Issue April 1, 2014

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, April 8

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

GRUDGE MATCH

2014; $22.98; PG-13

Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone … do we really need to go on? OK, these two vets play former boxers who left a lot of unfinished business in the ring when one retired suddenly 30 years ago. Now, obnoxious promoter Kevin Hart decides to make a killing by provoking them into one more dance. Much of the movie plays as something of a spoof on both “Rocky” and “Raging Bull,” with lots of good-natured “too old for this” ribbing, amid Hart’s nonstop yammering (frankly, it would have been a better film without him). With Kim Basinger, her breathtaking daughter Ireland Baldwin, Rich Little as the announcer, and Alan Arkin. Lots of fun.

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

2014; $44.98-$79.98; PG-13

Anyone who needs a review of this must have spent 2013 under a polar ice cap. But we get paid by the word, so: Part two of Bilbo Baggins’ (Martin Freeman) journey to reclaim the dwarves’ lost realm takes him through the Elven forest of Mirkwood, into the Lake-town of Men, and face to face with the great worm, Smaug, all to terrific effect. Our only complaint was the strained and unnecessary attempt to kill Smaug in a tsunami of molten gold — which, as any fool knows, would not harm a dragon in the least — but we’ll not quibble. You know you want it, my precious …

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APOCALYPSE KISS

2014; $22.98; UR

You’ve got to give props to the makers of this no-budget nudie-sci-fi serial-killer-actioner for giving it their all. A high-tech cop (Tom Detrik) is on the trail of an infamous serial killer (D.C. Douglas, whose voice ornaments Geico commercials), who, in turn, is peeved that lesbian psychopaths Carmela Hayslett and Tammy Jean are stealing his blood-soaked thunder. Meanwhile, the world is about to be destroyed by a wandering planet. With Lloyd “Troma” Kaufman as the president, and a host of schlock-movie vets in cameo. What’s not to like?

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY

2014; $29.98; R

Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts lead us through the dark recesses of Chick Flick Hell in this adaptation of the popular tragicomic London/Broadway play. Streep plays the just-plain-mean, drug-addicted, cancerous matriarch of the Weston clan. The rest of the cast, including Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, et. al., suffer under her constant abuse, each with their own coping mechanism. Sam Shepard plays the husband who sets everything in motion by committing suicide rather than watch this movie for one more damn minute. We feel his pain.

BAD ASS 2: BAD ASSES

2014; $25.98; R

One-man moviemaking machine Danny “Machete” Trejo does his usual butt-kicking, no-holds-barred tough-but-righteous character — here a Vietnam vet training street kids to box — in this sequel to 2012’s hit. And this time he’s got help in the form of a reluctant Danny “Lethal Weapon” Glover. Together they take on the villains who kill Trejo’s student. Say what you want, the guy knows how to make a frickin’ movie!

BLACK COFFEE

2014; $15.98; PG

Latest in a seeming flood of shy Afrocentric romcoms, this one starring Darrin Henson (who has made a solid career in this genre) as a good-hearted guy down on his luck until Gabrielle Dennis (Gloria on TV’s “Justified”) enters the picture. All seems rosy at first; then the usual suspects show up to make life miserable — ex-husbands, ex-girlfriends, ex-cetera. Makes a nice little date movie.

HOLLISTON: SEASON 2

2013; $17.98-$19.98; UR

Fans of FEARnet.com know this is one of the best damn shows around. Real-life indie horror vets Adam Green and Joe Lynch play a pair of low-rent indie fright-filmmakers ulcerating to escape their tiny Massachusetts hometown. They are also horny as hell and can’t seem to understand women. Can we get a “Testify!”? Laura Ortiz and Corri English complete the cast, who all relish turning standard sitcom conventions on their ear — including their first ever animated episode. Comedy, horror, sex, fake blood, great guest stars and a cadre of horror-rockers add up to too much fun. Recommended.

I AM DIVINE

2013; $22.98; UR

A much appreciated look back at the career of pioneer transvestite harbinger of bad taste and outrageous behavior, Harris Milstead, better known as “Divine.” John Waters (of course) leads the list of international talking heads who pay tribute to the Queen of Naughty, along with Ricki Lake, Tab Hunter, Mink Stole, Holly Woodlawn and dozens more. One of the best biodocs imaginable: surprisingly powerful, moving — and damn funny!

SNAKE AND MONGOO$E

2013; $9.98; PG-13/UR

The dramatic true-life tale of NHRA superstars Don “The Snake” Prudhomme (Jesse Williams) and Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen (Richard Blake), retold in all its loud, nitro-burning fury. Longtime friends and racing rivals, these two turned their innate marketing genius and love of speed into a business empire that paved the way for other big-money motorsports, especially today’s NASCAR. It’s a great story, largely unknown, told with attractive, talented people including hot Ashley “Chronicle” Hinshaw, sexy Kim “She’s Out Of My League” Shaw, the great Fred Dryer, John Heard and a guest spot by Tim Blake Nelson.

THE BIG VALLEY: SEASON 2

1966; $20.98-$22.98; UR

One of our favorite old TV shows and one of the highest-rated dramas in TV history, all but unseen in decades, now back for all to enjoy. Acting vet Barbara Stanwyck is head of the Barkley clan, trying to hold their massive 1870s business interests together while family dynamics and evil baddies fight to wrest it away. With her illegitimate half-breed son (Lee Majors) and his brothers (Richard Long and Peter Breck), she rides the fury like a force of nature, but it was her daughter, played by jaw-dropping beauty Linda Evans, who kept us tuned in each week. Yow! A TV masterpiece of writing, cast, direction and locales unequalled to this day; 30 big episodes.

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