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December 5, 2006

Video TapeWorm: Releases through Tuesday, Dec. 12

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKSTALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY2006; DVD $28.95-$38.95, PG-13/URWill Ferrell’s latest finds him in familiar waters as a big, hairy dimwit, loved by all. It is, apparently, an autobiography, carefully disguised as the tale of NASCAR’s greatest driver who has it all until unnerved and beaten by “Borat”’s Sacha Baron Cohen. Losing his house, wife and kids, and his title, Ricky Bobby becomes a pathetic washed-up head-case until his pit-crew arrives to kick his ass and show him he must win again “for the fans!” A broad spoof of the predictable sports-hero genre for those who think Ferrell is a genius.THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW: THE COMPLETE SERIES1960; DVD $323.95, URFor TRUE genius, however, you need look no further than your TV dial — “Andy Griffith” has been playing there, somewhere, for more than 45 years now, and they’ve FINALLY got them all on DVD. (Editor’s Note: Who the hell has a TV “dial” these days? You guys need to invest.) Eight seasons of Sheriff Taylor, Barney Fife, Aunt Bea, Opie, Goober and all the rest of Mayberry’s finest on 39 discs. A love letter to an America that never existed, except in our hearts. We recommend spending as much time there as possible.ALI RAP2006; DVD $24.95, URA loving ode to Louisville’s favorite son, Muhammad Ali, courtesy of ESPN and Public Enemy’s Chuck D. Featuring a wonderful collection of Ali’s public appearances, exposing his more thoughtful side and the clever way he used his language and charisma to spread a message of peace and tolerance.AMERICA: FREEDOM TO FASCISM2006; DVD $19.95, URArguably the most thought-provoking doc of 2006. Producer Aaron Russoare goes in search of the roots of America’s first assault on private liberty: the creation of the Federal Reserve system in 1913 — a blatantly unconstitutional act that led to the IRS, Form 1040 and, ultimately, the radio-trackable Federal Personal ID Card of 2008. A visceral dissection of how a police state is perfected. We suggest you watch this and cry while it’s still legal to do so.BARNYARD2006; DVD $29.95, PGWe are sick to fuggin’ death of these cheap-o digital critterfests! But with Steve Oedekerk at the helm, it’s got to be good. Kevin James is a carefree party-animal — a bull with udders! — who leads his slacker friends into mischief instead of protecting them from evil wolves. But when his adopted dad (Sam Elliot) is killed because of his laziness, he must find the courage to do what is right. Screw that! There’s some great slapstick bits, and some naughty stuff that’ll go right over the kiddies’ little round heads. Enjoy.LIVING DEATH2006; DVD $24.95, URA wonderfully savage gore-flick about a jerk who beats his wife (Kristy Swanson!) until she poisons him. But the poison only leaves him paralyzed — right through his own autopsy! — which drives him insane. Breaking free from the grave, he staggers home zombie-like, looking for revenge. Cool, with no pesky budget to get in the way.MASTERS OF HORROR: WILLIAM MALONE: FAIR HAIRED CHILD2006; DVD $16.95-$19.95, URThis may be this series’ best offering yet: The Lovecraftian tale of a grieving mother — perfectly played by Lori Petty — whose locked basement holds an unspeakable horror, destined to either return her child to the living, or cast sanity forever from Earth. Actually, we just made up that last part ’cause we thought is sounded cool. Good movie, though.MATERIAL GIRLS2006; DVD $29.95, PGTeen giggle-boxes Haylie and Hilary Duff play rich, spoiled sisters, heirs to their father’s cosmetics business. There’s some sort of plot regarding a takeover by Brent Spiner and Anjelica Huston, but we fell asleep. Next.MOZART AND THE WHALE2006; DVD $24.95, PG-13A big hit for the near-art crowd with Josh Hartnett and Radha Mitchell as two autistic people who meet and fall in love. It turns out that the condition that complicates their lives is no worse than in any “normal” relationship. Whatever “normal” means. A romantic comedy/drama based on a true story.NEGATIVE APPROACH: FAIR WARNING: VOL. 12006; DVD $19.95, URNever heard of Negative Approach? This darling of the early-’80s underground Detroit hardcore punk scene had a profound impact on many bands to follow. Active for only three years, frontman John Brannon was a violent, angry wonder to behold as he worked the crowd. Now available, this collection of very rare videos including the Tied Down release party and live footage from such vaulted venues as The City Club (Detroit), Traxx (Detroit), and the original Paychecks (Hamtramck).THE CAVE OF THE SILKEN WEB1967; DVD $19.95, URLatest find from the clever “Journey to the West” martial-arts series. A trio of hapless kung-fu geeks stumble into the lair of the Seven Spiders, seductive near-demons who need to consume one of the three’s flesh to achieve immortality. The real stars are the wacky wire-stunts, drug-inspired sets and psychedelic costumes. Could only have been made in the ’60s.THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA2006; DVD $29.95-$39.95, PG-13Lauren Weisberger’s titular bestselling novel wasn’t nearly as good as this artsy-trashy telling with Meryl Streep insulting newbie Anne Hathaway as her would-be assistant. Definitely a “woman’s comedy,” its humor is more of the “embarrassed by the wrong pair of shoes” variety, but livened by Anne’s boundless pluck in face of Meryl’s ultimate Bitch. In the end, everyone Learns Something About Themselves and The World (TM).THE HOUSE OF SAND2006; DVD $29.95, RSeriously Brazilian chické-flické about three generations of women surviving together in a lonely and desolate land. Must be a great film, because we’d gnaw off our own genitals rather than sit through it again.THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS2006; DVD $19.95, URBig John Goodman plays a rather frightening Santa who doesn’t think kids believe in him anymore thanks to his spooky head elf, Chris Kattan. A remake of the beloved 1974 tale, this made-for-NBC version includes Delta Burke, Harvey Fierstein, Eddie Griffin, Carol Kane and Michael McKean.WORLD TRADE CENTER2006; DVD $29.95-$39.95, PG-13Oliver Stone’s recent — and uncharacteristically shallow — look at the events of September 11, 2001. Lots of grit, rah-rah heroes and pain, still fresh in the minds of the audience, make this a profound and emotional experience, but ultimately one that a lesser director could have churned out. Great performances, fine cast and a good story told from street-level. Nothing more.YOUNG THE GAY & THE RESTLESS2006; DVD $29.95, URJoe Castro’s latest is a spoof of daytime soapers about a failing “diva” who gathers “her” remaining relatives and hangers-on together where they proceed to destroy each other’s chances at inheritance — with an all-gay cast!OTHER DVDS OF INTERESTGOMER PYLE, U.S.M.C.: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON1964; DVD $38.95, URST. ELSEWHERE: SEASON ONE2006; DVD $39.95, URSTACKED: THE COMPLETE SERIES2005; DVD $29.95, URA more complete listing and free vids at www.VideoTapeWorm.com!