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August 15, 2006

Video TapeWorm: New Releases For the Week of Aug 22.

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:POSEIDON2006; DVD $28.95, PG-13We were ready to slog through another wretched remake until we noticed that the director was the phenomenal sea-movie-master Wolfgang Petersen. Not the campy TV-star bloated cheeze of “The Poseidon Adventure,” but a better-than-it-has-to-be adventure starring Kurt Russell and Richard Dreyfuss. The basic plot is the same — a freak wave capsizes a luxury liner and the few survivors must battle their way out of an upside-down Hell before the ship sinks — but Petersen’s visuals and attention to detail make all the difference. With lots of great DVD extras.SILENT HILL2006; DVD $28.95, RRadha Mitchell takes a backseat to some truly original and horrifying images in this otherwise far-fetched terror outing based on a Konami video game. She plays a mother whose daughter is being driven mad by dreams of a deserted town — so they go out looking for it! They find it and, like nearly all of the townsfolk, disappear into a subterranean netherworld that ranks as one of the most visually arresting horrors ever put on film. Without peer as the best vid-game-cum-movie ever, this thing RAWKS!A BIT OF FRY AND LAURIE: SEASONS ONE & TWO2006; DVD $49.95, URThat’s “Laurie” as in “Hugh Laurie” as in that nasty doctor named “House.” Americans are just waking up to the fact that Hugh has spent decades on their screens in Limey comedy shows like “Blackadder,” “Jeeves and Wooster” and this particular entry that ranks as one of the funniest sketch shows we’ve ever seen! As good as the best Monty Python or Mr. Bean; with Stephen Fry as “Fry.”DOUBLE INDEMNITY1944; DVD $26.95, URIf you’ve never seen this — hell, if you don’t OWN this! — then you’re only living half a life. Master director Billy Wilder hired “The Big Sleep” writer Raymond Chandler to adapt the script, then tagged Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck to portray the scheming lovers who plan to do away with her husband in this exciting, thrilling rollercoaster of a movie that is part and parcel of our shared culture. A true masterpiece for about 25 bucks! With Edward G. Robinson, and Tom Powers as the victim.HOUSE, M.D.: SEASON TWO2005; DVD $59.95, URPart “CSI,” part “Sherlock Holmes” and part ... well, there’s never been a character like “House” before, has there? Hugh Laurie continues his reign as the master medical misanthrope whose amazing skill as a diagnostician lets him get away with far worse than murder each week. (We work by the same credo: They can’t fire us when we’re THIS good.) A six-disc set with commentary.INVASION: THE COMPLETE SERIES2005; DVD $59.95, UR2005 was the year for sci-fi to crawl back onto the broadcast tube, but as usual the networks didn’t have the patience to wait for the new shows to find their audience. We liked this “alien arrival as disease” potboiler; it was intelligent and relied on plot and character rather than special effects. Doomed from the start.JUST MY LUCK2005; DVD $29.95, PG-13Lindsay Lohan ... need we say more? Our favorite chunky-monkey shines in this teeny tale of love, luck and destiny that, with better direction, could have been a classic straight out of the Wayne/O’Hara era. Those days are gone, however, and all we can do now is look forward to Lindsay showing us her freckled boobs on screen. Soon, we hope.KISSES & CAROMS2006; DVD $19.95, R/URLots of TV faces fill this off-center romantic sex comedy/nudie about a girl who arranges a threesome to impress her boyfriend, only to be so “blinded by his penis” (the studio’s phrase; we couldn’t top it) that she decides they should just be friends. And it all takes place at a billiard pro shop, for no particular reason. Lots and lots of fun.LUCKY NUMBER SLEVINDVD $29.95, RWith a cast like Josh Hartnett, Ben Kingsley, Morgan Freeman, Stanley Tucci and Bruce Willis, how could this be anything but great? Well, it’s at least very good at times as Josh schemes to extricate himself from a lethal case of mistaken identity by two crime lords with the help of hitman Willis. We suspect the 13 — count ’em, THIRTEEN — producers got in the way, but there’s still enough action and plot twists to keep you entertained.SAVING SHILOH2006; DVD $19.95, PGPart 3 in this family-friendly series about a young Midwestern boy who learns about life with the help of his faithful dog, Shiloh. This one centers on a crotchety old man with a bad reputation, and trying to find the good in people. Also available: All three films in a boxed set for $28.95.THEM!/THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS2006; DVD $14.95, URWow, is it Christmas already? It must be for this Gift From The Gods, two of the best radioactive monster movies ever to come from Hollywood, together for cheap. “Them!,” of course, is the fantastic tale of giant ants threatening the world; stars James Arness, Joan Weldon, Edmund Gwenn and James Whitmore. And “Beast” sends a Ray Bradbury-scripted dinosaur wading into the Coney Island Amusement Park — with stop-action animation by Ray Harryhausen! What a time to be alive.THRESHOLD: THE COMPLETE SERIES2006; DVD $59.95, URAnother TV sci-fier that never really got a chance. NBC — the original “Star Trek” guys — are responsible for canceling this “invasion by mutation” drama about a motley team of experts assembled when an alien craft is discovered to be emanating a DNA-altering signal. Had a lot of promise, and we enjoyed seeing Carla Gugino back on the screen, but no one listens to us.OTHER DVDS OF INTERESTBLUE THUNDER: THE COMPLETE SERIES2005; DVD $39.95, URELIZABETH I2006; DVD $29.95, URNATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: INSIDE 9/112005; DVD $29.95, UR PHAT GIRLZ2006; DVD $27.95, PG-13SATAN’S PLAYGROUND2005; DVD $19.95, URSESAME STREET: ELMO’S POTTY TIME1993; DVD $12.95, URTHE ROBINSONS: THE COMPLETE SERIES ONE2005; DVD $24.95, URA more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!