February 20, 2007

Video Tapeworm: Releases through Tuesday, Feb. 27

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS RONNIE BARKER: FUTTOCK’S END 1969; DVD $14.95, UR Forgive us this minor indulgence: We are hopeless fans of British “sound effect” comedies; probably the lowest form of humor ever invented. And this one, from half of PBS’ “The Two Ronnies,” is a terribly funny affair in the best Benny Hill mold. Barker plays General Futtock, the lewd, bumbling patriarch of a decaying country home, surrounded by even randier servants and comely wenches in miniskirts, all mucking about with only silly sounds and riotous music to tie scenes together. We’re hopeless. But happy. Join us, won’t you? TENACIOUS D IN THE PICK OF DESTINY 2006; DVD $27.95, R Actors/musicians/portly goofballs Jack Black and Kyle Gass live out the six-string fantasy of every would-be rocker on the planet in this just plain stupid ode to The Gawds of Rawk. The epic tale of how the two were destined at birth to became the — “Aaaaahh-ahh-aaahhhh” — Greatest Band On Earth, needing only Lucifer’s own Pick of Destiny to seal the deal. Unfortunately, the local Hard Rock Café won’t part with it. For “D” fans only. The rest of you losers just won’t get it. A GOOD YEAR 2006; DVD $29.95, PG-13 A lighthearted romantic change of pace for Russell Crowe as a successfully stressed out urbanite who inherits a vineyard in France. His plans to sell the joint run aground when he meets an exotic beauty (Archie Panjabi). Directed by Ridley Scott with Albert Finney and Freddie Highmore. AUTOPSY 1975; DVD $14.95, UR The first ever uncut release of the infamous giallo originally titled “Macchie Solari” (“Sun Spots”). Young forensic pathologist Mimsy Farmer is having nightmares over a rash of violent suicides that the police blame on unusual solar activity. But when priest Barry Primus reveals to her that these are actually visions of brutal murders, the two of them are doomed by their deadly secret. Unsettling, complex, macabre and intelligent, this is the standard by which horror films are judged. DARKSIDE BLUES 2006; DVD $9.95, UR A good, if little-known anime series from the creator of Vampire Hunter D. An evil corporation, the “Persona Century Corp” (filling in for Halliburton), literally owns the Earth, with only a small resistance group left to crush. These rebels live in a lawless, desolate land, devoid of culture called Darkside (filling in for Shively), from which a new hope emerges. HISTORY CHANNEL: SECRETS OF KABBALAH 2006; DVD $24.95, UR Kabbalah, a mystical Jewish tradition aimed at understanding that which is beyond human understanding, has been picked up recently by “celebrities” — some of the shallowest people on Earth. Surely there’s an apocalyptic prophecy about that SOMEWHERE in the Tanakh!? No? OK, this doc tries to fill you in on all the halakha, aggadah and mitzvots — the whole spiel — with little peaks at Madonna and Britney, no less. LET’S GO TO PRISON 2006; DVD $29.95, R Dax “Employee of the Month” Shepard’s other celluloid turkey. This one about a petty thief who gets his enemy’s son sent to prison — and then joins him there to have a front-row seat for his revenge. Not good. SECRET AGENT (AKA: DANGER MAN) 2007; DVD $149.95, UR Not the original series, but the follow-up, three years after “Danger Man” folded, that recast Patrick McGoohan as a more 007-ish British M9 intelligence agent. More action, more high-tech toys, more beautiful women to rescue; 86 episodes in all, plus two rarely seen color ones that were once released as a feature film. STRANGER THAN FICTION 2006; DVD $28.95-38.95, PG-13 Will Ferrell plays an IRS agent who discovers that he’s just a character in a book being written by a famous author (Emma Thompson), setting him on a frantic search for her before she can kill him off. We’ve never thought Ferrell was all that funny, but this isn’t bad, and the supporting cast — including Dustin Hoffman, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Queen Latifah — more than make up for his excesses. Won’t change your life, but a good little date flick. SYNESTHESIA 2006; DVD $19.95, UR The titular condition — in which a person’s senses become scrambled, causing them to smell colors or taste sounds, for example — is a real and fascinating malady at the heart of this damned-good indie Japanese serial-killer thriller. May be hard to find, but worth the effort. THE CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD 1980; DVD $14.95, UR A reporter and a psychic discover that The Seven Gates of Hell have been torn asunder! Are we the only ones who find it odd that Hell has a gate? Shouldn’t there be like a big iron door or somethin’? Huh? Anyway, lots of zombies and evil and gore, directed and co-written by the legendary Lucio Fulci, now available uncut and uncensored for the first time. THE RETURN 2006; DVD $29.95, PG-13 “Buffy,” herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar is excellent in this very “European” (read “slow”) tale of an aggressive, successful career woman who must face a debilitating childhood horror. Kind of chick-flicky at times, but one of the better things Gellar has done lately. Other DVDs of Interest BOB DYLAN: DON’T LOOK BACK 1965; DVD $19.95-49.95, UR CAPTAIN N: THE GAME MASTER COMPLETE SERIES 1989; DVD $34.95, UR CHET ATKINS: A LIFE IN MUSIC 2000; DVD $19.95, UR GHOSTBUSTERS: THE ANIMATED SERIES: VOLUME 1 1986; DVD $39.95, UR THE DORIS DAY SHOW: SEASON 4 1968; DVD $39.95, UR THE IMMORTAL: COMPLETE SERIES 2001; DVD $49.95, UR A more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!