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Elysium

December 10, 2013

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, Dec. 17

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

ELYSIUM

2013; $24.98; R

The guys behind “District 9” return with this dystopian sci-fi actioner focusing on the disparity between healthy rich snobs living sumptuous lives in their idyllic space platform high above the Earth, while down below everyone is a poor, sick, wretched slave. And while Matt Damon and Jodie Foster may be listed as stars, the true star is the real-life human misery of everyday people of the Iztapalapa district outside Mexico City where the movie was filmed. A spectacular feat of filmmaking filled with fights, technobabble, horrible bad guys, even more horrible good guys and a potent warning about where our current global plutocracy is taking us. Or are we already there?

PRISONERS

2013; $16.98-$35.98; R

Heralded by many as the most power screen drama in decades, we follow Hugh Jackman down a rabbit hole of despair and madness when two young girls — including his daughter — disappear on Thanksgiving Day. And when a suspect emerges (Paul Dano), only to be released, all that stands between him and Jackman’s rage is police detective Jake Gyllenhaal. Other great cast members include Melissa Leo as Dano’s protector, Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, the weather and the American Suburban Dream. A greater, more gut-wrenching and brutally effective movie has never been made. Our highest recommendation.

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FORCE OF EXECUTION

2013; $22.98-$29.98; R

What kind of flick combines Steven Seagal, Danny Trejo and Ving Rhames — with new martial-arts superstar Bren Foster along for the ride? Well, it ain’t a poetry reading! A boiling mess of criminal empires, crippled hitmen, armed lowlifes and a seemingly innocent shopkeeper named Jimmy Peanuts (Trejo), plus lots of grunting, spitting and shifty glances. Oh yeah, and violence, lots of violence. The only woman in the credits is “Stripper,” played by “Spring Break Massacre”’s stunning Sarah Minnich. Our kinda flick.

JUSTIFIED: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON

2013; $39.98; UR

This crime drama starring Timothy Olyphant, set in the coal-mining slums of eastern Kentucky, simply gets better every season. He’s a former lawman, booted out of his job due to excessive force and standing up to crooked politicians, turning him into a one-man army of justice. This season finds him dealing with decades-old fallout from his brutal father’s criminal dealings three decades ago, while a preacher manipulates the criminal syndicates, the law and the ignorant populace into a private war for his own profit. Amazingly good.

KICK-ASS 2

2013; $69.98; R

Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz and Christopher Mintz-Plasse return as Kick-Ass, Hit Girl and The Motherfucker- née-Red Mist in this follow-up to 2010’s surprise superhero hit. Kick-Ass and Hit Girl wish only to retire and lose themselves in the fog of high school, but the renamed Red Mist ain’t gonna let that happen. So new gangs of masked heroes and villains are forged, populated largely by guest stars like Jim Carrey (“Colonel Stars and Stripes”), Donald Faison (“Dr. Gravity”) and Lindy Booth (“Night Bitch”). A fun, watchable, if less than magical, reunion, with Moretz still stealing every scene she’s in.

ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US

2013; $32.98; PG

If you remember *NSYNC, New Kids on the Block or 98 Degrees, then you’re probably too old to be the target audience for this blast of shiny-faced teen pop from the UK. Frankly, none of them can hold a candle to Bobby Sherman, but what’s important here is that they take the time to walk you, their fan, through their meteoric rise to fame, requiring weeks of gigs in their hometowns, getting their hair cut and being fitted for really cool clothes. And now they are ready for their big concert at London’s O2 Arena, just one stop on a wicked world tour! After which their voices will change and they’ll be asking, “You want fries with that?” But we’re not bitter.

PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS

2013; $69.98-$85.98; PG

This second outing in the Percy Jackson franchise follows Logan Lerman and the other youthful demigods into the Bermuda Triangle in search of the Golden Fleece. As the PG rating would suggest, this is all light-hearted action with fun, if unimpressive, special effects and very, very loose ties to Greek mythology (which somehow includes a very contemporary zombie army). Bodacious babe Alexandra “Texas Chainsaw 3-D” Daddario co-stars; watch for cameos by Stanley “The Hunger Games” Tucci and Nathan “Firefly” Fillion as the FTD delivery guy.

THE FAMILY

2013; $17.98-$39.98; R

Robert De Niro and Tommy Lee Jones lead a great goofy-Goomba cast in this dark comedy that reminds us a lot of “RED.” De Niro is a former mob boss who takes his spoiled-rotten family to France to lay low after ratting out the mafia. Jones is at his stoic bemused best as their government handler, who asks only that they try to control their worst impulses and blend in quietly. Ain’t. Gonna. Happen. Michelle Pfeiffer is particularly good as the spoiled princess/wife who just smiles sweetly when homemade bombs go off after someone crosses her. A light and looney love letter from Martin Scorsese and Luc Besson. Enjoy.

THE LONE RANGER

2013; $24.98; PG-13

Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski, the guys who brought us “Pirates of the Caribbean,” take a rejiggered and very comic look at an American icon. In this version, a demented Tonto (Johnny Depp, wearing a dead bird for a hat) believes that greenhorn lawyer Armie Hammer is destined to become an eternal symbol of justice (a horse told him so, along with some weird bunnies) — and if he dies in the process, eh, no biggie — giving Depp license to shove, drop, crush, drown and generally abuse the man for two-and-a-half hours. Way too long and surprisingly violent, it desperately needed a more charismatic villain, à la Geoffrey Rush’s “Barbossa,” but we still kinda liked it.

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