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June 20, 2012

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, June 26

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

THE ARTIST

2011; $19.98-$35.98; PG-13/R

This won the Oscar for Best Picture plus four other categories, but was it really the “best” picture of 2011? No, not by a long shot, but it was clever, inventive, magical and — best of all — SILENT. Set in 1927, Jean Dujardin plays a superstar of the silent era who sees his career failing due to the invention of talkies. Bérénice Bejo is the dancer/actress who sees this new technology as a chance for her star to rise. Frankly, this has all been seen before (“Singing in the Rain,” anyone?), but the movie sets itself above through joyous silent-era (over)acting and brilliant cinematography. Worth your time.

WRATH OF THE TITANS

2012; $19.98-$39.98; PG-13

We grumbled at the predecessor to this movie, “Clash of the Titans,” for daring to tread across a Ray Harryhausen landscape. This sequel not only avoids all that, but surpasses its predecessor in every way. Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson are once again the warring gods, now losing their power as mankind, fed up with their pettiness, stops worshiping. Sam Worthington returns as the demigod Perseus, now with a son of his own, who must battle the devilish Kronos blah blah blah. Who cares?! Bottom line: A big ol’ special-effects blockbuster with lots of flash, noise and the great Bill Nighy as Komicus Releifeus; available in 3-D. Play it LOUD.

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21 JUMP STREET

2012; $17.98-$35.98; R

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum do a raunchy comic riff on the old Fox-TV drama that launched Johnny Depp’s career (he does a cameo). They play dim-bulb rookie cops who agree to go undercover at a local high school to bust a drug ring. The fact that the are the same size and height as the 20-something “kids” is treated — rightly — as a running gag. The tone runs from brain-dead gross-out humor to mawkishness to full-on John Woo splatter mode, sometimes in the same scene. Not the greatest movie we ever saw, but entertaining.

AGATHA CHRISTIE’S POIROT: SERIES 5

1993; $34.98-$49.98; UR

American fans of UK’s long-running Poirot series (ourselves included, via PBS’ Masterpiece Theater) have had a difficult time viewing the episodes in order. For some reason, a number of seasons and/or specific episodes have been shipped over The Pond either delayed or out of sequence, but this Season 5 DVD/Blu-ray release corrects a multitude of sins. David Suchet returns once again as the personification of Christie’s fussy, genteel and frustratingly over-assured Belgian detective in eight flawless cases.

ALL DARK PLACES

2012; $22.98-$24.98; UR

Is there anything scarier than a clown? How about a clown hiding in your closet?! Joshua Burrow plays a hard-partying man who is having trouble committing to his wife and son. He gives it his all, but simply fails. That’s when the clown shows up. An earnest and interesting indie horror/chiller, to be sure.

SECTOR 7

2011; $16.98-$26.98; UR

Billed as “South Korea’s first 3-D action blockbuster,” this thing is a hoot. Ji-won Ha plays a female oil prospector aboard a floating oil rig, far from the mainland. But they have drilled too deep and have hauled up a ... something ... which threatens everyone aboard the ship! Waaay too long and, frankly, too stupid for words, it’s all just Big Dumb Fun. We recommend consuming lots of frosty beverages.

SOUND OF NOISE

2012; $20.98-$26.98; R

Leave it to the Swedish to come up with something like this: A six-man squad of “guerilla percussionists” terrorize the city with their unprovoked avant-garde public performances, banging away on everything in sight. Anarchy! Pure anarchy! But tone-deaf police officer Amadeus Warnebring is hot on the trail of the art terrorists before they can corrupt the entire audio spectrum. This is just as artsy — and fun — as it sounds.

SPRINGTIME IN THE SIERRAS

1947; $10.98; UR

You may find this in the cut-out bin at your local big-boxer, but don’t be fooled: There’s more entertainment here than in any title on the rack. Roy Rogers goes hot on the trail of veteran Oater Roy Barcroft, who has killed Roy’s game warden friend. But the evil Barcroft is just a lackey of the real baddie, Stephanie Bachelor — a GIRL! EWWWW!! Just one of the 100+ plus musical Westerns made by Rogers, with help from Trigger, the great Andy Devine and Roy’s backup group, The Sons of the Pioneers. Great fun.

THE SAMURAI TRILOGY

1956; $41.98-$69.98; UR

It is with a sense of pride that we announce the first Blu-Ray Criterion Collection release of Hiroshi Inagaki’s masterwork. Toshiro Mifune, who would go on to appear in more than 180 films, stars as Musashi Miyamoto, a man who began his life as a troublemaker and seemed destined for prison, only to turn his life around and become 17th-century Japan’s most celebrated writer, artist and swordmaster. The three films are “Musashi Miyamoto” (1954 Oscar winner), “Duel at Ichijoji Temple” (1955) and “Duel at Ganryu Island” (1956). All are deep, intelligent and filled with profound tenderness and compassion — yet ultimately violent and tragic. Flawless.

THE WALERIAN BOROWCYZK COLLECTION

2012; $34.98; UR

We became lifelong fans of Borowcyzk after first seeing “The Beast” (1975), the comic/erotic tale of a wealthy family cursed by a comely ancestor who was willingly boned by a bear-like creature in the woods. Amazing. This three-film collection features “Immoral Women” (1974), a quartet of famous and historically accurate sexual vignettes; “Art of Love” (1983), set in decadent 8 AD Rome; and “Private Collections” (1979), a film credit he shares with two other sex-crazed directors, Just Jaeckin and Shuji Terayama, as they attempt to make the most deliberately daring erotic movie of all time. If this don’t get you hard, call the undertaker, ’cause you are dead, dude.

A More Complete Listing and Free Vids at videotapeworm.com.

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