This Week in Home Video: Antiviral, Django Unchained, Jackie Chan, the films of David Cronenberg
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.
Syd March works for a clinic that sell injections of live viruses harvested from ill celebrities to their most obsessive fans. Brandon Cronenberg, son of local body horror maestro David Cronenberg, perfects his father's nightmarishly sterile universe almost perfectly in his first outing as a director. Cries of nepotism aside, this is truly a sterling first effort, with an intriguing premise - obsession with celebrity culture reaching its zenith through the transfusion of fatal virus - played straight and narrow. Certainly not for the squimish, but then again, what Cronenberg film ever was? We can hardly wait to see what this Cronenberg family member conjures up next time.
Extras include audio commentary from Brandon Cronenberg and cinematographer Karim Hussain, "Anatomy of a Virus", Deleted Scenes, and The Design of Antiviral.
ALSO OUT THIS WEEK
Django Unchained (eOne)
Quentin Tarantino's second foray into the punk historical genre starts like a firecracker but curiously loses it way in the last hour, before almost completely fizzing out with a limp resolve. No matter, poor Tarantino is light year ahead of most directors on their best day. Christoph Waltz brings the weight; as always a joy to watch, the film really suffers when he is off screen. After being teased with the prospect of a 4 hour Director's Cut, this theatrical cut seems rushed Already available on iTunes, and with minimal extras covering the horses, the stunts and the costumes.
Manborg (Anchor Bay)
Manborg is a very difficult film to classify because calling it a "film" doesn't really do it any justice: It plays more like a 60 minute long YouTube poop mashing up Mighty Morphin Power Rangers with jilted 1980s strait-to-VHS culture edited by drug addicts and perverts from Winnipeg. It may actually be bad, but it's so wickedly crazed and uniquely styled that you cannot help but want to champion it. Made by the mysterious outfit known as Astron-6, this DVD release also features commentaries from the director and cast, deleted scenes, VFX Montage, and most importantly Bio-Cop, the best faux trailer since Edgar Wright's Don't (2007).
Repo Man (Criterion Collection)
Nothing quite captures the very essence of the mid-80s Southern Californian punk ethos like this weirdo assortment of comedy, drama, horror and Sci-Fi. If you are on the fence, this features Harry Dean Stanton and a young Emilio Estevez as the best odd couple ever, and the overly aggressive sound track includes Iggy Pop, Circle Jerks, Black Flagg, The Plugz, and Suicidal Tendancies. Criterion have done a stunning job with the extras, which include the cleaned up TV version which hilariously substitutes an oft used derogatory swearword with the genius variant "melon farmer".
Dragon (wu xia) (eOne)
Like a Shaw Brothers remix of A History of Violence, Liu Jin-xi (Donnie Yen)'s secret identity is baited out when he saves a shopkeeper from two notorious gangsters. Once detective Xu Bai-jiu (Takeshi Kaneshiro) gets a whiff, Liu's clan training attracts all the wrong sorts.
Police Story/Police Story 2 (Shout Factory)
Before he broke wide in America in the mid-1990s with Rumble in the Bronx and Rush Hour, Jackie Chan made incredible and brutal action films in his native China. Many of them were poorly dubbed and chopped up on VHS, so it's up to pop culture salvagers Shout!Factory to release some of the better Chan oeuvre in High Def, like the awesome Police Story, a bona fide Hong Kong action classic. You can even watch them dubbed or in original Cantonese with English subs, depending on your persuasion.
Message From Space (Shout Factory)
In the wake of STAR WARS massive financial success in 1977 pulpy copycat Sci-Fi epics exploded on a global scale, and the Japanese answer is just as bananas as you would expect (possibly, more). A healthy disregard for logic, costumes that would have been rejected for being too camp on Buck Rogers, a confused Vic Morrow showing up as the token dickhead American, and the mighty Sonny Chiba - Hattori HanzĹ himself - chewing scenery wholesale are just a few of the delights in store for those brave enough to answer this message.
THE BEST OF DAVID CRONENBERG
To mark his son's debut feature release on DVD, here are my five favourite films from the mind of his father, David Cronenberg, Toronto's premiere horror director.
04. THE BROOD
03. THE FLY
02. THE DEAD ZONE
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