This Week in Home Video: Naked Lunch, Korean fantasy, Astron-6 and Toronto Public Library classics
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.
NEW THIS WEEK
Naked Lunch (The Criterion Collection)
A quiet week for new home video releases nonetheless fronted by an outstanding Hi-Def re-release of home boy David Cronenberg's narco masterpiece Naked Lunch. Bug powder dust and mugwump jism get the high grade Criterion spit and polish, bringing a visual clarity to the madness of Interzone unseen since the original 35mm prints rolled out in theatres in 1991.
After his trail blazing 1970s and '80s run inventing the genre of Canadian body horror, Naked Lunch marked the beginning of Cronenberg's new era as a film festival art-house darling, perfectly realizing an "un-filmable" William S Burroughs book long before Lord of the Rings and Watchmen were a twinkle in Hollywood's eye, and now currently collecting dust in Walmart dump bins across the land. Only a Toronto lad could go there, and strangely this is one of his back catalogue that gets overlooked because of it's hazy dream like quality which this Bluray release captures better than any previous home video versions. Check it out, future classical stylings from the Toronto Don of cinema.
Extras include an audio commentary with Cronenberg and actor Peter Weller, "Naked Making Lunch" a vintage 1992 television documentary, Special effects gallery, Audio recordings of William S. Burroughs reading from Naked Lunch, and a gallery of photos taken by poet Allen Ginsberg of Burroughs.
ALSO OUT THIS WEEK
Woochi: The Demon Slayer (Shout!Factory)
Gonzo South Korean fantasy plays like fever dream of what Harry Potter would have looked like if he had been based on the debaucherous life of Charlie Sheen. Jeon Woo-chi is a drunken, boorish, womanzing wizard forced into present day Korea to fight evil goblins. Featuring absolutely bonkers choreography from Doo-Hong Jung (GI Joe: Retaliation) and a hilarious host of extras including a look at how CGI and wire-fu come together to make movie magic.
Father's Day (Troma)
Astron-6 is a Wu-Tang like film collective straight outta Winnipeg, whose tremendous cinematic achievement seems to be demonically fuelled by all those sweaty nightmares doled out by the lurid covers of dusty, over-sized VHS boxes in the horror section at the local Mom & Pop video stores in the 1980s and 90s that promised more than they could ever realistically deliver. Astron-6 actually delivers. Make no mistake, this is the stuff of video trash legend: hugely offensive (making light of male rape within its opening moments, hello) beserk film-making from the Vestron school of poor taste. Ironically distributed by legendary sewer grade studio Troma, who on the basis of social media sniping, are involved in some kind of nasty dust-up with the Astron-6 boys. Tune in next week when their much family friendlier follow up Sc-Fi epic Manborg hits the street..
Hyde Park on Hudson (eOne Films)
As usual Bill Murray puts in a workmanlike performance as FDR in this pleasant historical drama which plows along like a jolly extended episode of Masterpiece Theatre. US President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Murray) and his wife, Eleanor (Olivia Williams), invite the King and Queen of England for a weekend at their home in upstate New York. Since the reclusive Murray only makes 1 film every few years now, this one feels like a wasted opportunity.
Major Dundee (Twilight Time)
Sam "The Wild Bunch" Peckinpah, undefeated master of the untamed and violent Wild West, directed this classy Western with that paragon of gun worship Charlton Heston, but sadly what should have been a career high point for both was greatly diminished by the old chestnut that is studio interference. Even still, what remains is a glimpse of how bad ass movies could have been in the restrictive mid-60s had it not been for squares running the studios.
KNOW YOUR LOCAL VIDEO STORE - THE TORONTO PUBLIC LIBRARY
Did you know that the largest DVD rental chain in our city is the Toronto Public Library?
Thankfully, in addition to the rows of new Hollywood fare there's lots of classic film history, documentaries and Canadian features on hand, all of which are worth your precious movie watching time. And if you have membership, it's free. We asked the TPL for a list of 10 great movies in their system they recommend to film lovers, and here is what they suggested:
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