This Week in Home Video: Side Effects, Parker, summertime horror and a bad '70s Toronto Paperboy
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.
Side Effects (eOne)
Prolific independent filmmaker Steven Soderbergh calls time on his increasingly mainstream career with this twisty thriller that starts off like an inverted version of Sidney Lumet's The Verdict, but ends up as an entirely different movie altogether. Rooney Mara delivers yet another blood cooling turn as an intensely scary and scarred girl, manipulating and manipulated in turn by a loveable white collar criminal (Chaning Tatum, re-uniting with Soderbergh after impressive turns in Contagion and Magic Mike), an increasingly desperate and crazy (or is he?) psychiatrist (Jude Law), and ultimately a lovelorn loony Catherine Zeta-Jones.
While the massive U-turn into Fatal Attraction-esq sapphoric erotica ranks as one of the greatest WTF moments of the year in cinema so far, it is a shame that Side Effects didn't stick to its initial guns as a probing indictment of Pez-headed shrinks dispensing anti-depressants like candy. The cinematography, also Soderbergh, is in fine gripping form but matches the narrative as it morphs into something more conventional. Shame.
Extras include Interviews with the cast and crew, a making of, a look at the career of Steven Soderbergh, a spoof Ablixa commercial, and more. Most exciting for film geeks - some of these bonus shorts are even shot in Super8!
ALSO OUT THIS WEEK
The latest in a strong lineage of tough Hollywood movies based upon Richard Stark's Parker character (Point Blank, The Outfit, Payback), Parker is the first to stay true to its literary roots, to a fault: it's hard to distinguish this from Jason Statham's seemingly endless line of frenzied, ADD edited crime movies. With Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis, and a sweaty and sweary Nick Nolte. Extras included an in depth look at the violent world of Richard Stark's Parker, and a frank commentary from veteran director Taylor Hackford (Against All Odds, Ray).
Stand Up Guys (eOne)
Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin basically playing themselves as aging criminals who decide to pull off another job together. Essentially a hang-out movie, who wouldn't want to spend 90 minutes with these guys, who are all in top form regardless of their creeping ages. And nobody swears as well as Pacino, although Arkin gives him a run for his money. Featuring a rather retro soundtrack from Jon Bon Jovi, who features prominently in the extras, along with deleted scenes, stunt driving snippets and a really great look at the art of bringing these legendary actors together.
Medium Cool (Criterion Collection)
Released in the watershed year of 1969, alongside Easy Rider, The Wild Bunch, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, it's hard not to miss the anti-establishment fervor in the air. Robert Forester is effortlessly cool as the streetwise journalist whose view on exploding racial issues make him a natural pawn for the FBI, before throwing it all away and heading to the turbulent '68 Democratic convention, shot in the fashionable Godard style of the times.
Criterion pulled out all the stops for this release, which features a new, restored 4K digital film transfer, extended excerpts from "Look Out Haskell, It's Real!," a documentary about the making of Medium Cool, "Medium Cool" Revisited, a new half-hour video about the Occupy movement's protests against the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago, and much more!
The Last Stand (eOne)
After almost a decade away playing politics with the maid and screwing California, one man army Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to his big dumb action movie roots with this hawkish enough 90 minute commercial for the NRA. While it will never come close to touching the kind of boss work he did the in 80s (Commando, Predator and The Terminator, irie), it's a lot of fun to see an aged hero back in action mowing down bad guys with automatic weapons. Extras include a tour of a weapons museum!
Beautiful Creatures (Warner Bros.)
Breathlessly described by J-14 as "Twilight meets The Hunger Games", this is the latest stab at a new sustainable Gothic film series by way of pulp horror to feed hungry tweens in the wake of Twilight's astronomical success. So if that's like your thing, you know. Classed up a bit by the presence of stealth thesps Emma Thomson and Jeremy Irons. Extras include a look at how it was adapted, and how the costumes were designed.
The Town that Dreaded Sundown (Scream Factory)
Stone cold classic chilling horror that plays more like an ethnographic documentary about a pillow case wearing maniac loose in a sleepy Texas BBQ town, which went on to influence everything from Friday the 13th to David Fincher's Zodiac. Finally rescued from fuzzy VHS obscurity by those boffins at Scream Factory, this un-missable package also contains director Charles B Pierce's rare as hen's teeth film The Evictors.
The Burning (Scream Factory)
The very first ever movie released by the now mythic Weinstein Brothers Harvey and Bob, this proto slasher actually pre-dates the similarly pitched Friday the 13th, but delivers more scares and legitimate terror in one picture than Jason Vorhees managed in 12. Based around the legendary New Jeresy bogeyman "Cropsey," The Burning finds a bunch of horny teenagers at summer camp getting mutilated, beheaded and grievously injured by sharp weapons. Watch out for a baby-faced Jason Alexander as a doomed camp councillor.
TORONTO FILM OBSCURIA ON YOUTUBE
While many studios and producers took a long time to come around to YouTube, one body who supported it almost from the get go was the National Film Board of Canada. Besides having their own robust streaming website, huge swaths of the NFB archive are living on YouTube, and best of all, they don't act like complete corporate ding dongs if other people post their old material.
The Paperboy (1971) is a short, silent slab of cinema-verity about, you guessed it, a Toronto paperboy going about his anarchic business, from working class hero Clay Borris. Great locations, great sound track, and most importantly, great attitude:
Lead still from Side Effects
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