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October 8, 2008

The Video Tapeworm

Releases on Tuesday, Oct. 14

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS

INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL
2008; $29.95-$39.95, PG-13

We traveled to Universal Studios Florida to see the first midnight showing of this, reveling along with Indy’s most rabid fans — including a score of the park’s Indy-portrayers, each one a screaming, wild-eyed adventure nut. Good crowd, disappointing movie. Don’t get us wrong, this is fun; the music is there, the characters are there, Shia LeBeouf and Cate Blanchett sparkle, but Spielberg and Lucas lied to us. They promised to skip the cartoony modern CGI crap in favor of old-fashioned, in-camera stunts and special effects, but far too much of this drops into SciFi Channel territory. And we suspect that Harrison Ford has had a stroke. All that said, we still recommend getting the two-disc Blu-Ray set.

MONGOL: THE RISE OF GENGHIS KAHN
2007; $27.95, R

A fabulous German/Kazakhstan/Russian bio-drama that was nominated for (and robbed of) the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, yet won nine other awards from around the globe. You come to understand the incredible achievements of Kahn, who, after spending part of his life as a slave, rose to conquer and unify more of the world than Alexander the Great and Imperial Rome combined. Far from a savage, maniacal slayer, he was a true visionary — an unrepentant romantic, fearless and dedicated to lead the world out of endless war and poverty. A stunning achievement in moviemaking.

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4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS
2007; $24.95, R

From Romania: A pair of college roommates spend 24 hours preparing to meet a black market abortionist, descending into an underworld they never dreamed of.

A SHARI LEWIS CHRISTMAS
1960; $9.95, UR

Between 1960 and 1962, “The Shari Lewis Show” did annual Christmas episodes with Lamb Chop, Hush Puppy and the rest of the gang sharing holiday traditions from around the world. All three shows are here, along with the very rare Christmas special from “Hi, Mom!” (Lewis’ now-lost 1957 series) and a never-before-released Lamb Chop short shown in theaters.

BROTHERHOOD OF BLOOD
2007; $19.95, R

A straight-up vampire-hunting gore-fest with Sid Haig (“House of 1000 Corpses”) and Ken Foree (“Dawn of the Dead”).

CAPRICORN ONE
1978; $19.95, PG

A fondly remembered ’70s turkey from director Peter Hyams. James Brolin leads an all-star cast in this tale of a NASA mission to the Red Planet that is faked after a lethal design flaw is found in the capsule. Problem is: The returning now-empty capsule is destroyed in splashdown! Hmmm, how to explain the living astronauts who have been broadcasting “live” from Mars? Lots of fun, including Brolin eating raw snake. (Rumors persist of a remake in 2010.)

CHRIS ISAAK CHRISTMAS
2007; $19.95, UR

A wonderful — if unusual — holiday offering from the always-interesting Isaak. His trademark sense of humor and amazing range brighten such standards as “White Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” plus a few originals written just for this Chicago crowd. Recommended.

DARK FLOORS
2008; $19.95, R

The Swedish heavy metal band Lordi star in this seriously warped import about a mental hospital that serves as gateway to another dimension full of monsters, and the father and autistic daughter who must escape.

ONE TOUCH OF VENUS
1948; $14.95, UR

A welcome re-release of a personal favorite. Robert Walker kisses a cold, stone statue of Venus and she turns into sexy Ava Gardner. At our place, it usually goes the other way ’round.

QUARK: THE COMPLETE SERIES
1977; $19.95, UR

We must be the only guys on the planet who remember this simply awful nine-episode TV spoof of Star Trek/Star Wars, created by Buck Henry (“Get Smart”). Richard Benjamin pilots a space garbage truck with crew Tim Thomerson (as a real bi-sexual) and Louisville’s own Cyb and Patricia Barnstable as clones Betty (Priscilla) and Betty (Trish). Buy it for the girls.

SHOGUN ASSASSIN: 5 FILM COLLECTOR’S SET
1972; $79.95, UR

Wake up and run to the vidstore! Finally available, all five of the legendary Lone Wolf movies in one set! A savage former-assassin, unable to bear the grief of his wife’s murder, pushes a lethal baby carriage across the mountains of Japan to protect his only son from the hordes of evil-doers, shoguns, ninjas and otherworldly horrors that accost them. Your life is without meaning without this boxed set.

STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE
2008; $28.95, R

A savage, brutal documentary showing your tax dollars at work. Inside the Abu Ghraib prison, suspected terrorists — most of them dirt-poor farmers and shopkeepers who have lost their families to endless war — are tortured by U.S. servicemen and “contractors.”

THAT 70S SHOW: COMPLETE SERIES STASH BOX
2008; $199.95, UR

Yeah, we like the show, but we love this set! Thirty-two discs with all 200 episodes, each disc in a different sleeve modeled after a classic ’70s album cover, plus tons of great featurettes, all in a retro box that looks like something from a vintage record store (the kind we used to store our weed in). Worth the price.

WAR, INC.
2008; $28.95, R

Why the studio paid $10M to make this thing and then only open it on two screens is beyond us. John Cusack has a ball, once again playing a hitman in this comic tale of political power and business plans run amok. Co-stars Hilary Duff, Marisa Tomei, Joan Cusack, Ben Kingsley — and especially Dan Aykroyd as a Cheney-esque VP who runs the war-ravaged state of Turaqistan for profit with his personal army of contractors and evil business partners. A look at Bush’s retirement plan.

OTHER DVDS OF INTEREST

ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON
2008; $14.95, UR

HOLMES ON HOMES: SEASON 5
2008; $36.95, UR

THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON
1970; $29.95, UR

THE SARAH SILVERMAN PROGRAM: SEASON TWO, VOL. ONE
$26.95, $29.95, UR

THE UNIVERSE: THE COMPLETE SEASON TWO
2007; $44.95, UR

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