February 13, 2007

Video Tapeworm: Releases through Tuesday, Feb. 20

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS FLUSHED AWAY 2006; DVD $29.95, PG Aardman Studios, the guys who brought us “Wallace and Grommit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” make their first foray into computer animation with this excellent tale of a pet mouse who finds love and adventure in the sewers of London. We missed the claymation, but loved the way they carefully sculpted, then digitized, each character to give it the same 3-D look as their past works. A fun story with delicious voice work by Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Ian McKellen and especially Jean Reno as a, uh, well, a French frog! NIGHT OF THE LIVING DORKS (DIE NACHT DER LEBENDEN LOSER) 2005; DVD $19.95, UR A riotous spoof of zombie flicks from Germany. Philip, Konrad and Weener are the three biggest nerds at Frederich Nietzsche High School. When their mobile bong explodes, causing them to crash, they inhale some ashes they bought on eBay and become The Living Dead. With an insatiable appetite for human flesh, wild parties and gym class revenge, they’re finally attracting girls for the first time in their lives. AMERICAN HARDCORE 2006; DVD $24.95, R The best doc on the ’80s punk scene ever made, all set to the music that fueled the fight. With never-before-seen live footage from Black Flag, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Circle Jerks, Misfits, Bad Religion, The Adolescents, 7 Seconds and many more, plus exclusive interviews with Henry Rollins, Ian MacKaye and Keith Morris. We especially liked the clips of Reagan being elected. Cool. BABEL 2006; DVD $35.95-39.95, R A complex tale of four interlocking stories in the tradition of “Syriana.” A poor Moroccan acquires a rifle to protect his goats; an American couple’s (Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett) life is shattered when she is accidentally shot; the couple’s children travel to their housekeeper’s son’s Mexican wedding; a Japanese father is unable to communicate with his teenage daughter after her mother’s suicide. DARK CASTLE HORROR COLLECTION 2005; DVD $42.95, R Five hit-or-miss modern-day horror smashes for cheap! First the Paris Hilton version of “House of Wax,” then Halle Berry’s “Gothika,” the vastly underrated “Ghost Ship” (we LOVE the opening dance number!), the cheezy reimagining of William Castle’s classic “13 Ghosts” set in a clockwork glass house, and the Geoffrey Rush/Famke Janssen version of “House on Haunted Hill.” FAMILY TIES: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON 1982; DVD $38.95, UR Michael “Tremors” Gross and the stunning Meredith Baxter-Birney thought they were the stars of this sitcom about ’60s radicals, now married and mired in Reagan’s America. But son Michael J. Fox put an end to that, becoming one of the hottest stars of the ’80s by sheer charisma and comic timing. With Justine Bateman and Tina Yothers. FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION 2006; DVD $27.95, PG-13 Christopher Guest’s latest and least-effective satire focuses on the world of independent film. While trying to direct his latest indie, “Home for Purim,” a filmmaker must contend with a faded star (Catherine O’Hara), a former child actor (Harry Shearer), a reformed feminist (Parker Posey) and a host of other distractions. KEEPING MUM 2005; DVD $27.95, R For those of you asking what Rowan Atkinson has been up to lately, he’s the star of this veddy quiet Brit comedy, a country vicar who is so intent on his sermons that he’s oblivious to his wife’s affair with Patrick Swayze and his children’s odd troubles at school. MAN OF THE YEAR 2006; DVD $29.95, PG-13 Writer-director Barry Levinson leads Robin Williams and Louis Black in this tale of a wisecracking TV talk-show host who, as a joke, runs for president. And wins! While it wants to be a condemnation of American politics, the whole thing ends up a series of stale one-liners. SECOND CITY: THE FIRST FAMILY OF COMEDY 2006; DVD $24.95, UR A long overdue documentary look at the Chicago comedy club that launched the careers of many of your favorite comedians, including those who went on to create Canada’s infamous SCTV. With interviews by alumni Dan Aykroyd, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy, plus never-before-seen work by John Belushi, John Candy, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Aykroyd, Short, Dave Thomas and Tina Fey. SHUT UP & SING 2006; DVD $28.95, R In 2003 the Dixie Chicks said, “Just so you know, we’re ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas,” launching a furor that could only have happened in America. This doc takes a look at what happened to the all-time top-selling female recording artists in the days that followed. THE PRESTIGE 2006; DVD $29.95, PG-13 Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale are stage magicians, bitter rivals whose antagonism has been fanned by the accident that claimed Jackman’s wife. He sends his apprentice, Scarlett Johansson, to spy on Bale and learn the secret of his latest trick. Wonderfully dark and gloomy as befits 1900s London; we liked it! TWILIGHT SAMURAI 2002; DVD $26.95, UR Oscar-nominated tale of an aging, widowed samurai in the last days of the Shogun empire who seeks to protect the battered ex-wife of a drunken neighbor. Trust us on this: It’s one of the most touching, exciting and moving stories you’ll ever see; you’ll be telling your friends about it tomorrow. Filmmaking at its absolute finest. WALKING TALL: THE PAYBACK 2006; DVD $24.95, R Kevin Sorbo, out of work since the days of being “Hercules” for Sam Raimi, takes over for The Rock in this unnecessary sequel to the unnecessary remake. It’s nice to see him working again. ZEROPHILIA 2006; DVD $24.95, UR A randy teen sex farce/horror film that lives in a genre all its own. A young man discovers that he is a Zerophiliac, possessor of an extra chromosome that allows him to alternate between male and female at will. Wonderfully funny and knowing, yet never stooping to crudity. OK, maybe once or twice. And watch for a walk-on by Kelly LeBrock in the opening credits. Other DVDs of Interest GANDHI 1982; DVD $24.95, PG THE THREE STOOGES: HAPLESS HALF-WITS 1996; DVD $24.95, UR VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA: SEASON 2: VOL. 2 1965; DVD $29.95, UR WHAT’S NEW SCOOBY-DOO: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON 2006; DVD $19.95, G/UR A more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!