Gran Torino

June 3, 2009

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price DVD releases on Tuesday, June 9

This Week’s Twin Peeks:

 

GRAN TORINO

2008; $28.95-$35.95, R

If all you know of Clint Eastwood is his more recent, artsy, “Midnight in the Garden” work ... hold onto your shorts! This is Eastwood doing what he does best: Taking a minor premise based on seemingly two-dimensional characters and turning it into an engrossing slice-of-life that will leave you breathless. He’s a grumpy and dangerous Korean War vet, riled to anger by Hmong immigrants moving into his neighborhood — then one of them steals his car. You expect him to go on a killing spree, but he turns the anger inward and sets out to reform the teen, ultimately learning a powerful lesson himself. Wonderful.

CROSSING OVER

2009; $19.95, R

We are convinced that Harrison Ford suffered a stroke sometime before the making of the last (hopefully!) Indiana Jones movie. Kinda slow. Here, however, he’s back front-and-center, proving that — while not as quick as he once was — he’s still a damned good actor when given age-appropriate material to work with. Besides, how can he go wrong with co-stars like Ashley Judd, Sean Penn and Ray Liotta?! He’s an immigration agent, trying to find a missing illegal whose disappearance seems to be far too convenient for his bureaucratic higher-ups. Worth checking out.

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FIRED UP!

2009; $28.95-$39.95, PG-13/UR

This harmless latter-day “Porkies” features a pair of hunks (Nicholas D’Agosto, Eric Christian Olsen) who ditch football camp to weasel into cheerleader camp in hopes of scoring with the scores of blonde-and-bubbly bouncing hotties. And with the likes of Sarah Roemer, AnnaLynne McCord and Murray, Ky.’s own Molly Sims on the screen, you’ll be cheering them on! Big dumb fun.

HOME

2008; $19.95-$26.95, UR

We love Luc Besson movies, and this high-def documentary look at our planet proves why. An aerial survey of 54 countries showing how the earth has been affected — both for the good and the bad — by man’s few scant centuries of inhabitation. Narrated by Glenn Close, but don’t let that stop you.

LADIES OR GENTLEMEN

2009; $19.95, UR

A damned fun look at Hollywood’s love affair with cross-dressing from the Starz Channel. With terrific clips from “Some Like It Hot” (one of the funniest moves ever made!), most every John Waters flick, “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and lots of Ed Wood Jr. offerings, this is a real hoot.

NICOTINA

2003; $19.95, R

If you see only one dark-humored Latin computer-hacker action-thriller this week, make it this one! Diego Luna stars as a geek who gets embroiled with Russian mobsters trying to access a Swiss bank account. The scheme goes down the crapper, of course, leading his friends, family, neighbors — and a certain attractive woman he’s been stalking — into a dangerous confrontation.

SHAUN THE SHEEP: SHEEP ON THE LOOSE

2007; $14.95, UR

What can we say? If you haven’t seen one of these international-hit kid-vids from the Wallace and Gromit guys, you’re missing one of the best things on TV. Six episodes plus a nice behind-the-scenes featurette for, like, 2 bucks each. Best bargain in town.

SIN: THE MOVIE

2000; $14.95, UR

If you remember the first-person shooter vidgame “SiN,” then you might like this short (under one hour) anime based on the exploits of Col. John Blade. Here he takes on genetic monstrosities and the far more dangerous humans behind their creation.

THE INTERNATIONAL

2009; $24.95-$39.95, R

Clive Owen is on screen nearly every second of this two-hour globe-hopping corruption-and-murder thriller. He’s an Interpol agent trying to take down the world’s largest bank with the help of Naomi Watts (who does little but look good and run) for funding terrorists, murder and mayhem throughout the world.

THE KISS

2008; $19.95, UR

There have been a lot of teen vampire flicks lately, but this little Latino gem is by far our favorite. A sour, unhappy 18-year-old guy discovers a forgotten, undead vampire queen buried in the desert. He helps resuscitate her and they fall in love, but what can he do when her recovery begins to take its toll on his family and schoolmates? Sexy, fun, comic and scary — what more could you possibly want in a movie?

THE NORMAN LEAR TV COLLECTION

1970; $159.95, UR

The complete first seasons “All in the Family,” “Good Times” (with Jimmy J.J. Walker), “The Jeffersons,” “Maude,” “One Day at a Time” (with hot little Valerie Bertinelli), the incomparable “Sanford & Son” and, best of all, “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.” Comes with two full discs of special bonus material.

WOODSTOCK: 3 DAYS OF PEACE AND MUSIC

1970; $24.95-$69.95, R

It’s amazing that we’ve never written a review of this, considering that we watch it obsessively several times a year. Simply put: 1969 was the pinnacle of human civilization. Man stepped on the moon, a war had been stopped with flowers and poetry, and, in the little town of Bethel, N.Y., half a million people came together in the greatest musical/social event in history. A muddy, disorganized, drug-fueled orgy unlike anything the world had ever seen, it was our final birthday party, the end of America’s childhood. Now available in several forms, including a four-hour 40th Anniversary Blu-Ray Ultimate Director’s Cut, this Oscar-winning doc is a must-own. Check out The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Santana and hundreds of their friends — including two new hours of never-before-seen performances by Joan Baez, Country Joe McDonald, Joe Cocker, Paul Butterfield, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Grateful Dead, Johnny Winter and Mountain — plus hours of new commentary and interviews. Plan on taking next week off. Time well spent.

Z ROCK: SEASON ONE

2009; $19.95, UR

If you haven’t caught this clever IFC series about ZO2, a heavy metal band that secretly makes a living playing kiddie birthday parties as the squeaky-clean “Z Brothers,” here’s your chance. Ten episodes with great guest stars like Gilbert Gottfried, John Popper of Blues Traveler, Sebastian Bach and Dee Snider.

 

Other DVDs of Interest:

FATHER KNOWS BEST: SEASON THREE

1956; $39.95, UR

GET SMART: SEASON 3

1967; $24.95, UR

LAST OF THE SUMMER WINE: VINTAGE 1979

2009; $24.95, UR

ROY CLARKE’S OPEN ALL HOURS: THE COMPLETE SERIES

2009; $49.95, UR

THE BEST OF WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY?

2009; $24.95, UR

THE CLEANER: FIRST SEASON

2008; $49.95, UR

 

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