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December 18, 2007

Video TapeWorm: Releases through Tuesday, Dec. 25

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKSEASTERN PROMISES2007; DVD $29.95, RThis intense epic from director David Cronenberg is one staggering powerhouse of a film. It is centered on Viggo Mortensen, a mysterious and utterly ruthless agent of a Russian crime family in London, whose carefully metered world falls apart when he meets midwife Naomi Watts, collateral damage from one of his assignments, and becomes trapped by her innocence. What follows is one of the most harrowing and provocative films you’ll ever see. A must-own.THE KINGDOM2007; DVD $39.95, RJason Bateman, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner and Jamie Foxx head to Saudi Arabia as part of an FBI contingent, investigating the bombing of an American facility. Not some easy, brain-dead, shoot-the-towel-heads-and-drink-beer redneck dream, this is a serious, well-plotted and breathtakingly intelligent actioner/political thriller ripped from today’s headlines. A timely masterpiece from director Peter Berg (“Friday Night Lights”).AMERICAN PIE PRESENTS: BETA HOUSE2007; DVD $29.95, RThe only name of note in this limp, direct-to-video, 99th-in-a-once-great series is Eugene Levy, and even he seems to be bored with it. If you stop buying them, they’ll stop making them.BATTLESTAR GALACTICA 1980 — THE COMPLETE EPIC SERIES1980; DVD $29.95, URBelieve it or not, this is the first complete DVD release of “Galactica 1980.” “What?,” you say, “Didn’t they release all the original ‘Battlestar Galacticas’ a year ago?” No, what they released was “Galactica 1978,” the series that ended more or less with the “ragtag fugitive fleet” finding Earth. G80 picked up the story there with Lorne Green being the only G78 cast member to return full-time. It was gone in a season. Ten episodes on two discs.HEAVENLY BODIES1979; DVD $19.95, XA minor comic chestnut from the last days of the Golden Era of Drive-In Porn, complete with plot, characters and loads of, er, fun. A pair of Old West prostitute ghosts (Seka and Serena) are given a task by The Devil — who drives a stretch Caddie and wears hot pink pimp-suits! They must help a pair of modern-day sorority coeds get laid or, he threatens, “You’ll be assigned a cloud, a robe and a harp, and you’ll have to sing ‘Amazing Grace’ along with Pat Boone for the rest of eternity!” Hilarious. Aka “Heavenly Desire.”HEMLOCK (SHOKARAN)2000; DVD $29.95, RWith all the misogynist Middle Eastern culture invading the evening news, you’d think we wouldn’t be surprised by anything at this point. But this tale of a woman forced into “temporary marriage” — a common practice in Islamic countries — will throw those preconceptions for a loop. In Persian with English subtitles.LOST AND FOUND: THE HARRY LANGDON COLLECTION2007; DVD $39.95, URIf you’ve never heard of Harry Langdon, then you’ve missed one of the great comedians of all time. During the Roaring ’20s, Harry was a silent comic at legendary Mack Sennet Studios. His trademarked “wide-eyed innocent” was as well known then as Chaplin’s Little Tramp, Harold Lloyd’s death-defying stunts or Buster Keaton’s rubber face. A four-disc set of amazingly warm and hilarious physical comedy, all fully restored with a perfect soundtrack.MEN IN THE NUDE2006; DVD $29.95, URThis week’s Hungarian gay flick that has nothing to do with homosexuality. A middle-aged man leaves his wife after becoming infatuated with Zsolt, a young male prostitute, whose presence ruins his life. Amazingly, would have been the exact same movie had Zsolt been a young girl. Subtitled.P2006; DVD $19.95, URA fabulous tale from Thailand about a stunning young beauty, taught primitive magic by her grandmother, who must seek work in order to buy medicines to save her. She winds up a prostitute in a go-go joint, using her increasingly dark magic to protect herself, until the darkness takes over completely. Aka “The Possessed”; the native title, pronounced “Pii,” means “ghost.”ROBIN-B-HOOD2006; DVD $24.95, URA minor outing by the always-great Jackie Chan. Here he plays a hapless robber who finds himself the unwitting nanny to a baby who his idiot crime-buddies have kidnapped. A combination of Jackie’s classic Kung Fu-comedy and “Mr. Mom.”RUSH HOUR 32007; DVD $28.95-39.95, PG-13Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker go to the well once too often in this limp, lifeless sequel to the 1998 comic-cops-and-crime-classic, now set in France for no particular reason.SHATTERED2007; DVD $26.95, RWolfgang Petersen’s ode to Hitchcock with Tom Berenger, Bob Hoskins and Greta Scacchi. Berenger awakes from a car wreck, unable to remember who he is or that Scacchi is his wife, so he hires Hoskins — a part-time PI and pet-store owner — to help him. But Hoskins — who steals the movie — has his own agenda.THE BROTHERS SOLOMON2007; DVD $26.95, RWill Arnett and Will Forte star in this unfunny “comedy” about two obnoxious assholes who want to spawn a child to satisfy their dad’s dying wish. We’ve already wasted enough ink.OTHER DVDS OF INTERESTDAMAGED GOODS2007; DVD $20.95, PG-13FELIX THE CAT SAVES CHRISTMAS2004; DVD $19.95, URMIDNIGHT MANOR2007; DVD $19.95, URA more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!