The Week In Video Part VI

Friday, August 24 2012
The Week In Video Part VI

Our latest missive on what we’ve been watching over the past seven days on our Blu-ray and DVD players…

We’ll start off with a personal favourite of The Raygun’s Jodorowsky’s wonderful weird outing Santa Sangre. The film is due a new issue at cinemas before moving on to home entertainment, all in a newly remastered format, from Mr Bongo Films. It’s one of our favourite films and reminds us of our misspent youth spent in cinemas such as London’s Scala, watching weird and wonderful mind-trip films. Films such as Santa Sangre will always find a market, thanks to their impeccable word of mouth (“Have you seen that film? It’s mental” kind of recommendations). The remastering, the new version and the resultant publicity will only help it at  home entertainment level in the autumn.

Horror of a more conventional sort came courtesy of the latest in the recent batch of  High Fliers titles we received (four in all, due in October in stores and online), Don’t Let Him In. It doesn’t offer too many surprises within the genre, (mismatched quartet with secrets to hide retreat to a  deserted country home where a serial killer lurks) and is hampered by a low budget, but given its title and sleeve, which both belie the budget and subject matter (the sleeve makes it look far more expensive than it actually is) it could find itself in a few homes. It comes with a few decent quotes from horror experts to back it up, whose opinion may be more valid than ours when it comes to genre fare, but its flaws didn’t help it find favour with us. High Fliers’ expertise in this field will help.

Far more mainstream, and big budget, homegrown fare came from Lionsgate’s Salmon Fishing On The Yemen, based on the kind of book that, until Fifty Shades Of Grey came along, was being  read on tubes and trains all across London and elsewhere in the country. And while not necessarily featuring oldies, it loosely falls into the category of the kind of film that appeals to an older audience, the kind that don’t always buy DVDs or go to cinemas. It’s certainly a film that sits squarely with a more mature audience, or at least one that won’t always be buying films from Lionsgate (as the company has itself noted, it’s got “no guns, no gangsters – not even a zombie”). Films that skew towards a slightly more mature, female audience, aren’t necessarily our forte, given our more juvenile tastes, but we enjoyed this for the most part, or at least the first hour or so, before it drifts into an increasingly ridiculous plot. Big name involvement (Ewan MacGregor, Emily Blunt and a host other familiar British faces), the built-in awareness with a book to film adaptation and the absence of similar titles in the marketplace all point towards this hooking a big audience on release.

One recent release looking gorgeous on Blu-ray is Anchor Bay’s new take on The Night Porter. This film resonates with us for many reason, not least the iconic key art image, almost unchanged since the 1970s, of Charlotte Rampling with her hands covering her breasts, dressed in a provocative Nazi-esque way (it was a pose later mimicked by Siouxsie Sioux, no less). It’s still a wonderfully evocative film, with Dirk Bogarde and Rampling on fine form. Anchor Bay’s transfer does it justice and this deserves to sell over a period of time as a catalogue item.

From sister company Manga comes Panty And Stocking With Garter Belt, the best titled release we’ve heard of for some time. We were drawn to this not just because of its content, but also because we’d read a lot about some of the technical issues experienced by Manga. It’s a thankless task doing quality control at any time, but given the obsessive nature of anime fans, Manga’s task is made all the harder. (A few episodes were missing the last few seconds, which has necessitated a recall and replacement product system being put together.) Mind you, we’d be embarrassed just buying the title, let alone taking it back into a store and complaining it was missing segments. It has a distinctly old-fashioned anime feel, with lots of scantily clad women (the title refers to three of its main characters) and plays out like a saucy version of the Powerpuff Girls. It has a real following among those in the know, so it’s a shame the release was marred by certain issues.

At the opposite end of the animated scale comes Pirates In An Adventure With Scientists. The film is hugely entertaining and the first fruits of the Aardman deal  with SPHE to make it to the home entertainment sector. We watched it with our youngest correspondent, who likes both pirates, the concept and characters, and Pirates, the film. And it’s great fun too. It’s wonderfully anarchic and has a rebellious streak running through it that gives it a really subversive edge. And obviously it will be a huge seller.

We’ll end with a couple of charity shop finds – yes, we still pick up those kind of titles as and when we chance upon any goodies. Doctor Who And The Tomb Of The Cybermen and State Of Grace only set us back a pound each at our local British Red Cross shop.

In the case of the former, we watched with our junior correspondent and it’s noteworthy partly because it shows how the whole Doctor Who market appeals. Getting him to watch anything black and white is nigh on impossible. Doctor Who in monochrome, however, is different, he says, he can watch old black and white episodes of that. That’s some pull for classic Doctor Who…

In the case of State Of Grace, we’d seen this on its first rental release and didn’t even know it had been released on DVD, until we stumbled across this copy for £1. It’s a great film and is one of those that could really do with a far better release, its casting is wonderful and the trailer alone, with U2 a capella vocals, is amazing.

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