This Week in Home Video: 42, Evil Dead, Stallone and Lord of the Flies
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.
42 (Warner Bros.)
The powerful and moving story of Jackie Robinson comes alive in this gussy biopic which manages to be engrossing while glossing over some of the darker elements of his fascinating story. As has been the case a lot recently in Hollywood, Canada's contribution to the legend gets nary a mention, and some of the more obvious moments of Oscar bait overstay their welcome just a smidge. Nitpickings aside, this is a great sports movie, something we haven't had in a while, well, at least since GOON.
Extras include "The Legacy of Number 42," a great look at Baseball in the 1940s and 50s, and a stirring look at the life of Jackie Robinson entitled "Stepping Into History".
ALSO OUT THIS WEEK
Evil Dead (Sony)
Unnecessary but effective remake of Sam Raimi's horror classic lacks the comedic force of nature that inhibited the original, thanks to a certain Bruce Campbell, but instead delivers lashings of intense gore and ADD editing. Since Joss Whedon's masterful CABIN IN THE WOODS took the genre to its absolute limits and (then nuked it to be sure), it is hard to take these hokey set-ups seriously, but this will probably play better in the autumnal lead up to Halloween than it does in the blazing hot summer. Extras include Director Fede Alvarez qualifying his directorial decisions, and a look at the intense and "physically exhausting creation of the film".
Bullet to the Head (eOne)
Gramps Stallone can still kick more ass than most young Hollywood pretties, so he's back in his annual retro 80s action movie geared to aging action fans. BULLET TO THE HEAD also witnessed the return of maestro director Walter Hill, he of the amazingly epic THE WARRIORS, SOUTHERN COMFORT, and 48 HOURS, pretty much all made out of tough guy sandwiches. Sadly this vehicle does not approach either man's finest hour, but with proper stunts and realistic gunplay, it's more entertaining than most CGI-heavy limp wristed tat that passes for "action" these days.
Lord of the Flies (Criterion Collection)
The original HUNGER GAMES finds a motley crew of marooned British school lads going native on their hapless bespectacled chum, a fatty named Piggy. Based on William Golding's classic lit that is still required reading in most civilized countries, this story has no doubt influenced vast swathes of popular culture and this original film adaption remains the best of many attempts. Criterion have delivered another stunning package, including audio recordings of William Golding reading from his novel Lord of the Flies, accompanied by the corresponding scenes from the film, a deleted scene, with optional commentary and Golding reading, and a collection of behind-the-scenes material, including home movies, screen tests, outtakes, and stills
Heavy Traffic (Shout! Factory)
Legendary rude animation guru Ralph Bakshi followed up his hugely popular adults-only cartoon Fritz the Cat with this counter culture kaleidoscope using a grotty pinball machine as a metaphor for 70s decay: sex, drugs, races and urban living all get a proper look-in using his unique style. Not for all tastes, but an invaluable postcard from the darkside of the disco decade.
Two freshly transferred HD slabs of rarely seen Jackie Chan sui generis mayhem to headline your next beer and popcorn basement party. BATTLE CREEK BRAWL is the superior film as it plays the action strait, although CITY HUNTER is more comedic it also ventures into leftfield territory not usually associated with Jackie's style. Another winning combo pack from the Shout Factory boffins!
RIP TORONTO VIDEO RENTAL STORES
There was a time when almost every neighborhood in Toronto had several competing video stores - now there are none, bar a few specialist movie loving shops in the trendy parts of the city, or a Mom & Pop convenience stores with a paltry Blu-Ray section where the jazz mags used to be.
Here's a list of a few of the more fondly remembered outlets from the video stores boom of the 1980s and 90s:
Film still from 42
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