May 4, 2007

Video Tapeworm: New, encore and low-price releases through Tuesday, may 8

this week’s Twin peeks THE JOHN WAYNE COLLECTION, VOL. 1 2007; DVD $24.95, UR Five of The Duke’s best from Republic Pictures in a boxed set. Includes “The Quiet Man” — an ode to pacificism featuring the greatest donnybrook ever filmed! — “The Sands of Iwo Jima,” “Flying Tigers” and “The Wake of the Red Witch.” As all good bad-film fans know, “Wake” featured the giant rubber octopus later stolen by Ed Wood Jr. for his “Bride of the Monster.” Bela Lugosi sat in the mud and wrestled with it. THE JOHN WAYNE COLLECTION, VOL. 2 2007; DVD $24.95, UR Yet more Wayne Republic Pictures wonders. This one features “Rio Grande” — possibly the single finest Western ever made — and “A Lady Takes a Chance,” “The Fighting Kentuckian” and “Dakota.” BACKSLASH: THE ULTIMATE INTERNET PREDATOR 2007; DVD $19.95, UR A high-concept/low-budget outing with more ideas than talent, though we found it charming. Two beautiful college students become stars of a student-project slasher movie. This attracts the attention of a REAL slasher, who stalks them and puts the results on his Web site. Tries real hard to be a “reality-show-come-to-life/art-imitating-life-imitating-art” sort of thing, but everyone seems to be having fun. BECAUSE I SAID SO 2007; DVD $29.95, PG-13 One seriously awful chick-flick with Diane Keaton, Mandy Moore, Lauren Graham and Piper Perabo. Toxic to anyone with half a brain or a penis. (Insert “half a brain or a penis” male-bashing joke here.) Avoid at all costs. CAGNEY & LACEY: SEASON 1 1982; DVD $39.95, UR First video release of the seminal Tyne Daly/Sharon Gless tough-as-nails cops series, the first ever to portray women in a position of power as intelligent and strong. Ranks high on the Reality Meter; very gritty and believable. Four discs, 22 episodes and a handful of bonus tracks. CATCH & RELEASE 2006; DVD $28.95-38.95, PG-13 The grace of Jennifer Garner is ultimately the only salvageable item from this train-wreck of a romantic dramedy opposite Timothy Olyphant. Her fiancée dies, so she moves in with his friends and falls for one of them. Oh! Be still our hearts! OK, so we’re just being snarky; it’s a better than average chick-flick. DELIVER US FROM EVIL 2006; DVD $27.95, UR What do Sears and Catholic priests have in common? They both have little boy’s pants half off! Barrump-pah-CHING!! This is the Oscar-nominated doc on Father Oliver O’Grady, the most notorious pedophile in the Catholic Church’s recent history (though it was originally recognized as a major problem by Pope Benedict XIV in 1741). FUR: AN IMAGINARY PORTRAIT OF DIANE ARBUS 2006; DVD $27.95, R Diane Arbus was one of the 20th century’s most accomplished photographers, specializing in portraits of the common and destitute, despite the fact that she was born into wealth and polite society. This wildly romanticized bio-flick stars Nicole Kidman as Arbus and Robert Downey Jr. as her true love and muse Lionel Sweeney. MUSIC AND LYRICS 2007; DVD $28.95, PG-13 Yet another hopelessly romantic chick-flick-comedy, this one starring Hugh Grant as a washed-up one-hit-wonder and Drew Barrymore as his new muse. A terrific cast (including Kristen Johnston and Brad Garrett) keep limping along gamely — and Grant is just plain terrible, as usual — but the movie ultimately succeeds on the incredible charm of Barrymore. Not the worst thing out this week. NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF (EL RETORNO DEL HOMBRE LOBO) 1980; DVD $29.95, UR True cult fans will recognize this title from legendary Spanish director/star Paul Naschy, who finally gets the proper respect with a nicely-packaged HD version that includes an introduction by Naschy, alternate scenes, trailers, advertising and liner notes from Naschy expert Mirek Lipinski. Also available, Nashcy’s “Vengeance of the Zombies (La Rebelion De Las Muertas)” from 1972. PORKY’S ULTIMATE COLLECTION 1982; DVD $29.95, UR All three “Porky’s” movies — including a “One Size Fits All” edition of the original, “II: The Next Day” and “Porky’s Revenge — in a boxed set with bonus goodies, the first two directed by the late Bob Clark, who also did “A Christmas Story” and the original “Black Christmas.” A bunch of hapless teenagers try to get laid in a 1950s Florida strip joint. THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI 1957; DVD $24.95, UR A new collector’s edition of David Lean’s Oscar-winning wartime adventure epic with Alec Guinness as British officer Obi-Wan Kenobe, imprisoned by the Japanese and charged with overseeing construction of the Death Star by the prisoners on Tatooine. Sessue Hayakawa commits suicide with a light-sabre while R2D2 whistles “The Colonel Bogey March.” THE PAINTED VEIL 2006; DVD $27.95, PG-13 Golan/Globus-ish costumer based on a novel by W. Somerset Maugham. Edward Norton and Naomi Watts are married, yet she heaves in her corset for Liev Schreiber in Shanghai (no, we don’t know why). So her doctor-husband packs them up and moves to rural China where they are both doomed to die of a horrible plague. Hey, we don’t make ’em, we just write about ’em. THE ROAD WARRIOR 1982; DVD $28.95, R “Mad Max,” the Aussie prequel, made an indie darling of Mel Gibson, but this was the knockout punch that made him an international star and spawned a decade of “post Armageddon raggedy-man actioners.” After a war has left civilization in ruins, a former cop prowls the desert, searching for precious gasoline while armies of debased criminals rape, murder and pillage at will. A spectacular event, now available in HD. THINGS TO DO 2006; DVD $24.95, UR A gentle indie comedy about getting what you want from life. A twentysomething office worker makes a list of “things to do before I die,” then walks out, returning to his childhood home in search of them. YOU AND YOUR STUPID MATE 2005; DVD $26.95, UR A fresh, un-self-conscious minor miracle from Australia. Two charming, aimless teenage slackers spend their days avoiding work and playing pranks on the denizens of their trailer park. Doesn’t sound like much, but trust us, this is right up there with the best coming-of-age films from the ’80s and ’90s. Recommended. Other DVDs of interest HEAVEN & HELL: SHAW BROS SPECIAL EDITION 1978; DVD $19.95, UR IN THE WOMB: ANIMALS 2006; DVD $19.95, UR MCLEOD’S DAUGHTERS: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON 2003; DVD $59.95, UR STARHUNTER: THE COMPLETE SERIES 2006; DVD $29.95 THE WALTONS: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON 1972; DVD $39.95, UR A more complete listing and free vids at!