B.B. King: The Life of Riley

June 25, 2014

Video TapeWorm

New, encore and low-price releases on Tuesday, July 1

THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS:

B.B. KING: THE LIFE OF RILEY

2012; $16.98; UR

It’s hard to believe, but no one has ever made a doc before on living blues legend B.B. King. Long overdue and narrated by Morgan Freeman, this fills in the gaps of his early history as a wretched Mississippi cotton picker who crawled out of brutal racism and poverty to embody America’s greatest musical heritage. Lots of wonderful family tales and old-time gospel music mix with blues-tinged comments from Bono, Clapton, Raitt, Dr. John, the Stones and President Obama to flesh out the tale, with B.B. providing the masterful soundtrack. Recommended.

TWILIGHT ZONE: ESSENTIAL EPISODES

2014; $18.98-$29.98; UR

A perfectly chosen 55th Anniversary collection of the best episodes from the best anthology series ever broadcast. No collection — except the Definitive Collection: the entire series on 28 discs for $299.99 — could satisfy every fan, but for a handy two-disc “best of,” you’d be hard-pressed to find a better selection. Includes such greats as Burgess Meredith in “Time Enough at Last,” big Richard Kiel in “To Serve Man,” William Shatner in “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” Donna Douglas in “Eye of the Beholder” and over a dozen more from the original Rod Serling series. Indispensable. ’Nuff said.

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A YOUNG DOCTOR’S NOTEBOOK

2012; $13.98-$19.98; UR

Daniel “Harry Potter” Radcliffe gives his usual great performance in this dark Limey two-season dramedy series. He’s the fresh-faced medic thrown into the chaos of a creepy middle-of-nowhere hospital populated by loons, many of them with bizarre maladies, just as the Russian Revolution is powering up. Now the cool part: He copes by asking advice from his future self, Jon “Don Draper” Hamm! A simply brilliant bit of insanity; absolutely nothing on the telly to compare it to.

ANNA KARENINA

1977; $32.98-$59.98; UR

This Tolstoy tale has been filmed almost three dozen times — including at least six times in the silent era — so why watch this ’70s version? Because being a 10-part Australian BBC series gave it the pedigree, resources and talent to do it right. Anna is played by classic beauty Nicola Pagett, with appropriately handsome and hunky Stuart Wilson (Dr. Hatcher from “Hot Fuzz”) as her Vronsky. Arguably the most faithful adaptation ever made, it cheats just enough to keep the budget in line, yet delivers all the heartbreaking, sumptuous delights this tale is known for.

CITY OF LUST

2013; $22.98-$24.98; UR

This ridiculously titled horror-thriller (originally “Yellow”) is more Giallo than slice-’em-up as newcomer Margaret Grace seeks a quiet life in the ’burbs. But her job is literally killing her, and her new friend, a female sex-line operator, is becoming increasingly unstable. Then she gets fired. And people around her start dying. A minor no-budget indie to be sure, but you gotta admire the spunk and determination to not make “just another horror movie.”

HINTERLAND: SERIES 1

2014; $38.98-$59.98; UR

Wales is a land haunted by time: darkly beautiful, rugged and dangerous, populated by people who are all too familiar with hardship and the fleeting nature of life. Into this land steps police detective Richard Harrington (“Bleak House”), a man with no time for people, particularly those who commit murder and especially those who keep quiet about it. He reluctantly joins forces with Mali Harries from “Doctor Who” to wrest the truth from these hard souls while the strain takes its toll on his mind and body. Another earthy cop hit from the masters at the BBC.

LOVEJOY: SERIES 1

1986; $27.98-$49.98; UR

Ian “Pillars of the Earth” McShane is the titular antique dealer/antihero in this dark, dangerous and almost swashbuckling con-game series from the BBC. Frankly, he’s a rogue and he loves it. Whether the game is outfoxing those who would profit from crime, bedding a winsome heiress for information, or helping those who have been cheated, “Lovejoy” is joy — ably assisted by Lady Jane (Phyllis “Downton Abbey” Logan), brain-dead assistant Eric (comic Chris Jury) and inebriated oldster Tinker (Dudley “Cockneys vs. Zombies” Sutton). One of the most popular and entertaining series the BBC ever produced, now available for a reasonable price.

SCAVENGER KILLERS

2013; $13.98; UR

A completely unrepentant “crazed killers on a spree” thriller with the Cast of the Low-Rent Gods: Eric Roberts, Charles Durning and Robert Loggia. OK, those are all cameos: The real star is Robert Bogue from TV’s “Wallflowers” who plays a psychopathic chainsaw-killing judge, doting on his equally crazed girlfriend, scream-queen/Playboy Playmate Rachael Robbins. A guy could do worse. While not a movie for the faint of heart, the two FBI agents are freakin’ hilarious. Worth a look.

THE LUNCHBOX

2014; $29.99-$39.99; UR

This winsome romantic Indian drama is warm, wise and uplifting (everything we hate in a film). It centers on two people, a businessman grieving his recently deceased spouse, and a young wife who feels unappreciated by her busy husband. One day the man receives what he thinks is his usual dismal lunch, only to discover that it is delicious, so much so that he returns a thank-you note. But the meal actually came from the young wife whose day is brightened by his simple courtesy. Better than it sounds (would have to be); includes a glorious walk through the colorful streets of Mumbai.

THE UNKNOWN KNOWN

2013; $22.98-$29.98; PG-13

Right up front: Donald Rumsfeld represents everything despicable about Washington and the lying assholes who drag us all ever closer to tyranny. Whew! We feel better! Back to it: Here we get to see Rumsfeld’s ability to lie and rationalize away the most perverse, inhuman and illegal acts in an extended talking-head interview with Oscar-winning documentarian Errol Morris (“The Fog of War”). From ’60s congressman to instigator of the Iraq War to ultimate power broker, still manipulating YOU for his own profit, his influence goes unchecked after half a century. We actually vomited.

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