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October 23, 2007

Video TapeWorm: Releases through Tuesday, Oct. 30

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKSBENNY HILL — COMPLETE & UNADULTERATED MEGASET (1969-1989)2007; DVD $149.95, URYow! Christmas comes early this year with this release of all 58 uncut episodes from the Thames years on 18 discs — nearly 600 sketches (most to the sounds of the late Boots Randolph), some never broadcast in America — plus tons of bonus material. What?! You say he’s childish, bawdy, sexist and puerile? We dare you to compare Benny’s inimitable stylings with the bland “humor” of the current TV season, and tell us which one is funnier. Timeless, classic naughtybits in which buxom babes usually get their revenge over the horny old goat. Frisky, fun and lively humor at its best.SPIKE JONES: THE LEGEND2007; DVD $49.95, UREven though we love the guy, this set contains too much Weird Al Yankovic! As long as Spike Jones and his cracked band of misfits, the City Slickers, is on stage, there’s no need for further embellishment. A 4-disc set of rare recordings of Spike and his wacky lads destroying songs and sets from four early NBC shows, two Colgate Comedy Hours (1951), a pair of All Star Revues (1952) — most broadcast live! — plus an audio CD of rare radio bits! “Cocktails for Two” will never sound the same again. Our highest recommendation.ANGEL COLLECTOR’S SET2006; DVD $139.95, URFinally available: all 110 episodes from David Boreanaz’s vampire-with-a-soul “Buffy” spinoff featuring the stunning Charisma Carpenter (whose June 2004 Playboy pics are still doing big business on the Internet). With collectibles. CAPTIVITY2007; DVD $28.95, R/UROK, right up front: Elisha Cuthbert from “24” doesn’t show ’em. Never has, never will. So why promote this torture-porn-wannabe tease-fest? It was written by the incomparable Larry Cohen! Master of such delights as “Cellular,” “The Invaders” TV show, “Phone Booth” and 1976’s infamous “God Told Me To.”DAY WATCH2007; DVD $27.95, URIf you’re a fan of the Russian cult hit “Night Watch,” you’re already at the vidstore waiting to get this sequel, Part Two of a planned trilogy. And if you’re not a fan of the original, then you surely haven’t seen it! Killer digital effects and a mind-bending plot centered around an impending Apocalypse of Dark and Light doesn’t begin to explain the joys of this bizarre and intricate thriller epic. But just a word of caution: If you’ve never seen “Night,” you’ll never understand what “Day” is all about. Make sure you get both films!IMPACT! SONGS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD: THE BEATLES — I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND/PETER ASHER, ROBIN GIBB, JOE PERRY, MIKE LOVE2007; DVD $9.95, URA fascinating new series that uses pop music as a touchstone for cultural exploration. Following the Kennedy assassination of 1963, America was in shock. The very symbol of American youth and inventiveness had his brains splattered on live TV. America, herself, was wounded. Then, just months later, The Beatles arrived on little AM radios and we all learned to live, laugh and love again, jump-starting the anti-war movement, civil rights, moon landings, miniskirts, Woodstock and the Summer of Love. Also available separately: “I Shot The Sheriff,” “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Stayin’ Alive.”JACKIE CHAN’S THE MYTH2005; DVD $24.95, PG-13First in a welcome new kid’s fantasy/adventure series from Jackie, part “Indiana Jones,” part “Tomb Raider” and part “Rumble in the Bronx.”LICENSE TO WED2007; DVD $34.95-39.95, PG-13The less said the better. Next.MARRIED IN AMERICA 22007; DVD $26.95, URFans of the “Up” series (“7Up,” “14Up,” etc.) will enjoy this similar look at wedded bliss. The original installment introduced us to nine couples about to be married, discussing their hopes, dreams and expectations. This picks up the thread five years later to see how things evolved.MY SO-CALLED LIFE: THE COMPLETE SERIES1994; DVD $69.95, URClaire Danes rocketed into the American consciousness in this terrific — if very short-lived — TV series about adolescence and teen angst. While only lasting 19 episodes (due to ABC’s ass-head proximity), it may be the most well-written and well-performed series ever put on the tube. Includes all the bonus goodies you could ever want.NO END IN SIGHT2007; DVD $26.95, URA damning, scarifying doc on how we ended up mired in Iraq with no way out. Washington incompetence on a vast scale — often including players completely unqualified in positions of authority thanks to political cronyism — coupled with a complete ignorance of even the simplest of military tactics, history or simple algebra, combine to leave us screwed in the sand. Man, this thing is good.QUEST FOR DRAGONS2007; DVD $24.95, URThis 100-minute A&E feature on the history and culture of the (supposedly) mythical beasts isn’t the best thing they’ve ever done, but how can you pass up a subject like this? A fun, artsy look at Man’s near-universal symbol of power, wisdom and nature.SPIDER-MAN 32007; DVD $28.95-$43.95, PG-13Spidey loses MJ and takes on a blinding cadre of villains — including himself — in this third chapter from director Sam Raimi. More action-oriented and shallow compared to previous installments, this is a far darker and more comic-booky Tobey Maguire than we’ve seen, but ultimately just as satisfying. With Kirsten Dunst, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace, James Franco and, as a new love interest, Bryce Dallas Howard. Also available in both trilogy and Blu-Ray trilogy sets, all with tons of bonus goodies.STUDY HELL2006; DVD $24.95, RIf you remember Tom Berenger’s 1996 “The Substitute” about a part-time teacher and former mercenary who takes back his school from inner-city gangs, you’ll love this! A retired-Army-captain-cum-high-school-teacher goes postal, and it’s up to the kids in detention to take him down. Gangs of fun.TALK TO ME2007; DVD $29.95, RDon Cheadle once again shines in this true story of ex-con Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene, the legendary Washington, D.C., DJ and commentator of the late ’60s whose political barbs, street wisdom and raucous antics were a driving force behind America’s most celebratory decade. A fabulous piece of filmmaking.THINK TANK2007; DVD $26.95, PGA silly, broad kidvid komedy about old-enough-to-know-better slackers — who imagine themselves to be geniuses — out to save their small town from “Lord Billiards,” a millionaire pool celebrity/land-shark.OTHER DVDS OF INTERESTFAMILY GUY: FREAKIN’ PARTY PACK1999; DVD $149.95, UROCTOBER ROAD: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON2007; DVD $29.95, PGTHE OUTER LIMITS (ORIGINAL SERIES) VOL. 31963; DVD $29.95, URTWIN PEAKS: THE DEFINITIVE GOLD BOX EDITION1990; DVD $99.95, URA more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com!