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March 7, 2006

Video TapeWorm: Releases through March 14

A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE2005; VHS/DVD $28.95, RDavid Cronenberg’s latest surprise thriller — this one based on a graphic novel. Really! Loving family-man Viggo Mortensen commits self-defense murders during a robbery, only to draw the attention of Ed Harris, a scarred man with a shady past who believes the new-found hero is actually a savage mobster. One way or the other, Viggo’s identity is in peril.DEAR WENDY2005; DVD $24.95, URHigh strangeness — if good filmmaking — in this narrated drama/comedy/fable about the gun-culture in America. A lonely boy buys a toy gun, only discover that he received the real thing, which he calls “Wendy,” and finds that it attracts others to him for the first time in his life. They form a pacifist gang called The Dandies, writing love-letters to their guns and ... Well, you just have to see it.GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK2005; VHS Rental/DVD $28.95, PGThere was a time in America, before Corporacracy reared its ugly head, when journalism was a noble profession, a caretaker of Democracy and an unbiased educator of the masses (unlike the dirty rag you are now holding). During that time, newsman Edward R. Murrow and Senator/Nut-Job Joseph McCarthy butted heads, resulting in the first attempt by the American government to control the press by strong-arming CBS television. This is that true story starring David Strathairn as Murrow. Electrifying and relevant. (Also available: the doc “Good Night, And Good Luck: The Edward R. Murrow Television Collection” containing actual footage of the day for $28.95 on DVD.)I DREAM OF JEANNIE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON1965; DVD $39.95, URWhat could we possibly say to increase the entertainment value of this perfect slice of ’60s TV? The first season was filmed in b&w, but you can find this collection both untreated and colorized. Both feature Barbara Eden’s fabulous (if oft-hidden) pulchritude and the perfect comic timing of Larry Hagman as her astronaut “master.” (BTW: There is a “Jeannie” movie in the works, supposedly with Jessica Alba as Jeannie and Jimmy Fallon as Major Nelson!)MAREBITO2004; DVD $24.95, RIn between shooting “Ju-on” and its American remake “The Grudge,” director Takashi Shimizu did this thrilling and scary treatise on what frightens us. A cameraman, obsessed with the desire to dissect and understand fear, studies footage of a grisly suicide in the subway. But when he goes to the scene for more in-depth investigation, he runs afoul of an urban legend under the streets of Tokyo. Subtitled.SOMETHING WEIRD VIDEO CATALOG2005We just got our latest SWV catalog, so there’s no reason not to spend tonight watching great exploitation cinema from the Golden Age. Nudie cuties, grindhouse follies, roughies, classic indie horror, drive-in lovelies — cult, cult, cult and more cult! Check them out at www.somethingweird.com, request a catalog ... and then go shopping locally. Any GOOD vidstore always carries lots of Something Weird!TEN LITTLE INDIANS1965; DVD $19.95, PGNot the best version of this classic whodunnit ever filmed, but kinda fun. Based on Agatha Christie’s perfect novel “And Then There Were None” (originally titled “Ten Little Niggers” ... really!) It’s the well-known tale of 10 guests arriving at a secluded house, each believing they have won a trip, only to find that a mysterious killer — possibly one of them — is knocking them off, one by one. Stars Hugh O’Brian, Shirley Eaton, Fabian, Wilfrid Hyde-White and the voice of Christopher Lee.THREE OF HEARTS: A POSTMODERN FAMILY2004; DVD $29.95, RThis documentary has been the target of hate campaigns since it first appeared. Why? It tells of three people: two blissfully married gay men who want a family, and the (very attractive) bisexual one woman they “adopt” to be Mommy. At first it’s a “Leave It To Beaver”-perfect world, but as the trio begins to seriously consider the lives of their children, the triangle begins to crack.TOWNES VAN ZANDT: BE HERE TO LOVE ME2004; DVD $24.95, URTownes Van Zandt was one of America’s greatest, yet least-known songwriters. His life was hard — and, to be honest, he wasn’t the nicest guy on the block — but like a mistreated dog who longs to be petted, all he knew how to do was growl. Examples of his work include “Pancho and Lefty” (Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard) and “If I Needed You” (Emmylou Harris and Don Williams); this doc includes performances and interviews with some of the people he made famous.V.I.P.: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON1998; DVD $49.95, URPamela Anderson parlayed her plastic poontang in “Baywatch” into this syndicated detective/bodyguard series (with many nods to the Andy Sedaris women-with-guns movies). It ran for four season before the production company went belly-up in 2002. Now available: A four-disc, 22-episode ode to action and physical perfection — even if it takes surgery — with a nice sense of humor.OTHER DVDS OF INTERESTGROSSE POINTE: THE COMPLETE SERIES2000; DVD $29.95, URJOHNNY CASH & ROSCOE HOLCOMBE: RAINBOW QUEST2004; DVD $19.95, GLOVEDOLLS SUPERSTAR FULLY REALIZED2004; DVD $19.95, URSHE SPIES: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON2002; DVD $39.95, URSLEEPER CELL2005; DVD $34.95, URA more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!