THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:
COMBAT!: THE COMPLETE SERIES
1966; $160.98-$229.98; UR
We’ve mentioned the single-season offerings of this groundbreaking b&w series all year, and now the complete set is here at a collectable price, just in time for Christmas. It’s a violent, unrepentant tale of American soldiers carving their way through Europe, knife-in-teeth, that would be right at home among today’s most popular cable series. Vic Morrow and Rick Jason star along with a who’s-who of great thesps including Claude Akins, Wayne “MASH” Rogers, Bill “The Incredible Hulk” Bixby, John Considine, Sal Mineo and Ted “Ted Knight” Baxter. Forty discs, more than 121 freakin’ HOURS of classic TV from the Golden Age — and we’re giving one away FREE! Just drop by videotapeworm.com/video.php and sign up to win one complete set from LEO, The Video TapeWorm and RLJ Entertainment. You’re welcome, Private.
MAN OF STEEL
2013; $18.98-$59.98; PG-13
We had real doubts going into the theater: Could Christopher “Dark Knight” Nolan and Zack “300” Snyder really create a good “Superman” franchise? With kinda bland Henry Cavill and Amy Adams as Kal El and Lois? We were won over by their central conceit: Superman is, first and foremost, an alien creature. He’s not the savior of all mankind; he’s just trying to understand his place in the universe. And he is no threat to us … provided we keep our distance. A wonderfully dark, lonely story with state-of-the-art special effects and a plot that — while comic-booky — doesn’t talk down to the viewer. Bottom line: One of our favorite films of 2013; a must-own.
2013; $21.98-$29.98; PG-13
This doc could shut down Sea World and its ilk forever. Killer whales are called that for a reason: At 6 tons, they must eat a lot of lesser creatures to survive. And given their astounding intelligence, it’s little wonder “accidents” keep happening in captivity. This is the story of Tilikum, a killer whale that has already killed three trainers. And, as the “property” of Sea World, it presents a paradox: Do they continue to show/train it? Do they destroy this very visible symbol of their company? Do they set it free? And what moral obligations do they have to the victims and their families? This doc is just like the whales themselves: beautiful, savage and damn smart.
1993; $24.98-$29.98; R
We love anthologies, and this ’90s classic is a minor gem. John “Halloween” Carpenter and Tobe “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” Hooper created this trip-art horror for Showtime that stars a who’s-who of actors including Alex “Passenger 57” Datcher, Stacy Keach, Robert Carradine, Mark “Luke Skywalker” Hamill, Tom Arnold, Deborah Harry, Sheena Easton, Twiggy, David “An American Werewolf In London” Naughton, ’50s monster vet John Agar, and Roger Corman. Previously available only on Laser Disc and VHS, you can now enjoy it on DVD and Blu-ray.
IN SEARCH OF BLIND JOE DEATH: THE SAGA OF JOHN FAHEY
2013; $21.98-$24.98; UR
An unusual and highly entertaining biodoc on the life and influence of the late guitarist John Fahey, a profoundly influential musician and troublemaker who established the American Primitive Guitar style, made most famous by the work of The Who’s Pete Townsend and Chris Funk of The Decemberists. Livened by clever animation and scenes of nature at its best, Fahey’s life is revealed through his music and the living legacy of those he influenced. Sweet.
IP MAN: THE FINAL FIGHT
2013; $20.98-$29.98; PG-13
Martial-arts junkies recognize the name Yip Man as the real-life master of the Wing Chun art who openly taught this previously secret style in 1930s China. The fourth movie in the “Ip Man” series finds Yip (Donnie Yen) reluctantly participating in a tournament with a rival school, despite his vowed retirement. But the tourny proves to be a cover for actions of the evil Triad, threatening his life, his school and the very future of China. Good stuff.
2012; $19.98-$29.98; PG-13
Blonde hottie Julianne Hough plays “Lamb,” a virginal Christian in a small Montana town who suffers a near-fatal accident, resulting in a wad of insurance cash — and a checklist of worldly sins she intends to check out ASAP! Where to start? Why, Las Vegas, of course! That’s where she meets Russell Brand and Octavia Spencer, who help her find herself again (damn meddlers) in this unusual comedy that would have been so much better as an “R.”
SCHOOLGIRL REPORT VOL. 11: TRYING BEATS STUDYING
2013; $24.98; UR
Yes, it’s another one of those embarrassing and unredeemable early ’70s softcore wonders from Germany. This one features four tales of promiscuity, betrayal and wild barn-sex parties, culminating in a group of giggly “girls” giving 20-something Heidi the 18th birthday treat she’s always dreamed of: being locked in a bedroom with a school chum so she can lose her virginity. Playful Teutonic romps with huge-breasted blondes built to titillate and entertain.
THE NAUGHTY LIST
2013; $14.98; PG
A nicely subversive animated Christmas tale with voicework from Matthew Lillard, Sean Astin and Drake Bell. A pair of less-than-productive North Pole elves are given crappy jobs to do because they are such screw-ups — eventually shutting down Santa’s entire operation with a virulent round of food poisoning! On Christmas Eve! Not your usual bland seasonal treat: This one’s going in our stocking.
2013; $19.96-$48.99; PG
Dreamworks Animation probably won’t see a long-running franchise à la “Madagascar” from this tale of a snail who develops super-speed and dreams of racing against Indy cars, but as a one-shot character, it is perfect viewing for your basic hyperactive rugrat. There’s even a moral: “No one succeeds on their own, no matter how great they are,” teaching kids the importance of friendship. Won’t change your life or anything, but a colorful, lively, upbeat kid’s tale with voice work by Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti and Samuel L. Jackson.
A more complete listing and free vids at videotapeworm.com.