The Week In Video Part XI

Friday, September 28 2012
The Week In Video Part XI

Our latest dispatch from our week at home, putting together The Raygun and working our way through our vast to watch pile…

This column mostly concerns itself with what we’ve been watching at home over the past seven days and rarely with screenings, but we’ll make an exception this week for a major release from Paramount, as The Raygun, with our eldest junior correspondent in tow, headed down to the giant MIAX screen at Waterloo, London. We were there to see Raiders Of The Lost Ark, or rather Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Ark as some would rather it called now, ahead of the studio’s October 8 bow for the Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures on Blu-ray. The IMAX release is part of the marketing campaign for the release, and mighty fine it looks too; age has not diminished the sheer excitement of the film. After the film had aired, those that stuck around were treated to some of the extras from the release, with a wealth of unseen footage from the making of Raiders, Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg and co on the set of the film, which whetted the appetite for the full release. And, of course, the release itself is a no-brainer – a guaranteed seller, with a long shelf life and one that should keep its retail price without going too low.

Back to home and another release that is also due to arrive on DVD after a brief theatrical run, although GBH is another entrant into the homegrown, limited theatrical to DVD sector from the emerging Chata Pictures stable. One of its leading lights is Jonathan Sothcott, a regular Raygun reader; we’ve always admired his honesty when it comes to his own productions, so we listened keenly when he told us that his first two titles under the Chata banner, White Collar Hooligan and Riot, were a cut above his previous outings. The former expanded its title to become The Rise And Fall Of A White Collar Hooligan and ended up becoming a big success for Momentum on its recent release. Riot has had a similar name change, becoming GBH, and it’s due on October 1 from Revolver after a limited theatrical push. And it’s easy to see what Sothcott was talking about, it’s certainly a cut above a lot of the gritty Britflicks we watch. It’s ambitious too, striving to add a bit of substance to the cop with a history tale, loosely framed around the riots of 2011. Its star Nick Nevern is becoming an increasingly key player in this sector too, part tough guy, part thoroughly likeable bloke and with the kind of profile and developing fanbase that seem to be picking up films he’s in sight unseen. There’s also a retinue of regulars that are  working with Chata and Sothcott, meaning the film boasts a few recognisable faces. All of which makes this an ideally timed and well-placed release, one which deserves to succeed and should follow on nicely from The Rise And Fall Of A White Collar Hooligan.

It was then on to some low budget horror, and, my, is Dragon Wasps a low budget affair. It’s the same kind of DTV outing as the likes of Sand Sharks (it shares a writer) and is a high concept, low budget idea – let’s combine dragons and wasps to make, er, dragon wasps. Set in a jungle, it’s a daft plot involving some scientists and the titular creatures. At the right price – and it should be cheap – this’ll be picked up by the post-pub crowd and joins those kind of Roger Corman and other strange titles populating the shelves.

More horror next with The Curse Of Frankenstein, the latest from the revitalised Hammer imprint, through Icon and ultimately Lionsgate. It’s a newly remastered and restored version of a 1957 classic from the horror studio, complete with one excised scene back in (it’s known among the cognoscenti as the eyeball scene). Some of the Hammer regulars – Vincent Price and Christopher Lee as the scientist and his creation, respectively – are there and it comes wrapped in a gorgeous sleeve that has an original feel to it (although it does proclaim that it’s a double play release containing Blu-ray and DVD in the 50s-style font on the front, somewhat giving the game away). Hammer has been doing some good PR since it rose once more from the ashes, The Curse Of Frankenstein should follow that.

More recent – although surprisingly, now more than 20 years old, which really does age us as we remember getting a VHS timecode for this when it first came out in the UK – is Tetsuo. This outré Japanese horror is completely mental and after a lengthy absence from these shores is returning courtesy of Asian film specialists Third Window. It’s still as mental as we remember it on our first viewing all those years ago, it’s pointless even trying to explain the finer points of the plot, suffice to say that it’s subtitled Iron Man and its protagonists really do turn into, ahem, iron men. Smartly, Third Window has paired the two Tetsuo films together in sparkling new versions, and it really is an admirable package from an independent. The Tetsuo films straddle different worlds, this package has potential to both the Manga crowds as well as traditional horror fans.

Wes Anderson’s films are as far removed from the world of Tetsuo and Japanese robot stuff as you can imagine and his latest, Moonrise Kingdom, is where we finished our week’s worth of home viewing. Due from Universal, it’s just what you’d expect from the king of quirk (damn, we were trying to avoid using that word), with the loose repertory cast he works with (Bill Murray et al) as well as one or two new faces. It’s as delightful or as dull as you’d expect from Anderson, depending on your feelings about him. He has a loyal audience and Moonrise Kingdom, like most of his previous efforts, comes with a fully-formed look and feel – the artwork alone is often enough to draw his fans in.

Our TV viewing for the past week has finally seen us properly getting our teeth stuck into the outstanding Boardwalk Empire from HBO, now in its second season as a home entertainment option with the third due to air shortly on Sky Atlantic. And guess what? It’s predictably ace and looks great too. Sales of the second series have followed on from the first and its reputation is growing even further. We hear the third season is going to be the best yet; hopefully we’ll have caught up with one and two by the time it arrives on Blu-ray next year. We have a sneaking suspicion that this is a programme whose reputation can only grow further.

Tags: ,