For you videotape diehards longing for a new title in an old format, I have some good news. Rewind This!, a documentary about the rise and fall of VHS, is not only being released on DVD ($24.98) on Tuesday but in a VHS/DVD combo pack ($35.98).
The latter is available only through Amazon.com.
The tape version makes sense considering the subject matter of the film, made by Josh Johnson. But even if you are buying it on disc, it's worth a look. It offers a smart and often funny consideration of how home videotaping changed not only the way consumers viewed movies, but the distribution of independent-studio titles and the way young moviemakers put their own dreams onscreen. It further raises the question of preservation of movies on VHS, many of which have not made it to digital formats.
Johnson includes interviews with filmmakers, distributors, historians, collectors, video-box artists and others in the United States and Japan. There is talk about horror, fantasy and exploitation movies that found an audience through home video — consider titles such as Frankenhooker and House of Whipcord — and clips of vintage commercials for videocassette recorders. And there are segments with people who continue to collect and sell VHS.
It is easy to point to the technical flaws in VHS compared to DVD and other digital forms, but Rewind This! argues that easier technology is not necessarily better in all ways. It's a fine film — but with content that easily would have gotten the unrated movie an R.
Extras — on the DVD only — include commentary by Johnson and others, a music video, and additional interview footage on topics like laserdiscs.
These DVDs were released this week:
Films: Thanks for Sharing; Closed Circuit; I'm So Excited; Runner, Runner; Inequality for All (documentary about how the massive consolidation of wealth threatens the American work force); The Act of Killing (documentary about Indonesian death squads that terrorized that country's citizens in the 1960s); Birth of the Living Dead (documentary on George Romero and his zombie classic Night of the Living Dead); Badges of Fury (China); Hail Mary (1985, Cohen Film Collection); For Ever Mozart (1996, Cohen Film Collection); Eclipse Series 40: Late Ray (1984-91, three Satyajit Ray films, Criterion Collection); Throne of Blood (1957, Japan, Criterion Collection); We Are What We Are; 12 Disasters; Living by the Gun (2011); The Virginian; Dreamworld; Scooby-Doo! 13 Spooky Tales: For the Love of Snack.
TV series: Duck Dynasty: Season 4; Midsomer Murders Series 6 and Series 7 (in original British broadcast order); Midsomer Murders: The Early Cases and Midsomer Murders: Barnaby's Casebook (both 10-disc sets); Being Human: Third Season; House of Lies: Season Two; China Beach: Season Two (1988-89); The Following: First Season; Copper: Season Two; The Unstoppable, Unpoppable Bubble; Archer: Season Four; Legit: First Season.
THE WASHINGTON POST