April 3, 2007

The Video Tapeworm: New, encore and low-price releases through Tuesday, April 10

This Week’s Twin Peeks:BOBBY2006; DVD $28.95, REmilio Estevez — a man whose movies have never risen much above the bump-and-jiggle variety — distinguishes himself as writer, director and star of this very ambitious drama about the denizens of the Ambassador Hotel on the night Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated there. A cast that includes scores of Hollywood’s best, plus a truly remarkable script, bring America of June 4, 1968, to life — just weeks after the death of Martin Luther King Jr. with the Vietnam War going badly and racist-, sexist- and class-tensions threatening to tear our nation apart.THE PEDRO INFANTE COLLECTION2007; DVD $14.95 ea., URFor the initiated, Pedro Infante (Cruz) was — and is — Latin America’s most famous pop icon, having made 59 movies and recorded 366 songs before his death in 1957. Yet you can bet that one of his movies is being shown somewhere south of our borders as you read this. Now available on DVD, many of his best, including the bittersweet trio “Nosotros Los Pobres” (1947), “Ustedes Los Ricos” (1947) and “Pepe El Toro” (1952). Ask your vidstore for the “Coleccion Pedro Infante” for more titles.   ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES2007; DVD $28.95, PGDirector Luc Besson turns this trivial CGI-driven tale from being just another popcorn-pusher into a fantastic adventure. Freddie Highmore stars as the boy who must make contact with the “Minimoys,” a race of tiny beings literally in his own back yard, to outwit greedy land developers. Too many big-name voices muddle the waters, but a first-rate fantasy from a master, nonetheless.BENEATH STILL WATERS2005; DVD $26.95, RA fabulous Spanish-made horror/thriller about a town that, to halt a creeping evil, builds a dam to bury it and the town under tons of water. It’s now 50 years later, and the ancient horror is again on the rise. Nice and spooky; we really enjoyed this!BLOOD FLOOD1974; DVD $14.95, URA big-titted “Mistress of the Dark” ripoff introduces this trio of obscure thrillers in an “All-Night Spooktacular Dusk-to-Dawn Horror-thon.” Features “Grave of the Vampire” about a mother who gives birth to a bloodsucker, Boris Karloff’s only Mexican-made Gothic horror, “House of Evil,” and “Guru, the Mad Monk,” a hilariously bad offering from infamous bad-film auteur Andy Milligan. Our kinda movies!BREAKING AND ENTERING2007; DVD $28.95, ROverrated hack Jude Law joins Vera Farmiga, Juliette Binoche and Robin Wright Penn in this artsy drama about ... You don’t really care do you? Us neither. Next.CINDERELLA2006; DVD $22.95, URWonderfully titled Korean slasher movie about young girls wanting their friend’s plastic-surgeon mother to give them “ul-jjang” (“The Perfect Face”).DEAD AND DEADER2007; DVD $19.95, URYou never know if this SciFi Channel cornball zombie-thon is laughing with you or at you. The acting is bad even for this genre, and Dean Cain, as the soldier who gets infected with a zombie-virus, yet maintains his humanity while being dead, never seems to take it seriously — which, combined with out-of-work actors from “The X-Files” and various “Star Trek” lines — is probably the movie’s best quality! Fun; watch for sequels.FLANNEL PAJAMAS2007; DVD $24.95, RThis indie art-houser covers the relationship of Justin Kirk and Julianne Nicholson as they fall in and out of love. Stephanie March, the blond hottie from “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” is only on the screen about five minutes. More’s the pity.LE PETIT LIEUTENANT2005; DVD $29.95, URA fabulous update on the Film Noir genre from France about an excitable young cop who becomes unusually attached to his boss, a veteran policewoman with a checkered past. Then the work of a serial killer enters the picture, leading to a violent end.LEGEND OF THE DOLL82007; DVD $19.95, URThis first live-action offering in the planned “Akihabara Trilogy” is a live-action breath of fresh air from Japan. A lonely model-maker and action-figure collector (or is that redundant?) builds the perfect woman, who comes to life and falls in love with him. Unrated, but we’d give it about a PG-13.ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN1967; DVD $19.95, RSometimes called “the original Kung Fu movie.” We won’t go that far, but this 1967 entry does predate the Jackie Chan/Summo Hung “clash of two martial arts schools” genre-defining chopsockeyfests. Lots of blood, though far fewer bodies than you’d expect, thanks to the swordwork of Yu Wang, Chiao Chiao and Chung-Shun Huang.PHANTASM1979; DVD $19.95, RDigitally remastered, DTS 5.1 sound release of a true benchmark in indie horror with tons of special features. Bodies disappear from graveyards only to resurface as scrunched-up little demons that look like the Jawas from “Star Wars.” Two brothers go searching for clues in a mortuary and find a very tall man in black and his otherworldly pet: a flying metal ball with a taste for blood and fresh head-cheese. Original, shocking and with a wonderfully quirky sense of humor, it stands head and shoulders above most horror films of the ’70s, despite its small budget. Have a ball!SLAUGHTER NIGHT2006; DVD $22.95, URAn exciting and original ghost-horror from the Netherlands! It seems that, at one time, convicted killers were sentenced to work in mines as living methane gas detectors. When found, they had to set it off, and — if they survived the explosion — were given full pardons. No one ever survived! Now they’ve come back for revenge. A.k.a. “Sl8n8” (could we make that up?). Lots of oofta-fun.VIDEO VIOLENCE ... WHEN RENTING IS NOT ENOUGH/VIDEO VIOLENCE 21987; DVD $14.95, URWhile most often remembered as two of the most notorious gore-indies of the ’80s, they are, in fact, very clever commentaries on the American public’s fascination with torture, dismemberment and death. Husband and wife vidstore owners are sent a snuff film, leading them (and the viewer) on a journey into depravity. In “VV2,” they return, now with their own TV show broadcast from their basement/dungeon!Other DVDs of interestKING BOXER1979; DVD $19.95, RMURDER IN SUBURBIA: SERIES 22005; DVD $39.95, URTEEN TITANS: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON2003; DVD $19.95, URTHE AURA2005; DVD $19.95, RTHE BATMAN: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON2004; DVD $19.95, URTHE UNTOUCHABLES: SEASON ONE, VOL. 11959; DVD $38.95, URA more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!