June 5, 2007

Video Tapeworm: Releases through Tuesday, June 12

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS GHOST RIDER 2007; DVD $28.95-38.95, PG-13 Cage! Why did it have to be Nicolas Cage?! No-Talent Nicky relies on his half-assed Elvis impersonation to slide through this tale from a somewhat obscure Marvel comic (that we LOVED!) about a cursed motorcycle daredevil. A fun little outing highlighted by cool CGI flame effects that we’re sure they’ll run into the ground in a series of cheap sequels to come. Eva Mendes is wasted as the girlfriend, while Peter Fonda is terrific as The Devil, but the most fun is watching Cage’s head repeatedly burst into flames. Now THAT’S entertainment! SILK 2006; DVD $22.95, UR A truly unique and original spooker from Taiwan about the ghost of a young boy, trapped in a room by scientists using a newly discovered material with preternatural properties. When they find that they can see him but not hear him, they enlist the aid of a lip-reading Special Agent who unravels the mystery of the boy’s horrific death. It’s then that he discovers that by trapping the spirit they have upset the balance of nature and unleashed supernatural forces beyond even the paranormal investigator’s experience. Nicely done.   AGAINST TIME 2001; DVD $19.95, UR A very low-budget but very well told coming-of-age tale with a neat twist. A popular and successful high-schooler, stressed by college plans and a bad relationship with his dad (Craig T. Nelson), is accosted by a raving drunk (Robert Loggia). But that drunk turns out to be himself from decades in the future, come back in time to prevent him from making the worst decision of his life. Well written, acted and conceived, this is a great little movie for all ages. ASHURA 2005; DVD $24.95, PG-13 A cut above the usual sword-and-demon anime offering: the fully-fleshed tale of a Demon Warden, sworn to protect Edo from otherworldly terrors until he accidentally kills a child. He walks out of the fight, renouncing his warrior ways until many years later when a mysterious woman and news of an impending demon apocalypse find him. BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE 2007; DVD $26.95-38.95, PG-13 A sort of teen “Underworld” from the makers of that franchise starring Agnes Bruckner as a lonely young girl who falls in love with an artist, despite the fact that it would spell doom for her dangerous shape-shifting family. DAYS OF GLORY (INDIGENES) 2006; DVD $28.95, R A big hit on the art-house circuit about French-speaking WWII North African soldiers who fight their way across Europe in a battle against discrimination. KATHY GRIFFIN: MY LIFE ON THE D-LIST: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON 2006; DVD $29.95, UR First video release of this savagely funny swipe at the phony Joan Rivers/red carpet/kiss-kiss Hollywood culture. LATE OZU 1962; DVD $69.95, UR If the names Yasujiro Ozu and “Tokyo Story” mean nothing to you, then skip this review, lame-oid. A Criterion collection of five Ozu films made after “Story” with all of Oku’s trademark visual and narrative elegance intact. Includes “Early Spring,” the heartbreaking “Tokyo Twilight,” “Equinox Flower” (his first color film), “Late Autumn” and “End of Summer,” his second-to-last film. MASTERS OF HORROR: THE SCREWFLY SOLUTION 2005; DVD $14.95, UR Joe Dante returns to Showtime for this episode of their horror series with the ultimate “battle of the sexes.” All over the world, women are being savagely murdered by their lovers, leading a mother and daughter on a desperate race for survival. MEATBALL MACHINE 2005; DVD $19.95, UR Wonderfully entertaining horror from Japan that combines gratuitous bloodletting, nudity and humor into an over-the-top coming-of-age tale of Good vs. Evil. Gruesome alien parasites bore into people and turn their flesh and bone into ooze-spurting biomechanical weapons. Truly twisted and fun. PRETTY MAID CAFÉ 2007; DVD $19.95, UR Final chapter in the Japanese Akihabara Trilogy about a depressed young man who falls for a woman at a “Maid Café” — a business where pretty girls satisfy a man’s servant fantasies — and invites her to ... go fishing! A thought-provoking and original romantic drama with a bit of sex and nudity. PRIMEVAL 2007; DVD $29.95-34.95, R Dominic Purcell (“Prison Break”) and Orlando Jones seem an odd pairing in this straight-up “hunt for a 25-foot man-eating crocodile” thriller from Disney, supposedly based on a true story. Not great, but beats the hell out of any one of the SciFi Channel’s 2,415 similar offerings. THE BOW 2005; DVD $22.95, UR The mesmerizing South Korean story of a nameless old man who, having cared for a young girl since she was an infant, intends to marry her on her upcoming 17th birthday — and is willing to kill anyone who comes between them. The girl is content with her fate until a teenage boy enters their tiny world. THE HUSTLER 1961; DVD $19.95, UR A two-disc Collector’s Edition of one of the most compelling movies ever made. Paul Newman’s pool-obsessed “Fast Eddie” Felson so completely dominates the screen that even such celluloid heavyweights as Jackie “Minnesota Fats” Gleason, Piper Laurie and George C. Scott take a back seat. With audio commentary by Newman. THE ORIGINAL NANCY DREW MOVIE MYSTERY COLLECTION 1938; DVD $24.95, UR In preparation for the new big-budget Nancy Drew movie, Warner Bros. has repackaged all of its precious Bonita Granville “Drews” from the late 1930s into this two-disc boxed set. Contains “Nancy Drew, Detective” (1938), “Reporter” (1939), “Troubleshooter” (1939) and “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase” (1939). WAITING FOR HAPPINESS 2002; DVD $29.95, UR Nearly dialogue-free, this French-language tale of life in Nouadhibou, a small seaside village on the Mauritanian coast, is incredibly personal, making the viewer feel like one of the residents as they go about their small lives within their temporary homes called “heremakono” — a native world that also means “waiting for happiness.”   Other DVDs of Interest DEADWOOD: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON 2006; DVD $99.95, UR DIAGNOSIS MURDER: THE SECOND SEASON 1993; DVD $49.95, UR HELLBOY: BLOOD AND IRON 2007; DVD $19.95, UR NOAH’S ARC: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON 2004; DVD $38.95, UR THE HARDY BOYS NANCY DREW MYSTERIES: SEASON TWO 1977; DVD $39.95, UR THE RAT PATROL: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON 1966; DVD $39.95, UR WELCOME BACK, KOTTER: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON 1982; DVD $29.95, UR   A more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!