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March 23, 2006

Video TapeWorm: Releases through Dec. 13

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS•GODZILLA: FINAL WARS2004; DVD $24.95, PG-13A 50th anniversary G-project, directed by Ryuhei Kitamura, the “Japanese Tarantino,” in which the immortal Gojira/Godzilla makes a world tour to fight all of his old foes, one more time. Before it’s over he’s re-whooped every nemesis except King Kong, Megalon and Mechagodzilla — with the (SPOILER WARNING! DON’T READ FURTHER) “American Godzilla” thrown in to boot! (WE WARNED YOU!) Sort of a Millennium Series updating of the “Destroy All Monsters” concept with some obvious “Matrix” spoofs for texture.•KING KONG: PETER JACKSON’S PRODUCTION DIARIES2005; DVD $39.95, URWe don’t know whether to praise PJ for his love of movies or damn him for his money-grabbing chutzpah. This two-disc set chronicles the six-month production of his awesome new version of “King Kong,” plus a 52-page collectible scrapbook of drawings, photographs and notes, four production art prints and ... A Letter of Authenticity! OK, so now we’re buying the DVD extras BEFORE the DVD comes out ...? What can we say? We bought one!•AIRPLANE: THE “DON’T CALL ME SHIRLEY” EDITION1980; DVD $19.95, PGWhat could you possibly want to know besides it’s “Airplane”!? Well, the studio isn’t saying too much about what’s in this special edition release, which usually means there’s a commentary or a making-of doc in there somewhere. We don’t care, we’ll buy it as long as it’s got “Airplane” in it. The funniest movie ever made. Period.•BAD NEWS BEARS2005; VHS Rental/DVD $29.95, PG-13/URUnnecessary remake of the 1976 Walter Matthau/Tatum O’Neal sleeper hit comedy with Billy Bob Thornton and some generic kids. BBT is a washed-up loser who begrudgingly takes over coaching a hopeless kid’s baseball team to pay off a debt. Is it funny? A bit. Is it entertaining? Yes. Is it better than the original? No. Do the math.•FRANK MILLER’S SIN CITY2005; DVD $39.95, URA “Special Edition: Recut And Extended” version of the most perfect translation of a graphic novel ever filmed. If you need any more than that, you wouldn’t be interested anyway.•MIAMI VICE: SEASON TWO1985; DVD $59.95, URFans know that the second season of “Vice” was the best of the entire series. And the two-hour season opener, “The Prodigal Son,” may have been the show’s best episode, period, even though it took place in NYC instead of Miami! Highly recommended.•NAKED AMONG WOLVES1963; DVD $24.95, URA nearly-forgotten landmark film from the East German DEFA Studios, available for the first time on video. A Polish prisoner arrives at Buchenwald concentration camp with a suitcase. Inside it a small boy is hiding. If the guards find him, he and the other prisoners will be punished and/or executed, yet his innocence moves many of them to hide him within that living hell. Subtitled.•PRETTY PERSUASION2005; VHS Rental/DVD $24.95, REvan Rachel Wood is gorgeous, sexy, funny and intelligent. She’s also in this flick as a rich manipulative teen-queen sociopath who falsely accuses her drama teacher of sexual harassment just for the publicity — and it’s a comedy! Pretty good.•RAY HARRYHAUSEN GIFT SET1955; DVD $49.95, URThe perfect Christmas present for any movie lover. Contains three of Ray’s very best — the giant octopus menace of “It Came From Beneath the Sea,” the fast-growing Venusian “Ymir” of “20 Million Miles From Earth,” and “Earth vs. The Flying Saucers,” simply the best damned flying-saucer movie that ever was or ever will be — along with several printed goodies and a pile of great DVD extras on each disc.•ROCK ’N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL: SPECIAL EDITION1979; DVD $19.95, PGOne of the all-time GREAT bad Roger Corman cheapies, back again for no particular reason! Thirty-year old “teen” sexpot P.J. Soles is the spunky highschooler leading The Ramones, Vince Van Patten, Clint Howard, the unforgettable Mary Woronov as “Miss Togar,” Paul Bartel and Dick Miller on a merry chase through censorship, repression, record burning and Vince Lombardi High School, all to the music of Chuck Berry, Alice Cooper, Brian Eno, Todd Rundgren and Ritchie Valens. Simply THE BEST movie ever made with exploding mice!•THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN2005; VHS Rental/DVD $29.95, UR/RThis damned funny starring vehicle for “The Daily Show”’s second-banana, Steve Carrell, succeeds in covering all the dumb teen-sex clichés, yet remains fresh, mature and original. Steve plays the titular nice-guy with a nothing job and a great collection of action figures who is pressured by his co-workers to go and get his knob polished. Enter 40-something divorcee Catherine Keener and sparks fly — while they decide to forgo sex to keep it from screwing up the good thing they’ve found. Lots of fun and a great date flick.•THE DUKES OF HAZZARD: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASONDVD $39.95, URFor non-Duke-sters: This is the 1982 season where cousins Vance and Coy (Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer) filled in for Bo and Luke while they “raced at NASCAR.” In actuality, of course, Tom Wopat and John Schneider were just holding out for more money. And got it.•THE ISLAND2005; VHS $29.95/DVD $29.95, PG-13The old “ignorant human clones being kept around just to provide spare parts for their progenitors” has been a stable of stale TV movies since the ’70s, but this latest duplicate with Ewan McGregor and the stunning (and wasted) Scarlett Johansson raises the bar considerably. Noisy, flashy, dumb exciting fun from producer Steven Spielberg and Hollywood hack Michael Bay (“Armageddon”).•THE PRODUCERS1968; DVD $19.95, PGWith the new version haunting the theaters, it’s good to remember this, the production that made Mel Brooks a household name. Corny, racist and gleefully over-the-top, Mel leads Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder (with major help from the irrepressible Kenneth Mars) through a singing, dancing sure-fire Broadway flop called “Springtime for Hitler,” all for the sake of pocketing loads of investor cash.•VALIANT2005; VHS Rental/DVD $29.95, GHeartfelt, but too lame even for kids, this animated stew about a heroic British homing pigeon from Disney and the producer of “Shrek” never really takes wing. Recommended for the under-6 crowd only; with voices of Ewan McGregor, Tim Curry, Hugh Laurie and John Cleese.Other DVDs of InterestBIG BAD MAMA1974; DVD $19.95, RDEATH RACE 20001981; DVD $19.95, RFAMILY BONDS: COMPLETE FIRST SEASON2004; DVD $29.95, UR/RNAUGHTY NUDES OF THE 1960s2005; DVD $14.95, URPOPEYE: ORIGINAL CLASSICS FROM THE FLEISCHER STUDIO1933; DVD $9.95, URTHE SIMPSONS: SEASON 72005; DVD $49.95, URA more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!