July 15, 2008

The Video Tapeworm - Releases through Tuesday, July 22

by David B. King and Bill Raker


THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS

21

2008; $24.95-$38.95, PG-13

A fun, lively and reasonably intelligent crime-caper/adventure based on the true story of MIT-ers who once out-played Vegas casinos for millions. Kevin Spacey is the stats prof who explains the strategy to starving student Jim Sturgess, putting him in the path of semi-psychotic security man Laurence Fishburne. Meanwhile, Kate Bosworth is, well, HOT. Lots of extremely attractive, super-smart people just like us get in over their heads doing dumb things. Just like us. A damned fine little date flick.

SATANTANGO

1994; $79.95, UR

Bela Tarr is considered Poland’s greatest filmmaker, a man of incredible vision and passion with a wonderfully skewed take on humanity. Finally available on DVD after a long and arduous trek through censors, lawyers and other leeches, we present Tarr’s most salient and provocative film: The rag-tag remnants of a once-thriving commune stumble through life nonplused until duped by a charismatic conman who puts them on the road to disaster. Sounds like a Hungarian version of “The Bush Years,” don’t it?

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’ROUND MIDNIGHT

1986; $19.95, R

Jazz legend Dexter Gordon was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of “Dale Turner,” the doomed musician who leaves racist America during the ’50s to die a drugged-out, alcoholic wreck after finding musical salvation in France. Herbie Hancock’s Oscar-winning score is simply amazing, and the cast includes such luminaries as Hancock, Lonette McKee, John McLaughlin, Eric Lelann, Wayne Shorter, Michel Pérez, Martin Scorsese and Cedar Walton. Parodied on “The Simpsons” as “’Round Springfield,” we can also recommend new pressings of other blue-notes “Bird,” “Blues in the Night” and “Pete Kelly’s Blues.”

CELINE: THE UNAUTHORIZED LIFE STORY OF CELINE DION

2008; $19.95, PG-13

Just what the title says: A look at the life of the Canadian songbird who, at age 12, so impressed manager René Angélil that he mortgaged his home to fund her career. They married shortly after she broke into America on the soundtrack of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.”

CHINA RISES: BEHIND THE GREAT WALL

2008; $24.95, UR

A real good doc that explains why you need to learn Chinese — and fast — if you hope to survive in the next decade and serve our omnipotent Mandarin overlords. All Hail the People’s Glorious Revolution and the Scouring of the Yellow Dog Capitalists from our Beloved Homeland! We live to serve the Exalted Master Plan! Uh, to put it simply: They will buy us. Pretty much already have.

DARK HONEYMOON

2008; $19.95, UR

Lindy Booth and Nick Cornish star in a solid, no-budget thriller about a guy who too quickly meets and marries a hot babe, then notices that people just seem to keep dying in creative, entertaining ways wherever they go.

EVIL BEHIND YOU

2006; $14.95, PG-13

Fun, cheap-o PG-13 fright-fest about two couples who wake up one morning strapped to beds in a vacant scientific lab. The men seem to be suffering from amnesia, and there’s evidence of wicked experiments in progress. But that’s not even the scary part! Check this out.

HALFWAY DECENT

2005; $19.95, UR

Ever wonder what happened to Ernie Hudson, the black guy from “Ghostbusters”? Us neither, but here he is in this damned good comedy/drama of a put-upon PI whose smokin’ wife (Finn Carter, who lost her pants in “Tremors”) wants another child while his partner is stealing him blind. But the best part for us is a rare screen appearance of Kip Addota, whose pun-filled songs once graced the “Dr. Demento Show.” Can anyone sing “Wet Dream”? No? Well, you’re just being shellfish!

L.A. INK: SEASON 1

2008; $24.95, UR

First video release from the inexplicably popular TLC reality/doc series about Kat, a rebel tattoo artist in L.A. who spends her nights partying and her days making enormous amounts of money hungover, painfully burning cartoons into bikers and gangbangers holding literal bagloads of cash.

PICTURE THIS!

2008; $26.95, PG-13

“High School Musical” star Ashley Tisdale is an unpopular teen — yeah, right … have you SEEN this babe?! — who gets grounded AND invited to a hot party by a hot guy on the same night.

SINISTER CINEMA 2008-2009 CATALOG

2008; FREE

Our good friends at Sinister Cinema just released their latest catalog full of impossible-to-find video gems, all with excellent reviews that we steal weekly. Specializing in rare and forgotten titles not “officially” on retail video, they burn many of their discs themselves from old grindhouse reels. Sci-fi oddities, unseen horrors, sword-and-sandal silliness and — best of all — a fabulous collection of classic Oaters from the likes of Tom Mix, Bob Steele, Hoot Gibson and Ken Maynard! Get yours at sinistercinema.com.

SPACED: THE COMPLETE SERIES

2008; $49.95, UR

A wonderful three-disc Limey TV set from the guys who brought us “Shaun of the Dead.” The amazing Simon Pegg and his moody, flighty kinda-girlfriend Jessica Stevenson are self-professed flat-broke loser/slackers, ambling through life without a plan — just like the rest of us! Great stuff.

THE BOSTON STRANGLER: THE UNTOLD STORY

2008; $19.95, UR

“Married with Children” star David Faustino stars in this hilariously bad exploiter as the titular would-be serial rapist/killer Albert De Salvo, who falsely professes his guilt to get in the newspapers. Tough-guy Andrew Divoff plays detective John Marsden in a cast that includes Corin Nemec from “Stargate: SG1.” Is it any good? Does it SOUND any good? Get the Tony Curtis version.

WITHOUT THE KING

2008; $24.95, UR

Award-winning doc on the Kingdom of Swaziland, the last remaining absolute monarchy in Africa. Swathed in luxury, pampered and well-serviced by his 12 wives, King Mswati III reigns, unconcerned that his subjects live in famine amid grinding poverty, or that they have the highest HIV infection rate in the world. Needless to say, his subjects are pissed and openly plot to remove him from the planet. Great entertainment for your next “Hate Bush” party.


OTHER DVDS OF INTEREST

AMERICAN SLAPSTICK, VOL. 2

2008; $34.95, UR

MANEATER SERIES COLLECTION: VOL. 1

2008; $26.95, UR

MARTIAL ARTS ESSENTIALS, VOL. 3: BEST OF THE BEST SERIES

2008; $19.95, UR


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