THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:
I’LL FOLLOW YOU DOWN
2014; $27.98; UR
We love time-travel movies, especially when they’re as thought-provoking and human as this one. Gillian “X-Files” Anderson and Haley Joel “Sixth Sense” Osment star as the wife and now-grown son of a physicist (Rufus Sewell) who disappeared some years ago. But once the son grows into a physicist himself, he comes to believe he may be able to alter time and prevent his father’s disappearance (or something like that). More drama than sci-fi — though the science is excellent — brilliantly written, with a great cast. What more could you want?
2014; $19.98; R
Karen Gillan, Doctor Who’s mini-skirted ginger former companion, stars in this nicely scary horror flick, clearly influenced by the original “Twilight Zone” TV show. Extremely well written, with a cast that includes Katee “Galactica” Sackhoff and Brenton “Maleficent” Thwaites, it tells of a man (Thwaites), locked away as a child for the horrific murder of his parents. But his sister (Gillan) comes to believe that the real killer is a malevolent spirit hiding in an antique mirror. Chilling and creepy, with some fun jump-shocks, building to an all-out scream of a finish that’s surprisingly light on gore but nonetheless satisfying. We liked it.
2014; $19.98; PG-13
While dismissed by some as “this year’s ‘Hunger Games,’” it takes a different approach to teen rebellion against society, and to good effect. Shailene Woodley is excellent (if a bit long of tooth) as a genetic misfit in a world divided into five “factions” — like-minded people representing the five traits most necessary for social stability, and who largely behave in predictable ways, making them easy to rule. Love, war, death-defying stunts, skin-tight leather, unrequited sexual yearnings and feelings of desperate isolation (sounds like our senior prom) make this a very watchable franchise.
LAST TANGO IN HALIFAX: SEASON 2
2014; $29.98-$34.98; UR
This warm oldster BBC comedy series is a charmer. Two childhood would-be sweethearts, whose chance at a lifetime together was short-circuited by misadventure and a single unposted letter, meet again after 50 years. They finally marry, but now they each have adult daughters of their own, giving the geezers a chance to warn them on the vagaries of life. No one listens, of course. Stars Anne “Upstairs Downstairs” Reid and Derek “The Borgias” Jacobi as the ’rents, and Sarah Lancashire (“Coronation Street”) and Nicola Walker (“MI-5”) as the sibs.
LOVE LAB: COMPLETE COLLECTION
2013; $44.98-$59.98; UR
This imported anime is a curious thing: innocent enough for kids, yet it strikes some American adults as kinda pervy (which probably says more about themselves than the Japanese). A girls’-school class president is instructed to make a tomboy “more appealing to boys,” launching a very intimate friendship that includes “practice” kissing, private touching and “hug-pillows” with boys’ faces. A very warm, funny and delightfully playful look at universal themes that some have nonetheless labeled as “yuri” — a socially accepted form of Japanese animated soft porn about same-sex pre-teens. You decide.
PING PONG SUMMER
2014; $27.98; UR
A minor comedy so cleverly disguised as a no-rent ’80s teen hip-hop drama that we almost tossed it. But then we noticed it co-stars Susan Sarandon, Lea Thompson, Amy Sedaris and John Hannah! Newcomer Marcello Conte is “Rad Miracle,” a hip-hop-obsessed 13-year-old ping-pong-playing pasty white kid in 1985. In classic style, he experiences all the heartbreak of would-be love on vacation with his embarrassing family, until a more experienced neighbor (Sarandon) gives him the confidence he needs to succeed. A funny, painful, aching misfire by design. We loved it.
SHORT PEACE: COMPLETE COLLECTION
2013; $27.98; UR
A quartet of breathtaking animated shorts by some of Japan’s masters of the craft. All feature exceptional soundtracks (we even ripped a few for car use), but the last in the set, “A Farewell To Arms” — created by Katsuhiro Ohtomo, who brought us 1988’s “Akira,” one of our Top-10 all-time favorite films — is the most profound, with engaging and very real characters coming to understand that, despite all our high-minded principles, man is a ruthless beast at heart, and war is our inevitable destiny. These are obviously mature movies meant for adults. Recommended.
THE BROKER’S MAN, SERIES 2
1998; $37.98-$39.98; UR
This lesser-known Limey detective series stars charismatic Kevin Whately (“The English Patient”) as Jimmy Griffin, insurance investigator, former cop and full-time lady’s man whose roving eye and cunning mind make him a master at rooting out criminals and killers and killer-babes alike. Needless to say, his personal life is in the loo. Our favorites in this set include a deadly kayak trip and the interactions with his seriously rebellious daughter, played by Holly Davidson, who later co-starred in “Van Wilder 2.” Addictive and highly recommended.
THE SAINT, SET 1
1989; $31.98-$49.98; UR
No, this isn’t that old Roger Moore chestnut, nor is it the classic George Sanders or Ian Ogilvy series, nor even that unfortunate Val Kilmer movie of 1997. This is the late-’80s invocation of modern-day Robin Hood, Simon Templar, played by Simon Dutton (“Dangerous Beauty,” “EastEnders”), and it has quickly become our favorite. This set features three adventures filled with action, danger, sophistication, exotic locales, daring-do and curvy women — all without ever wrinkling his clothes! Watch for the great John Astin, bodacious Gayle “Hell House” Hunnicutt and underrated hottie Rebecca Gilling among the many guests.
TRANSFORMERS CYBERTRON: THE COMPLETE SERIES
2014; $34.98-$44.98; UR
This final chapter in The Unicron Trilogy finds Unicron defeated, but creating a black hole that is about to devour the Transformers’ home world. The Autobots and their three human friends set out on a desperate mission to locate the four Cyber Planet Keys, mysterious and powerful objects that can heal this rip in the universe. But those evil Decepticons want the Keys for their own nefarious ends.
A more complete listing and free vids at videotapeworm.com.