This Week in Home Video: Silver Linings Playbook, Vampire Lovers, Not Fade Away and Bruce Lee
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.
Silver Linings Playbook (eOne)
Being able to find gut busting comedy in senseless tragedy is the greatest asset Hollywood auteur David O. Russell seems to possess, and Silver Linings Playbook blackly delivers it in spades. While the final 30 minutes is about as conventional and saccharine as most feel good Oscar-baiting pictures come, the first 90 minutes is both dark and unrelentingly comedic, with Bradley Cooper's unhinged portrayal of a man who has lost it all and moved back home with his parents equal parts pathetic, terrifying and hilarious. Is this a defining Romantic movie moment for the twentyteens?
Extras include fluffy featurettes with titles like "Learn to Dance like Pat & Tiffany", and "Silver Linings Playbook: The Movie That Became A Movement", which slightly betray the punk and anti-establishment pedigree in which Russell used to operate. Much better to skip them and go straight for LOLs with "Going Steadicam with Bradley Cooper".
ALSO OUT THIS WEEK
Not Fade Away (Paramount)
Rock'N'Roll fuelled 1960s-set drama about a band who set out to be the next Rolling Stones. Full of great performances, lush period detail and a killer sound track, but you can't help shake the feeling that for his feature film debut The Sopranos creator David Chase could have done something a little more envelope pushing than an inoffensive variation on That Thing You Do! Extras include deleted scenes and a short about living in the Sixties.
The Vampire Lovers (Scream Factory)
Scream Factory's 1080p HD line of re-mastered editions of neglected horror classic continues from strength to strength, with the release of this Hammer Horror gothic a particular highpoint. Based upon J. Sheridan Le Fanu's novella "Carmilla", this atmospheric period piece has both buckets of blood and a buxom lesbian Vampire who feeds on all the innocent young female townsfolk. Featuring Hammer stalwart Peter Cushing as the Van Helsing-type vampire slayer. Extras include a reading of "Carmilla" by silk-voxed star Ingrid Pitt, and a superb making-of featurette entitled "Femme Fantastique: Resurrecting the Vampire Lovers"
The Guilt Trip (Paramount)
Strangely sweet Boomer fantasy fulfillment in which shrill aged Barbara Streisand plays odd couple with Seth Rogan on a cross country trip. While the classic road pic Planes, Trains and Automobiles is in no immediate danger of losing its crown, this has its moments even if it's brand of innocent comedy feels like it drove in from the mid-1990s in a Mazda Miata, which doesn't sit well next to the SUV like juggernaut of Judd Apatow's Cineplex of inane vulgarity.
Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 3 (Paramount)
According to proper Trekkies, this was the TV season when Star Trek: The Next Generation ceased being a low rent spandex wearing Xerox of its poppy predecessor, and began to carve out a legacy for itself as the defining blueprint for the franchise until J.J. Abrams came along with his lens flares and punked it up, making it a lot less formal but losing the hard Sci-Fi earnestness in the process.
So many great episodes here, including the fan favorite "Yesterday's Enterprise," featuring an alternative universe where war with the Klingons has militarized the Federation to the point of near fascism; "The Offspring," in which the troubled android Data builds a daughter, and "The Best of Both Worlds", surely the most intense season ending cliff-hanger since J. R Ewing took a bullet for his troubles. In addition to all the episodes being spruced up in glorious 1080p, Extras include a gag reel, a new documentary about key season 3 episodes, and a reunion of the writing staff.
The Big Boss/Fists of Fury (Shout Factory)
Two bone crunching classic Bruce Lee flicks highlighting his still untouchable master Martial Art style and the cheery grime of 1970s Drive-In film making.
Funny Girl (Sony)
For those who did not enjoy the Barbara Streisand of The Guilt Trip, an antidote comes in the form of her greatest work starring in the true life story of Fanny Brice. Restored for Bluray, the film has never looked so good, nor has its memorable tune "People who need people are the luckiest people in the world" sounded so clear.
Night of the Scarecrow (Olive Films)
A group of teenagers release the spirit of a warlock who uses a possessed scarecrow to wipe out those descended from the people who wronged him years ago. Long lost 90s VHS horror brought back from the dead and still slightly more entertaining than it sounds.
TORONTO FILM OBSCURIA ON YOUTUBE
There are some movies so bland and eye batting awful that they will never be shown on TV, or in a theatre, or released onto DVD or Bluray. The Reincarnate is one such movie. Thanks to that greatest channel in the world YouTube, it is ready to be watched whenever you are.
Corporate lawyer Everet Julian (played by Jack Creley, later to immortalize Professor Brian Oblivion in Videodrome) discovers he doesn't have very long to live, and must transfer his spirit into the body of another as per the philosophy of the ancient Sakana Cult.
What follows runs the gamut from religious sacrifices to killer cats, and everything in between. Billed as Canada's first entry into the burgeoning horror genre, it did indeed preceed the usual suspect Black Christmas. Watch out for Forest Ranger/ Polka Dot Door host Rex Hagon as an early victim. Play spot the Toronto location, or just kick back and marvel at how the Horror genre morphed from this to torture porn in four short decades.
Lead photo from Silver Linings Playbook
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