Wednesday, May 9, 2012

DVD's and Blu-Rays You Must Not miss

If you enjoyed the brilliant Animalada (Synapse), you'll appreciate this unofficial companion film on the same subject. Director Ulrich Seidl has a unique voice and a sharp eye for composition. 

Graeme Whifler's Neighborhood Watch was retitled Deadly End, a shitty, generic title. But don't be fooled. This ultra-dark and disturbing horror flick has a Stuart Gordon sensibility and grim intentions. It's set in a world not unlike Gordon's King of the Ants crossed with the paranoia landscape of Arlington Road. 

Recommended to me by my dear friend John Arden, a true aficionado of cinema, it's a strange and fascinating '72 flick that bears similarities to Bob Clark's Deathdream, but it's a unique beast that blends a simple love story with a tale of grotesque dread. The horror is too undercooked for some (read most reviews), but I liked it very much, and thought it massively original.

Nothing I can add to the chorus of approval on this little number, the late Ken Russell's epic on religious hysteria. The BFI DVD is as good as this film will ever look on anything but Blu-Ray.  

A new transfer from the Brits, excellent liner notes, and a fine piece of foreign poster art. The film almost feels quaint now in a Fred West kind of way.  

This ball-tearing crime drama (a British four-parter) features a killer cast and enough violence, intrigue, sleaze, and appalling behavior to power a movie studio for a month. Underseen and underappreciated, it is a revelation, and more than equal to material churning from paycablers such as HBO.

I know grotesque, so when I say this is truly grotesque, trust me. Bondage Game doesn't begin to describe the glorious, brain-damaged filth on display here. Only for true enthusiasts. 

True crime is going ratings-crazy on Australian TV, and there seems to be a new recreation of some criminal's appalling life every time you open the TV guide. This assembly of appalling behavior is hard-hitting and as fascinating as Chopper.   

Andrzej Zulawski's L'Amour Braque is riveting stuff, and this DVD from Mondo Vision is essential.

Stunning Hungarian classic about a serial seducer is given immaculate restoration treatment by the UK's Second Run.

Almost a lost movie until now, Lost Boundaries, from the Warner Archives, tells the fascinating and true story of a black doctor who decides to be a white man (for good reason). A true curiosity from the 40's.

Another stellar recommendation from the indefatigable Mr. Arden, this true New Zealand crime drama focuses on a notorious shooter who became the worst mass murderer in the country's history. Directed in a documentary-like style, it assembles character details (of victims and shooter) that are jaw-dropping.    

Love the book, loved the film when I first saw it almost two decades ago. This new Blu-Ray from Summit is of the highest quality, and there are some fantastic extras including a directory commentary and vintage behind-the-scenes footage. 

This searing drama about a community's reaction to the slapping of a child at a party went off like six months of fireworks when it was first screened in Australia, triggering heated debate and much controversy. It really is an extraordinary piece of writing and filmmaking, and is blessed with incredible performances.   

This Blu-Ray of one of the best films ever made is demonstration quality, and it stands the test of time like no other. 

Six staggering installments in which cameras not only follow, but actually ride the backs of birds in flight as they cross the world in search of food. Stunning photography, a rousing score, and a celebration of a creature whose ingenuity knows no bounds. One of the best nature documentaries I've ever seen.

This is funny. It's a restoration (from Legend Films) of Plan 9 (for colorization purposes). The best part: The "extra" is the original, black and white version (also restored), so all is forgiven. Great to see Ed getting his due. 

This just arrived today. From the rundown of what it includes on the back cover, it's obligatory viewing. From Synapse.


  1. Some excellent selections here, and some useful information--I've been waiting to hear how the quality of the Second Run SZINDBAD DVD is (because every other version of the film I've seen sucks), so thank you for that. I'll admit I didn't much care for NEITHER THE SEA..., but that's probably because I read the Gordon Honeycombe novel it was based on, which is far superior!

  2. Adamrg -- I'd love to read the Honeycombe novel and must do that. More than anything, I appreciate the film's intentions and heart, even if -- admittedly -- it doesn't fully hang together. I say "Go for it!" with SZINDBAD.

  3. Wow. Glad someone likes my recommendations! Mostly, I get blank looks. (i'm sure you know those!) One does not feel quite so alone in the universe when someone else gets you & your hit pics. However, my own calls are far outweighed by your suggestions to me...most of which I am STILL slowly getting thru and enjoying, and too numerous to mention. thank you, fantoma...

  4. "Last Exit to Brooklyn" is on my short list of film favorites, a sadly forgotten masterpiece. Also sad is that Stephen Lang, so brilliant in that film, is now playing military caricatures in Avatar and "whatever the hell was the name of that POS Spielberg TV series that was cancelled." (However, it's probably not so sad for Lang's bank balance.)

  5. JWA -- Enjoy as you go, my friend. Life is short, but not so short we can flip it off.
    Bob -- Good points, Bob. Not quite sure why Lang's career hasn't bloomed in sync with his talent. Then again, many industry "success" stories are predicated entirely on the box office performance of the said film said actor appeared in. LAST EXIT is quite forgotten, but clearly not by everybody.