THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
2014; $14.98-$39.98; R
Many people consider writer/director Wes Anderson (“Moonrise Kingdom”) a genius. We won’t go that far, but he does make some damn clever and surprising movies. Case in point: this entertaining/weird mix of romance, adventure, murder, slapstick, daring prison escapes and war starring F. Murray Abraham as the former lobby boy of a European hotel, reminiscing about boss Ralph Fiennes and their many misadventures. But the true joy here is Anderson’s breathtaking creativity. Just relax and check in with fellow travelers Tony Revolori, Tilda Swinton, Jude Law, Adrien Brody, Saoirse Ronan and a host of others. Wonderful.
THE LEGO MOVIE
2014; $28.98-$35.99; PG
In a world of Legos where “everything is awesome,” a “perfectly average” Lego man, voiced by Chris Pratt and dedicated to uniformity, finds himself declared “extraordinary” and is thus thrust into a quest to save the Lego universe. The expensive voice talent gets lost amid the breathtaking animation, hilarious puns and painfully cheap humor, all of which builds to a fever pitch until halted by a brief live-action segment that sets you up for an off-the-rails finale. We’re embarrassed at how much we enjoyed this movie. A must-own.
ALEXANDER’S LOST WORLD
2014; $44.98-$49.98; UR
Alexander the Great, arguably the most resourceful and charismatic leader in human history, unified nearly all of the known world some 2,300 years ago while still a very young man. But how much of his legend is true and how much did he and others invent to assist his quest? This jaw-dropping six-part BBC exploration takes us on a journey across the ancient world, stopping in Asia and present-day Afghanistan to find the reality of the man — some of which is even more amazing than the myth. Riveting, exciting and even inspiring.
DCI BANKS: SEASON 1
2010; $29.98-$34.98; UR
Detective Chief Investigator Alan Banks (Stephen Tompkinson) is an absolutely ruthless and cunning policeman, willing to go to any lengths to solve the most horrendous crimes imaginable. Under his charge, D.S. Annie Cabbot (Andrea Lowe) finds herself knee-deep in arson, murder, blood and decades-old mystery in an impressive — and extremely graphic — cop show from the masters at the BBC. And rather than make another weekly series of simpleminded mystery shorts, the creators go deep, focusing the entire season on the many tentacles of a single four-plus-hour case. Shocking and intense, this thing rawks; highly recommended.
INVASION OF THE SCREAM QUEENS
1992; $14.98; UR
The 20th Anniversary Edition of a guilty pleasure of ours. Director Donald “Demon Queen” Farmer introduces us to a bevy of legendary cult actresses including Michelle “Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers” Bauer, Brinke “Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama” Stevens and Mary “Eating Raoul” Woronov, along with great behind-the-scenes pieces on “I Spit on Your Grave,” “Slumber Party Massacre” and many others. A required component of any good cult-movie collection.
JOY RIDE 3: ROAD KILL
2014; $12.98-$29.98; R/UR
Ken Kirzinger (Jason from “Freddy vs. Jason”) returns from the original “Joy Ride” to reprise the role of Rusty Nail, the truck-drivin’ anti-hero/psycho out to punish those who bruise his strict moral code. This time he targets a group of street-racing goons who get squashed in inventive ways. Unfortunately the innocent get no better treatment than the guilty (a theme of the series), putting blonde cutie Kirsten Prout (“Kyle XY”) in harm’s way — chained to the front of his 18-wheeler!
2013; $22.98-$24.98; UR
This low-budget South Korean drama is surprisingly good — and with nary a Kung Fu kick nor bloody shoot-out in sight. On the surface, it’s the tale of a struggling, likeable young tax attorney who agrees to represent a friend in court. But you realize as the movie progresses that this decision is a metaphor for SK’s cultural changes — some might say devastation — of the past 20 years, leaving the current generation of young professionals conflicted as to who they are and how they should proceed. Universal in its appeal.
2013; $9.98-$20.98; R
This British-made sci-fier is excellent. In the near future, a pair of researchers are completing development of the world’s first truly autonomous artificial intelligence, called “Ava” (played by Caity Lotz, Black Canary of TV’s “Arrow”). Once housed in a nearly impregnable robot body, their employers, the Ministry of Defense, swoop in and start a brutal training regimen to turn her into a merciless killing machine. The childlike Ava cannot resist, so the scientists band together to save their creation and mankind’s future in the process.
THE RISE OF THE NAZI PARTY
2014; $49.98-$59.98; UR
We’ve often wondered how Hitler — a whiny, low-level academe — could mastermind the greatest criminal conspiracy in human history. Well, now we know, and you can, too, by watching this 10-part doc on how a handful of ideological thugs slyly manipulated German culture in ways that America’s current Republican Party seems to have studied very well. Bottom line: Money is the root of all evil; people are hard-wired for prejudice; and a sense of entitlement can spark many flames. One more truism: To have a future, you must learn from the past. Watch this.
WALK OF SHAME
2014; $14.98-$26.98; R
Elizabeth Banks is at her sexy, comic best here as a would-be news anchor who goes on a drunken bender after flubbing the audition. Problem is, when she wakes up the next morning, she doesn’t know where she is, who she’s in bed with, or what she did the night before. Oh, and her agent has left her a message saying she got the job — provided she can get her drunken butt to the office ASAP! The rest of the film is a sexy, racy gigglefest as she uncovers her previous night’s entanglements at the worst possible moments. With James Marsden, Gillian “Community” Jacobs and Seneca High grad Sarah “21 & Over” Wright.
A more complete listing and free vids at videotapeworm.com.