but that puts it right in the sweet spot between “Buffy” and “Supernatural.” Average-guy homicide detective David Giuntoli is the reluctant last in a line of hunters of supernatural fairytale baddies. But by Season 2, he has become far less reluctant, embracing his responsibilities as the folklore foes get ever more perplexing and gruesome. Scary at times, with an attractive cast, interesting characters and a bit of smooching; addictive as hell.

HARBOR COMMAND: THE COMPLETE SERIES

2013; $22.98-$29.98; UR

It’s surprising how popular this series remains in viewers’ minds, given that it lasted only one season back in 1957-58 and was a 30-minute b&w weekly drama about life in the U.S. Coast Guard. Wendell Corey (future president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) stars as Capt. Ralph Baxter, a man dedicated to protecting his country, his city and his bay from crime and danger. And yet, despite its meager premise, it routinely ranks as one of the best-remembered shows of the ’50s — the decade that gave us Westerns, war action, cop dramas and space operas. Check it out.

SCENIC ROUTE

2013; $14.98-$24.98; R

This two-man drama stars Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler as childhood friends coming together for a long-awaited road trip after many years apart. This being the movies and all, their pickup truck breaks down in the desert, miles from anywhere. As they succumb to the heat, decades-old conflicts bubble to the surface, building slowly to a bloody life-or-death confrontation. We had the same thing happen at a McDonald’s drive-thru once — true story! Good stuff.

THE BLING RING

2013; $13.98-$16.98; R

Sophia Coppola brings us this based-on-a-true-story about L.A. teens who go on a crime spree among the rich and famous, racking up some $3 million in loot before succumbing to their own hubris. The young cast is excellent, especially Emma “Hermoine Grainger” Watson, but the real star is our collective infantile fascination with smartphones, celebrity culture and social media. Edited into an ADD-affected swirl of seemingly random scenes, it really lets the viewer get into the heads of the disoriented and hyper-excited kids. So who’s to blame for all this misspent youth? You’ll be arguing about it for days.

TRIUMPH OF THE WALL

2013; $24.98; UR

A documentary for people who hate documentaries. Filmmaker Bill Stone hired a stonemason in rural Canada to build a 1,000-foot dry-set stone wall, intending to film the process. Time estimate? Eight weeks. Eight years later, he’s still at it. The reasons why will resonate for any homeowner who has tried to do a simple project, only to have it turn to shit. We laughed our butts off.

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