This Week in Home Video: World War Z, The Bling Ring, Wikileaks, Friday the 13th, and Rewind This!
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.
World War Z (Paramount)
Based on the enthralling "oral history of a zombie war" tome by Max (son of Mel) Brooks: A pandemic sweeps the planet as the United Nation scrambles to identify patient zero and halt the undead spread which threatens to wipe out the entire population of Earth.
Brad Pitt's family friendly zombie movie still manages to pack a spooky wallop, amazing considering the zombie saturated entertainment age we currently live in. The Blu-ray release contains a new extended cut featuring "intense footage not shown in theatres" which doesn't amount to much more than a few juicy close-ups.
Extras include a look behind the scenes, although interesting the real drama behind the scenes involving sacked and carpet bagging writers, toys being thrown out the pram, and Brad Pitt's mighty influence is not referenced, leaving interested parties little choice but to troll the IMDB for gossipy tidbits.
The Bling Ring (eOne)
A group of fame-obsessed teens living in the suburbs of LA use the internet to track celebrities whereabouts in order to rob their homes. Ostensibly based on the true story of the 2009 Bling Ring, director Sofia Coppola chooses to approach her subject matter artfully, slightly more Antonioni than TMZ, rendering and exploitative expectations useless (although Emma Watson gets to dance in slow motion with her tongue wagging).
Curiously the second European styled missive on nihilistic contemporary teens and their vacuous existence this year, but truth be told Spring Beakers just edges this out for sheer Trojan horse chutzpah and overall success.
While there is no Benedict Cumberbatch to speak of, this riveting documentary from Alex Gibney covers the Julian Assange ascendance and decline using incredible real footage and testimony, thus giving it the edge or any fanciful dramatized re-telling. Like all great docs, it also tells a parallel story: our never-ending quest for "the truth" often endangers others and ultimately leaves us unsatisfied. QED. Bonus features included deleted scenes and testimony from Pfc. Bradley Manning, the jaded young soldier who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents.
Arrow - Season 1 (Warner Bros)
Spoiled Billionaire playboy Oliver Queen, is missing and presumed dead when his yacht is lost at sea. He returns five years later a changed man, determined to clean up the city as a hooded vigilante armed with a bow. Filling the Smallville niche quite nicely, Arrow continues to please both fans of DC Comics and viewers of CW's brand of sexed up cult TV. Features all 23 episodes of Season one, plus special features including "Arrow Comes Alive!", "Arrow Fight School", unaried scenes, a gag reel and a meeting of fans at the 2013 Paleyfest.
Falling Skies - Season 2 (Warner Bros)
Steven Spielberg's small screen post-apocalyptic alien drama picks up some time after the fist clenching season 1 finale, delivering the continuing drama as freedom fighters attempt to starve off the alien nasties making mince-meat of earthlings. Extras include a look at the evolution of the Skitter aliens, audio commentaries, behind the scenes reels, an animated trailer created by Dark Horse comics, and a preview of Season 3.
Vintage Doctor Who culled from the archives, sadly this story is actually missing 2 episodes which the BBC incinerated back in the '60s when they assumed no one would care about Black and White TV shows in the future (clearly, they were wrong). Second Doctor Patrick Troughton is in top form here, battling the lumbering Ice Warriors who just recently gave the Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith similar headaches. Bonus features include animated versions of the lost episodes, and a cool look at the making of this classic 1967 adventure.
Slacker (The Criterion Collection)
Richard Linklater's revolutionary day-in-the-life of Austin Texas randoms turned heads in 1991, and led to his ultimate masterpiece Dazed and Confused being green lit a mere 2 years later. Sadly forgotten about in the intervening years, Criterion rescued this oddball classic from obscurity and jacked it up with a beautiful new transfer, audio commentaries with cast and crew, footage form the Slacker 10th anniversary reunion, and much more.
Most exciting of all is the inclusion of 2 of Linklater's earliest films, Woodshock (1985) and It's Impossible to Learn How to Plow by Reading Books (1988). Fans of his later works like Before Sunrise, School of Rock and most recently Bernie should check out this amazing collection of his earliest works.
Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection (Warner Bros.)
At long last, the entire Friday the 13th ouvre in one hefty Blu-ray collection. Parts 1-5 are glorious gory classics and mandatory viewing if you grew up in the '80s, while Part 6 seems to have stood the test of time better than its contemporaries. Parts 7 and 8 are mostly forgettable, TV movie like affairs, but its Part X aka Jason Goes to Hell that things really fall apart. Part 11 starts off well with a Sci-Fi setting and a cool as ice David Cronenberg cameo, before turning into a laugh-free comedy, while Jason Vs. Freddy at least keeps things moving along quickly so you don't see the seams. Sadly, the 2009 reboot misses the point entirely. With an abundance of extras and more musical stabs than Jason Voorhees can manage in 12 films, this is a box set that no F13 fan should be without.
Day of the Dead (Scream Factory)
The Don of the "Dead" movies George Romero was somewhat down on his luck and on the decline when he shot this third in his original Dead trilogy in 1985, however what it lacks in epic scope it more than makes up for in sheer brutality, dank claustrophobia and balls out nastiness. With a bleak as you like view of humanity, Day remains the most hardcore of all the Dead movies, and is totally worthy of Scream Factory's deluxe special edition.
Extras include a new documentary - World's End: The Legacy of Day of the Dead, audio commentary from Romero himself and splatter master make-up artist Tom Savini, who also shows up in some choice behind-the-scene footage. This would make a most excellent double bill with our first title World War Z as a warm-up to the season premiere of The Walking Dead on October 13. Any takers?
REWIND THIS! Is an amazing new documentary looking at the rise and fall of the video tape era, highlighting those magical moments spent wondering video rental shops which democratized all movies, high budget or low.
Spotlighting mostly those titles on the low end of the spectrum (because, frankly that is the gold), REWIND THIS! Also looks at the obsessive VHS collectors who scour flea markets and hoarders houses looking for elusive VHS titles that never made it to DVD.
A valentine to the world of VHS, REWIND THIS! Was crowd sourced and boasts an array of impressive interview subjects, including local auteur Atom Egoyan. Well worth your time and money, only sadly you can't rent it on VHS the old fashioned way, why not download it or stream it the new fashioned way?
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