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Americathon (PG)

Warner Archives

Who would have guessed the most timely movie of 2010 would be a 30-year-old comedy starring John Ritter? Thank God for Warner Archive, a new DVD-on-demand service from Warner Bros. that reissues lost studio classics, for having the wherewithal to dig Americathon out of the vaults. In 1998, the world's oil supply goes dry and bankrupts the United States. To stay afloat, the country borrows billions from a Native American billionaire. When he comes to collect, and Chinese and Arabs move in to buy the remnants of decayed America, touchy-feely New Age U.S. President Chet Roosevelt has only one scheme left to save the country: a 30-day telethon featuring the likes of Meat Loaf and Elvis Costello. Ahead of its time and ignored when originally released, Americathon is a hilariously satirical Nostradamus quatrain that is well worth your pledge dollars. — Louis Fowler

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Vampire Circus (NR) (Blu-ray)

Synapse Films

In celebration of its 100th release, cult label Synapse sends out one of the most sought-after and long-unavailable horror films of all time, the British Hammer Studios classic Vampire Circus. In 19th-century Austria, a vampiric aristocrat is put to death for his connection with numerous murders. Per usual, he curses the village and swears bloody revenge. Said vengeance comes 15 years later in the form of a creepy traveling circus, filled with shape-shifting vampires who prey on the enthralled local children. This is everything that vampire films should be: black-and-white battles of good and evil, classically shot and realized, with not a sparkling emo prick within miles of the proceedings. Synapse includes a making-of documentary, a history of circus-based horror movies, and a retrospective on The House of Hammer fanzine. Vampire Circus is three rings of must-see terror. — Louis Fowler

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Graham Parker & the Figgs: Live at the FTC (NR)

Image Entertainment

After being championed as one of the top talents emerging during the late 1970s punk and New Wave movement, Graham Parker has gradually settled into more of a troubadour mode, frequently making albums that work acoustic rock and folk terrain. But when he wants, Parker teams up with the Figgs and shows he can still generate terse and catchy rock that rivals his early output. The Live at the FTC CD and DVD capture Parker and the Figgs in fine form as they rock crisply through recent standouts like "Chloroform," mid-period tracks such as "Turn It Into Hate" and even "Hole in the World," a long-lost gem Parker wrote before his 1976 debut, Howlin' Wind. And of course, Parker and the Figgs find room for a few early classics. The FTC set not only shows Parker is still a vital performer, but that he has quietly built one of the most impressive song catalogs of any artist of his vintage. — Alan Sculley


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