February 12, 2008

Video tapeworm: Releases through Tuesday, Feb. 19

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:MICHAEL CLAYTON2007; DVD $28.95-$35.95, RGeorge Clooney stops winking at the camera and proves what kind of actor he can be in this powerful, gripping, heart-stopper of a ... legal drama? Yep, it’s that good. He plays a “fixer”: the guy his law firm calls when it all goes to hell. Not necessarily their best or brightest, but the guy who makes bad things go away. Now burnt-out and morally all-but-bankrupt, he’s handed a task that could cost him his life — or his soul — as a multi-million-dollar class-action suit goes spiraling out of control. With Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton and Sydney Pollack.SILK2007; DVD $27.95, RKeira Knightley: the reason that cameras where invented. What more could you want to know? OK, she stars in this sweeping visual epic as the young bride of Michael Pitt, an 1800s French worm-smuggler who becomes entangled with a Japanese baron’s concubine (Sei Ashina) until war separates them. What?! Is he NUTS? Stay home and tap that long-necked coathanger, you chump! Huh? Where were we? Oh, yeah. She stays faithful, but begins to suspect yada yada yada. A beautiful film that needs more nudity. But don’t they all?COPS: 20TH SEASON ANNIVERSARY2007; DVD $29.95, RWow, it’s hard to believe that this, one of the first of the modern “reality shows,” is still on the air and making money after 20 years. Included in the set is the pilot episode, the infamous “lost” episode, spoofs of “Cops” from other media, fan faves, a look at the Cult of Cops and much more.FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO2007; DVD $24.95, URThe next time some Bible-thumping bigot gives you that hoary “homosexuality is a sin” crap, hand him this doc that shows where the Bible accepts gay-dom as one of God’s miracles. Church-sanctioned anti-gay bias is nothing but plain old hate. That’s the difference between religion and morals.GABRIEL2007; DVD $24.95, RWonderfully original Aussie entry about an “Arc” angel — the last of an original seven — fighting to bring light back to the town of Purgatory and save the souls trapped there from the fallen angels. But in order to do that, he must assume human form with all the pains, guilt, doubt and weakness that come with it. Dark and overly philosophical at times, this may be hard to find but worth the search.IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH2007; DVD $27.95, URThe mythical battle between David and Goliath is a metaphor that runs quietly throughout this modern tale of a soldier (Tommy Lee Jones) and his wife (Susan Sarandon) searching for their son, who disappears after returning from a tour of duty in Iraq. Part family drama, part mystery, part crime thriller, with a killer cast including Charlize Theron and James Franco.LAUGHING MATTERS ... THE MEN2007; DVD $24.95, URA look at queer comics; the third installment in a series from documentarian Andrea Meyerson. Some terrific stand-up material — much of it about growing up unconventional — combined with interviews that make you appreciate the jokes in a completely different way.LUST, CAUTION2007; DVD $29.95, NC-17Director Ang Lee — who has made some of the best and worst movies we know — now brings us the horniest. A beautiful, innocent young woman (Wei Tang) agrees to act as a seductress to lure a ruthless politico into a trap. But she finds the experience thrilling beyond her wildest dreams, eventually losing herself to the game. A brilliant and provocative thriller.MARGOT AT THE WEDDING2007; DVD $29.95, RSharp-tongued Nicole Kidman returns home to sister Jennifer Jason Leigh’s wedding and decides that she needs saving. Groom Jack Black, an unemployed would-be musician and artist with a mood disorder, is apparently clueless (and lucky as hell).MR. WARMTH: THE DON RICKLES PROJECT2007; DVD $26.95, URIf you missed this John Landis roast of Rickles on HBO, don’t miss this! Scores of comedians, stars, directors and hangers-on reveal the story behind one of the world’s great comedians in a film that is part performance, part doc and part biography. Watch for friends De Niro, Eastwood, Goldberg, Leno, Newhart and a seemingly endless parade of others who all genuinely love this guy.PRINCE AMONG SLAVES2007; DVD $24.95, URA PBS biodoc on Abdul Rahman Ibrahima Sori, an African prince who was sold into slavery in America in 1788. Forty years later, he meets President John Quincy Adams at the White House, wins his freedom and returns to Africa, but not before rescuing his wife and child and having the United States officially recognize his royal status.REDACTED2007; DVD $26.95, RBrian De Palma wrote and directed this documentary-like drama with U.S. soldiers in Iraq discussing the conflict, our place in it and how the modern media brings a sanitized version of war to the American living room.RENDITION2007; DVD $28.95, RReese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal and Meryl Streep take on the topical issues of “When does it become torture?” (answer: “When it happens to you”) and “Just how immoral is it?” (answer: “If you have to ask ...”). When a man disappears from an international flight, his wife learns that he is being held in a secret foreign prison at U.S. orders as a suspected terrorist. Asshole U.S. reps claim there is no such place, and if there were, then he must be a terrorist.THE FINAL INQUIRY2007; DVD $26.95, PG-13This multi-national blockbuster stars Daniele Liotti as a Roman hero, dispatched to the city of Jerusalem to investigate claims of a crucified man having resurrected. When his investigation reveals a threat to Rome, he begins a campaign to discredit the rumors, setting in motion events that reverberate 2,000 years later, A remake of Damiano Damian’s 1986 “L’ Inchiesta”; with F. Murray Abraham, Dolph Lundgren, Max von Sydow and Monica Cru.WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?2008; DVD $12.95, URWe LOVE this compilation from our buds at Cheezy Flicks of famous stars doing the dumbest career-killing shorts imaginable. The climax of this one has to be Jimmy Stewart and Ronald Reagan doing something unbelievable on board an airliner in “Sentimental Journey.” We won’t spoil it.OTHER DVDS OF INTERESTDRAGON BALL Z: SEASON FOUR2007; DVD $49.95, URIT’S THE EASTER BEAGLE, CHARLIE BROWN1974; DVD $19.95, URKURT COBAIN: ABOUT A SON2007; DVD $19.95, URSAVING A SPECIES: GORILLAS ON THE BRINK2007; DVD $19.95, URA more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!