This Week in Home Video: Mama, Jack Reacher, The Great Escape, Fringe, Toronto Cops and '60s Bikers
This Week in Home Video previews all the latest Blu-ray, DVD and on-demand titles hitting the street this week, plus lost gems, crazed Cancon, outrageous cult titles and the best places to rent or buy movies in Toronto.
Domestic horror from The Shining school of kiddy-generated terror. Annabel and Lucas are faced with the challenge of raising his young nieces that were left alone in the forest for 5 years... but how alone were they? Starring it girl of the moment Jessica Chastain and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones' single handed King slayer), classed up by fan favourite and visual fantasist extraordinaire Guillermo Del Toro, who produced, and featuring a tight script by Neil Cross, who penned a few decent episodes of Doctor Who this year, Mama has a strong pedigree and ticks a lot of gothic horror boxes while resisting the type of gore most of its contemporaries revel in. Think Watcher in the Woods for the Supernatural set, and you're nearly there. Finally, a frightening PG-13 movie!
Extras include the original short film Mama from 2008, short looks at the visual effects, deleted scenes, interviews with the principals and some fairly insightful behind the scenes banter.
ALSO OUT THIS WEEK
Jack Reacher (Paramount)
The Cruiser is on a tight comeback schedule, and not even the box-office tar of this egomaniacal adaptation of the frankly well regarded "One Shot"/Jack Reacher series by Lee Child can slow him down (see: Oblivion's opening weekend gross). While the Cruiser has the chops to play varied roles (Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg and Les Grossman in 2008 alone!), this was ill-advised, and probably best watched on an in-flight entertainment system.
The Great Escape (MGM/20th Century Fox)
One of the most badass casts ever assembled anchor this utter classic, World War 2 as Sunday afternoon sporting event that disappeared down a rabbit hole but is thankfully now back in full shiny HD glory. Directed by the mighty John Sturges, The Great Escape follows the great escapades of a rag-tag band of Nazi POWs who include Steve McQueen, James Garner, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasance, and James Coburn. Extras include vintage audio commentary and 8 featurettes about the true stories of those who escaped the Stalag Luft III maximum security prison.
Rookie Blue - Season 3 (eOne)
Toronto-shot Rookie Blue follows five rookie cops who have kicked in doors, taken down criminals, kept people safe and saved each other in the process. Now they're doing it all again, only better, in the third season of this hit ABC series. William Shatner guest stars in the Season 3 premiere episode, although sadly not reprising his beloved T.J Hooker character.
The Captains (eOne)
Canadian idol William Shatner (aka Captain Kirk) hangs out with fellow spacers Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard), Avery Brooks (Captain Sisko), Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway), Scott Bakula (Captain Archer) and Chris Pine (Captain Kirk, 2013) to discuss life, liberty, and the cultural phenomena that is Star Trek. With JJ Abram's ballyhooed but shockingly empty Star Trek Into Darkness opening in a few weeks, this is a timely reminder of when Star Trek was more about Humanism than LucasFilmism.
Fringe - Season 5 (Warner Bros)
The best of the post-LOST story arc heavy mystery SF shows, this final season of Fringe picks up where the flash-forward episode left off, with our universe in 2015 seized by the seemingly peaceful observers. Sadly never really given its proper dues as a weekly show on TV, but it's a fair guess that it will find a wider audience in the binge watching world of Netflix and complete series torrents.
TORONTO FILM OBSCURIA ON YOUTUBE
Feeling at a loss since Hot Docs' tremendous documentary festival has come to a close? Why not have an ogle at this beat up, busted and tattered old documentary from the National Film Board about the Satan's Choice bikers club in Toronto.
Directed by Donald Shebib, who also crafted our Easy Rider, the greatest Canadian road movie of all time Goin Down the Road, Satan's Choice is an acid polaroid of Sixties Toronto, and the left-leaning bike club members defy easy stereotyping.
Best of all is the soundtrack by The Sparrow, part of the groovy Yorkville folk music scene in Toronto in the mid-'60's, along with folks like Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and Rick James.
Lead image from Mama