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September 18, 2013

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, Sept. 24

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

THE DEAN MARTIN CELEBRITY ROASTS: COMPLETE COLLECTION

2013; $249.95; UR

“The Dean Martin Comedy Hour” began in 1965 and was one of the country’s highest-rated TV shows for nearly a decade. But NBC bean counters became rankled at the expense of the aging show, so it was retooled and renamed, changing the format to a cheaper scripted celebrity roast of everyone from Hugh Hefner to Michael Landon. But, oh, the guest stars! The resulting shows form a time capsule of ’60s/’70s American humor: From Hollywood legends to Vegas headliners to New York bortsch-belters, there has never been such a collection of talent. The legendary roster includes such names as Sinatra, Reagan, Kelly, Rickles, Burns, Foxx, Stewart, Wilson, Winters and hundreds more. This set is the first-ever complete release of this milestone in TV comedy; all 54 roasts in a single box set, plus 15 hours of bonus goodies. Available only from DeanRoasts.com — or you can register to win one FREE from StarVista Entertainment, LEO and The Video Tapeworm at VideoTapeWorm.com/video.php. Enjoy.

IRON MAN 3

2013; $19.98-$49.98; PG-13

Robert Downey Jr. continues to amaze in this, his fourth outing as Marvel Comics’ Iron Man, this time up against his (seemingly) most treacherous foe, The Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley. Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle return as Pepper and Rhodie, respectively, but Downey’s Tony Stark is a more introspective fellow, subject to panic attacks and moments of complete incapacitation — spending much of the movie outside the suit in a bid to understand his relationship as a man with the various entities trying to control his identity. Our only complaint? Put Jon Favreau back in the director’s chair! A must-own.

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ALEKSANDRS PRICE

2013; $19.99; UR

An award-winning gay drama about the life of a young Russian man living illegally in NYC who becomes a prostitute in order to survive after the death of his mother. We predict it will be remembered as the breakout film for director/writer/producer/star Pau Masó: a raw and ultimately satisfying journey to the dark fringes of both sanity and society. And watch for exotic beauty Anatoli Grek — one of the most underrated stars in indie cinema, perfectly cast as Dr. Mary. Recommended, but not for everyone.

DETECTIVE MONTALBANO: EPISODES 23/24 AND 25/26

2013; $24.98-$29.98 each; UR

If you’re tired of the classic “brooding, grumpy old detective” yarns, you’ll love this naturally funny Italian take on the genre starring busy Euro actor Luca Zingaretti, whose shaved head reminds us of a lazy Kojak. He wants nothing more from life than to rut and play in sunny Sicily with good drink, good food and good friends — but those damn people just keep robbing and murdering each other! Each wonderfully odd case is a delight, from the lovely manager of a robbed bank whom Montalbano hopelessly falls in love with (No. 23), to a Mafia grocery store getting ripped off (No. 25), to gun-running thefts and Tunisian refugees (No. 26). Subtitled and recommended.

DOCTOR WHO: SCREAM OF THE SHALKA

2003; $19.98-$24.98; UR

This is the infamous “officially unofficial” animated miniseries that lasted only six episodes, featuring Richard E. Grant as the “first” 9th Doctor. Originally created as a web series, it puts the avuncular Timelords back on the celestial map, instructing The Doctor to save a small English town that has been taken over by a race of snaky, screaming lava-men who crawl from a New Zealand volcano — with help from Derek Jacobi as The Master! As far as we can tell, it’s never been seen on American TV.

FILL THE VOID

2013; $29.98; PG

Lovely Hadas Yaron looks every inch the perfect young bride in this international award-winning tale of a Hasidic Jew in Tel Aviv being redirected into an arranged marriage with a recent widower, 10 years her elder, with a baby boy. But this isn’t a tale of cruel oppression, as American audiences would expect, but an intimate look inside another culture. And the woman involved is maturely considering how this will affect her family, her community and, finally, herself. A bit troubling to our sensibilities, but a true journey of discovery.

FOYLE’S WAR: SET 7

2013; $44.98; UR

This three-disc set is actually Season 8 of the long-running, powerhouse Limey homeland-espionage series starring Michael “My Week with Marilyn” Kitchen and the wonderfully named Honeysuckle Weeks. Now set in post-WWII Britain, the season starts with a bang as Los Alamos scientists set off an atomic blast and news reaches Foyle that a group of Soviet sympathizers are hell bent on stealing England’s nuclear secrets. The rest of the year is a frantic, deadly chase to uncover the Russian menace, regardless of how high in political power it may have spread. Of course, those pesky Nazis haven’t really left the scene, either, now have they? Terrific TV.

PRINCE OF DARKNESS

1987; $16.98-$29.98; R

This underrated little John Carpenter horror is a guilty pleasure of ours. The ever-oily Donald Pleasence sweats his way through a convoluted tale of evil lime-flavored Kool-Aid, quantum Satanic formulae, time-traveling radio transmissions and demonic insects with rocker Alice Cooper as “Street Schizo.” Now in a long-overdue Blu-ray Collector’s Edition with tons of great bonus goodies.

PSYCHO III

1986; $17.94-$22.93; R

Hitchcock was long gone from the scene when Tony Perkins returned to his character of Bates Motel proprietor Norman, no longer considered a threat to society despite the fact that he fantasizes about killing — and keeps a skeleton at home dressed as his mother. Into this cesspool plunges new assistant Jeff Fahey, and Diana Scarwid as a former nun (we’ve resisted the urge to call her “de-robed,” but you do get to see her butt). Can’t be compared with the original in any way, but as a stand-alone example of the ’80s slasher genre, it holds up pretty well. Now in a bonus-laden Collector’s Edition on DVD and Blu-ray.

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