This Week in Home Video: Monsters University, Byzantium, La Notte, Top Halloween TV picks
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, buy, talk or see movies in Toronto.
Monsters University (Disney/Pixar)
Mike Wazowski & Sulley's intense competitive streak gets them booted from the University's elite Scare programme, forcing them to work together and learn important life lessons in this cross between the original MONSTERS INC. and ANIMAL HOUSE .
Pixar's first prequel doesn't quite hit the high points of its enduring original, but still manages to be the best Pixar studio movie since 2010. Extras include the mighty Blue Umbrella Pixar short, and hours of both light and heavy content for kids or nerdy grown up who like to see what goes on behind the magic door at Pixar.
Half-baked garbage with Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges sullying their street cred in a futile attempt to tap into the GHOSTBUSTERS/MEN IN BLACK style light Supernatural comedy about 20 years too late.
Irish director Neil Jordan returns to the gothic genre of vampires which he helped to define with his adaptation of Anne Rice's INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE. Captures the inherent loneliness of the undead, something which is frequently overlooked in all the soapy Vamp stories which have more in common with The Young & The Restless than Bram Stoker.
La Notte (Criterion Collection)
Truly devastating anatomy of a disintegrating marriage, from Italian film artisan Michelangelo Antonioni manages to make stuff like BLUE VALENTINE seem breezy in comparison. Middle part of Antonioni's trilogy which began with L'AVVENTURA (1960) and ended with ECLIPSE (1962).
The King of Comedy (Universal)
Robert DeNiro's finest turn as a psychopath, trumping even TAXI DRIVER's Travis Bickle here as Rupert Pupkin, a failed stand-up comedian who kidnaps late night talk show host Jerry Langford (perfectly played by Jerry Lewis). With both DeNiro and Scorcese firing on all cylindars in their prime, an ominous soundtrack from Robbie Robertson, and the grimy early 80s New York City, it is a wonder this classic is not more widely known and adored.
All Night Horror Marathon Volume 2 (Scream Factory)
Scream Factory come to nice it up on Halloween with another 4-pack of schlocky horror crap, this time mostly from the late 1980's/early 1990s. First up is THE DUNGEONMASTER an 80s computer game fantasy, followed by CELLAR DWELLER in which the work of a comic book artist comes alive. Next up is CONTAMINATION.7, about man-eating Trees contaminated by nuclear waste, and the final feature is CATACOMBS in which the "Beast of the Apocalypse" returns to wreck havoc. Rare as hen's teeth horror that you won't find anywhere else, at a decent price too.
Hanging for Django(Raro Video)
Raro video bring the finest in rare Italian genre films to bluray, from sweaty Poliziotteschi
to even sweatier Spaghetti Westerns. This is exactly the kind of strung out oater which informed Quentin Taratino's DJANGO, just without the racial time bomb and not as much humour. Still, this is exactly what cinematic bad assery looks like.
HALLOWEEN ON TV - HIGHLIGHTS
Halloween TV programming is never as great as you remember it being as a kid, but some choice selections on Halloween night if you are staying home with cable and guzzling Sprite and Reeces PB cups in front of the plasma:
3:55, MGM Channel/Hollywood Suite
Vintage Blaxploitation riff on Dracula manages a few scares and a whole lot of soul.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
Slept on masterpiece of bonkers '80s Sci-Fi from Nigel Kneale featuring androids, an infectous jingle, killer rubber masks, and a genius synth heavy score courtesy of John Carpenter and Alan Howarth.
It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
Always great to see this seasonal classic back in prime time.
The Nature of Things: Invasion of the Brain Snatchers
David Suzuki gets in on the festive Halloween spirit by profiling the truly horrifying Zombie ants, and their encroachment on humanity.
John Dies at the End
Outrageous body horror/science fiction fusion that pays equal homage to stoner culture, William Burroughs, and Stanley Kubrick.
28 Days Later
In a crowded genre this still manages to stay near the top of the heap thanks to the creepy
video look and Danny Boyle's eerie set up in an abandoned London.
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