February 21, 2006

Video Tapeworm: Releases through Feb. 28

APARTMENT 12
1995; DVD $24.95, R
Mark Ruffalo, current darling of the crossover art-film crowd, made this a decade ago and it’s been quietly fermenting ever since. Aka: “Life/Drawing” (circa 1999) and “Low Rent,” it’s an ensemble piece with Mark as a down-on-his-luck artist trying to break up with a girl who winds up living across the hall.

BEAUTY SHOP: THE ORIGINAL STAGE PLAY
2005; DVD $14.95, UR
Not the Queen Latifah-enhanced vehicle, this is much more in tune with Shelly Garrett’s original vision of the beauty shop as a place where black women can be themselves and learn to deal with society through sharing, commitment and a sense of humor. Recommended.

FEAR OF CLOWNS
2005; DVD $26.95, R
Your New Word For The Day: “coulrophobia,” meaning “a fear of clowns.” In this WAY underbudgeted B-grade indie, a young artist with the titular condition paints clown portraits as part of her therapy. Until she finds herself stalked by one of her paintings.

LADY AND THE TRAMP
1955; DVD $29.95, G
The 50th anniversary limited-time re-release of one of our favorite Disney delights. Some great canine croonin’ carries an uptown bitch, Lady, to her lowdown lover-dog, Tramp. To not own this tape is to be guilty of inner-child abuse. Go buy it before we turn you in.

WALK THE LINE
(2005; DVD $29.95, PG-13)
Reese Witherspoon is good as June Carter, but Joaquin Phoenix BECOMES Johnny Cash in this look at one of America’s most enigmatic icons. The story focuses on Cash’s early life, from Arkansas cotton farms through his self-destructive Sun Records period alongside Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, finding salvation within his stormy relationship with hell-cat June. Some of the best honest-to-God screen chemistry we’ve seen in years, and Phoenix’s imitation of Cash’s double-wide voice is remarkable. It’s being unduly rushed to video, so expect major discounts at all the crap-outlets.

NOVA: HURRICANE KATRINA — THE STORM THAT DROWNED A CITY
2005; DVD $19.95, UR
The damned rats were still water-skiing when Nova set up their cameras amid the flotsam and dead bodies of New Orleans for a look at how all this happened. We could have saved them a lot of trouble: It happened because the city sits in a damned hole right on the beach. Good footage.

NRBQ
2000; DVD $14.95, UR
The second DVD to honor the New Rhythm & Blues Quartet, known far and wide as “NRBQ,” the first being 1989’s “One in a Million.” What more could you possibly want to know?

PEEP TV SHOW
2003; DVD $29.95, UR
A very disturbing, hard-to-categorize film from Japan that blurs the line between documentary and fiction. A pair of social outcasts form a bond; one is secretly shooting voyeuristic video of unsuspecting people he meets on the streets for his Internet site, the other, a “Hello Kitty”/goth chick is looking for her own values in life.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
2005; DVD $29.95, UR
There may be more artsy-fartsy versions of this oft-made Jane Austen tale, but this is the only one with Keira Knightley! Yow! She shines as one of the five sisters in Georgian England whose world is turned upside down when love and a certain inheritance comes into their lives.

REVOLUTIONARY GIRL UTENA: THE MOVIE
1999; DVD $19.95, UR
From the director of “Sailor Moon” comes this long-overdue DVD anime release about a schoolgirl who dreams of being a heroic prince, saving damsels in distress. But when she meets a shy girl who leads her into a hidden realm of magic, swordfights and adventure, it all becomes too real.

THE ICE HARVEST
2005; VHS $29.95/DVD $29.95, R
John Cusack stars with Billy Bob Thornton, Connie Nielsen, Lara Phillips, Bill Noble, Randy Quaid and Oliver Platt in what should have been a dark comic crime-masterpiece along the lines of “Fargo,” but somewhere either director Harold Ramis lost control or the script simply petered out. It’s just “OK” at best, but it should have been so much more.

THE VISITATION
2005; DVD $26.95, PG-13
The latest “spiritual sci-fi” from the guys who up-chucked “Left Behind.” Martin Donovan, Edward Furlong, Kelly Lynch and country warbler Randy Travis star in this tale of a small town, shaken by a stranger who claims to be Jesus.

WEREWOLVES ON WHEELS (AND OTHER BIKER FLICKS)
DVD $14.95 each, UR
In 1996 we wrote this gag: “What’s the difference between a Hell’s Angel and a werewolf on a motorcycle? Answer: Twenty pounds.” Man, the classics NEVER go out of style! Anyway, MPI Media is re-releasing a number of great early-’70s biker flicks this week including this supernatural dog-on-a-hog epic with Billy Gray from “Father Knows Best.” Also available: the Viet Cong vs. CIA Bikers tome, “The Losers,” with William Smith, Bernie Hamilton and Adam Roarke. Both are recommended for your next Mad Motorcycle Movie Party.

YOURS, MINE, & OURS
2005; DVD $29.95, PG
Sad Dennis Quaid/Rene Russo remake of the classic 1968 romantic/family comedy starring Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda and Van Johnson (with Tim Matheson and Morgan Brittany among the many kids on hand). Ask for the original.

OTHER DVDS OF INTEREST
CHARMED: 4-SEASON PACK
1998; DVD $199.95, UR
COMEDY CENTRAL PRESENTS: SOUTHERN GENTS OF COMEDY
2006; DVD $19.95, UR
LA TUMBA DEL MOJADO (THE UNDOCUMENTED TOMB)
1985; DVD $9.95, UR
NEWSRADIO: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON
2005; DVD $39.95, UR
THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES ULTIMATE DVD COLLECTION VOLUME 2
1963; DVD $34.98, UR

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