December 21, 2007

The Video Tapeworm: Releases on Tuesday, Jan. 1

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:SEPTEMBER DAWN(2007; DVD $26.95, R). There’s little doubt that the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857, in which more than 120 men, women and children were hacked to pieces just for traveling across Utah, was a product of the Mormon Church. There’s even less doubt that the present-day Latter Day Saints aren’t too happy with this little production with Jon Voight as the church Elder who commands the attack and Terence Stamp as founder Brigham Young. Maybe that’s why the producers focused on a fictional Romeo and Juliet amid the fray. A bit hokey at times, but we liked it.SHOOT ‘EM UP(2007; DVD $28.95-35.95, R). Clive Owen redefines “over the top” in this hilarious, genre-defining comic book ode to the modern love affair with firearms, action and violence. He plays “Smith”, a man with no past who delivers a baby during a shootout, then spends the next 80 non-stop minutes protecting it from an army of hitmen lead by Paul Giamatti. But the plot is just an excuse for hundreds of hilarious weapons-inspired sight gags and impossible stunts. Entertaining as hell with Monica Bellucci and great lines like, “Guns don’t kill people! ... But they sure help.”- - - - -AVIA II(2008; DVD $49.95, UR). Wild-eyed closet cinephiles are well versed in the original Avia Guide to Home Theater, the multimedia Bible for purchasing, installing and obsessively tweaking home theater systems. This new release includes even more digital test-tones and patterns that take the debt-ridden, navel-gazing recluse into the hoary land of double-digit multichannel sound and HD video splendor. Seek help.INDIE SEX(2007; DVD $29.95, UR). A fabulous, uncensored look at how independent films have provided an artistic outlet for exploring sexuality in ways that mainstream cinema can’t. A 2-disc set, originally created as a miniseries for cable’s IFC, in three parts: “Censored,” “Extremes” and “Teens.” The latter is the best, moving from Frankie and Annette beach movies to “American Pie” (though we have to admit that the rare footage of Bettie Page in “Extremes,” er, kept us up at night). Our highest recommendation. Never sleazy or pandering, this is an intelligent and thought-provoking look at an adult topic.JIMMY AND JUDY(2005; DVD $26.95, R). Edward Furlong and Rachael Bella (from early in “The Ring”) star in this overlooked treatise on teen love gone horribly wrong – most of it from the viewpoint of a hand-held vidcam – that suggests that of all the American excesses, passion may be its most deadly.MASTER IT!: MATH(DVD $29.95, UR). Most people we know can be divided into two camps: those who see mathematics as a simple, natural way to understand the world around them, and those who have a cultural mental-block that tells them that Math is some sort of abstract foreign language for geeks. This video attempts to break down those self-imposed walls, regardless of your age. Well done.RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION(2007; DVD $28.95-89.95, R). Milla Jovovich returns one more time to kick zombie butt in the most successful vidgame-to-movie franchise ever. Survivors of the last film’s holocaust – Oded Fehr, Mike Epps, Ali Larter, Spencer Locke, Ashanti, etc. – high-tail it to Alaska where they hope to escape the zombie plague, only to get stuck in Vegas (been there) by an army of rotters, killer crows and a new generation of evolving T-Virus mutants. If this is the end of Mankind, Milla won’t go down without a fight!SOLSTICE(2007; DVD $19.95, PG-13). Based on the Swedish film “Midsommer” (2003), the filmmakers moved the locale to post-Katrina Louisiana bayous to tell their tale of a young woman whose moldy sister communicates from beyond the grave after her unexplained suicide. Lots of familiar TV faces and a few spooky shocks for the PG-13 crowd.THE TUDORS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON(2007; DVD $42.95, UR). From the Showtime series with Jonathan Rhys Meyers as a young King Henry VII, breathtaking Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn, and Irish singer Maria Doyle Kennedy as regal Catherine of Aragon. The scenes of Meyers and Dormer bumping uglies in the opening days of the 16th century are worth any price.WAR(2007; DVD $29.95, R). Not so much a “movie” as “an excuse for Jet Li and Jason Statham to fight.” But with two such intense and legendary performers, who needs a damned excuse?! Too much gunplay and crazy plot twists interrupt what should have been a straight-out revenge-fueled martial arts/hitman movie, but we still liked it.WEIRD SCIENCE: THE COMPLETE SEASONS 1 & 2(1994; DVD $44.95, UR). Vanessa Angel, who now makes a living in sorry SciFi Channel CGI crap-fests, took over the Kelly LeBrock “magical hottie created by two horny computer geeks with bras on their heads” role in this surprisingly funny syndicated romp that lasted five seasons. Far better than it had to be.Other DVDs of InterestSEAQUEST DSV: SEASON TWO(DVD $59.95, UR). WORDS AND MUSIC BY JERRY HERMAN(DVD $24.95). A More Complete Listing and Free Vids at!- - - - -