January 4, 2005

Releases through Jan. 10

THIS WEEK'S TWIN PEEKS:EARTH VS. THE SPIDER/WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEASTDVD $14.95, URLegal problems prevented the makers of this video from packaging “War” with its progenitor, “The Amazing Colossal Man,” but these two Burt I. Gordon masterworks are so terrific you won't care. First, 1958's “Spider” finds Ed Kemmer of “Space Patrol” killing the titular bug before putting it on display at a high-school dance - where the rock 'n' roll music wakes it up! “War” is, of course, Burt's “Amazing” follow-up about a soldier, caught in an atomic blast, who grows to 60 feet, raiding food trucks in Mexico to survive. Priceless.HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER/BLOOD OF DRACULADVD $14.95, URA pair of AIP classic schlockers from the underrated Herbert L. Strock. In “How to Make a Monster” (1958), a madman is on the loose on a movie set, and the criminals all seem to be monsters! With a terrific performance by Robert H. Harris as the demented, hypnotic artist, and the finest collection of terrific monster-masks by Paul Blaisdell ever assembled for a single picture. “Blood” features a similar plot, only this time hypnotism turns a young woman into a vampire! Great makeup work, this time on Sandra Harrison as the teenage neckbiter.EVIL BREED: THE LEGEND OF SAMHAIN2005; DVD $26.95, RA hilariously bad, gory, bloody and fun mix of hardcore pornstars (including Ginger Lynn Allen and Jenna Jameson!). With hardcore has-beens (Richard Grieco), all set in cannibal-infested Ireland.HALLELUJAH!1929; DVD $19.95, URThere are tons of great black cinema on DVD this month, but this one holds a special place in movie history: The first all-black feature from a major studio, it was also famed director King Vidor's first talking picture. As fresh and moving as the day it was made, this is a surprisingly a-stereotypical tale (for the day) of a flawed cotton-picker who yearns to be a preacher.HUSTLE & FLOW2005; VHS Rental/DVD $29.95, RWe're not sure if we liked this rap-drama or not. On one hand, it's just another excuse for the tired “urban kid with no way out” plotline, but the people involved are a cut above. Stars Terrence Howard, a star turn by Anthony Anderson, the underused DJ Qualls, the incomparable Isaac Hayes and Ludacris as a self-absorbed rap-mogul. Or is that redundant?MOTORHEAD: STAGE FRIGHT 2006; DVD $25.95, URA fully high-def recording of the Phillipshalle concert in Düsseldorf, Germany, from Dec. 7, 2004. Twenty songs including “Overkill,” “Ace of Spades” and “Iron Fist,” plus a second disc of behind-the-scenes features focusing on the band's “normal” life amid the rolling circus that follows them around.RED EYE2005; VHS $29.95/DVD $29.95, PG-13A minor stumble by yummy Rachel McAdams and the chilling Cillian Murphy, directed by Wes Craven. Obviously inspired by “24,” it's the tale of a charming hitman who manipulates and terrorizes a beautiful girl in order to gain access to his target. Far-fetched and silly, but kinda fun.ROGER CORMAN PUERTO RICO TRILOGYDVD $19.95, URThe Schlockmeister General's infamous 1960 trio of drive-in favorites. First is the long-awaited restoration of his rarely seen “Last Woman on Earth” about two men and one woman who go skindiving, only to discover that humanity has been wiped out by an oxygen shortage! Priceless. Also, the original letterboxed theatrical cuts of “Creature from the Haunted Sea,” where criminals use a political revolt and legends of a sea-monster to hide their crimes, and his obscure war-drama, “Battle of Blood Island,” along with loads of great commentary.SON OF INGAGI1940; DVD $9.95, URLonnnng missing candidate for “worst movie ever made” and a major joy to cult movie freaks, this is a sequel in name only to the even worse “Ingagi.” An all-black cast featuring newlyweds, a mad (female) doctor, a comic detective and a hokey “monster” (a gorilla suit with a shaggy do-mop), all rambling around a creaky old haunted house. Really, really, REALLY bad.THE BAD SLEEP WELL1963; DVD $29.95, URJapanese uber-director Akira Kurosawa's look at the corruption at the heart of modern-day Japanese business. Toshirô Mifune stars, of course.THE CONSTANT GARDENER2005; VHS $29.95/DVD $29.95, RBig-budget, big-starred, big-action political thriller written by John le Carre. A dedicated activist (Rachel Weisz) is killed in Kenya. Her detached bureaucrat husband, Ralph Fiennes, becomes a roaring lion, out for a cerebral form of vengeance and the knowledge behind her reported unfaithfulness. Along the way he learns of a diabolical conspiracy by the global pharmaceutical industry. Smart and complex.THE FLASH: THE COMPLETE SERIES1990; DVD $59.95, URTwenty-one episodes plus the 90-minute pilot on six discs from a minor TV hit of the '90s. We were big fans of the comic book and enjoyed the TV exploits of Barry Allen (John Wesley Shipp), who is endowed with super-speed after a laboratory accident. A nice retro feel and a great supporting cast (Amanda Pays, Tim Thomerson, Richard Belzer, M. Emmet Walsh and more) made this one of our Guilty Pleasures.THE SAM PECKINPAH COLLECTION2005; DVD $59.95, URFour of the master's best: “The Wild Bunch,” “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,” “Ride the High Country” and “The Ballad of Cable Hogue” - all with terrific commentary and featurettes.TRANSPORTER 22005; VHS Rental/DVD $29.95, PG-13Jason Statham returns as the enigmatic mercenary transporter who will deliver anything anywhere for a price, no questions asked. Now in Miami, he unexpectedly bonds with a 6-year-old kidnapped kid, is stalked by a hitwoman in her underwear and destroys cars, all while delivering superhuman martial-arts moves. What more could you want?TROUBLE MAN1972; DVD $14.95, RThis classic - and oft copied, if rarely seen - '70s blaxploitation tour de force stars Robert Hooks as “Mr. T.,” an LA PI; a man of action in a world of corrupt and greedy losers. Fast, fun and furious with a Motown-jazz instrumental score by the great Marvin Gaye. This is the Real Deal, honkey!OTHER DVDS OF INTERESTASSISTED LIVING2005; DVD $19.95, RFERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF: BUELLER BUELLER EDITION1986; DVD $19.95, PG-13NIGHT OF THE SKULL1979; DVD $14.95, URRED DWARF: SERIES 71989; DVD $44.95, URSARABAND2005; VHS Rental/DVD $29.95, RTHE CHUMSCRUBBER2005; DVD $29.95, RTHE GREEN PASTURES1936; DVD $19.95, URTHE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN1960; DVD $24.95, PG-13A more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!