October 10, 2006

Video Tapeworm: Releases through Tuesday, Oct. 17

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:AMERICAN DREAMZ2006; DVD $29.95, PG-13Hugh Grant is simply perfect as the calculating producer of an insane “American Idol”-type show loved by President Dennis Quaid, who does a great “W” as the confused and depressed leader losing control of his office. Marcia Gay Harden and Willem Dafoe shoot him full of drugs and get him a spot as a guest-judge on the show to boost his popularity while Mandy Moore’s star rises by her own devious means. A staggering condemnation of political soundbites, staged photo-ops and the way that politics, news and entertainment have become hopelessly entwined.THE BREAK-UP2006; DVD $29.95, PG-13Not high-brow entertainment by any means, but a damned-funny look at how personal chemistry, love and modern life doom us all. Vince Vaughn plays his usual over-aged slacker, somehow able to bag gorgeous Jennifer Aniston, playing her usual sexy self. A host of great co-stars lead the two through a lover’s quarrel, neither willing to give up their great apartment. Jenny’s naked walk to the fridge may be the funniest, horniest PG-13 scene we’ve ever seen in a movie.AVENGER2006; DVD $19.95, URTimothy Hutton, James Cromwell and Sam Elliott star in this thinly veiled vigilante flick that could only have been made in a time of war. A former soldier takes retribution for his family’s death by killing any bad guys he runs across.CASANOVA2005; VHS $19.95/DVD $19.95, URA wonderful three-hour BBC Masterpiece Theater version of the infamous rogue’s life with Peter O’Toole as the aging womanizer and David Tennant from “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” as his younger self. A funny and ribald romp through the Naughty Ages. Recommended.FEAST2006; DVD $28.95, URFans of HBO’s “Project Greenlight” know that this spoof of monster-movies centers on a group of soon-to-be-victims trapped in a bar, waiting for their chance to take on the evil that approaches. With Krista Allen, Balthazar Getty and Clu Gulager from “Return of the Living Dead” as the bartender. (There’s some industry confusion as to the true release date, but we think it comes out this week.)KAMICHU! — VOL. 3: DISCOVERY2005; DVD $29.95, URWonderfully innocent and light, this anime series focuses on Yurie, a young girl running for student office at school and searching for a friend’s lost little sister at home while balancing her responsibilities as a newly-appointed god by a band of immortal spirits.MASTERS OF HORROR — LARRY COHEN: PICK ME UP2006; DVD $16.95, URLarry Cohen, underrated director of the amazing “God Told Me To,” offers this tale of Fairuza Balk, set upon by two madmen — an insane hitchhiker and the barking-mad truck driver who offers him a ride. Can she make it out alive using only her wits and sexuality? Hell, yes!MOON PHASE: PHASE 12006; DVD $39.95, URAnother fun anime, this one based on the popular manga by Keitaro Arima about love with a proper vampire. A young photographer ventures to Germany where he finds and releases a beautiful vampire, trapped for centuries. So now what does do? He takes her home, of course!OVER THE HEDGE2006; DVD $29.95, PGThese CGI-critter cartoons are getting to be a dime a dozen, but we liked this one on the strength of its voice-talent (Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Steve Carell, Wanda Sykes, William Shatner, etc.) and its well-developed characters from a well-known newspaper feature. Quite literally “fun for the whole family” as a group of hysterical forest creatures set their sites on suburbia.REST STOP2006; DVD $24.95, UR/RA raw, no-budget distaff take on the “one of a pair of lovers disappears at a rest stop and the other must find them before they are killed” genre with Jaimie Alexander as the huntress and Tracy Kress as her lost love. With Joey Lawrence as the (snicker) sheriff.TEENAGERS FROM URANUS2006; DVD $17.95, URA scattershot spoof of the horror/sci-fi genre that finds time to insult the homeless, promote serial killing and praise Jesus for his sword-handling abilities. The title should tell you everything you need to know.THE OMEN2006; DVD $29.95, RDirector John Moore’s totally unnecessary, nearly scene-for-scene refilming of Richard Donner’s 1976 horror classic. About the only thing good we can say about this is that it makes the original “Omen” sequels — a lame lot by themselves — look downright sparkling by comparison.THE OMEN COLLECTION2006; DVD $49.95, URA six-disc set, including the two-disc Collector’s Edition of the 1976 original starring Gregory Peck, Lee Remick and David Warner (who dies in the greatest decapitation scene ever!). Also contains “Damien: Omen II,” “Omen III: The Final Conflict,” “Omen IV: The Awakening,” plus the 2006 remake of the original, which makes a nice coaster.THEY ALL LAUGHED1981; DVD $19.95, PGTwenty-fifth anniversary release of Peter Bogdanovich’s madcap tale of love, detectives, infidelity and money. Ben Gazzara trails and woos Audrey Hepburn while toying with beautiful cab driver Patti Hansen and would-be country-western singer Colleen Camp. Meanwhile, John Ritter tails and falls for Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten. Trust us, this is worth the price for the scenes of Stratten alone.WE DON’T DIE, WE MULTIPLY: THE ROBIN HARRIS STORY2006; DVD $19.95, URFor the uninitiated, Robin Harris was the TRUE Original King of Comedy, the man whose style and delivery would later be taken up by Bernie Mac, Martin Lawrence and Steve Harvey. These and others pay tribute to the creative genius who inspired their careers.OTHER DVDS OF INTERESTALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS: SEASON TWO1956; DVD $39.95, URBIG LOVE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON2006; DVD $99.95, URTHE SHOOTING PARTY1984; DVD $19.95, URA more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!