March 25, 2008

Video Tapeworm: Releases through Tuesday, April 1

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET2007; DVD $29.95-$34.95, RJohnny Depp — any review of this flick is required by law to start with his name — and Helena Bonham Carter star for dark and weird director Tim Burton in his dark and weird musical telling of the dark and weird (and supposedly true) tale of an 1840s London barber who slits throats, and his infatuated friend who bakes the victims into pies. If you need to know more, then you should probably get a life. One helluvalotta fun. (BTW: The current generation of filmgoers may be surprised to know that this is not the first ST film: They go back to 1926 and include an excellent 1982 TV version with Angela Lansbury in the Carter role. Worth checking out.)TOMORROW SHOW WITH TOM SNYDER: JOHN, PAUL, TOM & RINGO2006; DVD $24.95, URFew people today remember this killer late-night talk show from back in the late-’70s/early-’80s, but it was so popular that Dan Aykroyd’s SNL parody of its avuncular host became a signature bit. Aka “Tomorrow Coast to Coast,” during its run Snyder had an amazing array of guests, from sci-fi guru Harlan Ellison to whacko Charlie Manson. This offering includes a way-too-comfortable Paul and Linda McCartney, plus a hilarious evening with Ringo Starr, and more importantly, the final interview with John Lennon before he was gunned down on the street outside of The Dakotas. Terrific.ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS2007; DVD $29.95-$39.95, PGJason Lee stars behind a trio of CGI ground squirrels in this chirpy, happy kidflick that lasted about 45 minutes at the theaters.BECKER: THE FIRST SEASON2008; DVD $36.95, URTed Danson’s follow-up to the insanely successful “Cheers” was a real change of pace. Curmudgeonly and jaded, his Dr. John Becker was light-years from Sam Malone, holding court in a tiny Bronx office — when not ditching work to visit the local diner, where the best characters hung out, including blind newsstand operator Alex Desert and way-too-beautiful Terry Farrell as the romantically-luckless diner owner.CHRISTIE’S REVENGE2007; DVD $19.95, URA damn-good psychological thriller from Canadian TV that delivers. Dani Kind plays an intelligent 19-year-old out for revenge against uncle John Wesley Shipp after her father commits suicide.EYE OF THE BEAST2007; DVD $14.95, URCheezy SciFi Channel “Jaws”-fodder about a giant squid starring James Van Der Beek and skinny/sexy Alexandra Castillo. Big Dumb Cephalopodan Fun.FATHER KNOWS BEST: SEASON ONE1954; DVD $34.95, URFirst video release of one of the most popular sitcoms/family-dramas in TV history. Movie actor Robert Young was the titular patriarch whose desire to provide strong leadership for his family — wife Jane Wyatt and kids Billy Gray, Elinor Donahue and Lauren Chapin — usually resulted in heartwarming catastrophe. A great gift for anyone who wonders what good TV would look like.FEAR HOUSE2008; DVD $19.95, URScarlet-tressed Aleece Jones is a reclusive author living in the deserts of California whose macabre writings take on a life of their own in this no-budget “your fears will get you killed” outing. Worth checking out if only for smokin’ hot fave-babe Kiersten Hall, whom you may remember as “Hott Zombie” in 2006’s “Dorm of the Dead.”HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE2004; DVD $19.95, RA new “Extreme Unrated Edition” of the movie that made Kal Penn a star, just in time for the big-screen sequel. He and fellow stoner John Cho go on a surreal adventure in late-night America after seeing a slider’s commercial. With a killer cast including Neil Patrick Harris, Ryan Reynolds, Fred Willard and a rabid raccoon.KEVIN DOWNEY JR.: I’M NOT GAY BUT DON’T STOP2008; DVD $14.95, URIf you’ve never seen KDJ’s brand of beer-fueled standup, then pull up a chair and be prepared for one amazing ride. Funny, insightful and clever; filmed live at the Mbar in Hollywood.STEVE MILLER BAND: LIVE FROM CHICAGO2007; DVD $34.95, URJust what it says, Nimrod. While it would be easy to write Miller off as just another oldie, you might want to withhold judgment until you see this concert featuring long-time friends Norton Buffalo, Gordy Knudtson, Kenny Lee Lewis, Billy Peterson and Joseph Wooten — the tightest, most talented collection of musicians you’ll ever see on one stage.THE COOK2008; DVD $26.95, UROK, right up front, this is all about The Tits. With most of their sisters off campus, a group of bodacious sorority sisters get naked, frolic, party, take showers, read the Bible, and generally behave like idiots while their numbers decrease and tantalizing aromas fill the air, courtesy of the mysterious new cook. As stupid and entertaining as it sounds. Thank you, Jesus!THE GOOD NIGHT2007; DVD $24.95, RWe’ve always been fascinated by “lucid dreaming” — being “awake” within your dreams and guiding the action however you want — the subject of this clever dark comedy starring Martin Freeman. His relationship with Gwyneth Paltrow falling apart, he begins to lucid-dream of Penelope Cruz, with the help of Danny DeVito and Simon Pegg.THE RETURN OF SWAMP THING1989; DVD $14.95, PG-13Cheap-o re-release of a guilty pleasure of ours with oily Louis Jourdan and nasty Sarah Douglas capturing “innocent” Heather Locklear for evil purposes, and only the doomed supersoldier-turned-into-mutant-plant-man, Dick Durock, can save her.WHAT LOVE IS2006; DVD $24.95, RA comedic look at modern love from the lens of an H-D digicam. Cuba Gooding Jr. is about to spring a Valentine’s Day proposal on his girlfriend, only to find she’s moved out. But friends Sean Astin and Matthew Lillard help raise his spirits along with Anne Heche, Gina Gershon and a bevy of leggy dancers.WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY: RIGHT FROM THE START2008; DVD $19.95, URFirst video release (we understand it’s actually being pressed as DVD-Rs) of a Fox News compilation/bio of the late social commentator’s impact on modern American — if not the world’s — history, starting with a recent interview by David Asman.OTHER DVDS OF INTERESTJOHN FROM CINCINNATI: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON2004; DVD $59.95, URLIFE BEGINS: SERIES 12004; DVD $59.95, URNEW STREET LAW: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON2008; DVD $29.95, URTHE CURSE OF KING TUT’S TOMB: THE COMPLETE MINISERIES2006; DVD $14.95, URA more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!