July 30, 2008

Video Tapeworm

by David B. King and Bill Raker

Releases through Tuesday, Aug. 5


THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

BELPHEGOR: PHANTOM OF THE LOUVRE

2001; $19.95, UR

Lovely Sophie Marceau (“The World Is Not Enough,” “Braveheart”) stars in this fun French flick based on a popular kids TV show from the ’60s. She’s infected with the spirit of a centuries-old mummy, fighting to return from the spirit world. This isn’t your Universal horrors of old, but a fast-paced, clever and innocent romp more in line with the new Doctor Who than any gut-ripping modern terror. Of course, this being made for French kids, we get to see Sophie’s adorable bare butt and a glimpse of boob. Gotta love dem Frogs!

NIM’S ISLAND

2008; $29.95-$39.95, PG

Wunderkind Abigail Breslin, Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler are terrific in this lively tale about a girl who imagines a colorful world where anything can happen, taken from the pages of her favorite adventure books by reclusive author Alexandra Rover. When her dad suddenly goes missing, she drafts the reluctant writer into her delusion and they set out to find her father. Together they all learn the trademarked and requisite “lot about life and themselves.”

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CAMP OUT

2006; $24.95, UR

A refreshing look at the world’s first summer camp for gay Christian youth.

CODE MONKEYS: SEASON 1

2007; $19.95, UR

First video release of G4 TV’s fun “crazy life of two 8-bit video-game programmers, circa 1983” series that’s part South Park, part Dilbert and completely original. Weird, goofy, smart and surreal — yet never less than totally entertaining.

GARFIELD’S FUN FEST

2008; $19.95, UR

Garfield video offerings started off strong with good Christmas and Halloween specials, but then devolved into unwatchable straight-to-video dreck. The first big-budget CGI movies faired better thanks in large part — no pun intended — to Jennifer Love Hewitt. (You know, it’s really disturbing how much we know about this subject.) This full-length feature is at the low end of the scale, not that it matters. Parents will buy anything their kids tell them to.

HOOKED: MONSTER FISH

2008; $19.95, UR

First video release from a truly cool National Geographic series about gi-normous fish and the even bigger fools who catch them. Imagine reeling in a catfish the size of a bear, or a pissed-off half-ton marlin that can bite cooler-size holes in a metal boat, and you get the idea. Lots of fun.

I GOT THE FEELIN’: JAMES BROWN IN THE ’60S

2008; $39.95, UR

A timely compilation of terrific performances from the late Godfather of Soul. Includes a director’s cut of the classic VH1 doc about Brown’s role in quelling riots after the death of Martin Luther King Jr., two complete never-before-seen concerts — one from the Apollo Theater — and a number of rare TV performances.

I LOVE THE ’80s COLLECTION

2008; $14.95 each

Paramount has just released a slew of great ’80s titles for cheap (probably to raise money for the coming Blu-Ray versions). Some of the highlights include “48 Hrs,” “Airplane!,” “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Crocodile Dundee,” “Footloose,” “Pretty In Pink,” “Top Gun” and “Urban Cowboy” — plus a long-awaited reprinting of the hilarious Oater spoof “Rustler’s Rhapsody.” A bargain at any price.

SLIPPERY SLOPE

2007; $24.95, UR

We first saw this at a festival and LOVED it! A truly funny, no-budget indie joy where Kelly Hutchinson, desperate to raise money for her own feminist film manifesto, takes a menial job on what turns out to be a porn film. But when the director quits, she finds herself in the job! Frantic to — quietly — complete the film in a way that is both profitable and not demeaning, she winds up with an accidental art-house hit. But her husband, unaware of her porn entrepreneurship, assumes something else is afoot. Trust us, this is a major hoot, whatever your philosophical leanings.

SOUNDSTAGE PRESENTS: REO SPEEDWAGON LIVE IN THE HEARTLAND

2008; $19.95, UR

Yes, we are unrepentant REO Speedwagon fans — have been since back in the early ’70s when we saw them in their hometown of Chicago. (And, yes, we are THAT old — just don’t ask us about the night we spent at 157 Riverside Ave. in Westport, Conn.!) This PBS Soundstage performance was filmed in Chicago as part of their 26th album release celebration, with Kevin Cronin on lead.

STARSHIP TROOPERS 3: MARAUDER

2008; $24.95-38.95, R

While this isn’t technically straight-to-video, it’s just a matter of semantics: Casper Van Dien returns as Johnny Rico to battle the big bugs and rescue sexy Jolene “Enterprise” Blalock on planet OM-1.

THE COUNTERFEITERS

2007; $28.95-$38.95, R

A well-deserved Oscar went to this excellent imported true-life drama about a former master criminal, now in a Nazi death-camp, given the chance to survive if he helps them destabilize the Allied economy by printing bogus bank notes. With a mixture of German, Russian, English and Hebrew, this may be the best movie you’ll ever read.

THE EXECUTIONER’S SONG

1982; $28.95-$38.95, UR

An all-new director’s cut of one of the best made-for-TV movies ever made. Tommy Lee Jones, Christine Lahti, Rosanna Arquette and Eli Wallach star in the true tale of Gary Mark Gilmore (Jones), fresh from prison after a long sentence for armed robbery. His years behind bars have made him so unstable that he almost immediately kills two men in senseless crimes. Convinced that he could never live again among civilized people, he demanded — and received — a sentence of death by firing squad.

THE KILLING OF JOHN LENNON

2006; $19.95, UR

Jonas Ball plays Mark David Chapman in this Limey look at madness and murder. One day, a seemingly average 25-year-old security guard walks off his job in Hawaii, traveling across the world to sit outside a New York apartment building and get an autograph from John Lennon. Exactly when he decided to kill is not known, but this documentary-like dramatization presents it in Chapman’s own words. Chilling.


Other DVDs of Interest

BATMAN: ANIMATED SERIES THE LEGEND BEGINS

2008; $13.95, UR

FOYLE’S WAR, SET 6

1985; $49.95, UR

GET SMART: SEASON 1

2008; $24.95, G

STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES: SEASON TWO

1966; $84.95-$99.95, UR

WELCOME TO AMISH AMERICA: THE SERIES

2008; $24.95, UR


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