March 20, 2007

Video Tapeworm: Releases through Tuesday, March 27

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKSHAPPY FEET2006; DVD $28.95-$39.95, PGAn absolutely perfect movie, entertaining for all ages, yet free from the treacle that permeates most “family fair.” In the wilds of Antarctica, Emperor penguin society is held together by a love of song, forming a mystical thread that runs back to their ancestors. So, little Mumble, who can’t sing, appears to be doomed to a life alone, a social outcast, unworthy of a mate. But the boy can dance, and even if his parents can’t see it, their very survival depends on his unique abilities. Tons of great voice work and digital animation, but they all pale behind the terrific story and clever music. A triumph.THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS2006; DVD $28.95, PG-13Will Smith stars with son Jaden in this true-life story of a struggling salesman trying to raise a 5-year-old alone while making a better life for them both. His bold plan is to become a stockbroker, starting as an unpaid intern in a brutally competitive training program. Sacrificing everything, they wind up homeless, destitute and, at times, running from the law while he plays out his one chance for a future. An inspiring testament to his determination, the power of love and the strength of the human spirit.AFTER DARK HORROR FEST2007; DVD $139.95, URWe applauded 2006’s theatrical “After Dark Horror Fest,” a group of films that traveled the country together (each at full-admission price, we might add), if only because it was an idea that we hadn’t seen since the “Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Horror” shows of the late ’60s. The best of the bunch, “The Abandoned,” is now getting its own theater run, with the remainder being offered in this slick boxed set. A bit pricy, they can also be purchased separately for under $20 each. BOTTOM OF THE NINTH2002; DVD $19.95, URWe’re not big on sports films, but this is a great one: a documentary about a real minor league baseball team in a race for the championship. No overpaid jocks, no steroids, no scandals — barely any equipment — yet these guys play the National Pastime for the pure love of the game.ERROL FLYNN: THE SIGNATURE COLLECTION 21936; DVD $49.95, URA five-disc set with “Adventures of Don Juan,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” “The Dawn Patrol,” “Dive Bomber” and “Gentleman Jim.” Also available separately for under $20 each.EXTREME PRIVATE EROS: LOVE SONG 19741974; DVD $29.95, URHailed as “a landmark in Japanese documentary,” this painful, intimate and savagely personal film has rarely been seen outside of Japan. Now available for the first time on American video, Kazuo Hara’s reminiscence of his love affair with Takeda Miyuki, one of the world’s first feminists, and the first openly bi-sexual woman in Japan’s rigid and tradition-bound society.FUNNY MONEY2006; DVD $26.95, URDid you know that Chevy Chase just did a big-budget comedy? In Romania? Well he did, based on a classic British stage play about a bored middle-aged couple who find themselves in possession of a suitcase full of cash, and a doorstep full of Russian gangsters. Co-stars Penelope Ann Miller and Armand Assante.HACKING DEMOCRACY2006; DVD $26.95, URThe true story of Bev Harris, an amazing grandmother who wondered how votes were counted in electronic voting machines. What she uncovered was so shocking that she now heads a group of activists battling Diebold and Congress to prevent the wholesale hijacking of our democratic process.PERVERT!2005; DVD $19.95, UREx-gubernatorial candidate and stag-film staple Mary Carey leads a cadre of barely-dressed beauties against a Bible-thumping, whore-mongering serial-killing preacher in this campy gore-drenched spoof of killer-nudie-sexploitation flicks.PUMPKINHEAD: ASHES TO ASHES2006; DVD $24.95, RDoug “Pinhead” Bradley leads a mostly Romanian cast, with Lance Henriksen doing his patented cameo, in this third chapter of the series. The plot concerns a mortician who’s been saving money by dumping bodies in a swamp. We’ve seen worse.SCHOOL FOR SCOUNDRELS1960; DVD $17.95, URNOT the recent, dim-witted Jon Heder/Billy Bob Thornton outing; this is the original British inspiration from nearly 50 years ago! Based on the books of Stephen Potter, a quiet, naive lad is sent to a trade school where he learns how to comically take advantage of people, seduce women, drink large fellows under the table and succeed in sports by driving his opponent crazy! Veddy, veddy, Briddy, to say the least, what?!SEX SELLS: THE MAKING OF TOUCHE2005; DVD $24.95, RThis “making of a porno film mockumentary” is surprisingly good! It’s funny, horny and good-natured, with a killer opening orgy scene starring Priscilla Barnes (Terri from “Three’s Company”), killer ninjas and “Terminator” references! Trust us, this is a hoot.SHUTTER2004; DVD $22.95, RA bit of classic Oriental haunting from Thailand. A photographer and his girlfriend leave the scene of an auto accident where they’ve killed a young girl. Later, a shadow begins to show up in their photos, becoming clearer in each successive picture.VAN WILDER 2: THE RISE OF TAJ2006; DVD $29.95, RThe 2002 original was a delight thanks to Ryan Reynolds as the perfect smarty-party-animal. This quickie sequel tries to pick up one of the bit players in hopes of starting a franchise a la “American Pie.” We suggest watching the original again.WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY?: THE COMPLETE SEASONS 1 & 22007; DVD $49.95, URThe original British show that Drew Carey and friends hijacked to America — and thank God for the lot of them! Both shows were super, but this Limey one has a slight edge thanks to less restrictive censors and a wilder imagination. Check out the “soap opera for hamsters” bit if you think we’re kiddin’!Other DVDs of InterestFAMILY AFFAIR: SEASON 31966; DVD $39.95, URFULL HOUSE: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON1987; DVD $29.95, URMIND OF MENCIA: UNCENSORED SEASON 22006; DVD $26.95, URSONIC THE HEDGEHOG: THE COMPLETE SERIES1993; DVD $29.95, URTHE JEFFERSONS: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON1979; DVD $29.95, URA more complete listing and free vids at!