Silver Linings Playbook

April 24, 2013

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, April 30

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

2012; $19.98-$39.98; R

Local lass Jennifer Lawrence stumbled away with the Best Actress Oscar for her work in this lively drama; and rightly so, turning a good, if unremarkable indie potboiler into something quite amazing. Bradley Cooper stars as a man starting his life over, forced to move in with his football-obsessed parents (Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver) after eight months in an institution for attacking his wife’s lover. That’s when he meets Tiffany (Lawrence), another damaged soul who agrees to help him in the misguided attempt to win back his wife — in return for his help with her own demons. The entire movie is a thrill ride of human emotion — and surprisingly uplifting — while the scenes between Lawrence and Cooper crackle and spark. A must-own.

THE DETAILS

2011; $19.98-$29.98; R

Why this wasn’t more widely shown is beyond us, it’s one of the best dark comedies we’ve seen in years — and it has the Cast of the Gods! Tobey Maguire and Elizabeth Banks live the perfect suburban life until Lizzy’s waning sex drive sends Tobey into a porn-shame spiral. That’s when he decides to hump neighbor-babe Kerry Washington, hoping that her hubby (Ray Liotta!) doesn’t find out. He does, of course, and gives loverboy a pair of murderous choices. But his real problem? Raccoons are destroying his yard! Trust us, it makes a quirky kind of sense.

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BEN HUR: THE EPIC MINISERIES EVENT

2010; $18.98; UR

While it can’t have the dramatic impact of the Charleton Heston classic, this 3-plus-hour History Channel series has the advantage of being far more intimate and historically accurate. We particularly liked the inference that, because it was Passover, the Roman soldiers took Esther’s father down from the cross alive — implying that Jesus was also taken down alive. Stars Joseph “Vampire Diaries” Morgan and a slate of other familiar TV faces.

BROKEN CITY

2013; $24.98; R

OK, right up front: This movie is terrible but entertaining as hell! Producer Mark Wahlberg stars as a mistreated force of nature out to take down the evil and powerful mayor (Russell Crowe, chewing scenery like a rabid beaver). Along the way we’re treated to Catherine Zeta-Jones in full-on sexy mode, Jeffrey Wright, Barry Pepper, Alona Tal from TV’s “Cult” and “Supernatural” — and a completely gratuitous nude scene by smokin’ hot Natalie Martinez, Detective Jamie Lovato from “CSI:NY”! Man, we have never had more fun groaning at the screen. You gotta check this out.

FUNNY GIRL

1968; $14.98; PG

First-ever Blu-ray release of the perfect ’60s musical and the world’s cinematic introduction to Barbra Streisand. Set in the 1930s, Babs shines as Fanny Brice, a captivating, real-life singer/comedian who lived a professional life unfettered by society’s — and Judaism’s — limitations, though not without a price. The music is breathtaking from the opening “I’m the Greatest Star” through “People,” “Don’t Rain On My Parade” and “His Love Makes Me Beautiful.” Best of all, this new digital transfer has finally brought the soundtrack to the masses the way it was meant to be heard. Wonderful.

LORD PETER WIMSEY MYSTERIES: COMPLETE COLLECTION

1972; $41.98-$59.98; UR

“Masterpiece Theatre” stalwart Ian Carmichael was everywhere on ’70s BBC TV, but this was his very best role, as Dorothy L. Sayers’ witty and avuncular detective, solving crimes and upsetting gentle 1920s British life, usually with his jolly pal Bunter (Glyn Houston) in tow. If you like earthy whodunits that put all the clues out in the open and dare you to solve them, there has simply never been a better series for you. Six wonderful discs; five three-hour stories plus almost 40 minutes of exceptional bonus goodies make this our favorite DVD release of 2013 to date. Don’t miss it.

NOT FADE AWAY

2012; $21.98-$39.98; R

Man, did we enjoy this! On the surface this is the tale of a young man who drops out of college to pursue his dream of being a ’60s rock god. But it goes so much deeper than that, exploring our collective dreams, our passions, our relationship with time, people and death, and, most of all, how other people change us, usually for the better. Written and directed by David Chase (“The Sopranos”), with an exceptionally attractive, talented cast and an Elysian soundtrack.

THE GUILT TRIP

2012; $17.98-$39.98; PG-13

Son Seth Rogen and crazed, overbearing Jewish mom Barbra Streisand are stuck alone in a car together for 3,000 miles. Yeah, sounds like hell to us, too; but this out-of-the-box comedy revels in its irritations, eventually honing in on the notion that we’re all naturally kinda nuts in some way, even without our mother’s help. And watch for huge-hootered Vicki Goldsmith as Mom-in-flashbacks; she’s a bulbous hoot.

THE SYNDICATE SERIES 1

2012; $27.98; UR

A handful of underpaid, dead-end supermarket workers, about to lose their jobs due to their store’s closing, pool their pence to buy a lottery ticket together — and win! But the price of prosperity may eat them alive in this Limey drama series. You may recognize the top-notch cast from some of your favorite movies (including more than one “Harry Potter” alum), but it’s the brilliant writing that you’ll be telling your friends about. In turns sad, funny, exciting, thought-provoking, sexy, disturbing, profound and insightful, but never less than completely entertaining. An American ABC version is in the works. Highly recommended.

WAGNER & ME

2010; $19.98; UR

The amazing Stephen Fry (the Master of Laketown in the next chapter of “The Hobbit”) shares his unabashed love of opera, and in particular, anything by Richard Wagner, in this weird little sort-of doc on the life of Hitler’s favorite composer. Provocative, intimate, funny, exuberant and completely nuts at times, Fry’s passion for the subject carries us along — down the rapids, over the waterfall, to be dashed giddy on the rocks below. Who knew opera could be so much fun?

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