January 22, 2008

Video TapeWorm: Releases through Tuesday, Jan. 29

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:AUTOMATONS2006; DVD $24.95, URA unique and wonderfully entertaining ode to 1,000 similar sci-fi movies that somehow remains fresh and original. Angus “Phantasm” Scrimm’s video diary instructs stunning post-apocalyptic warrior-girl Christine Spencer in the history of a generations-old war that has left the Earth devastated and populated largely by robots. Shot in beautiful b&w Robo-MonsterVision, it will remind you of such well-written philosophical fare as The Outer Limits or “The Day The Earth Stood Still.” Recommended.THE KING OF KONG: A FISTFUL OF QUARTERS2007; DVD $27.95, PG-13The final documentary word on obsessive video gamers: surprising, engrossing and just plain damned funny. Billy Mitchell has been the world’s video game champ for 20 years, but now faces his greatest challenge in upstart Steve Wiebe, whose new record score in Donkey Kong threatens his empire! The resulting showdown brings out the wonderful, the weird and the rest of the classic-video-game world, many of them social outcasts outside of their little universe. But the filmmakers never poke fun. Wonderful.ATTRACTIVE MALE SEEKING WOMAN2004; DVD $24.95, URA Polish-language film about an aging bachelor who advertises in the newspaper for a bride, only to be surprised that none of the respondents are young hotties. And, just as surprising, none of the mature women who show up think much of him, either. Man! Except for that language thing, this could be the story of our lives! A warm, knowing and funny tale livened by a rich soundtrack.CHARM SCHOOL (NINAS MAL)2007; DVD $29.95, URA great little comedy from Mexico about an 18-year-old hellion who is shipped off to a charm school that claims it can turn “any young girl into a domestic goddess” to get her out of the way while her dad runs for mayor. With drop-dead gorgeous Martha Higareda as “the gal who shows her boobs.”DADDY DAY CAMP2007; DVD $28.95, PGCuba Gooding Jr. and Paul Rae return from the lame 2003 “Daddy Day Care” for this lame sequel set in a summer camp. Next.FEEL THE NOISE2007; DVD $26.95, PG-13Jennifer Lopez produced this updated take on the “mah music will git me outta da ghetto” genre with Omarion Grandberry escaping South Bronx for Puerto Rico. There he discovers Reggaeton, which he sees as a natural platform for rap, and brings the resulting sound back to America.HANNAH MONTANA: ONE IN A MILLION2007; DVD $19.95, URMiley Stewart, whose tweeny star, we are embarrassed to say, is shining way too bright in our naughty dreams, stars in this compilation of four episodes from her Disney Channel TV series. With a ton of pre-teen kiddy-vid bonus features.LAKE PLACID 22007; DVD $26.95, RThe original, with Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Oliver Platt, Brendan Gleeson, a salty Betty White and Mariska Hargitay, was a fun and clever giant-croc movie that we’ve probably watched 100 times. This outing has John Schneider, Sam McMurray and Cloris Leachman. Ask for the original.MARTIN SCORSESE PRESENTS VAL LEWTON: MAN IN THE SHADOWS2007; DVD $19.95, URIf the films “Cat People,” “Curse of the Cat People,” “I Walked with a Zombie,” “The Body Snatcher,” “Isle of the Dead,” “Bedlam” or “The Seventh Victim” mean nothing to you, then go find a Velocity to read. The rest of us will be enjoying this retrospective on one of the world’s great producers; written, produced and narrated by one of the world’s great directors. Also available in a boxed set with “The Val Lewton Collection” for $59.95.MOVING MCALLISTER2007; DVD $26.95, PG-13Mila Kunis from “That 70s Show,” Ben Gourley, Jon “Napoleon Dynamite” Heder and Rutger Hauer star in this road-comedy that surprisingly few people have heard of. Ben is a law intern who, desperate to score points with boss Hauer, agrees to pilot a broken-down truck to L.A., filled with Hauer’s possessions, his sexy but off-limits Hollywood-bound niece (Kunis) and her pet pig. It goes badly for him.MR. UNTOUCHABLE2007; DVD $26.95, RA documentary on Nicky Barnes, the self-professed “Godfather of NYC” who went from street junkie to multimillionaire drug-kingpin before it all went to hell, and he ended up testifying against the very people he had recruited. Told largely through Barnes’ own words from his first-ever prison interview.PIONEERS OF TELEVISION2008; DVD $24.95, URA four-part PBS miniseries showcasing nearly 100 stars from the earliest days of television and great reminisces by Dick Van Dyke, Andy Griffith, Betty White, Art Linkletter, Mary Tyler Moore and Phyllis Diller. If you watch TVLand, you will want to own this.SEEMORE’S PLAYHOUSE: FIRE SAFETY2008; DVD $12.95, URFirst video release from the pre-school kids series, teaching them a quick way to roast marshmallows in bed under the covers. Send those cards and letters to cstemle@leoweekly.com.THE COMEBACKS2007; DVD $29.95, PG-13/URA long-overdue spoof of predictable sports flicks from the guys who brought you “Wedding Crashers.” Stars David Koechner as “Lambeau Fields,” a downtrodden coach determined to make something of his ragtag assemblage of losers and find the inspiration to succeed. Who cares?! The fun is in all the sports clichés that get skewered along the way! Our favorite is his sexy gymnast daughter (Brooke Nevin) who gets “bent out of shape” over her father’s predicament.THE INVASION2007; DVD $35.95, PG-13Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig waste a lot of expensive film stock in this totally unnecessary and uninspired retread of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” Next.THE UNKNOWN TRILOGY2007; DVD $29.95, RA trio of fabulous, unearthly tales — “Frankie the Squirrel,” “Fear” and “Gone” — featuring Sal Mazzotta, Angie Everhart, Costas Mandylor, Ed O. Ross and Abe Vigoda. Of the three stories, the latter two rank as some of the best we’ve ever seen on the tube, comparable to Rod Serling in his heyday. Recommended.OTHER DVDS OF INTERESTCHANCER: SERIES 21991; DVD $39.95, URCURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON2005; DVD $39.95, URDAMAGES: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON2007; DVD $49.95-$79.95, URJAG: THE FIFTH SEASON1995; DVD $64.95, URA more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!