No Film

This Week in Home Video: No, Burt Wonderstone, The Beatles Help, Pusher and chill with The Thing

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.

No (Sony)

Based on the true story of Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet call for a referendum on his presidency in 1988, where opposition leaders persuaded a brash young advertising executive RenĂŠ Saavedra to spearhead their campaign with positive messaging right out of the schmaltzy Coca Cola playbook. Using scant resources and dodging constant scrutiny by the despot's watchmen, Saavedra and his team devise an audacious plan to win the election and free their country from oppression.

Short using a variety of different formats including 16mm film and video, and "enhanced" with washed out film stock, bad tracking, picture bleed and stock footage all blended together to look like something you'd find in down dark rabbit hole on YouTube, this is a triumph of low-budget tinkering and multi-media wizardy, a bit of an anti-Argo for history buffs and movie boffins. For maximum impact, best to avoid the history books and go into it stone cold.


The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Warner Bros.)

After breaking up with his long time stage partner after a major injury during a failed hotbox trick, a famous but jaded Vegas magician (Steve Carell) fights for relevance when a cool new street magician appears on the scene (Scarborough native Jim Carrey). Short on laughs, but long on style, this box office dud feels about 10 years too late and out of place in the Hangover/Apatow comedy universe that currently rules the Hollywood roost. The hilarious extras are worth seeking out, in particular "Making Movie Magic with David Copperfield".

Pusher (eOne)

Re-make of Nicolas Winding Refn pre-Drive crime masterpiece, only a few scant years since its release (surely a record). Flush with easy money, fast cars and beautiful women, Frank's life as a Eurosleaze London drug dealer is perfect until the police catch him en route to deliver a large bag of heroin. Even though the police release him, his troubles are not over, for now the buyer demands his money back. Filled with enough anxiety to twist your stomach into Brixton knots, this sadly fails to match the needle pop thrill of the original, no doubt thanks to Refn's decision to produce instead of direct.

The Rambler (Anchor Bay)

Hyperbolically described in some quarters David Lynch meets David Cronenberg via Werner Herzog, The Rambler is no doubt an oddball movie obsessed with ambience over plot (not that there is anything wrong with that). Dermot Mulroney plays an ex-con just released from prison, kicked out of his trailer home, and gone on a cross-country journey to a pony ranch. Along the way, he encounters the depraved underbelly of the American dream; bizarre strangers, sudden violence, and in the film's most WTF scenario, a device that can record dreams onto VHS.

The Beatles: Help! (Capitol)

Breezy spoof of the Connery-era James Bonds, Help! has always been considered a somewhat slapdash comedown from the previous high quality Beatles movies. Songs include "Ticket to Ride" and "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," and were filmed in lush locales such as the Bahamas, an Austrian ski resort, and the Salisbury Plain. Swinging '60s Alice in Wonderland more like it.

Dead Souls (Scream Factory)

On his 18th birthday, a young man learns he was adopted when he inherits an abandoned farm in Maine. When he moves in, sinister forces trapped in the home resurface. Creepy TV movie with a bit of added gore doesn't quite fit with the rest of the Scream Factory collection (mostly horror classics from the 70s and 80s) but still worthy of fright fans time.



Unless you have air conditioning at home, this might be a good week to actually do the movie watching outside of your home. With the temperatures continuing to rise, sweat streaming down the walls and extreme heat warnings being thrown around with wild abandon, an ice cold movie theatre seems like a great place to take refuge.

Tomorrow night, THE REVUE is playing perhaps the greatest horror film of the last 100 years - John Carpenter's THE THING, all the better for being set in the icy deep freeze of the Antarctic.

While slightly sullied by an utterly pointless sequel/prequel a few years ago, Carpenter's treatise on human relationships remains as essential today as it did when it was first released in the summer of 1982, and it's one of those rare titles that regardless of how many times you have seen it there is always more to discover.


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