THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS
2014; $14.98; UR
Underappreciated Louisville-lass Jess “The Good Wife” Weixler co-stars with indie writer/director/actress Jennifer Prediger as a pair of tightly wound New York City roomies who relocate to Los Angles in hopes of making it big, eventually landing their own reality TV show. A knowing nod to that modern class of shameless entitled jerks who make a fortune by simply being stupid, sad, and/or vain on TV (you listening to us, Kardashians?). Has an honest-to-gosh moral in the surprise ending. If you like the comedy tastes of Will Forte, Jeffrey Tambor and Megan Mullally you’ll love this (they co-star).
BURYING THE EX
2014; $12.98-29.98; R
This thing is a hoot. Anton “Star Trek” Yelchin moves in with bulbous Ashley “Twilight Saga” Greene, only to discover that she’s a manipulative, sociopathic control-freak (been there). Luckily, she dies. Yay! End of problem. He buries her and gets on with his life with a new babe: blue-eyed knockout Alexandra “Percy Jackson” Daddario. Double yay! But before you can say, “nobody gets that lucky.” The crazy one returns from the grave as a smelly zombie and decides to similarly “convert” Anton to assure his eternal devotion. Just as screwy as it sounds, thanks to master director Joe “Gremlins” Dante, who inserts a “Plan 9” clip, just for grins. Recommended.
OTHER DVDs OF INTEREST
BRYNHILDR IN THE DARKNESS:
2015; $49.98; UR
Young scientist-to-be Ryota has a mission in life: To prove the deathbed claim of a childhood friend that aliens walk the Earth. Then beautiful, mysterious Kuroha struts into his life — looking exactly like his dead friend! — and he begins to understand that she may be the key to our world’s future … or lack thereof. A simply terrific anime series that mixes “X Files,” Nazis, Japanese history, magic, extraterrestrials, young love, sex, titillation, death suppressant drugs, micro black holes, antimatter and bisexuality in a roller-coaster of fun. With perfect artwork, adorable characters and a great soundtrack, what more could you possibly want?!
MARVELS AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
2015; $18.98-39.98; PG-13
The biggest big-screen blockbuster of recent times arrives on Friday, Oct. 2, instead of the usual Tuesday. Why? Well, this is Disney/Marvel, so they can do what the hell ever they want. What? You want a review?! Surely by now everyone knows that Robert Downey “Ironman” Jr. tries to use his Jarvis OS to protect Mankind, inadvertently creating Ultron (James Spader), an indestructible android intelligence who determines that the only way to save the planet is to get rid of all these damned humans. We wholeheartedly agree. Lots of flashy, noisy action with a supporting cast that includes Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen and most every other pretty person in Hollywood. Just buy it.
THE CODE: SEASON ONE
2014; $25.98-39.98; UR
Right up front: This is one of the best TV dramas we ever saw. A pair of adult brothers (Aussie TV stalwarts Dan Spielman and Ashley Zukerman), one a dedicated journalist and the other a troubled computer hacker, stumble onto a global conspiracy. The trigger event occurs in a nowhere-town deep in the Australian outback when schoolmarm Lucy “Zena” Lawless (who you’ll never recognize) has her car stolen by two airhead students. The pair record on their cellphones something that powerful men will do anything to keep hidden. Where it goes from there is a wild ride, careening from abuse of power, to downed airliners, to stolen nuclear secrets, to … great stuff.
THE WORLD IS STILL BEAUTIFUL: COMPLETE COLLECTION
2015; $49.98; UR
Based on a serial manga, we meet Princess Nike, a beautiful young girl with the power to create rain, who loses a round of rock/paper/scissors with her sisters and “wins” marriage to a 10-year old child-king — who has already conquered the world! An always-surprising mix of themes, from “duty to family” to “be true to yourself,” all run afoul of the unpredictability of life — particularly when it doesn’t mesh with your pre-conceived notions — presented in colorful, joyous animation. Ultimately, though, it all boils down to finding love and friendship in the most unexpected places, and how important those relationships are to our world. A real treat.
2015; $23.98; UR
Avan Jogia (TV’s “Victorious”) plays the titular pharaoh, with Ben “Will Work For Food” Kingsley as his advisor in this historical miniseries that plays like an overgrown guy-soap. Smart producers at SpikeTV hired lovelies Sibylla Deen and Kylie Bunbury to provide the requisite sex/nude scenes — particularly that episode one finale which launched a rash of hate-posts by parents who had ignored the adult content warnings. (Interestingly, there were no objections to the violence, some of which is quite grisly.) A welcome look at an important period in human history that educates as much as it titillates, carried forward by a top-notch international cast.
*** More Recommended Videos for our On-Line Readers, Only!
A PLAGUE SO PLEASANT
2013; $12.98-19.98; UR
Now this is why we love indie video: A unique, original, full-length movie with great special effects and a sympathetic cast, all financed for under $3,000! The premise starts with the usual zombie apocalypse, except that the world quickly figures out that the zombies don’t attack unless you … attack them first! To them it’s just self-defense! And they’re vegetarians! So now they just wander around, clogging traffic, getting in the way of mowing, etc. Authorities even pass laws against harming the undead, lest it start a war. Where it goes from there is equally brilliant. You gotta see this!
2015; $26.98; PG-13
Norman “The Walking Dead” Reedus and Djimon “Guardians of the Galaxy” Hounsou are the last two surviing un-frozen humans after the apocalypse. The rest of humanity (what there is of them) lie in suspended animation until the time is right to awaken and reclaim the Earth. With the loneliness and impossibility of their situation driving them mad, Reedus begins to hallucinate conversations with Sandrine “Fear the Walking Dead” Holt while making plans to kill Hounsou. Nothing like a hobby to help pass the time, is there?
BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA
2015; $19.98-24.98; UR
Ryan Kwanten (“True Blood”) and Freida Pinto, slumming, are a pair of sometime-lovers/sometime-combatants in an deadly underground game of point-blank, gun-toting “chicken.” Yeah, it’s just as stupid as it sounds, but still watchable thanks to an extended cameo by Mickey Rourke and a bevy of tough-looking beauties.
ESCOBAR: PARADISE LOST
2014; $26.98; R
Benicio Del Toro (“Traffic”, “Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Star Wars: Episode VIII (to come)” may not appear in every scene of this Columbian-set romantic crime-drama, but his presence as notorious druglord Pablo Escobar can be felt everywhere. He’s the feared uncle of adorable Claudia Traisac, the honey attracting American surf-bum Josh “The Hunger Games” Hutcherson. Uncle Escobar is not amused by her choice, so he pulls the unprepared kid into the family drug trade where all sorts of “accidents” are sure to happen.
2015; $19.98; PG
Christian Koza makes a believable budding soccer player who dreams of kicking his way out of a lonely, troubled life in this surprise kid-hit that has already spawned a sequel (in production). Helpful/Hurtful adults include David DeLuise as his coach, John “Gimli The Dwarf” Rhys-Davies, Vivica A.”Independence Day” Fox, Dina Meyer, John Wesley Shipp, and (ugh) Eric Roberts.
2015; $9.98-24.98; UR
Beautiful little Lily Cole (“Snow White and the Huntsman:) is having a ball in this crazy cannibal-comedy about a trio of demented people-eaters out to celebrate Halloween by tormenting and devouring the patrons and staff at a local Mexican joint. Other luminary lunchables include Lothaire Bluteau (“Vikings” TV), Molly “Last Man Standing” Ephraim, James “Psych” Roday (who also wrote and directed), Paul Rodriguez, Jimmi “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” Simpson, and a cameo by Sarah Silverman. That rarest of animals: An indie comedy that’s actually funny – and scary enough for Halloween!
INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3
2015; $24.98; PG-13
Drop-dead gorgeous Stefanie Scott from TV’s “A.N.T. Farm” is by far the best thing about this third in the series, a prequel that explains how psychic Lin Shaye (“Things You Shouldn’t Say Past Midnight”) used her psychic gifts to help de-spook virginal Scott. As usual it doesn’t go well, with lots of “Oh, no! What’s that under my bed?!” spookydoin’s, off-camera whispers, and cheap jump-outs to keep things moving until the big, noisy finish. Dark dumb fun.
NAVY SEALS VS. ZOMBIES
2015; $22.98-26.98; UR
When beautiful Baton Rouge (“y’all come for the garlic fries, stay for the dysentery”) is attacked by face-munching undead, a crack team of SEALs goes in to rescue the city’s most sacred asset … the Vice President (former NBAer Rick Fox)! Choc-a-bloc with 3rd-tier celebs including Olympian Lolo Jones, Michael “American Ninja” Dudikoff, Ed “Eureka” Quinn, wrassler Chad Gunner Lail, and Molly “iZombie” Hagan, the real star of this turkey is the makeup crew, who have succeeded in making the now-tired “fast zombie” something to be feared once again. Directed by NASCAR driver Stanton Barrett. Really!
2015; $19.98-24.98; UR
Not just another low-budget teenie vampire drama, this thing RAWKS! Set in the dark streets of New Orleans at Christmas, children vanish from their homes, putting detectives Mike Doyle (“Law & Order: SVU”) and newcomer Danny Agha on high alert. What they uncover is too horrible to relate here – and it gets ever worse as they find themselves neck-deep in a centuries-old vampire war! A deal is proffered to save their skins, but even if they survive the city may never sleep in peace again. A damned good (throat-) ripping yarn, with Estella Warren (2001’s, “Planet of the Apes”), Johnathon “Ray Donovan” Schaech, and Mariana Paola “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” Vicente.
PEANUTS: BON VOYAGE CHARLIE BROWN
1980; $9.98-14.98; G
This Peanuts outing was something of an experiment by Charles “Sparky” Schultz in that it not only contained adult characters visible on the screen, but in speaking parts – not the “waah waah” trumpet sound used on TV. Even Snoopy “talks”, voiced by long-time Peanuts director Bill Melendez. The plot follows the gang as some are chosen to be exchange students in France, while the others fret for their safety back in America.
PEE-WEE’S PLAYHOUSE: CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
1988; $6.98-19.98; UR
Many fans of Pee Wee Herman (Paul Ruebens) consider this his masterpiece, finally available in a cleaned-up high-def Blu-Ray release. Santa must have a talk with Pee Wee after his 1-1/2 mile-long wish-list exhausts the North Pole’s supply of presents. What will all the other good little boys and girls do?! Some of those affected include Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Whoopi Goldberg, k.d. lang (doing a delirious version of “Jingle Bell Rock”), and Little Richard, who all join in to sing holiday favorites. A must-own.
PEOPLE, PLACES, THINGS
2015; $24.98; R
Jemaine Clement from “Flight Of The Conchords” is front and center in this dramatic adult comedy as a nerdy, clueless NYC’er trying to rebuild his life and preserve a relationship with his small daughters after the woman he loves (Stephanie Allynne of “Comedy Bang! Bang!”, who shows her boobs during the hilarious opening) leaves him. Sounds like a real yuk-fest, don’t it? Trust us, Clement will make you smile as the passive, easy going daddy who muddles through life, spoiling his cello-playing twins in just the right way. With “The Daily Show”s Jessica Williams, and Regina “Law & Order: LA” Hall as a potential love interest,
SOUTH PARK: SEASON 18
2014; $25.98-39.98; UR
As hard as it is to believe, South Park has now been entertaining us for 17 freakin’ YEARS, with Matt Stone and Trey Parker still churning out the freshest, most subversive comedy in TV history. This season starts off with a look at KickStarter, with the boys laying around all day while Internet morons send them money – until the Washington Redskins come after Cartman for stealing their name! But the highlight of the season has to be the infamous look at, er, “Craig’s Mom’s bush”: an instant classic that mixes drones, peeping, and misunderstood female anatomy as only SP can. Just buy it.
2014; $17.98; UR
The “blackout amnesia” genre, in which consciousness/reality jumps around ala “Edge of Tomorrow”, is a difficult and expensive thing to pull off, which is why this low-budget chase/hitman film is so surprising. Noel “Doctor Who” Clarke, who also directs, is a PTSD patient in the near future whose mind jumps between two realities – one in which he is a super-assassin with only 10 minutes to escape before “going dark” again. Gorgeous pair Luke Hemsworth and Alexis Knapp co-star, along with Ian “Lost” Somerhalder. (We found it interesting that star Clarke, who is black, is not on the box cover. It contains only Somerhalder, who is white.)
2015; $24.98-29.98; UR
Set in the wild west of the Australian outback but filmed in Romania, a pair of brothers are cheated by an evil banker (or is that redundant?) with eyes on their land. To save their home and families they become reluctant bounty hunters, slowly losing their souls to the harsh cold and inhuman brutality which surrounds them. A very underrated and intelligent flick, with Elisa Lasowski from “Eastern Promises” and one of the best original scores we’ve heard in months.
2015; $24.95; UR
The name Loten Namling may not be a household word in America, but this video sets out to change that. Namling is an exiled Tibetan living in Switzerland who saw his countymen setting themselves on fire in public squares to protest the brutal Chinese oppression of his homeland. This sets him on a path for India to meet with politicians, religious leaders – anyone, really, who could help him understand what is going on and try to stop it. His penultimate stop? The desk of The Dalai Lama. A unique look at the world, some of it shocking to watch.
TREMORS 5: BLOODLINES
2015; $14.98-22.98; PG-13
Michael “Burt Gummer” Gross returns for yet another sequel to the 1990 Kevin Bacon/Fred Ward hit. This time heavily-armed Burt goes to South Africa with new sidekick Jamie Kennedy (“Malibu’s Most Wanted”) to rout a nest of Assblasters and Graboids, only to discover that the monsters have evolved yet again, this time to include fast-moving, snakelike CGI “Diggers” who race through solid rock. And watch for gorgeous Natalie Becker from “Scorpion King” as the requisite eyecandy.
A More Complete Listing and Free Vids at VideoTapeworm.com