Shaft

August 8, 2012

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, Aug. 14

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

ROMEO MUST DIE

2000; $14.98-$19.98; R

Now available on Blu-ray: Hong Kong chop-socky sensation Jet Li’s first American leading role. He kicks and stomps and punches and gouges and screams his way out of a Chinese prison, landing smack in the nether regions of luscious mono-monikered Aaliyah amidst a mob war in Oakland, Calif. Yeah, there’s probably a plot in there somewhere, but it just gets in the way of the story. And watch for Delroy Lindo, who played Othello at Actors Theatre back in the mid-’80s. One of our favorite films.

SHAFT

1971; $14.98-$19.98; R

One of the best things to come out of the ’70s, now available on Blu-ray. This cultural phenomenon, a slick, big-budget, black-and-white crossover hit spawned three sequels in two years and forever changed pop music with its irresistible “Shut yo’ mouth” chucka-wucka wah-pedal guitar-laced score (now brought to life like never before thanks to Blu-ray). Made a music icon of Isaac Hayes and stars of Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn and Antonio Fargas. A must-own blast from the past, honky.

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AUGUST

2012; $24.98; UR

The hottest gay movie ever made? That’s what they say about this sexy drama starring Daniel Dugan as a man chafing at the confines of his comfortable relationship with Adrian Gonzalez. It turns into a classic — and very steamy — summer triangle when he hooks up with ex-boyfriend Murray Bartlett.

BIOGRAPHY: BARACK OBAMA: FROM HIS CHILDHOOD TO THE PRESIDENCY

2011; $17.98-$19.98; UR

The title says it all, but we get paid by the word, so ... The Biography Channel does a first-rate job of entertaining us with the formative years of our president, including the answer to the question, “Whatever possessed this happy, intelligent, well-off, good-looking young man to stick his dingus in a wood chipper?*” Even if you don’t like the man (ya’ damned Republican), you will enjoy his life story. (*An anatomically correct euphemism for “wanting to be president of the United States.”)

BREATHLESS

2012; $26.98; R

Not to be confused with the legendary Jean-Paul Belmondo/Jean Seberg flick, this is a fun black comedy/crime thriller featuring a bunch of familiar faces picking up quick paychecks. Val Kilmer nets $100K in a robbery and refuses to share it with wife Gina Gershon. Bad move. She takes care of him with the help of her best pal, Kelli Giddish (“Law & Order: SVU”) while sheriff Ray Liotta sniffs around. Fun.

DEXTER: THE SIXTH SEASON

2011; $37.98-$65.98; UR

The show just keeps getting better ... This season, the quiet, likeable forensic blood-spatter expert who moonlights as a serial-killer killer considers religion. Now with a son to raise, he begins to consider the nature of morality on a different plane. Meanwhile, outside, a religious nutjob, the Doomsday Killer, slices his way through the female population, deriving brutal inspiration from the Bible. Still addictive as hell.

PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY

2011; $15.98; UR

The final chapter in Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s trilogy on the West Memphis Three, convicted of the ritual murder of three 8-year-olds, a crime for which they have always maintained their innocence. Here they look at the case anew, considering the evidence (or lack thereof) with fresh eyes, documenting the worldwide movement to free the men, and the obstinate Arkansas officials who continue to block every attempt at justice — even as a much more likely suspect surfaces.

THE CALLERS

2012; $24.98; UR

If you’ve never been to an auction, you’re missing one of the most entertaining free shows in America. The song of the auctioneer is mesmerizing — you may find yourself compelled to bid on something, just to join in the fun! And this doc captures that heady feeling as it follows some legendary Pennsylvania “callers,” some newcomers, and the all-important crowd. A wonderful look at real reality.

THE FORSYTE SAGA COLLECTION

2003; $79.99; UR

A legendary TV event, now available in a complete, 26-episode boxed set. The 1969 original is often called the “first TV miniseries”; a tale of three generations of a nouveau riche English family from the 1870s to 1920s, it was so popular that PBS created “Masterpiece Theatre” just to have a venue for it. Visually, however, it suffered from the poor production values available on then-black-and-white TV. This is the 2002 remake, for which the BBC pulled out all of the stops: lavish costumes, a roster of Britain’s finest actors, glorious sets, beautiful music and sylvan vistas. Simply great drama on a grand scale.

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF A PORNO GANG

2009; $19.98-$29.98; UR

Obviously inspired by “A Serbian Film,” this truly shocking flick from Serbia likewise deals in “snuff films,” but this time the “stars” are (mostly) volunteers who gladly give up their lives just to be on camera! Deeply disturbing scenes that allow you to stand with the crew as they film — or participate in — sex acts, murders and grotesque humiliation are just the beginning as the traveling production company is hounded from town to town. And yet, it is far more thought-provoking, powerful and essential than America’s “pretend” gore-porn. Not for the timid.

THE RAID: REDEMPTION

2012; $24.98; R

Another in the recent wave of crime thrillers from Indonesia. Here, an elite SWAT Team raids a tenement building, looking for a deadly drug lord. On the sixth floor, their luck runs out and they find themselves trapped, unable to go up or down, except by force of arms and the deadly martial art known as “Silat.” The last half of the movie is the most over-the-top, loud, noisy, brutal, gut-wrenching, eye-gouging, junk-kicking, blood-soaked orgy of bad English dubbing we’ve ever witnessed. It was awesome.

TONIGHT YOU’RE MINE

2012; $19.98-$22.98; R

An unbelievably hokey rock-star love story set in an out-of-control music festival. And yet ... we liked it. Luke Treadaway and Natalia Tena are rival rockers whose feud gets them handcuffed together by security guard Al Green — yes, that Rev. Al “Let’s Stay Together” Green! They spend the next 48 hours coupled amid beer, drugs, mud and the porta-potties we all know and love so well.

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