This Week in Home Video: Pacific Rim, The Heat, John Hughes, Michael Caine and Halloween Treats at TIFF
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, buy, talk or see movies in Toronto.
Pacific Rim (Warner Bros.)
Giant robots called Jaegers powered by psychically linked humans battle giant monsters called Kaijus attacking Earth from another dimension.
Acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro was showered in big piles of Warner Bros money to create what should have been an easy slam dunk "Godzilla meets Transformers", but instead has dropped something that is at best a numb skulled "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers meets Gobots". Cringe worthy plotting, pantomime performances and just about over-egged everything (even making generous allowances for its bubble-gum boys' action pedigree) sink this 10-carat turkey before the title credits have even rolled. We can at least be grateful this was filmed in Toronto and brought lots of Yankee dollars to our town's budding Hollywood North redux (along with that other bloated Sci-Fi stinker Total Recall).
Extras on the disc include over 14 featurettes looking closely at the Kaijus, Jaegers, sets, stunts, sounds, effect and mythology which are depressing when you consider how much through went into something that ends up looking like an 8 year old's Dr Pepper induced Gamera fever dream. Del Toro's recent opening for The Simpsons packed more homage, ideas, and chutzpah into 60 seconds than this immature scribble managed in 131 minutes.
The Heat (20th Century Fox)
Bridesmaids director Paul Feif reteams with his golden goose Melissa McCarthy and the always game Sandra Bullock for this buddy cop marathon of vulgarities that plays like a menopausal Lethal Weapon.Extras include deleted, alternate and extended scenes, "How THE HEAT Was Made", and audio commentaries with McCarthy, Feig, "the Original Mystery Science Theater 3000 Guys," and The Mullins Family.
"Lost" episodes of 1960s Doctor Who turned up last week thanks to the hard work of some fans who traversed Africa looking for 16mm prints sold abroad while at home the BBC had purged the original tapes because they figured no one would want to watch black & white TV in the future.
First up is "Enemy of the World" which finds Doctor #2 Patrick Troughton playing a double role as both the Doctor and the villainous Salamander, a Mexican tyrant who is attempting to destroy the world with natural disasters.
In "The Web of Fear", the Doctor and his friends arrive in a deserted London where robotic Yetis are roaming around the London Underground while the military attempt to halt the spread of an alien menace known as the Great Intelligence. Just as bonkers as modern-day Matt Smith Doctor Who, only a little more theatrical and all the better for it. Available on iTunes now but headed to DVD in the near future...
Weird Science (Universal)
The most slept on of 80s master storyteller John Hughes teen tetralogy (this, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off) has some of his best observational comedy and some truly gonzo '80s imagery. Deep down, we are all from Shermer Illinois.
The Eagle Has Landed (Shout Factory)
A covert operation conducted by a Germans to kidnap Winston Churchill from an idyllic English village towards the end of World War II goes horribly wrong. This Sunday afternoon action movie just oozes class - direction from John "The Great Escape" Sturges, a groovy soundtrack from funk don Lalo Schifrin and the likes of Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland, Robert Duvall, Doinald Pleasance and even Larry "J.R." Hagman stepping to chew the blood stained wartime scenery. Extras include an amazing interview with screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz, and vintage on location interviews with Caine, Sutherland and Sturges. Based upon Jack Higgins' highly addictive, pulpy page-turner.
In the Mouth of Madness (Warner Bros.)
A private investigator is hired by a publisher to track down their best-selling Horror author Sutter Cane, who's latest book is making people go literally insane. This shot in Toronto mind-bender is probably director John Carpenter's last masterpiece and essential for anyone looking for Halloween scares. Watch out for a terrifying cameo from teenaged Hayden Christensen in old man make-up on a bicycle.
CRONENBERGIAN HALLOWEEN AT TIFF LIGHTBOX
If staying at home and distributing candy to costumed children isn't your idea of a good way to spend Halloween night, howabout hitting up the Lightbox for an amazing re-union of Toronto's best known horror auteur David Cronenberg and one of Britain's great thespians Jeremy Irons as they introduce a 35mm prints of Dead Ringers (1988)
Irons was on double duty playing disturbed twin Gynecologists who fall for the same woman. This was Cronenberg's last film of the 1980s (which he started with Scanners!), and after his next picture Naked Lunch (1991) things would never be the same again.