THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:
JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT
2013; $16.98-$29.98; PG-13
Chris Pine boots up this new franchise on the early exploits of Tom Clancy’s seminal spy (previously played by Ben Affleck, Harrison Ford and Alec Baldwin), with help from a great cast including Keira “Tasty Neck” Knightley, Kevin Costner, Kenneth Branagh and honey-haired Maxim stunner Elena Velikanova. While we chafe at the notion of Ryan’s deadly skills diluted to a PG-13 rating, this is an immersive experience, following Pine from college in London to Afghanistan and beyond due to the events of 9/11. It’s a more action-oriented take on the character than the brilliant strategist you find in Clancy’s books, but we like it.
2014; $19.98-$29.98; PG-13
It is said that a true actor can move us while his feet are glued to the stage. Here Liam Neeson proves that adage by taking on an invisible terrorist/extortionist while trapped in a confined airplane cabin with hundreds of screaming passengers. A wildly contrived and thoroughly ridiculous movie that never lets you notice these facts, thanks to LiNee’s screen presence, a clever script and great co-stars such as Julianne Moore, Lupita Nyong’o, Scoot McNairy (“Argo”) and “Downton Abbey”’s Michelle Dockery. Won’t change your life or anything, but entertaining as hell.
2013; $22.98-$24.98; R
This tease-comedy stars Emma Roberts as a naïve would-be poet, drowning in student debt, who takes a job at a sleazy sex shop to tick off her parents while “pursuing her dream.” Part of that dream is to mentor under Rat Billings (John Cusack), a spacey beat poet. While generally quiet, friendly and sane, even making friends with Evan “Kick Ass” Peters, she goes completely meshuggah where Cusack is concerned, to the point of stalking him on a tandem bike with transgender Armando Riesco. Fun.
COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY
2014; $42.98-$49.98; UR
Carl Sagan’s original 1980 “Cosmos” literally changed our lives, inspiring us to embrace our love of science, leading to degrees and careers in engineering and math. (You didn’t think we actually did this for a living, did ya?) And while we may have some quibbles about this updated version hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, we think Carl would have approved. A visually stunning, heartfelt and personal celebration of mankind and his less-than-significant place in the universe, moving the viewer to embrace his own greater destiny. With profound love for our fellow shipmates, we beg you: Re-discover the exquisite joys of learning.
2013; $12.98-$34.98; UR
Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon, Dane DeHaan (“Amazing Spider-Man 2”) and a host of other greats lend their talents to this true tale of murder, “devil worship” and institutionalized vengeance in America. Three youngsters are found slaughtered on May 5, 1993, and the “obvious” suspects are dark-clad teens, believed to have sacrificed the children as part of a Satanic ritual. The evidence is all but nonexistent, but the parents of the victims and the rest of the community demand blood for their pain, despite the growing realization that a killer is still hiding in their midst. Terrifying.
2012; $24.98; UR
Originally titled “Zombibi,” this nicely warped undead comedy from the Netherlands has the unique distinction of, uh, being from the Netherlands. A spaceship crashes in Amsterdam, releasing the usual rotter-virus, and one poor schlub spends the movie battling cross-country to rescue his would-be true love. But here’s the part to remember: The girl is played by Gigi Ravelli — The single most beautiful creature on the planet. Seriously, dude! Have you SEEN this babe?! Holy mother of freakin’ god! Google now, we’ll wait! — playing a damn funny, ass-kicking cop. Laugh-filled bloody horror with Nordic physical perfection.
SAVING GRACE B. JONES
2009; $12.98-$20.98; R
Underrated actress Tatum O’Neal will completely blow you away in this drama about a woman (O’Neal), recently released after two decades in a mental hospital, who comes home to rural 1950s Missouri, facing the toll she’s taken on her sister (Penelope Ann Miller) and family. Then, to top if off, a devastating flood threatens all their lives. A very dark film based on real occurrences in the life of writer/producer/director Connie Stevens, co-starring Michael Biehn and Piper Laurie.
THE ODD WAY HOME
2013; $21.98; UR
One of our favorite underutilized actresses, Rumer Willis, stars with Chris “Weeds” Marquette in this truly brilliant, painful and cathartic roadtrip through America’s least-traveled byways. She’s a victim of childhood abuse who runs screaming out of L.A. He’s a hermit, obviously suffering from an obsessive-compulsive disorder, unable to understand social conventions yet brilliant at detailed tasks. Apart they are lost, but together they just might fit. Indie cinema at its best.
2014; $37.98-$40.99; UR
A doc unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Inventor Tim Jenison is obsessed with the paintings of Dutch master Johannes Vermeer, excitedly demonstrating how his photo-realistic paintings of the 1600s — created over a century before even the most crude photography techniques — must have made use of some hidden, undiscovered technology. But what? His search for answers takes us to some surprising places and surprisingly clever people, including Martin Mull, Penn Jillette and Teller, who directs. A unique trip of the mind.
2013; $17.98-$19.98; UR
A truly disturbing doc on the 232 real, measurable and potentially deadly (or completely unresearched) chemicals that each of us has in our bodies, and who put them there. And no one seems to be involved in a solution: not the industries that created them, not the health professionals who see our lives getting shorter, and not government regulators, overwhelmed by industry lawyers and their paid-off politicos. But the doc takes an informed approach: Here are the facts; here’s what we know; here’s what you can do. Recommended.
A more complete listing and free vids at videotapeworm.com.