THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS
2014; $21.98; UR
Right up front: One of the funniest, most painful and relatable movies about sex we’ve ever seen. Italian teen virgin Edoardo (Matteo Creatini, who is clearly a star in the making) suffers from the little-known condition of phimosis: his foreskin is simply too tight, causing excruciatingly painful erections (which occur every 6.2 seconds, given his age). Too embarrassed to discuss it with family or friends — all of which have their own ridiculous sex problems — there’s little he can do except to stay calm and try not to think about sex … even around his would-be dream girl (Francesca Agostini). Good luck with that! Will make you completely forget those dumb “American Pie” films.
THE LITTLE DEATH
2014; $26.98-29.98; PG-13
For the locally-educated, the title comes from the French “la petite mort”: an artsy way of saying “intense orgasm”, the focus of this Australian sex-in-suburbia dram-com-rom. Five attractive couples find themselves trying harder than usual to enjoy married sex after an attractive single woman moves into their neighborhood. To say more would spoil the fun of this funny, surprising — and surprisingly un-raunchy — farce that rings the bell every time. The entire cast is exceptional, with first-time actress Erin James nearly stealing the movie. Writer/Director Josh Lawson (Doug Guggenheim from “House of Lies”) has created a minor masterpiece. Buy it.
OTHER DVD’s OF INTEREST
I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 3: VENGEANCE IS MINE
2015; $16.98; UR
Rape-victim Sarah Butler returns to the franchise (having appeared only in cameo in “ISOYG 2”), still trying to get her life togther after butchering the men who attacked her. Now in a support group, she tries to help others, only to see them fall through the cracks in the system while their attackers go free to attack again. And again. And again. When hugs and flowers have failed to halt the violence she goes completely meshuggah, meting out bloody Charles Bronson-like justice on every unrepentant man she can find — and boy!, does she find a lot of them! You’ll never be able to look at a roll of duct tape again.
2015; $19.98-64.98; PG-13
While we might argue that this latest in the legendary Spielberg-spawned “dinosaurs walk among us” franchise is more SyFy Channel than groundbreaking, it is nonetheless wildly entertaining and will certainly hatch many great theme-park rides. Any further review should be superfluous as it stars likeable Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jake Johnson, with Irrfan Khan, Vincent D’Onofrio and Judy Greer for extra protein. Available on DVD and several types of Blu-Ray including 3D, as well as a six-disc collection of all four Jurassic films, plus a digital copy of J-world and tons of bonus goodies. Enjoy.
TALES FROM THE CRYPT PRESENTS: DEMON KNIGHT
1995; $22.98; R
The dead-teenager films of the late 80’s spawned a renewed interest in classic horror, leading to a resurrection of the venerable “Tales From The Crypt” horro-comic as a TV series which lasted seven seasons and spawned several movies. This was fhe first of those flicks, starring William “Mah name is Darrel” Sadler as a cursed man protecting the Blood Of Christ from the forces of evil. A nicely creepy, blood soaked romp with Billy Zane as a baddie, Jada Pinkett(-Smith), Roger Corman stalwart Dick Miller, a bar filled with topless women, and melon-chested Peggy Trenti as the requisite nude bather. Lo, this be Art.
THE LARRY FESSENDEN COLLECTION
2015; $79.98; UR
Larry Fessenden may be the most famous filmmaker you never heard of. As an actor, he’s appeared in over 80 films and shorts including “The Strain,” and has produced over 50 projects including “Zombie Honeymoon.” Here we present a packaged quartet of his best early writer/director efforts on Blu-Ray, beginning with 1982’s amazing vampire tale, “Habit,” where Larry plays the drunk victim of a unique she-devil. Next is a surprisingly feminist tale of vivisection (“No Telling,” 1991), followed by what many consider his best work, 2001’s “Wendigo,” starring Patricia Clarkson, Jake Weber and little Erik Per Sullivan (“Malcolm In The Middle”s youngest brother). “The Last Winter” (2006) with Ron Perlman, Connie Britton and Zach Gilford completes the set. Highly recommended for fans of the unexpected.
1980; $20.98; UR
Kate “Law And Order: SVU” Nelligan stars in an Emile Zola-sourced miniseries from England as the bored, mousy wife who gets the hots for the hunky friend (Brian Cox, “The Bourne Supremacy”) of her dim-witted husband/cousin (Kenneth Cranham, “Maleficent”). Rather than wallowing in the expected guilt-driven dramatic sturm-und-drang, these two make plans to keep their illicit love alive at any cost. We”ll give you a hint what happens next: There’s a ghost involved. A nice respite from the whiny puddles of sadness and despair which usually result when great books meet TV.
*** More Recommended Videos for our On-Line Readers, Only!
A FRENCH VILLAGE: SEASON 1
2009; $39.98; UR
Better known around the world as “Un Village Français”, this is an extremely popular French dramatic series set in the early 1940s, just as the Nazis were occupying rural France, setting those normally quiet, insular communities ablaze with undreamed-of turmoil. The various strategies the people used to cope with this intrusion informs every episode: some embracing the Germans, some fighting them, some trying to ignore them in hopes they’ll just go away. But in every case a life and culture that existed for centuries was shattered, and the people were left with only one fragile thing to ward off despair: Each other. A truly remarkable series; in French with English subtitles.
1992; $19.98; G
Disney pulled out all the stops for this first-ever Blu-Ray Diamond Edition of their animated 1992 Arabian Nights classic starring Robin Williams as the hyperactive voice of the Genie, with Gilbert Godfried clearly having a ball as Iago, the angry parrot. Bolstered by the Oscar winning tune, “A Whole New World”, and some of the best characters and animation of modern times, this is the perfect flick for all ages. DisneyCorp, of course, “pulled a Lucas” with this release – adding one new scene and digitally tweaking several others – though it’s unlikely that most viewers will even notice. A must-own.
2000; $19.98; PG-13
This is one of the most surprising little movies of recent years, with big-city boy Arye Gross (“Castle”) returning to his little childhood home in the wiles of Montana. No, it’s not a “fish out of water” comedy, it’s a sweet, adult look at unrequited love and that universal longing for a “do-over.” Arye is Gay – something that wasn’t kosher in his youth – still dreaming of a romance with Tim “White Collar” DeKay, his best-bud from highschool. Meanwhile shopkeeper Eric Schweig (“Blackstone”) has his own unrequited yearnings – for Arye! So far, so good; but the real surprises kick in when the townsfolk become aware of all these lost opportunities and … we won’t spoil it.
CAMILLA LÄCKBERG’S THE FJÄLLBACKA MURDERS, SETS 1 & 2
$39.95 ea.; UR
You may recognize the name Läckberg, given that she is one of the most celebrated crime novelists of our generation, with many tales revolving around her alter-ego: mommy/crime-writing super-sleuth Erica Falck. Here Falck (Claudia Galli) returns to her idyllic coastal roots only to find herself drawn into that dark undercurrent of human folly which too-often leads to murder. Simply terrific characters, plots and storytelling combine to make this collection of TV movies a standout. Example? Okay: In the first tale, “The Hidden Child”, a man appears on her doorstep claiming to be the brother she was never told existed! Before she can learn more he is murdered. Subtitled and simply terrific.
2014; $22.98; UR
A truly unique and inspired Limey police procedural/missing-persons/serial-killer miniseries starring Brit-TV powerhouse Reece Shearsmith as the detective with a diagnosed personality disorder (we can relate), who is teamed with his literal polar opposite: sweet, nurturing Alex Kingston (“Doctor Who’s” River Song). If it sounds like this pairing has been done to death … it has, but never to this level of intimacy or entertainment as Shearsmith’s DS Stone dangerously worms his way into the minds of the most horrendous serial killers imaginable. A dark, sophisticated and engrossing four-part drama for adults unlike anything from America.
HAYATE THE COMBAT BUTLER: SEASON 2
2009; $59.98; UR
While the box calls this “Season 2”, the phrase “Series 2” is probably more accurate as the plot – about a young man who becomes the reluctant part-time butler/full-time bodyguard to a ditzy young heiress – has evolved to that point where their teasing childhood attraction has become inescapably romantic. That, of course, changes everything, though half the fun comes from a cadre of giggly girls who form her full-time, live-in friend’s-club, each of them as flighty, adorable, and drawn to danger as … as … Okay, we don’t have a clever idiom: It’s just more fun to watch this comic madness than to write about it. Slightly more addictive than cocaine.
NORTHERN LIMIT LINE
2015; $8.98-29.98; UR
Few Americans would consider modern Korean history a topic for everyday discussion, but this movie could change that. On a map, the Northern Limit Line demarks the waters of North and South Korea – though there is some disagreement on exactly where that line lies in the real world. In this drama, North Koreans take control of a neutral ship, using it as a platform to sneak up and fire point-blank on South Korean patrol boats, sinking at least one and killing a number of sailors. Inspired by actual events, this is a mixture of fact and SK dramatic license, to be sure, but exciting and arresting. Worth your time.
OLYMPUS: SEASON 1
2015; $27.98; UR
Royally roasted across the ‘Net, this SyFy green-screen wonder has few supporters because … well, because it sucks! But that doesn’t mean it can’t be entertaining, now does it? Tom York stars as Hero, a hunky young man who literally challenges The Gods for his own place in immortality. Along the way he teams up with an Oracle (Sonya “The Tudors” Cassidy), a sorceress (Sonita “Doctor Who” Henry), and a crazed inventor (who else but Matt “Max Headroom” Frewer?). And when the Gods put colorful CGI monsters and naked nymphs in his path, drama must ensue and lessons must be learned. The writing is abysmal, but filled with hilarious, hidden self-referential digs if you listen close enough. Goes great with cold beer and an old couch.
TALES FROM THE CRYPT PRESENTS: BORDELLO OF BLOOD
1996; $22.98; R
This sequel to “TFTC: Demon Knight” stars Dennis Miller as a wise-ass PI prowling around a whore-house run by damned-hot Angie Everhart, one of those places where patrons slide in, but never seem to slide out again. Of course, it’s just a front for a nest of sexy vampiresses. Watch for Oscar non-contenders Erika “The New Elly May Clampett” Eleniak, Corey Feldman, and the gratuitous nudity of chain-bedecked Kiara Hunter, Penthouse Playmate Juliet Reagh, and one-shot actress Leslie Ann Phillips. Chris Sarandon pops up as a be-talismaned televangelist to save the day. Sorta.
TESTAMENT OF YOUTH
2014; $34.98; PG-13
Lovely, frail Alicia “The Man From UNCLE (2015)” Vikander stars as Vera Brittain, a young woman who came of age at the start of bloody WWI. Adrift in a sea of unprecidented social change, she was determined to attend college and have a career, yet was cursed to see so many good men march off to their deaths. She eventually drops out to become a nurse, just one of the sacrifices that define a life. This BBC production, based on Brittain’s famous memoir, is a perfect period piece blessed with talent, particularly Vikander (the android in “Ex Machina”),and Kit “Game Of Thrones” Harington as her friend-turned-lover. With Emily Watson and Miranda Richardson.
2015; $26.98-29.98; R
A disturbing – yet entertaining and uplifting – bio-doc on the Angulo Brothers of Manhattan’s Lower East Side: seven ordinary young people (6 brothers and 1 sister) whose asshole father never let leave the apartment, make friends, attend the local school, or otherwise lead a normal life for 14 years. Yet somehow the kids were alright, if completely obsessed with film (been there), endlessly reenacting their favorite scenes with makeshift props from within their tiny 16th-story world. Then out of the blue one of the brothers, at age 15, goes for a walk around the block, changing everything forever. A perfect fly-on-the-wall exploration of their world – and ours – and how truly resourceful we human animals can be. Recommended.
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