This Week in Home Video: The Great Gatsby, Pain & Gain, The Walking Dead, and a classic TIFF meltdown
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.
The Great Gatsby (Warner Bros.)
Baz Luhrmann's patented overblown fever dream of F. Scott Fitzgerald bathed in glorious hip-hop scored 3D widescreen visual mayhem. Utterly bananas and all the better for it, you can imagine the inventor of cinema Eadweard Muybridge dying of a light induced erection if he were ever to watch the first scene. While Tobey McGuire is hopelessly mis-cast, titans of hotness Leo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan are more than able to carry it across the finish line, although it is one exhausting eye workout.
Extras include "The Greatness of GATSBY," which follows Luhrmann's Sisyphus esq quest to realize Fitzgerald's vision (Not doubt F. Scott would be feeling the J-Hova); Deleted scenes and an alternate ending, and most bizarrely a trailer for the 1926 version of THE GREAT GATSBY. Sadly, no references to the still untouchable Robert Redford/Bruce Dern '70s version, surely the definitive?
Pain & Gain (Paramount)
Taking a much deserved breather from big dumb robot movies, Michael Bay reverts to his awesome BAD BOYS style of film making with this criminally underrated action drama that has correctly been described at Goodfellas with juice monkeys. So nice to see Markl Wahlberg playing to his strengths again, with Rock and Anthony Mackie in tow and a bruising, bone crunching presentation that affirms Bay's greatness as modern auteur (stop laughing in the back). Highly recommended ode to male aggression and the absurdity of life itself.
Epic (20th Century Fox)
Good fantastical family fun from the creators of ICE AGE, featuring the lush vox of Amanda Seyfried, Beyonce Knowles, Colin Farrell and Christoph Waltz and a classic good versus evil story to warm the hearts of even the most jaded movie viewers. Extras include cool animated shorts like "Birds, Bugs and Slugs: Forest Explorer", "Rot Rocks", "Bugs of Camouflage" and "Mysteries of Moonhaven Revealed".
The Walking Dead - Season 3 (Anchor Bay)
678 minutes of zombie wasting, survivalist horror drama that introduces fan favourite The Governor and a chilling and claustrophobic prison setting. What started out as a bit of joke has evolved into truly compelling television, with the latest series approaching un-missable but not yet Breaking Bad-esqe status. Series 3 continued the trend of killing off most of the major characters so as usual spoilers are best avoided and a weekend binge marathon are highly recommended. Roll on season 4! Extras include cast commentaries.
Season 3 finds Enoch "Nucky" Thompson facing new competition in the person of Gyp Rosetti, who builds a new strategic bulkhead between New York and Atlantic City in an effort to siphon off the alcohol business, while Nucky proves his brutal mettle in a series of increasingly violent encounters. Extras include some nice commentaries, vintage newsreels from the era, and a great shout out from Martin Scorcese on his Season 3 ruminations.
Sapphire & Steel: The Complete Series (Shout Factory)
Frankly bonkers Sci-Fi from the UK which plays like WAITING FOR GODOT made by the 1970s DOCTOR WHO team: A couple of time travelling agents show up to repair various faults in the time stream that unleash ghosts, allow people to become trapped in paintings and shuffle into the sky with faceless monsters. Creepy music, glacial pacing and the Shakespearean calibre British supporting cast make this Masterpiece Theatre for the cult TV aficionados.
Ultra Q (Shout Factory)
Classic 1965 anthology show that was Japan's answer to THE TWILIGHT ZONE, only with added Kaiju Eiga. If you can imagine PACIFIC RIM with no budget on a weekly basis crossed with atmospheric Sixties weirdness shot through sharp B&W filmstock, this TV curio is for you! Loving recused from oblivion by (who else?) the soul savers at Shout Factory.
Dark Angel (Scream Factory)
Ultraviolent tough-as -leather early 90s Dolph Lundgren vehicle better known under its amusing VHS title - I COME IN PEACE. A natty alien visits LA injecting heroin into unsuspecting denizens while harvesting their endorphins and it's up to the dollar store Schwarzenegger to stop him. Ludicrously over the top fun best served with pizza, cold beer and a strong stomach.
Q The Winged Serpent (Scream Factory)
Larry "IT'S ALIVE!" Cohen's bizarre bank robbery gone wrong meets giant flying dragon movie. Fans of Quentin Tarantino will surely enjoy the unhinged performance from David "KILL BILL" Carradine, as well as many elements which were "borrowed" and incorporated (homage?) in RESERVOIR DOGS. Also featuring a top flight turn from the finest LAW & ORDER actor of them all - Canadian libertarian Michael Moriarty, and Richard "SHAFT" Roundtree... The stuff of cult movie legend!
Grisly double header of low budget 80s slashers: X-RAY finds buxom '70s Playboy playmate Barbi Benton being stalked in a hospital, while SCHIZOID finds the always maniacal Klaus Kinski dealing with his therapy group getting butchered one by one. Rare as hen's teeth VHS shockers like this never looked so good, and fans of offbeat cinema will find much to cherish here. Another winner from the Scream Factory!
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (Walt Disney)
Childhood favorite finally unleashed in HD from the notoriously vault happy Disney, re-mastered and stuffed full of extras to keep even the most ardent Pooh philes busy all day. "Ev'ry Tumbly is Rumbly" for the golden memories of adolescent this one unleashes.
TIFF MELTDOWN - ED HARRIS
With the Toronto International Film Festival within striking distance, now's as good a time as any to recall one of the more interesting pressers from the last decade.
Almost 10 years ago legendary gooner Ed Harris came mighty close to having a meltdown during the TIFF presser for David Cronenberg's awesome A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE.
Was it performance art? A publicity stunt? Or is Harris genuinely a mad man? The mystery has never been solved...
Lead still from The Great Gatsby
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