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All is Lost

February 5, 2014

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, Feb. 11

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

ALL IS LOST

2013; $16.98; PG-13

Robert Redford delivers a master’s course in acting in this nearly dialogue-free one-man show set on a leaking boat in the middle of a relentless sea. While his name is never revealed, he wakes up to find his yacht has collided with something, ripping a hole, rendering his radio useless, and starting a countdown to utter disaster as a violent storm appears on the horizon. We hate to reveal much more lest we spoil this perfect movie experience, so we’ll just leave you with this thought: When you die is not as important as how you live. A must-own.

WADJDA

2013; $29.98-$40.98; PG

There are at least two things going on in this movie: On one hand it’s the straight-up tale of a young Saudi girl who enjoins a Koran recitation competition to raise money for her own bicycle; on the other, it’s a treatise on the unique, clever and ultimately ridiculous nonsense that is human culture. Or maybe that’s just what we got out of it. Others have spotted the battle of the sexes, the good/bad nature of competition and the inherent genius of children — and subsequent moronity of adults. Whatever this movie is about, it’s damn entertaining and completely mesmerizing, even if subtitled. A joyous, innocent and profound work of brilliance; don’t miss it.

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AUSTENLAND

2013; $19.98-$35.98; PG-13

Jerusha Hess, co-writer of “Napoleon Dynamite,” directs this rom-fantasy about a young woman (the ethereal Keri Russell) who harbors a secret obsession with the works of novelist Jane Austen. She ponies up her life savings to vacation at a Limey Austen-themed hotel/park, dreaming of romance with a true gentleman. And, yes, it’s just as gooey as it sounds. A big-ol’ chunka chick-flick with Jane Seymour, Jennifer Coolidge and J.J. Feild from “Captain America.”

DOCTOR WHO: THE MOONBASE

2014; $20.98-$24.98; UR

True Whovians know that half of this 1967 Patrick Troutman four-parter was lost long ago by the BBC, with only the audio surviving for parts one and three. That’s why we’re so excited about this release: The geniuses at Planet 55 Studios were once again hired to produce animated visuals based on the original director’s notes to go with the surviving audio track. The tale is terrific, with the Tardis plopping The Doctor, Polly and Jamie on the moon in 2070, just in time to see the second coming of the supposedly extinct Cybermen. A must-own for any fan of great British sci-fi.

ENDER’S GAME

2013; $19.98-$39.98; PG-13

Ben Kingsley and Harrison Ford represent Earth’s old guard, unable to prevent an alien race from decimating our planet in this slick sci-fi tale from the works of Orson Scott Card. Earth’s last hope lies in the somewhat puzzling notion that adults are simply unable to understand the Formics; that feat takes the boundless imagination and sensitivity of a child. Therefore, the fate of all humanity rests in the hands of one boy, played by Asa Butterfield of “Hugo.” While we sometimes wondered if the concept worked better on paper, we couldn’t take our eyes off the screen. Visually impressive, with notions you’ll be talking about for days.

HETTY WAINTHROPP INVESTIGATES: COMPLETE COLLECTION

1998; $109.98-$119.98; UR

Imagine Hyacinth Bucket (that’s “Booo-kay”) from “Keeping Up Appearances” as an amateur sleuth set loose upon seemingly decent society, and you get the idea behind this cracklin’ caper-comedy about an elder fart who is surprisingly good at solving crimes. And now imagine her sidekick is a teenager headed down a troubled road — as played by Dominic Monaghan, Meriadoc Brandybuck from “Lord of the Rings!” — and you have the perfect warm and funny drama as only the British can do it. All 27 episodes on 13 discs with Derek Benfield from “Rumpole of the Bailey” as Hetty’s poor husband. We loved every minute.

HOW I LIVE NOW

2013; $22.98-$29.98; R

Saoirse Ronan is a sullen American teenager dumped on her English relatives at a remote country estate where she meets hunky George “Defiance” MacKay. All seems well until the UK goes to war, causing Britain to deteriorate into a state of martial law. Their bucolic estate becomes a fortress under siege, with Ronan and family hiding from armed government agents, mercenaries and former neighbors — degraded vestiges of humanity, little more than upright animals on the hunt. Sounds like “Lord of the Flies.” Or Shively on a Saturday night. Good stuff.

SHERLOCK: SEASON THREE

2014; $24.98-$39.98; UR

Benedict Cumberbatch, a relative unknown in The States until becoming “The New Kahn,” has been blowing them away in England for years. Case in point: these exciting tellings of the Sir A.C. Doyle tales. Set in modern times, he is Holmes to Martin “Bilbo” Freeman’s Watson, and a better pairing could not be imagined. This season Holmes needs a new adversary after having just defeated Moriarity in Season 2’s climax. And he finds the perfect evildoer in the form of megalomaniacal Charles Augustus Magnussen, as played by Lars Mikkelsen from the excellent Swedish series “Borgen.” Addictive; our highest recommendation.

THE COUNSELOR

2014; $29.98-$39.98; R

Dark, troubled writer Cormac McCarthy joins with fearless director Ridley Scott in this debased tale of a successful lawyer (Michael Fassbender) who makes his first and only illegal deal, then watches helplessly as his perfect world slowly swirls the bowl. Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Rosie Perez and Penelope Cruz are all at the top of their form, and the soundtrack is exceptional, but frankly, the movie is a bit of a mess. Too verbose and literary for our tastes, with weird accents, sex scenes from nowhere, unnecessary brutality and surprising inhumanity. In order words, a Cormac McCarthy movie!

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