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November 26, 2013

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, Dec. 3

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

BUYING SEX

2013; $21.98-$24.98; UR

You may be surprised to know that prostitution is legal in Canada — but any form of advertising for it is not, nor are brothels or pimping. This doc looks at the confusion and contentiousness that has arisen as the country considers an overhaul of these laws. Some people want it completely decriminalized, pointing out that prostitution has always been a part of Canadian culture — some of its pioneer mothers were hookers! — and keeping it legal has helped keep crime and disease in check. Others see it as exploitive for the participants and demeaning to the country. An unbiased look at the men and women who buy and sell sex, giving them an opportunity to provide us with their own well-informed, if rarely heard, opinions.

THE SEASONING HOUSE

2012; $24.98-$26.98; UR

Big-eyed, fragile-looking Rosie Day plays a deaf mute in this truly horrifying film inspired by real events. After her family is murdered, she is forced to care for a collection of young girls rounded up by the military to be sex slaves. But her tiny frame lets her slip unnoticed through the walls of the brothel, and when she spies the man who murdered her family, she devises a ruthless — and damn clever — plan for revenge and escape. But this is not some mindless ode to violence and perversity: You will be truly surprised at the level of humanity, originality and tenderness within, which makes the conclusion all the more shocking.

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ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE

2006; $20.98-$29.98; R

Drop-dead gorgeous Amber Heard was 20 when she played the titular 16-year-old virgin at the heart of this slasher flick. A cautious recluse, she agrees to join some new friends at a party in honor of a classmate who had died at the last party. Sounds like a good idea to us! With no adults for miles, the guys let hormones, alcohol and drugs loosen their inhibitions, setting Amber on the run. Then someone notices that a few of the partiers have gone missing. OK, this is pretty bad — it sat on a shelf for seven years before being released — but no worse than anything churned out in the ’80s. Enjoy.

GOOD OL’ FREDA

2013; $22.98-$29.98; PG

The terrific true tale of Freda Kelly, a shy teen in Liverpool who once got a part-time job working for some local bar band, one of the thousands of angry flash-and-gone rockers of the day. Maybe you’ve heard of them, they were called The Beatles! She remained their assistant, best friend, confidante and moral touchstone for nearly a half-century. This doc, culled from her private stash of memorabilia plus candid conversations with John, Paul, George, Ringo and all their friends, is the most intimate look at the lads from their humble, violent beginnings through their magical career and into the present. Be witness to 50 years of Beatlemania as it has never been seen. Our highest recommendation.

MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

2013; $58.98-$64.98; UR

Of all the MST3K offerings over the years, this may be the best. The movies? “Moon Zero Two” (a 1969 space-crime howler with Bond-girl Catherine Schell), “The Day the Earth Froze” (aka 1959’s “Magic Voyage of Sinbad”), the 1960 classic “Leech Woman” and the Limey “Godzilla” wannabe, “Gorgo.” A terrific lineup, to be sure, but it also contains a bonus disc with both “Mitchell” and “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die” — two of the very best entries of the entire series! Then they wrapped it all in a beautiful tin box with lots of bonus goodies. An absolute must-own.

SATURN 3

1980; $22.98-$26.98; R

An asinine astro-flick that’s a lot like its female lead: great looking but really, really dumb. Kirk Douglas and Farrah Fawcett play hydroponic hanky-panky on Saturn’s third moon until Harvey Keitel and his robot, Hector, a 7-foot vibrator with a crotch full of human brains, crash the party. Forget the Garden of Eden semiotics: You just wanna know if Farrah gets nekkid and if Harvey can pull off a British accent. Yes and no.

THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES

2013; $19.98-$40.98; PG-13

Lily Collins stars in this dark adventure, the first in a planned franchise that lies somewhere between TV’s “Supernatural” and “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.” It’s clobberin’ time when she discovers that she’s part of an army of half-angel warriors protecting mankind from an underworld of demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and life-insurance salesmen, many of them in an alternate zip code below NYC. Based on the wildly popular young-adult books of Cassandra Clare, it co-stars Lena Headey as Collins’ mother, plus Robert Sheehan, Jamie Campbell “Twilight Saga” Bower and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

THE SMURFS 2

2013; $19.98-$55.98; PG

While it lacks the heart and comic timing of its predecessor, the producers wisely kept Hank Azaria as Gargamel, along with Neil Patrick Harris. After Gargamel concocts his own race of Smurf-wannabes that he calls “Naughties,” he kidnaps Smurfette (voice of Katy Perry) because she knows a spell that will turn them into real Smurfs. Other guest voices include Christina Ricci, the late Jonathan Winters in his last role, George Lopez, John Oliver, Jeff Foxworthy and Alan Cumming.

THE WOLVERINE

2013; $19.98-$49.98; PG-13

The X-Men’s Wolverine character is immortal, making it easy to bounce around in time for great stories. This one stretches from the bombing of Nagasaki to the present day, with razor-clawed Hugh Jackman rescuing one of his Japanese captors. That man later becomes a powerful businessman who offers Wolfy the thing he desires most: mortality. But it turns out to be a double-cross. Top-notch filmmaking (if on a somewhat smaller scale than past efforts), taken to the next level with help from Rila Fukushima, whose mini-skirted Ninja “Yukio” stole every scene she was in. Would love to see her in her own movie. A must-own.

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