April 18, 2006

Video Tapeworm: Releases through April 25

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:AEON FLUX2005; VHS Rental/DVD $29.95, PG-13Everyone ganged up on this shallow sci-fi jiggle-fest starring sexy Charlize Theron ... and with good reason: It really sucked! But most reviewers compared it to the brilliant original MTV animated series by Peter Chung, lamenting that this live action version just didn’t compare. To which we say, “Of course not! Nothing is as alive as animation! Would Bambi have been as powerful if he was a real deer?” Anyway, Theron plays Flux, a slinky rebel in a future world where disease has wiped out most of the human race.THROG2004; DVD $19.95, URA goofy, no-budget — if very original — dark comedy about an immortal idiot, laughingly drafted by the bored Gods of Mount Olympus to do great deeds. Instead, he winds up stumbling through history, comic carnage in his wake. Obviously inspired by medieval fantasy role-playing games, poor dim-witted Throg carries along bravely whilst pigs talk, knights joust and the Green Man of the forest whips him toward his “density.” What a maroon. 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA1997; DVD $24.95, URThere were two made-for-TV versions of this classic Jules Verne tale in 1997. Avoid the vile Ben Cross offering and get this Michael Caine/Patrick Dempsey version instead. Caine makes a very passable Nemo, Dempsey (from TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy”) is an OK aristocrat, but Mia Sara as “the girl” and Brian Brown as Ned Land rise above the material and bring a much needed sense of fun. And watch for Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Cabe Attucks, a name much easier to spell.3 EXTREMES II2006; DVD $26.95, URSequel to the cult horror-hit, “3 Extremes,” wherein three of Japan’s most demented directors contribute short films of incredible ickiness. You don’t need us to tell you where this is going, do you?CASANOVA2005; VHS Rental/DVD $29.95, RHeath Ledger stars as the legendary lover Casanova, with Sienna Miller as his intended paramour and Jeremy Irons, Oliver Platt and Lena Olin as other players in his little skit. Kinda fun, won’t change your life any, but kills a couple of hours pleasantly.LEMONADE JOE1966; DVD $29.95, URCzech director Oldrich Lipsky created this, the most outrageous parody of Hollywood Westerns imaginable. Silver-clad Lemonade Joe rides into Stetson City, bringing law and order (and lemonade) to a lawless land ... all while singing and dancing! Yes, it’s non-stop musical mayhem as bad guy Hogo Fogo kidnaps delicate Winifred Goodman to the tune of “When the Smoke Thickens in the Bar.” And she, of course, calls out to Joe to save her with, “Do You See My Moist Lips?” In-freakin’-subtitled-credible.MAGIC1978; DVD $19.98, RAnthony Hopkins — years before becoming Hannibal Lector — created one of the screen’s scariest characters in this tale of a ventriloquist who becomes possessed by his dummy. Ann-Margret and Burgess Meredith are both superb under the direction of Richard Attenborough, all now available in a pristine HD transfer from the 35mm original. Often imitated, never duplicated, it still scares the living bejeezus out of us.MATCH POINT2005; VHS Rental/DVD $29.95, RScarlett Johansson once again steals a movie; we can’t imagine any actor brave enough to share a screen with her. Here, Jonathan Rhys Meyers is a tennis instructor with the hots for his brother-in-law’s fiancée (Johnansson), while engaged to wealthy Emily Mortimer. After consummating his lust with the ethereal SJ (lucky bastard) ..., well, he obviously has to kill one of them!PENN & TELLER: OFF THE DEEP END2006; DVD $24.95, URBad-boy magicians, lead by professional loud-mouth Penn Jillette, take their trick-spoiling shtick underwater, making a submarine disappear and then showing you how they did it.PRINCE OF SPACE/INVASION OF THE NEPTUNE MEN1964; DVD $14.95, URA pair of contenders for the “worst (and most entertaining) Japanese movies of all time.” In the first, a race of space-chickens-without-underwear try to take over the Earth, which is protected by the super-duper “Prince of Space.” Or is that “Planet Prince”? He goes by both names. Then, the immortal Sonny Chiba stars as “Space Chief” — an obvious POS ripoff — who must save the Earth, yet again, from mute, bullet-headed robots who have a lot of trouble walking in our Earth gravity. Movies just don’t get any better than this.SHOPGIRL2005; VHS Rental/DVD $29.95, RA sweet, funny drama based on Steve Martin’s best-selling book. He’s a rich, older man who flirts with Claire Danes, a glove-counter clerk in Beverly Hills. She is struggling to make ends meet when she meets both Martin and clumsy, sweet-natured loser Jason Schwartzman. Should she string Martin along and make him her sugar-daddy, or admit they have nothing in common and hook up with gentle Jason?THE RINGER2005; VHS Rental/DVD $29.95, PG-13Johnny Knoxville’s latest stinker. He pretends to be brain-damaged in order to fix the Special Olympics for his own gain. But when he arrives, he finds that the real athletes can all kick his butt, and are wiser in the ways of the world than he ever dreamed. Actually kinda good in spots, but the whole thing left us feeling that he was making fun of the less fortunate.TRISTAN & ISOLDE2005; VHS Rental/DVD $29.99, PG-13One of the world’s great love stories — a true Gothic romance! — finally gets a decent airing. Post-Roman English ruler Rufus Sewell sends his adopted son and greatest knight, James Franco, to win the hand of the Irish King’s daughter, Sophia Myles, in Sewell’s name, unaware that Franco and the mysterious beauty were once passionately in love. How can Franco serve his beloved king/father, when that king takes his one true love for a bride? A delicious tale of tragedy, love, betrayal and honor, beautifully done. Recommended.OTHER DVDS OF INTEREST24 HOURS ON CRAIGSLIST2004; DVD $29.95, URDUANE HOPWOOD2004; DVD $27.95, RICONOCLASTS2005; DVD $29.95, URTHE DEADBEAT CLUB2004; DVD $29.95, URWINDOW THEORY2004; VHS Rental/DVD $26.95, RA more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!