It’s a slow week but certainly better than last time round as Alex Cox’s cult hit debut comes to Blu through Britain’s own Criterion, Masters of Cinema.
REPO MAN (Alex Cox, 1984, USA)
Alex Cox is certainly one of cinema’s mavericks, always making films on his own terms and while never having a huge breakout commercial hit, he’s been making films which certainly inspire conversation for nearly 3 decades now. His first feature is one of his most loved, though the follow-up Sid & Nancy certainly has its fans, and it now comes to Blu from the Masters of Cinema, UK’s best answer to The Crtierion Collection, through their promising new partnership with Universal which has also seen the release of Silent Running and Two-Lane Blacktop.
Emilo Estivez is a disaffected youth who’s just been dumped and seems to be stuck in a rut. Cheated then befriended by Harry Dean Stanton’s repossesion worker, he gets wrapped up in a mystery involving a hot UFO nut, a rival repo team and a car with some rather interesting cargo.
Cox’s mix of anarchic comedy, social satire and a rather damning indictment of the disaffected youth who don’t actually do anything to change the system may not feel quite as relevant in its look or sound, it’s 80′s through and through, but the tale of how people moan but don’t do anything to affect change is one which rings true in any society and when this is interspersed with surrealism and people being vapourised, it makes a film which is unlike anything else out there and should remain a fantastic watch.
As per usual with the Masters of Cinema series, we’ve also got a hell of an extras haul which should prove irresistible to fans including a newly filmed video introduction by Alex Cox who is always an engaging presence on screen as he is behind the cammera, the whole TV edit of the film with alternae lines and scemes, commentary featuring Cox, a couple of making of features, an interview with Hary Dean Stanton, the trailer and booklet, making in all a rather brilliant set for fans.
Available for around £12.99 online in a Dual Format edition, though the steelbook pictured above is more expensive, this will be a must-buy for a few and a solid rent for others who may not have explored it for a while or never encountered it at all.
WARRIOR (Gavin O’Connor, 2011, USA)
A real box-office oddity this one. Two hot up-and-coming stars, an increasingly popular sport and the benefit of pretty great reviews combined to make not a whole hell of a lot at the Box Office as Warrior spluttered and really did not do well at all in both the US and the UK. While I’m not one of the film’s biggest cheerleaders, the plot is contrived to the point of absurdity and that takes an at-times almost fatal suspension of disbelief to get through but there’s undeniably strong stuff here, most notably the three lead performnces which all ring different but equally of worth facets to the mix with Joel Edgerton’s everyman gearing up to smash out of the mundanity his life is cruising in, Tom Hardy oozing pure feral rage and Nick Notle deservedly gaining an Oscar nomination for his sensational turn as a repentent father who wants to make amends but finds he’s still got a lot of weakness in him.
It gets far too cheese filled towards the end but you’ll also be fighting back the tears with O’Connor playing every single sports movie beat for the emotionally manipulative though still rewarding feeling that he can get, and crafting a man’s man film which still has moments to make take you by surprise (Notle’s reading of Moby Dick late on being my particular highlight).
Despite not being a huge hit, Lionsgate have loaded the disc with some worthy looking stuff including a Picture-In-Picture video commentary with plenty of making-of stuff, alongside a cast and crew commentary, deleted scenes, a gag reel and more general making of material. For fans this disc looks to be spot on and at around £14.99 online, it’s a decent price for a film I hope gets a bit more commercial love on Blu.
FRIGHT NIGHT (Craig Gillespie, 2011, USA)
Continuing to prove the rule that horror remakes more often than not lose money, this along with Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark and The Thing summed up 2011′s box-office disappointing horror haul despite the fact that out of those 3 films, this is undoubtedly the best. This certainly has its problems but its strengths are pretty golden with Colin Farrell having fun with an occasionally hammy but often plan bad-ass portrayal of Jerry the world’s least likely named vampire who prowls around Anton Yelchin’s family and girlfriend, and David Tennant also relishes a big part in a Hollywood movie even if his character was blatantly originally offered to Russell Brand.
Seeing this in possibly the best environment, an early Saturday evening at FrightFest, I had quite a bit of fun with this though it’s fair to say that one stand-off early on between Farrell and Yelchin aside, it never quite sparks off in the way you hope it will, never getting as odd as the original or as inventive as the film really needed to be. A perfectly decent rental though personally I wouldn’t buy.
Available in 2 and 3D, the 3D version having some impressive ash effects but little else to recommend it, features also look a little low on the ground with only soem short featurette stuff and some deleted scenes making up a rather underwhelming package. The 2D will set you back around £15 online, the 3D about £18 but if you’re gonna buy I’d wait for a price drop.
ALSO OUT THIS WEEK
Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark – Bitterly disappointing Guillermo del Toro produced effort comes to Blu, could be a popular rental choice.
Caligula: The Blu Edition – Arrow bring out the cult tale of excess with some decent sounding extras loaded on top.
Garden State – Zach Braff’s decent though a little indie-schimdie debut comes to Blu.
Hollywoodland – Part 1 of Ben Affleck’s successful career resurgence with a solid performance as the tragic original screen Superman George Reeves.
More next week!