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Ultra Q

August 7, 2013

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, Aug. 13

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN

2013; $18.98-$40.98; R

Gerard Butler plays this silly actioner completely over-the-top, as it should be. He’s a former White House guard, now disgraced, whom fate picks as the president’s only hope of rescue when a sinister terror mastermind (Rick Yune) takes the White House. From there on, this is just “Die Hard” for the ’10s, with Butler doing a John McClane, quipping his way from action scene to action scene with Morgan Freeman in the background for gravitas, and Harvey Dent, er, Aaron Eckhart, as the prez. Big dumb fun at its best; don’t miss it.

ULTRA Q: THE COMPLETE SERIES

1965; $39.98-$59.98; UR

Never heard of this? What about “Ultraman”!? “Ultra Q” was its prequel: the first-ever monster-of-the-week TV show from “Godzilla” effects master Eiji Tsuburaya, recycling many of Toho’s best suitmation stars — including Godzilla (here as “Gomess”), King Kong (“Goro”) and Baragon (“Pagos”) — to create all new oversized creatures, rampaging in classic Kaiju style. Never broadcast in North America, long the Holy Grail of monster-nerds, this fabled nonsense is now available for the first time on these shores in a complete, 28-episode set in its original b&w with blessed English subtitles as God intended. An absolute must-own!

•••

A BAND CALLED DEATH

2012; $19.98; UR

Many have claimed to be the inventors of punk, but for our money, that band was Death, a trio of African-American brothers in the early ’70s who, while musically no better or worse than the other 10,000 bands in Detroit, could divide their audience into two distinct camps: those intimidated by their aggressive, savage, over-the-top style, and those who embraced it — there could be no middle ground. This is the story of that band and how its artistic life was cut short by the popularity of Motown and the evils of disco. Part music doc, part family drama, part American history, all upbeat, original and exciting.

A WEREWOLF BOY

2012; $23.98-$26.98; UR

If you go into this expecting a full-moon lycanthropic romp, you will be disappointed. The original Korean title of “Wolf Boy” is far more accurate, as this is the melodramatic tale of a feral young man, living wild in the woods until discovered by a mother and her two daughters. Make no mistake: The teen is a beast — frightening, dangerous and unpredictable … and possibly not even human. But in time, he develops a friendship with Suni, one of the daughters, which raises the jealous ire of the landlord, Ji-tae. A moving, emotional and mature film for teens, young adults and anyone looking for something different.

EMPEROR

2012; $13.98-$24.98; PG-13

Tommy Lee Jones hams it up as Gen. Douglas MacArthur, with help from Matthew Fox and master thesp Toshiyuki Nishida, in this historical retelling of the aftermath of WWII. MacArthur finds himself the reluctant ruler of Japan and must decide what to do with the former emperor, the man who declared war on the U.S.: Have him shot as a war criminal, or spare his life, which would shame the Japanese people? Fox, an expert on both Japan and psychological warfare, quietly helps him decide.

HATCHET III

2013; $12.98-$34.98; R

We have to give the creators of this stereotypical gore-thriller franchise credit: They know how to keep the audience coming back for more. Gorgeous Danielle Harris returns to destroy the unstoppable axe-killing sociopath, Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder), hiding deep in the Louisiana swamps. She rejects joining an army of heavily armed mercenaries, teaming up instead with cop Zach Galligan and his ex-wife, Caroline Williams, who may know the secret to stopping the murderer once and for all.

ROCK JOCKS

2013; $20.98-$26.98; UR

This is a fun little bit of sci-fi aimed at the YouTube generation. A secret government force called the Asteroid Management Initiative monitors the skies for death-dealing asteroids, blasting them away when they pose a threat. It’s populated by a bunch of lazy slackers who learned their mad piloting skills playing vidgames ... and they are bored, bored, bored. Imagine “Clerks” meets “Armageddon” with lots of profanity and crude practical jokes. Stars Andrew “The Conjurer” Bowen, Felicia “Werewolf Hunter” Day and a host of Kevin Smith alums.

THE COMPANY YOU KEEP

2013; $18.98-$35.98; R

Robert Redford makes a far-too-rare screen appearance as a good-guy lawyer and single dad making the world a better place for all. That is until immature, hotshot reporter Shia LeBeouf, out to make a name for himself, discovers that Redford was once a radical anti-war activist and is still wanted for murder. Thus begins a cross-country race with Redford hooking up with his old Weather Underground friends, the FBI close on his heels. A flawed movie, to be sure, but one that will make you think twice when you hear the word “terrorist.”

THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ADELE BLANC-SEC

2013; $13.98-$24.98; PG

Master fantasist and storyteller Luc Besson (“Fifth Element”) is at the top of his game in this wild adventure that begins with a 136 million-year-old pterodactyl egg hatching in a 1912 museum. Our heroine, a French female Indiana Jones — played with catlike grace by beautiful Louise Bourgoin — is completely unfazed. This wild and wonderful adventure, based on the works of Jacques Tardi, is everything that “Tintin” wanted to be, but with far more droll, wisecracking humor and an earthy pulp-fiction plot. Truly ageless: an epic adventure that everyone can enjoy, regardless of their birthday count.

WHAT MAISIE KNEW

2012; $12.98-$29.98; R

Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan are bickering, unlikeable parents, locked in a to-the-death custody battle for 6-year-old Maisie (Onata Aprile). Frankly, the adults get old real quick as they wage an ever-escalating war of self-involved jackassery “for the good of the child.” But Maisie doesn’t care. From her innocent point of view, her parents are simply being silly: the world around them is a wonderful place filled with love, charm and grace. She will lead them to find that again.

A more complete listing and free vids at videotapeworm.com. 

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