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August 27, 2008

Video TapeWorm

by David B. King and Bill Raker

Releases on Tuesday, Sept. 2


THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

MARRIED LIFE

2007; $28.95-$38.95, PG/PG-13

How to explain this? OK, Chris Cooper is married to, and very much in love with, Pat Clarkson, but he also loves his much-younger girlfriend, Rachel McAdams (don’t we all?). So he decides to kill his wife, lest she suffer when he leaves her. Meanwhile, his best friend (Pierce Brosnan) schemes to have nubile McAdams all to himself (see!). Is it a suspense flick, a romantic comedy, a commentary on the ephemeral nature of desire amid societal pressures to mate for life, or something altogether new? Hell, what do we know? It’s not like we get paid for this or anything. A great ride; definitely worth checking out.

THEN SHE FOUND ME

2007; $27.95, R

The ethereal Helen Hunt, desperate to have a baby, is abandoned by hubby Matthew Broderick. This sets in motion a rollercoaster of smart-funny drama as Hunt, abandoned as a child, meets her birth-mother: a self-centered, egotistical talk-show host played by … Bette Midler! Divorced dad Colin Firth only adds to the funny misery as they all fight their inner demons and try to accept their human flaws before this brief cosmic fart we call Life is fanned by the Hands of Destiny from the face of God. Damn we’re good.

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BAIT SHOP

2008; $19.95, PG

Bill Engvall and Billy Ray “Miley’s Dad” Cyrus star in this appropriately brain-dead comedy about that summer Mensa gathering known as the “fishing tournament.”

CHIPS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON

1977; $29.95, UR

Possibly the worst piece of dreck ever foisted on the viewing public, it nonetheless paved the road for the Elysium that is TV today. As California Highway Patrol motorcycle cops, Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada find action, suspense, romance and tasty, crunchy bugs while protecting L.A. from … well, we never actually saw them protect anyone from anything, but they met a lot of good-looking rich women on the prowl. Gangs of ’70s fun.

DUNDERKLUMPEN!

1974; $12.95, UR

For the uninitiated, a Dunderklumpen is a large, dim-witted, magical, childlike being from Swedish mythology. While innocent and harmless, they are not pretty to look at, and trouble usually follows in their wake. (We learned about them from a German kindergarten teacher and use the term almost daily, usually as our editor leaves the room.) Here, in a mix of live-action and animation, the simpleton wanders into the home of two children, bringing their toys to life, leading them all off into the woods. With their father in hot pursuit, they enjoy many Nordic adventures — including the hunt for a priceless treasure. Recommended.

GENGHIS KHAN: TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH AND SEA

2008; $24.95, UR

This two-hour-plus Japanese take on the life of Khan took 27 years to go from idea to theater. (It would have taken twice that long in Hollywood, and probably starred Lindsay Lohan. But we digress.) A profoundly moving achievement, it succeeds in presenting him as a man of vision, a great ruler and yet an ordinary human being. Exceptional.

HOW TO ROB A BANK

2007; $19.95, UR

Gavin Rossdale goes to rob a bank but winds up on the outside of the vault with hostages, and the building surrounded with SWAT-cops. Meanwhile, inside the vault is clueless Nick Stahl and sexy cyber-thief Erika Christensen, a lady with her own agenda. A brilliant indie first-outing for writer/director Andrew Jenkins.

ITTY BITTY TITTY COMMITTEE

2007; $27.95, UR

If you liked “But I’m a Cheerleader,” you’ll love this latest lesbi-comedy from director Jamie Babbit. Hot little Melonie Diaz runs afoul of a girl-gang, the Clits In Action, falling in love with their leader and risking the wrath of her girlfriend while a killer soundtrack plays. Great stuff — nearly sausage-free.

MONSTER CAMP

2007; $24.95, UR

LARPers — you know who you are — and those who love them will enjoy this excellent look at Live Action Role-Playing gamers who have moved away from their computer keyboards long enough to bash each other with squooshy foam weapons a la “World of Warcraft.” A “Trekkies” for the new millennium (there is no higher praise).

TARZEENA: JIGGLE IN THE JUNGLE

2008; $14.95, UR

Why is she called Tarzeena? Because “Mozzarella” was already taken! This latest jungle-inspired chunk of cheeze — with extra boobs — from the redoubtable Fred Olen Ray finds the gorgeous vine-swinger (Christine Nguyen) thwarting evil Dr. Mortimer’s mind-control experiments with her loyal gorilla at her side. Ol’ Fred hasn’t lost his touch.

THE BIG BANG THEORY: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON

2008; $29.95, UR

We love this sitcom set in the world of high-brained geeks with one-over-infinity social skills, if only because it reminds us so much of our days in college. Man, did we suck. Created by the guys behind “Two and a Half Men” and “The Gilmore Girls,” with Johnny Galecki (“Roseanne”) and Jim Parsons (“Judging Amy”) interacting with well-hootered Katey Cuoco (“Three Simple Rules”). Her measured tolerance of their brilliant-yet-stupid approach to life is dead-on perfect. Wonderfully awkward and knowing.

THE PROMOTION

2008; $19.95, R

Almost no one saw this crazy little workplace comedy when it went to the theaters (for, apparently, a single weekend), so now’s your chance catch John C. Reilly and Seann William Scott battle it out mano-a-mano for the all-powerful management position of a small, local grocery store.

UP AND ABOVE

2006; $15.95, UR

Being pasty white guys with a serious classic-rock jones, we don’t recognize hip-hop as “music” but tolerate its existence, as long as it stays outside of our car. The remainder of the world (whoever they are) will no doubt enjoy this doc on major hip-hop performers, including RZA, GZA, Prodigal Sunn, Ghostface Killah, Troy Garity, Ronnie Faisst and Pierre-Luc Gagnon. Whoever they are.


Other DVDs of Interest

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON

2007; $59.95, UR

ELITE XC CHALLENGE SERIES: ONSLAUGHT

2007; $14.95, UR

INSPECTOR LEWIS: PILOT & SERIES 1

2005; $39.95, UR

LIFE: SEASON ONE

2007; $29.95, UR

SOUNDSTAGE: AMERICA LIVE IN CHICAGO

2008; $19.95, UR

SUPERNATURAL: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON

2007; $59.95, UR

THE INSPECTOR LYNLEY MYSTERIES 6 SET

2007; $29.95, UR

THE OFFICE: SEASON FOUR

2005; $49.95, UR


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