January 23, 2007

Video Tapeworm: Releases through Tuesday, Jan. 30

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS FARCE OF THE PENGUINS 2006; DVD $19.95, R A hilarious disaster of a mockumentary spoofing the public’s love affair with penguins. Written and directed by Bob Saget and narrated by (who else?) Samuel L. Jackson, this treats the male’s cruel existence in the frozen wastes of Antarctica as a big ol’ fraternity kegger/road trip! With voice-work by Jason Alexander, Christina Applegate, James Belushi, Lewis Black, Gilbert Gottfried (as “Freezing Nuts Penguin”) and scores more. LOOKER 1981; DVD $19.95, PG One of our all-time guilty pleasures from Michael Crichton; waaaay ahead of its time and now available for chump-change. Albert Finney plays a plastic surgeon who notices that all-but-perfect models seem to be dying mysteriously, yet his trained eye continues to see them on TV commercials. Former Partridge Susan Dey is the next potential victim of Ad-Man From Hell (or is that redundant?), James “Flint” Coburn, in this prescient tale of corporations using TV to control the masses and take over the world that’s still as much fun as it was 20-sumpin’ years ago. <<end>> CANTADORA IS FOR LOVERS 2006; DVD $29.95, UR A hot and nasty bisexual romp across the warm paradise of a tropical island. An engaged couple meet a Latin hunky-boy off the coast of Panama who introduces them to the sublime pleasures of sand in their shorts. Watch it with someone you inflate. CATCH A FIRE 2006; DVD $29.95, PG-13 A terrific true apartheid drama, set in 1980s South Africa. A quiet, peaceful Everyman is accused of being a terrorist; beaten and tortured by the authorities who then go after his family. This awakens his desire for justice, and he becomes a freedom fighter for the illegal African National Congress. Great music and a terrific cast with Derek Luke (“Antwone Fisher”) and Tim Robbins. FLYBOYS 2006; DVD $29.95, PG-13 A fun actioner that just plain nosedived at the box office. James Franco and Jean Reno lead a largely unknown cast in this tale of the Lafayette Espadrille, America’s first fighter pilots, all volunteers under French command during WWI. OFRENDA DESNUDA (BARE OFFERING) 2006; DVD $19.95, UR A poor Mexican tries to sneak his dead wife’s body into the United States, one step ahead of her family, his past and the Border Patrol. A terrific zero-budget indie that plays to its simple strengths. Well written and honestly acted; a damned good little movie. ONE NIGHT WITH THE KING 2006; DVD $29.95, PG Wasn’t that the name of an Elvis movie? No? OK, for those of you with a foreskin, this is the tale of Hadassah, the young Jewish girl who risked her life to save her people, eventually winning the heart of the king to become the Biblical Esther, Queen of Persia. Stars Tiffany Dupont, Omar Sharif, John Rhys-Davies and Peter O’Toole. OPEN SEASON 2006; DVD $28.95-38.95, PG Hopefully the last in the recent crop of CGI critterfests, this one has Ashton Kutcher as a scrawny, fast-talking mule deer who completely destroys the cushy life of a ranger’s pet bear, voiced by Martin Lawrence. The producers wisely kept Kutcher and Lawrence in check after seeing such films as “Shark Tale” go down the crapper. A fun tale, well told, with Debra Messing as the perky ranger, Billy Connolly as a scene-stealing, rampaging Scottish squirrel, Jon Favreau, Patrick Warburton and Gary Sinise as a redneck hunter. RED DOORS 2006; DVD $19.95, R A big hit on the art-house circuit about an aging Chinese-American who disappears, sending his three daughters rippling away on their own life-altering journeys. Alternately funny, sad, absurd and painfully real. Recommended. THE DESPERATE CROSSING: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE MAYFLOWER 2006; DVD $24.95, UR A far better than average outing by the History Channel starring members of The Royal Shakespeare Company. Well researched, written and authentic as the ill-equipped misogynist religious nuts retch their way across the Atlantic. THE HEXER 2001; DVD $24.95, UR Fantasy-film fans will love this entry from Poland — a country with a long and colorful tradition of magical literature and film — about a magician/fighter who wages war on an evil villain, his army of fire-breathing dragons and other strange creatures, to rescue the fair princess. Based on the extremely popular fantasy tales of Andrzej Sapkowski. THE MARINE 2006; DVD $29.95, PG-13 Rassler John Cena plays the title hell-raiser/anti-hero who is forced from Iraq only to discover that his yummy wife (Kelly Carlson) has been kidnapped by vicious jewel-thief Robert Patrick in this unapologetic Big Dumb Actioner. It’s clobberin’ time! THE MOTEL 2005; DVD $24.95, UR An authentic, honest Cantonese tale of adolescence and the universal need to be loved. A 13-year-old spends his days cleaning up after visitors to his family’s hourly-rate motel while mooning over his 15-year-old dream girl and avoiding his mom. Then a wayward stranger provides a long-missing paternal influence, helping him along his journey to adulthood. THE PEDRO ALMODOVAR COLLECTION 2006; DVD $117.95, UR If you don’t know who Almodovar is, then you simply don’t watch enough movies! An eight-disc set with “All About My Mother,” “Bad Education,” “Talk to Her,” “The Flower of My Secret,” “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” “Live Flesh,” “Law of Desire” and “Matador.” TIM CONWAY: TIMELESS COMEDY 2006; DVD $14.95, UR Tim Conway, who honed his comic skills in Cleveland with the likes of Ernie “Ghoulardi” Anderson, Steve Allen and Bob Newhart, is the perfect second-banana, and as such has never had a really GOOD DVD treatment. Until now. A too-short 60-minute look at his early TV work and rare standup appearances from the 1960s, including never-before-seen clips of him as Dag Hereford, the hopeless self-help guru. Highly recommended. Other DVDs of Interest BIG VALLEY: SEASON 2, VOLUME 1 1965; DVD $39.95, UR DALLAS: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON 1978; DVD $39.95, UR DIVERGENCE 2006; DVD $22.95, R I DREAM OF JEANNIE: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON 1965; DVD $39.95, UR LUCKY LOUIE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON 2005; DVD $29.95, UR ZATOICHI, VOL. 6: TV SERIES 1974; DVD $29.95, UR A more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!