September 25, 2007

Video Tapeworm: Releases through Tuesday, Oct. 2

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKSFUNNY FACE1957; DVD $14.95, URCan it really be the 50th anniversary of this wonderful Technicolor/VistaVision vision? You’ve seen clips of it all your life — most recently a TV ad with wide-eyed nymph Audrey Hepburn dancing in a black unitard to AC/DC’s “Back In Black” — but video versions have always been washed out and crackly. Now fully restored and sparkling with Fred Astaire intoning the fabulous music of George Gershwin while the bookish and sublime Ms. H. learns the wonders of Paris nightlife. Also available: the Hepburn Box Set with “Face,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Roman Holiday,” “Sabrina” and “Paris When it Sizzles” (DVD $36.95).THE JUNGLE BOOK1967; DVD $29.95, GA two-disc 40th anniversary Platinum Edition of Uncle Walt’s last film. Unlike previous outings, he let the voice actors — including Phil Harris, Sebastian Cabot, Louis Prima, George Sanders and Sterling Holloway — ad lib much of their dialogue, giving it a slightly dated yet spontaneous quality that sets it apart from the previous 18 Disney hits. Fully restored with the original score and the classic tale of a boy becoming a man with only animals to guide him. This is a must-own.14082007; DVD $29.95, PG-13A rather straightforward — and very effective — frightfest from the pen of Stephen King starring John Cusack as a professional skeptic who checks into a reportedly haunted hotel room against the wishes of proprietor Samuel L. Jackson.BLUE GENDER MOVIE: THE WARRIOR2007; DVD $14.95, URA new, low price on this damned-good anime title makes it worth seeking out. In a near-future Earth, the human race has been usurped by a mysterious insectoid race called The Blue when a young man awakens in space after 22 years of suspended animation. A favorite of ours.DEMONS/DEMONS II1985; DVD $14.95 each, URGiallo-meisters Dario Argento and Lamberto Bava’s infamous ode to George Romero’s staggering flesh-eating zombies. The first is by far the best, with a group of strangers invited to a spooky movie theater for a sneak-peek at ... a zombie movie! Which, of course, spills off of the screen into the audience in one of the most depraved orgies of blood and gore ever recorded. The second has more dark humor as the rotters invade a luxury high-rise apartment building. Both are fully remastered for state-of-the-art nausea.ELF BOWLING, THE MOVIE2006; DVD $14.95, PGWe don’t have a clue whether this Santa-goes-to-Fiji kidvid inspired by the online video favorite is any good, but how can you not love that title?FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER2007; DVD $34.95, PGRather than take the more “adult” Spider-Man route — doing deep and profound character studies of all-too-human villains and reluctant heroes — Executive Child-At-Heart Stan Lee decided to keep this franchise light and quick and fun. Lots of time at home between save-the-world gigs provides awkward humor and a chance to showcase Jessica Alba’s fabulous keister (though she still looks stupid in a blonde wig). Fast, fun and forgettable; just like a comic book should be.JERICHO: THE FIRST SEASON2006; DVD $49.95, UROnly in America could you film the impending Apocalypse and sell it as entertainment. The residents of Po-dunk, Kan., see a mushroom cloud and wonder why they can’t get “Gilligan” on TV anymore. Panic hits when the local Starbucks — all 2,512 of them — run out of frappucino while others find an inner strength and march into that Brave New World of heroic starvation and slow, painful death. Hey, it still beats “Don’t Forget the Lyrics.”KEN BURNS: THE WARDVD $129.99, TV-14Only Ken Burns could have taken the grit, carnage and devastation of WWII and made it this entertaining. Focusing on the human element, battles in far-off “Yur-ipp” are only mentioned in passing as the camera explores how every aspect of American life was directed toward stopping evil from spreading to our soil. Draw your own parallels. Fourteen hours on six discs.PUMPKINHEAD 4: BLOOD FEUD2007; DVD $24.95, RGraggy-voiced Lance Henriksen cameos once again for The SciFi Channel in this tale of the Hatfields and the McCoys, whose generations-old feud has dredged up the dreaded Pumpkinhead demon. Filmed in Romania. Ask for the original.SPECIES IV: THE AWAKENING2007; DVD $26.95, URSwedish stunner Helena Mattsson and sexy Latina Marlene Favela supply the requisite skin (previously provided by Natasha Henstridge and Sunny Mabrey) in this fourth installment. Ben Cross, desperately seeking a new agent, stars as a doctor who takes his niece to Mexico to try and cure her of her alien DNA. Why Mexico? Because it’s soooo much cheaper to film there!STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION THE COMPLETE SERIES1987; DVD $455.95, URAfter the success of the Star Trek movies, series creator Gene Roddenberry had little trouble convincing Paramount to revisit the Trek universe on a weekly basis — updated and refined for a more politically-stable era. Bald-pated Shakespearean Patrick Stewart seemed an odd choice to lead at first, but quickly became a fan favorite. The crew stayed largely intact for the entire series, led by Jonathan Frakes as “#1” and Brent Spiner as the all-too-human android, Data; only sexy Denise Crosby jumped ship — only to return later in two other characters! More than 134 hours of utopian TV history on 49 discs. Our highest recommendation.THE PAUL LYNDE HALLOWEEN SPECIAL1976; DVD $14.95, URThis video turkey has not been seen anywhere in 31 years. So why are we highlighting it? Could it be the only TV appearance of Margaret Hamilton in her Wicked Witch of the West costume? Or Billie Hayes, “Witchie Poo” from H.R. Pufnstuf? How ’bout Donnie and Marie, Tim Conway, little Billy Barty or a biodoc on the avuncular Lynde? Nope. It’s because this circus of kitsch contains the very first TV appearance of KISS! “Detroit Rock City” and “King of the Night Time World” are noteworthy, but seeing Peter Criss warble “Beth” to a fawning middle-aged gay man, then trading barbs with Hamilton, is beyond description. A bizarre and campy video necessity!OTHER DVDS OF INTERESTENTOURAGE: THE COMPLETE SEASONS 1-32007; DVD $159.95, URHOW I MET YOUR MOTHER: SEASON TWO2005; DVD $39.95, URI LOVE NEW YORK: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON2007; DVD $38.95, URTHE COMEDIANS OF COMEDY LIVE2007; DVD $19.95, URTHE SARAH SILVERMAN PROGRAM: SEASON ONE2007; DVD $19.95, URA more complete listing and free vids at!