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Beasts of the Southern Wild

November 28, 2012

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, Dec. 4

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD

2012; $19.98; PG-13

This ranks as one of the best movies we’ve ever seen. A young girl lives all but alone in a Louisiana bayou: in danger, yet perfectly in tune with the fragile, mystical web of life around her. Everything is connected and in harmony until a massive storm shatters the dense jungle. Her home is flooded and her father is sick to the point of death; what can she possibly do to save herself, much less him and this world gone mad? Told completely from the girl’s perspective, this is a lush, enthralling and, at times, terrifying movie. We suggest you just lay back and let it sweep over you. Not to be missed.

BUTTER

2012; $24.98-$29.98; R

This silly indie comedy was one of the biggest surprises of 2012. Jennifer Garner is having a ball as the wife of a long-standing butter carving champion who decides to take up the sport herself, only to find the field cluttered with a pint-sized wunderkind, her hubby’s stripper girlfriend, and his obsessed fan/stalker. How’s she gonna prevail? By hook or crook, and with help from a brain-dead old boyfriend (Hugh Jackman)! Other co-stars include Alicia Silverstone, Rob Corddry, Olivia Wilde as the stripper, Kristen Schaal, and many more. Excellent.

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ELF-MAN

2012; $19.98; UR

Here’s an interesting idea: Santa sees a family having a sucky Christmas, so he drops off an elf to help them, and in doing so, the elf learns he has Yuletide superpowers that no one expected. Now the surprising part: It is not animated. And the elf is played by Jason “Wee Man” Acuña from “Jackass”! He does an unexpectedly good job in this very family-friendly environment. Expect sequels.

HOPE SPRINGS

2012; $19.98; PG-13

A fun if kinda corny look at the perils of long-term marriage starring Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones at his crotchety best. She wants to spice things up, he wants peace and quiet, so they (well … she) enrolls them in a couples retreat led by Steve Carell. A nice, knowing treat for the ’rents, to be sure.

KEN FOLLETT’S WORLD WITHOUT END

2012; $44.98-$65.98; UR

This is a miniseries sequel of sorts to Follett’s blockbuster “Pillars of the Earth” (Starz). This Reelz Channel outing, directed by Tony and Ridley Scott, picks up two centuries later with England on the cusp of war with France, and Europe in the grips of the Black Plague. Charlotte Riley plays Caris, who strives to lead her people from the Dark Ages with help from Mirthlin (Tom Weston-Jones, “Copper”). If you liked “Pillars,” you’ll like this.

MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: XXV

2012; $49.98-$59.98; UR

This welcome release is the perfect MST3K history lesson, containing one first-season title (“Robot Holocaust”), Joel Hodgson’s final show (“Operation Kid Brother”), one of Mike Nelson’s earliest episodes, and the introduction of Pearl Forrester and Dr. Bobo (demanded by their new owners, the SciFi Channel). But best of all, the producers took the time to create the best docs we’ve ever seen on the show’s background and changes through the years. A terrific addition to any MSTie’s video collection.

SILENT NIGHT

2012; $24.98-$29.98; R

We all know 1984’s “Silent Night, Deadly Night” was one of the most outrageous and universally condemned slasher movies of all time, largely because the killer was dressed as Santa and took out his victims with a flame thrower. Nonetheless, it spawned a sequel in 1987, and now this new continuation/re-boot starring Malcolm McDowell as a sheriff who takes on the evil elf with help from his curvaceous deputy, Jaime King. A stocking full o’ fun. Also available: The two original films in a single-disc set for $14.99. What a slay-ride! (Sorry.)

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

2012; $35.98; PG-13

We have some small issues with this final (?) installment in Christopher Nolan’s revolutionary Batman trilogy starring Christian Bale. Yeah, it’s incredibly entertaining, brilliantly conceived and breathlessly paced, but it is also the most “comic booky” of the series, with an uber-villian (Tom Hardy) who gains total control over Gotham with such ease that it didn’t ring true. Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman, however, was perfect: seductively beguiling the Caped Crusader to the point of impotence. Taken as a whole, a landmark in modern filmmaking with only a minor quibble about the ending. A must own, also available in a five-disc “Dark Knight Trilogy” for $20-$53.

THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN

2012; $27.98-$39.98; PG

This Disney fantasy, aimed at adults but also great for kids, stars Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton as a barren couple who write down all the dreamed-of traits they’d want in a child, then bury the list in the garden. That night an unusual boy appears, covered in mud and sprouting leaves. Sound obvious? Well, it is at times, but the boy’s breathtaking approach to life and the very real problems of those around him keep the treacle down, letting the themes of individuality, the many joys in life, and the unnecessary baggage we all carry, shine through.

THE WHALE

2011; $26.98-29.98; G

Ryan Reynolds narrates this lively doc on Luna, a young killer whale who gets separated from its family and begins seeking out human companionship on Vancouver Island. A terrific G-rated real-life adventure that is guaranteed to entertain anyone and everyone.

V/H/S

2012; $19.98; R

A welcome return of the horror anthology featuring a handful of indie genre masters indulging their favorite short fantasies. How you find the segments will depend on your favorite style of modern horror, but you have to love the central conceit: Petty criminals are hired to retrieve a tape from an abandoned house. They arrive to find a decaying body surrounded by TV sets and mountains of tapes. Now they must sit and watch them all to find the correct one. Pretty creepy, huh?

A more complete listing and free vids at VideoTapeWorm.com!