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October 1, 2008

The Video Tapeworm - Releases through Tuesday, Oct. 7

and Bill Raker

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

THE VISITOR

2008; $29.95-$39.95, PG-13

The best film you’ve never seen. Richard Jenkins (“Six Feet Under”) plays a traveling college professor who discovers a pair of squatters living in his apartment. At first frightened, he comes to realize the aimlessness of his life as they teach him to play an oversized bongo drum. We know, sounds stupid. But trust us: This is something special. A minor masterpiece from writer/director Tom McCarthy (“The Station Agent”).

YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN

2008; $24.95-$38.95, PG-13/UR

Regular readers of our column (support groups available) know that we’re not big fans of Adam Sandler comedies — but this one we liked! As usual, he goes overboard with the Jewish in-jokes, but co-writer/low-rent wunderkind Judd Apatow keeps him focused in this wacky tale of a Mossad super-agent who fakes his death in order to become a NY hairstylist. Ably assisted by gorgeous Emmanuelle Chriqui, John Turturro and Rob Schneider, this combination of impossibly goofy physical humor, spy antics and crude sex-jokes is entertaining as hell.

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BATTLE BENEATH THE EARTH/THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR

2008; $19.95, UR

A great ’60s double feature, “Battle” stars Kerwin Mathews in a Jules Verne-esque tale of U.S.-Chinese nuclear war fought in massive tunnels linking the two nations. “Warrior” is better known, with Yul Brynner, Max von Sydow and terrific bad-guy William Smith battling gangs amid a devastated post-war NY of the near-future. Part of a new double-bill line that includes “Moon Zero Two/(Hammer’s) When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth” and the CinemaScope classic “World Without End” with “Satellite in the Sky.”

HORTON HEARS A WHO!

2008; $14.95, UR

Jim Carrey leads an all-star voice cast — including Steve Carell, Carol Burnett, Will Arnett, Seth Rogen, Dan Fogler, Amy Poehler, Jaime Pressly and Charles Osgood — in this thoroughly entertaining, 88-minute CGI-animated stretch on the Dr. Seuss tale. Too good for kids.

JOHNNY CASH CHRISTMAS SPECIAL 1976-1979

2008; $49.95, UR

A welcome collection of Cash’s intimate Christmas TV specials, parts of which were filmed at his Nashville home with family and friends. And what friends! With performances by Roy Clark, Rita Coolidge, Tom T. Hall, Jerry Lee Lewis, Barbara Mandrell, Steve Martin, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Merle Travis and many others. Also available: individual years for $14.95 each. Recommended.

KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS: SEASON 1

2007; $19.95, UR

First video release of this out-of-left-field reality show featuring Paris Hilton’s best friend, Kim Kardashian. Beautiful Kimmy and her killer keister star, keeping the show afloat on a mixture of her amazing sense of humor and aw-gosh sex appeal amid daily rich-family scandals. Includes the featurette “Junk in the Trunk.”

RAY HARRYHAUSEN BOX SET

1955; $107.95, PG-13/UR

A four-disc set containing the first colorized Blu-Ray versions of “It Came From Beneath the Sea,” “Earth vs. the Flying Saucers,” “20 Million Miles to Earth” and “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.” The latter two are special 50th Anniversary editions, also being released to Blu-Ray individually for $28.95 each, and all can be shown in their restored B&W glory as God intended.

SLEEPING BEAUTY

1959; $29.95-$34.95, G

The original animated motion picture, now available in Blu-Ray. Not just another trip to the well for Disney Inc., this includes a 3-D trip through Uncle Walt’s original Disneyland centerpiece, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, plus new making-ofs, DVD games, restorations of four deleted songs, the Oscar-winning short “Grand Canyon,” which accompanied SB on its original release, and a half-dozen other features.

SPEED RACER: THE COMPLETE CLASSIC SERIES COLLECTION

2008; $49.95, UR

“Speed Racer” hit American shores in 1967 (originally titled “Mahha GoGoGo” before being dubbed) and was an instant hit — though no one has ever been able to explain why. Finally, after 40 years, you can own the complete series, all 52 episodes on six discs. A steal.

STRAIT JACKET

2008; $19.95, R

Simply the Best Anime We Ever Saw. Ichiro Sakaki created this world of sorcery and science where curious humans can become hideous demons if they aren’t careful. The world’s sanity is maintained by “Straight Jackets” — tactical sorcerer-assassins who struggle to keep the flame of humanity alive amid unrelenting human desire.

THE EDGAR WALLACE COLLECTION, VOL. 2: CURSE OF THE YELLOW SNAKE/PHANTOM OF SOHO

2008; $19.95, UR

The “Edgar Wallace Mysteries” were veddy, veddy British murder/adventure-mysteries created in the late ’50s/early ’60s and fondly remembered in late-night TV of the ’70s. “Snake” is a kinda slow but fun fanatical-Asian-cult outing; “Phantom” is better remembered: German-made, with a hooded killer (wearing glitter-gloves!) and a white slavery ring amid the lavish strip clubs of Soho.

THE HAPPENING

2008; $29.95-$39.95, R

A moronic tale of nearly everyone in the world suddenly committing suicide for no apparent reason. The first half is fun, if dull, with Zooey Deschanel looking dreamy, and the music is good, but turn it off after 40 minutes or you’ll be tempted to off yourself, too. We officially pronounce the career of M. Night Shyamalan “over.”

THE MUNSTERS: THE COMPLETE SERIES

2008; $69.95, UR

Yep, you read that right! All 70 episodes of the original “Munsters” — Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis and the rest — on 12 discs. Almost 30 hours of silliness for $2 and change, each. Don’t pass this up.

TOUCH OF EVIL

1958; $26.95, UR

50th Anniversary edition of — in our humble opinion — Orson Welles’ best film. Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Dennis Weaver, Akim Tamiroff, Marlene Dietrich and Welles himself star in this film noir about a crooked police chief on the Mexican border. A two-disc set containing all three versions of the film, which was heavily re-edited using Welles’ notes in 1976 and 1998, including the original theatrical version, largely unseen in recent years.


OTHER DVDS OF INTEREST

ALLO ’ALLO!: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION

2008; $249.95, UR

BROTHERHOOD: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON

2006; $39.95, UR

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER: SEASON THREE

2008; $39.95, UR

MARTIN: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON

1992; $29.95, UR

ROBOT CHICKEN: SEASON THREE

2008; $29.95, UR

THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON

2008; $49.95, UR


A more complete listing and free vids at www.videotapeworm.com