Issue July 8, 2014

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, July 15

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

CASE HISTORIES SET 2

2013; $25.98-$39.98; UR

Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy from “Harry Potter”) plays a reluctant, dark PI in this masterful BBC series. A hardened former cop/soldier, his hidden tender side keeps him knee-deep in hard-luck cases with nary a dime to show for them. And these cases tend to be more real-world stuff — missing persons, wayward spouses, etc. — than TV’s current crop of investigators, but each resonates with the viewer in surprising ways thanks to a brilliant cast that includes Millie Innes as his 12-year-old daughter, Zawe Ashton as an unpaid bookkeeper, and the only cop who will still talk to him, Amanda Abbington from “Sherlock.” Why can’t ’merican TV be this good?

ORPHAN BLACK: SEASON 2

2014; $19.98-$29.98; UR

If you’ll pardon our French, this series is the best mind-fuck on TV. The amazing Tatiana Maslany (“Parks and Recreation”) plays a streetwise punk — along with a half-dozen or more other characters, sometimes in the same scene! — in this thick stew of genetic manipulation, clones, secret government nastiness, crazy techno-religious cults, cops, soccer moms, brainless husbands, sexuality in all its glorious forms, drugs, murder, corporate slavery, and mysterious killer step-moms from the BBC. And at the center of it all is her adorable little daughter, a girl who can’t possibly exist. You’ll want to go ahead and get Season 1 while you’re at it. Addictive.

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ACTION-ADVENTURE MOVIE MARATHON

2014; $9.98; R

This cheap collection is notable for being the first-ever DVD release of a VHS favorite, 1982’s “Final Option,” a British thriller about a master soldier infiltrating a terrorist group. Way ahead of its time, it made the career of Lewis Collins, with help from from Judy Davis, Richard Widmark, Edward Woodward and Ingrid Pitt. Also includes “I Escaped From Devil’s Island” (Jim Brown; 1973), “Treasure of the Four Crowns” (1983) and 1959’s James Cagney thriller “Shake Hands with the Devil.”

BLACK DYNAMITE: SEASON 1

2011; $26.98-$29.98; UR

If you’re a fan of “The Boondocks” or “Afro Samurai” (and who isn’t?), then you’ll dig this groovy Cartoon Network series from the same director. Based on 2009’s live-action “Black Dynamite” starring Michael Jai White, who now voices and writes these seriously demented episodic odes to Black Power, Kung Fu grip and sweet, sweet lovin’ with Tommy Davidson as his straight-up sidekick, Sweet Corn. Listen for Jimmy Walker as Roscoe and Byron Minns as Bullhorn. One baaad-ass hoot.

DAVID SUCHET: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ST. PAUL

2014; $17.98-$29.98; UR

David Suchet, best known for playing Hercule Poirot in Britain’s long-running Agatha Christie mysteries, narrates a tour of Christendom starting at the site of the crucifixion, eventually taking us through Greece, Philippi, Thessalonica, Athens and Corinth. The goal? To illustrate how Judaism, Christianity and Islam got along back in the days of St. Paul, and his effect on world history. Lots of lessons for confused modern-day Westerners.

DEADLY EYES

1982; $24.29; R

A real guilty pleasure from the “nature run amok” genre. TV vet Sam Groom co-stars behind a pack of toupée-enhanced dachsounds, filling in for the titular giant rats of this notorious ’80s howler. The product of “steroid-contaminated corn” — which could well be a euphemism for this movie — they chow down on the good people of Toronto, including Scatman Crothers, Sara Botsford (“Lizzie Borden Took an Axe”) and our favorite blonde teen-scream queen of the day, Lisa Langlois (“Class of 1984,” “The L Word”). Now on Blu-ray.

MAJESTIC PRINCE: COLLECTION 1

2013; $53.98-$59.98; UR

“Mecha,” the anime genre that put men into giant fighting robots, gets a much needed rejuvenation in this little known series. Frankly, the “pilots” of Team Rabbits are losers: though genetically engineered for the job of saving Earth from a ruthless, technologically advanced invasion force, they are clumsy, inarticulate and can’t seem to work together. They aren’t heroes: They’re just doing the best they can. But beyond the very real personal interactions, what sets this series apart is the artwork and direction, particularly during battle sequences, which are fluid, graceful, exciting and ingenious — absolutely the best we’ve ever seen. Now on Blu-ray; we can’t wait for the rest of the series to be released.

ROAD TO PALOMA

2014; $12.98-$29.99; R

Muscle-bound man-of-the-moment Jason Momoa (“Game of Thrones,” “Conan the Barbarian”) wrote, directed and stars in this revenge/redemption flick set in the American West. He plays Wolf, a sullen Native American astride a bad-ass cycle, on the run after avenging his mother’s death. You just know this isn’t going to end well, don’t you? The textured cast includes Tye Alexander (“Law and Order: SVU”), Lisa Bonet (“The Cosby Show”), willowy Henree Alyse (“Pretty Little Liars”), Chris Browning (“The 100”) and underrated hottie Kelly Noonan (“Beneath”). The boy shows promise.

SX_TAPE

2012; $10.98-$24.98; UR

This flick sets out to raise the bar for nightmarishness, and clears it in street shoes. Of course, lead actress Caitlyn Folley isn’t wearing shoes or much of anything else most of the time, but we’re not complaining. Aka “sxtape,” it tells of a free-spirited artist (Folley) who lets a guy tie her to a gurney. Naked. In an abandoned hospital. Where bad things have happened. And he just leaves her there. Where anyone or anything can just come along and … At this point it goes from titty-flick/soft-porn to all-out horror. Seriously sick.

TORMENT

2013; $18.98-$20.98; R

Clearly a work of low-budget Canuck affection, this shlocky shocker mines “child becomes prize of backwoods loonies” tropes to transition from family drama to horror. Little Peter “Reign” DaCunha is terrific as the kid whose four bedside dolls go from creepy to flat-out overstuffed nightmares, but what made it work for us were the believable newlyweds played by Robin “Sanctuary” Dunne and Katharine “Ginger Snaps” Isabelle. Nicely R-rated, and deservedly so.

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