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May 8, 2007

Video Tapeworm: Releases through Tuesday, May 15

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS: PAN’S LABYRINTH 2006; DVD $28.95-$39.95, R Guillermo Del Toro (“Cronos,” “Hellboy,” “Blade 2") has become our favorite modern director, and here’s a perfect example why. A childhood fantasy morphs into monstrous adulthood when a young girl, trapped and alone with a brutal stepfather during the Spanish Civil War, follows a faerie to the home of a grotesque Faun, and hears that she is destined to fulfill a prophesy — or is she just a pawn in something diabolical? Alternately savage, playful, cruel and innocent, you’ll finish the film scratching your head but thoroughly entertained. Our highest recommendation. THE FOUNTAIN 2006; DVD $27.95-$39.95, PG-13/R While not a box office success, this is one of the most ambitious movies you’ll ever see. Hugh Jackman is a determined man on an epic quest to defeat Death itself and save the woman he loves (Rachel Weisz). Spanning 1,000 years from the past into the future, director Darren Aronofsky (“Pi”) pits Jackman against nature, man’s highest aspirations and his most primitive urges in a doomed quest that will leave you breathless. ARMY OF SHADOWS 1969; DVD $39.95, UR First video release of Jean-Pierre Melville’s masterpiece about the French resistance, circa 1944. Curiously never seen by American audiences until 2006, the movie is considered a national treasure in France, and one of the most highly regarded films throughout Europe. Lots of bonus features; also available in HD. CREEPSHOW 3 2006; DVD $19.95, R Originally launched by George Romero and Stephen King, this third outing marks the first of a new series for HBO. Five new tales, none of them near the quality of the original and lacking the original’s EC Comic framing that made it so cool. DENZEL WASHINGTON SPOTLIGHT COLLECTION 2007; DVD $29.95, R A great price on four great movies: “Inside Man,” “Mo’ Better Blues,” “The Hurricane” and “The Bone Collector.” DUPLICITY 2007; DVD $19.95, UR A low budget remake of the 1964 Cary Grant/Audrey Hepburn action comedy classic “Charade” starring — pretty much nobody! A woman who is about to divorce her husband finds out he’s been murdered and his secret $18 million is missing. Proof that all you need to make a great movie is a great script. MASTERS OF HORROR: RIGHT TO DIE 2007; DVD $14.95, UR A dead-on nasty haunter from Showtime about a woman, hideously burned and hopelessly comatose, whose husband decides to pull the plug. But outside, a group of self-serving hypocrites (including Corbin Bernson) plot to keep her alive for their own purposes. That’s when she decides to take matters into her own spiritual hands. Cool. STOMP THE YARD 2007; DVD $28.95-$38.95, PG-13 The latest offering from the recent wave of predictable “inner-city kid about to fall is saved by the latest dance craze and a girl.” This one stars Columbus Short and Meagan Good and is better than most of them. TEX AVERY’S DROOPY DOG: THE COMPLETE THEATRICAL COLLECTION 2006; DVD $26.95, UR Droopy Dog was probably the lowest-keyed animated character ever penned — all the more amazing when you consider that he was the brainchild of hyperactive Animator Supreme, Tex Avery. Now available for the first time: the complete Droopy Dog catalog, all 24 digitally re-mastered, unedited shorts on two discs plus a host of docs and a faux “gag reel” — one of the most entertaining offerings we’ve seen in weeks. Recommended. THE LAST SIN EATER 2007; DVD $26.95, PG-13 Louise Fletcher and Henry Thomas co-star with little Liana Liberato in this tale based on a little-known Kentucky folk tradition. From ancient Welsh beliefs, the Sin Eater is a holy wanderer who arrives before a funeral and, in a secret rite using the body as a platter, “eats” the deceased’s sins as a means of absolution. This spiritual drama, set in 1850s Appalachia, has too much Christian spin but delivers a good, solid little movie, nonetheless. THE ROAD WARRIOR 1982; DVD $28.95, R “Mad Max,” the Aussie prequel, made an indie darling of Mel Gibson, but this high-octane sequel was the knockout punch that turned him into an international star and spawned a decade of “post Armageddon raggedy-man actioners.” After a war has left civilization in ruins, a former cop prowls the desert, searching for precious gasoline while armies of debased criminals rape, murder and pillage at will. A spectacular event, now in HD. THE WAR AT HOME: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON 2005; DVD $39.95, UR We didn’t think much of this tired retread of everything dull about TV sitcoms when it first premiered — especially when you consider that the same network had recently killed two far better shows from Andy Richter in the same time slot. But after a shaky start, it’s grown on us, largely because of the astoundingly nubile Kaylee Defer as the teen daughter. THEY’RE PLAYING WITH FIRE 1984; DVD $9.95, R Peee-uuuu! What a wonderful stinker! Scream-queen/Sex-bomb Sybil Danning is the lusty college prof (yeah, right!) who seduces poor little Eric Brown (“Private Lessons”) as part of a way-too-complicated plot of murder and double-cross. Keep an eye out for Mr. Haney from “Green Acres,” Andrew Prine of “Grizzly” and a heapin’ helpin’ of Auntie Syb’s Major Mambo-Meat on display. Movies don’t get any better than this! Other DVDs of Interest CARLOS MENCIA: THE BEST OF FUNNY IS FUNNY 2007; DVD $19.95, UR ER: THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SEASON 1994; DVD $49.95, UR MARTIN: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON 1992; DVD $29.95, UR THE RED GREEN SHOW: 1998 SEASON 1998; DVD $39.95, UR THE ROCKFORD FILES: SEASON FOUR 1974; DVD $39.95, UR WINGS: THE FOURTH SEASON 1990; DVD $38.95, UR A more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!