This Week in Home Video: Stoker, Jack Layton, New Age Werewolves, Space Vampires and H.G Wells
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.
Stoker (20th Century Fox)
After her father dies, India (Mia Wasikowska) becomes obsessed with her Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), a man who she never knew existed but has come to live with her and her unstable mother (Nicole Kidman).
Extras include short pieces on the look of the film, the music, the work of Park Chan-wood, and much more.
ALSO OUT THIS WEEK
Jack the Giant Slayer (Warner Bros.)
Campy CGI-heavy retelling of the Beanstalk fable, with a slightly more sinister giant and heart-throbby Jack (UK import Nicholas Hoult). Directed by Bryan Singer, best known for his work on The X-Men and that Superman movie no-one really liked. Extras include deleted scenes, a gag reel, and a behind the scenes expose hosted by baby faced Hoult.
Not to be confused with the above title, this clunky CBC biopic chronicles local hero humanitarian Jack Layton as his health wore down during the 2011 election. Cutting between his final campaign and moments from his past, Jack's earnest melodrama might have been better served with more distance from its subject matter ; CBC has produced amazing biopics of Tommmy Douglas and Trudeau, decades after they had passed on, and this feels rushed. An important story and man, who hopefully will get a more detailed look-in in the future. Extras include interviews with Rick Roberts, Olivia Chow, and former MTV VJ Sook-Yin Lee, who plays Olivia Chow here.
The Howling: Collector's Edition (Scream Factory)
The second greatest werewolf movie ever made (after An American Werewolf in London, also from 1981) follows a shaken up TV journalist (Dee Wallace, aka the mom from E.T) looking for a retreat but inadvertently uncovering a colony of werewolves masquerading as new age self-help weirdos. Brim full of in-jokes and references to classic horror films, this is a triumph of special effects, studied pacing and mood based horror. Extras include audio commentary from director Joe Dante, deleted scenes, a look at the locations and an in-depth documentary marking the influence it had on subsequent horror films.
Lifeforce: Collector's Edition (Scream Factory)
After the gargantuan financial success of Poltergeist, director Tobe Hooper was given a blank cheque to realize this pulpy sci-fi action flick that starts off with aw shucks astronauts exploring Halley's Comet and ends with London being overrun with zombies and the apocalypse waiting in the wings. While utterly bananas, Lifeforce has a sense of fun and grand wonder that is missing from major sci-fi blockbusters of late, who could stand to loosen up a bit (see Prometheus). Bountiful extras include insightful commentary from Hooper, retrospective on the cast (including a pre-Jean Luc Patrick Stewart), a look at the amazing special effects form John "Star Wars" Dykstra, and much more!
Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut plays like a 2-hour promotion from Zoomer: Long time status quo at a home for retried musicians is thrown into disarray with the arrival of Downton dame Maggie Smith, kicking off all sorts of comedic and romantic mishap. Perfect for a night in with Grandma.
American Mary(Anchor Bay)
B.C's Twin Soska Sisters engineered this steel cold bit of ultraviolence with an eye on Amercian Psycho, and probably early Cronenberg. The first hour is great, with Ginger Snaps alumni Katherine Isabelle delivering a layered performance and a great sleazy Canadian grindhouse vibe. The second half however, gets nasty as a slight twist on the rape/revenge genre (which has been somewhat crowded of late) careens all over the place. Regardless, the Soska Sisters are a duo to keep an eye on, and their commentary on the DVD is a highlight.
Movie 43 (eOne)
Botched concept comedy experiment made by 12 directors (including Brett Ratner and James Gunn), this bottom of the barrel assortment of sketches plays like a 3rd rate MADtv prime-time special. With a cast including Halle Berry, Anna Faris, Richard Gere, Emma Stone and a bunch of other people who should have known better.
Springhill: Series 1 (Acorn)
Described as "Twin Peaks" meets "Eastenders", this spooky 90s UK drama series effortlessly blends mundane soap opera drama with supernatural themes. No doubt head writer Russell T Davies went on to revive Doctor Who in 2005, and creator Paul Abbot went on to birth Shameless. Series 1 contains 26 episodes, 624 minutes of videotaped soapy British goodness. Hopefully Series 2 isn't far behind
Things to Come(Criterion Collection)
Truly prophetic Sci-Fi masterpiece from H.G Wells, who conceived, wrote and oversaw this ambitious look at the past and future of humankind, through war, disease, dictatorship and finally utopia. Made before World War 2 had kicked off, Things to Come is a deft classic of imagination and technical audacity. The Criterion Collection have turned in an array of amazing extras for a film of this age, including un-used special effects footage from noted Futurist L谩szl贸 Moholy-Nagy, audio recording from 1936 of a reading from H.G. Wells, and an audio commentary from film historian David Kalat.
TORONTO SPOTTING CHECK LIST PART 1
We all know that Hollywood loves to shoot movies in Toronto, while dressing it up to look like Chicago, or New York, or even Pittsburgh, but have you ever spotted a Toronto landmark in something which was so un-Torontonian that you hardly believed your eyes? Here are five classic Toronto locations which pop up in the following movies, believe it or not.
DIP'N'SIP DONUTS ON KINGSTON ROAD
QUEEN ST EAST BETWEEN BROADVIEW AND PAPE
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