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February 19, 2008

Video Tapeworm: Releases through Tuesday, Feb. 26

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS30 DAYS OF NIGHT2007; DVD $28.95-$38.95, RWow! Simply the scariest damned thing we’ve seen in a coon’s age! Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston and Ben Foster star in this clever, splatter-happy comic-booker/vampire movie, set in a town in the frozen North where the sun doesn’t rise but once a month! Clever, huh? All that stands between the bloodsuckers and the townsfolk is Sheriff Hartnett and wife George. Produced by Sam Raimi; with special digital effects by Weta Digital (“Lord of the Rings”).BEOWULF2007; DVD $29.95, PG-13Robert Zemeckis, who is way too attached to that motion-capture technique from “The Polar Express,” takes what could have been an action masterpiece and turns it into a damned cartoon. He and George Lucas should date. Ray Winstone is wasted as the titular hero of heroes, as are sexy Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins as the cursed king, John Malkovich, Robin Wright Penn, Brendan Gleeson, Crispin Glover and Alison Lohman. Yeah, kinda fun to watch, but this could have been SO much better!A GLOBAL WARNING?2007; DVD $24.95, URIf you liked “An Inconvenient Truth,” you’ll love this! Simply put: The Earth has been telling us something for years, and we’ve been too damned stupid to listen. Like what? That’s what this excellent doc lays out in most uncertain terms. We’re toast.BIG BRAWL (WIELKA WSYPA)1992; DVD $29.95, URSubtitled Polish biodrama on the life of Jarek Bronko, a criminal who took advantage of social chaos after the fall of Communism to form a criminal empire, quite literally owning a major portion of the economy while the government wasted a decade in fighting and political bickering.BONE DRY2007; DVD $29.95, RLance Henriksen — need we say more? — forces Luke Goss to walk across the Mojave Desert at gunpoint, for no obvious reason other than to see if he survives a series of inhuman traps he has set along the way. Yeah, sounds like a low-rent “Saw” rip-off, but we’ll watch Lance any day. With Tommy “Tiny” Lister.COMANCHE MOON: ROAD TO LONESOME DOVE2008; DVD $29.95, URThe final (?) chapter in the popular oater-miniseries franchise, minus its most popular actors (Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones). Younger thesps, including Rachel Griffiths, Karl Urban and Steve Zahn, take up the tale in the early days of the Texas Rangers with an Indian attack bearing down on the city of Austin.DARKON2006; DVD $26.95, URA wonderfully entertaining look at live-action role-playing gamers who don pseudo-medieval armor and live out their knighty fantasies in the lost kingdom of Darkon. Sound like geek-city? Then you miss the point: These are well-adjusted people who have never lost their joy of make-believe, and it makes them happier, healthier and more successful in the “real world.” Whatever that is. Don’t miss this!DEATH AT A FUNERAL2007; DVD $29.95, RFrank “Fozzie Bear” Oz directs this oh-so Limey comedy about a funeral service plagued with mislabeled bodies, randy mourners, unknown dwarves and family secrets that just won’t stay that way.FACES OF EARTH2007; DVD $14.95, URA fascinating look at how our planet has guided our evolution from the Discovery Channel. Using never-before-seen footage and state-of-the-art CGI, the camera explores the intimate bonds between how the Earth was formed and how it, in turn, formed us all, and the delicate balance that keeps us all breathing.GOYA’S GHOSTS2007; DVD $24.95, RStellan Skarsgard, Natalie Portman and Randy Quaid take on the Spanish Inquisition for director Milos Forman. What? You didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition? (Insert Monty Python bit here.)JUDGMENT DAY: INTELLIGENT DESIGN ON TRIAL2007; DVD $19.95, URPBS doc on the town of Dover, Pa., where public HS teachers refused to read mandated BS about “Intelligent Design” (quite literally, “Were 2 ignurnt too lurn”) in with their 2004 biology curriculum. Lawyers were hired, proving the ID-ers correct.MARGARET GARNER2006; DVD $29.95, URA true tale of Kentucky’s rich heritage, put to music. Garner was a slave, separated from her husband and made the sex-toy of a white Boone County cracker land-owner. Though pregnant, she rescued her family and escaped in 1856 to Ohio, which refused her asylum. To prevent her 2-year-old daughter from being returned to slavery, she killed the child and was arrested. But should the charge be murder or destruction of property? This film is part opera, part documentary and completely fascinating.NEWHART: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON1982; DVD $39.95, UROne of the best DVD offerings ever, on one of the best sitcoms ever! A three-disc set with all 22 episodes beginning with Mary Frann and Bob opening the Stratford Inn, PLUS three killer featurettes: “Guess Who’s Coming to the (Bed and) Breakfast?,” “You Really Should Wear More Sweaters” and, especially, “Say Goodnight Emily.” TV doesn’t get any better than this.SLIPSTREAM2007; DVD $24.95, RAnthony Hopkins wrote, directed and starred in this dark comedy/drama about a world-weary screenwriter who learns too late that all of existence is a random, swirling vortex of blind happenstance, seeing the characters on the page take on a physical life of their own. This was apparently dumped straight to video; it deserved better.THE DARJEELING LIMITED2007; DVD $29.95, RThree brothers — Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman — reunite for a comic adventure across India that none of them are prepared for. One helluvalotta fun.THE SMURFS: SEASON 1, VOLUME 11981; DVD $26.95, URThe first-ever DVD release of “The Smurfs!” Created by French/Belgian comicbooker Peyo in 1958 as “Les Schtroumpfs,” part of a fantasy tale set in the Middle Ages, the word Smurf was a Dutch interpretation; it has since been translated into more than 30 languages. The first (Belgian) b&w TV cartoons appeared in 1964; this set contains 19 remastered episodes (out of 39) from the 1981 Hanna-Barbera color series. Have a Smurfy Day!THE TEMPLE MOUNT IS MINE2008; DVD $19.95, URA two-part doc on why, precisely, the Middle East is so fucked up. It all centers on who exactly sits on The Temple Mount, a tiny patch of land infinitely holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims, each of them believing that possession of The Mount is fulfillment of prophecy and God’s will. We should nuke it into next Wednesday and enjoy the quiet.OTHER DVDS OF INTERESTB.L. STRYKER: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASONDVD $29.95, URFAMILY AFFAIR SEASON 52007; DVD $39.95, URPUNKY BREWSTER: SEASON FOURDVD $34.95, URROBYN HITCHCOCK: SEX, FOOD, DEATH AND INSECTS2007; DVD $24.95, URTHE RED GREEN SHOW: 1999 SEASON1999; DVD $39.95, URA more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!