January 26, 2011

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, Feb. 1

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

LET ME IN

2010; $29.95-$39.95, R

While we thought that the original Swedish version, “Let the Right One In,” had a wonderfully eerie sense of ooga-booga, this shorter, faster-paced American version has Chloe Grace Moretz of “Kick-Ass” — a hard choice to make! Kodi Smit-McPhee from “The Road” is a lonely, unhappy kid whose pretty, new next-door neighbor seems to be even more fond of the dark than he is. In her defense, that comes with the territory when you’re a little vampire. An excellent remake with heart and soul (and lungs, kidneys, etc.) and a deliciously evil sense of fun. Suggest you watch this one first, then the Swedish, then read the book.

NEVER LET ME GO

2010; $29.95-$39.95, R

Make no mistake: This is one of the most depressing movies we’ve ever seen. So why are we highlighting it? Because it is so damn good. In an alternate past where people routinely live in perfect health long beyond 100 years, a pair of youngsters meet at an English boarding school. By the time they are young adults (Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley), they have become terrifyingly aware of the sacrifice that they will pay for others to live that long and healthy life. If you are expecting an action-escape movie like “The Island” or “The Clonus Horror,” think again. Based on Kazuo Ishiguro’s dystopian novel, with Andrew Garfield, Sally Hawkins and the great Charlotte Rampling.

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10

1979; $19.95, R

There are so many reasons to mention this re-re-release of one of the true classic comedies, but where to start? Dudley Moore’s confused mid-life everyman? Julie Andrews as his perfectly annoyed girlfriend? The music of Ravel’s “Bolero”? Well, that’s all fine and dandy, but the best two reasons to rush out and buy this decades-old howler are: 1) Bo Derek, naked, and 2) Blu-ray! Woof. What a time to be alive.

11 HARROWHOUSE

1974; $19.95, PG

No one knew what to make of this crime-thriller back in the day, which is one reason it flopped at the box office and has been so hard to find on video today. People just weren’t used to seeing big stars (Candice Bergen, Trevor Howard, James Mason, Charles Grodin) playing second fiddle to a cockroach, the central character in a crazy plot to steal $12 billion in diamonds. Today we recognize this as a misunderstood spoof, a movie that was way ahead of its time and, frankly, just a little beyond the talents of screenwriter Grodin. Still, a must-see in our book.

A WOMAN, A GUN AND A NOODLE SHOP

2009; $28.95-$38.95, R

A Chinese remake of the Coen Brothers debut film “Blood Simple,” from director Zhang Yimou (“House of Flying Daggers”), set in feudal China. And if that don’t sound like a party, then we don’t know what does! A glorious tale of marriage, adultery, murder and pasta that borders on slapstick at times. We absolutely loved this thing.

CHAIN LETTER

2010; $27.95, R/UR

This quickie slasher-flick came and went over one weekend in October, as designed, but we kinda liked it. Gorgeous Nikki “Twilight” Reed, bodacious Betsy “Saw” Russell and Michael J. “CSI: Miami” Pagan star with Brad Dourif and Ling Bai in the tale of a crazed lunatic who kills those who don’t forward his chain letters.

CONVICTION

2010; $29.95, R

Hilary Swank stars as Betty Anne Waters, a real-life hero who put herself through law school in order to get her innocent brother (Sam Rockwell) out of jail after he was convicted of murder. Terrific performances all around, a great script and taut direction. What more could you want?

FORGOTTEN PILLS

2009; $19.95, UR

A truly inspired little indie drama/thriller with sci-fi overtones about a group of more-or-less friends and lovers who gather together to try a new party drug. The catch? It causes you to completely forget everything between the time you take it and midnight — you can do whatever you want without remorse, without guilt and without repercussion. What would you do? What would your psycho-scary friends do? Who would your girlfriend do? Nice.

GIULIA DOESN’T DATE AT NIGHT

2009; $24.95, UR

Valeria Golino (who has the most beautiful blue eyes we ever saw) stars as the enigmatic swimming instructor of the daughter of a smitten — and married — writer (Valerio Mastandrea) in this solid, subtitled indie Italian import. Why can’t she date at night? We won’t spoil it.

MONSTERS

2010; $26.95-$29.95, R

This over-hyped “Cloverfield”-ish monster movie features a good cast and, for the money, well-done special effects. If we don’t sound too excited, it’s because we were kinda bored. It continuously builds to climaxes that never occur, which many reviewers heralded as “metaphorical” and “groundbreaking.” We were just disappointed. Plot? The United States builds a big border fence after squid-like aliens (which you never get a good look at) take up residence. A man and woman must travel through this border zone, meeting the worst of humanity along the way.

TCM GREATEST CLASSIC LEGENDS: ERROL FLYNN

2009; $27.95, UR

Four perfectly chosen films starring the king of the swashbucklers, Errol Flynn. Contains our all-time favorite movie, “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” plus “Captain Blood,” the amazing “Sea Hawk” (with its unforgettable slave-galley escape), and “The Adventures of Don Juan.” Not a clunker in the bunch.

THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD/SWAMP THING/A BUCKET OF BLOOD/FROGS

2010; $22.95, R

An incredible four-fer from MGM for cheap. “Return,” of course, is the movie where Louisville is overrun with zombies from Cave Hill Cemetery. The other three are just as good. Go buy it.

THE TILLMAN STORY

2010; $24.95, R

Pat Tillman was famous for walking away from a fine pro-football career to become an Army Ranger — ultimately dying from “friendly fire” in an Army cover-up. This doc focuses on the aftermath, with his mother taking on the U.S. government like a force of nature, ultimately exposing the Army’s cowardice. As patriotic and uplifting a story as you’re ever likely to see.

A More Complete Listing and Free Vids at www.videotapeworm.com.