The Week In Video Part LI

Saturday, October 17 2015
The Week In Video Part LI

Our latest round up of titles we’ve been watching, complete with a look at their commercial potential and trade prospects…

Kevin Bacon is on fine form as a bent copper in Cop Car, as solid and as strong a DTV title as,your likely to see this year. It’s got elements of other films here. Not least Stand By Me, but manages to put its own spin on the familiar tale of innocent(ish) boys getting caught up in the big, bad world of thoroughly nasty grown-ups. Bacon, its main selling point after that rites of passage-style plot, is writ large on the sleeve, enhancing its potential, and he’s on noteworthy form. Excellent and very commercial stuff.

One we saw in a cinema rather than a screening room was Cooties, a novel twist on zombie films, with plenty of comedy elements. The screening was held at London’s Prince Charles Cinema and was part of an impressive PR push by Universal for what was essentially a DTV release. It brought star and producer Elijah Wood over for not just this FrightFest-backed event, but an Apple Store Q&A and a loads of other interviews too. It was a smart movie – Wood gives great interview. The film itself ably straddles assorted camps and genres – its cast features loads of familiar faces from the more cutting edge of US TV comedy, including, in fine form Rainn Wilson, aka Dwight from the US Version of The Office. Horror comedies are ten a penny, and are difficult to truly pull off, but Cooties works a treat.

Mention of FrightFest brings us on to its new FrightFest Presents imprint, run in collaboration with Icon. It’s digital only initially, but from what we’ve seen it has the potential to go far beyond this. There’s some belters in there, with FrightFest’s hard-earned reputation for spotting potential horror hits proving to be entirely justified.

Chief among them is Aaaaaaaah!, the directorial debut from Sightseers star Steve Oram. Reminiscent of an old Play For today outing from the 1970s – and we mean that as a compliment – it boasts an impressive cast of British faces, especially in the form of both Mighty Boosh mainstays, Noel Fielding and Julian Barrett, and should lead the way for the label. To discuss too much of its content would be to spoil what a treat this is – a genuinely unique and positively bonkers film. Fingers crossed it will also help push the label into the physical realm too – it has stunning artwork and would really benefit from a physical release too (as we tweeted, a commentary done ny the vast in character would make for a fascinating and somewhat daft experience.

The set also shows the diversity of the FrightFest Presents proposition. The Sand is a relatively low budget creature feature that boasts an impressive first half, although it does get slightly hampered by special effects towards the end, it’s a fun watch, reminiscent of Tremors. And again, in commercial terms, that’s as good as a creature feature can get.

Night Of The Living Deb, meanwhile, is an outstanding title, one of those that you can be sure came before the film itself. It’s another zombie romcom, a genre that is proving to be still fertile and enduring, as well as very commercial too.

Some Kind Of Hate is a tougher watch, which features the prescient theme of bullying as well as some decent slasher moments too. Its potential is considerable given that element of nerdy kids being given a tough time and this should be another of the FrightFest Presents imprint’s bigger titles.

A few just-released classic titles that have caught our eye recently. And kudos to the BFI for its efforts on Night And The City, the transatlantic film noir, set in London and starring Richard Widmark. It features just the kind of attention to detail you’d expect from a BFI classic release, with odes of extras and a gorgeous transfer. Another solid seller.

And from Studiocanal comes the rather excellent L’Eclisse, helmed by Michelangelo Antonioni, it looks gorgeous and shows that the company, which boasts the most impressive catalogue in the business, can still find gems and give them the treatment they fully deserve. 

One of the more curious items you’ll see this year is London Road, the musical take on the murders or prostitutes around Ipswich. It works a lot better than it sounds, but the name alone, as well as the presence of the likes of Tom Hardy and Olivia Colman, lending it star power, will help it work off the shelves too.

We’ll end with some television fare and for us non-Sky Atlantic customers, the only way of keeping up with Mad Men has been through Lionsgate’s releases, so we’re now drawing to the end of the programme and working our way through the seventh and final outing for the programme. The final outing for the hugely popular show seems to have come at the right time – its lost some of the impact of the first seasons and turned into more a soap opera. As ever, the end of the road for a programme brings with it plenty of opportunities, for all Lionsgate’s different SKUs, particularly the premium-priced deluxe box set. It’s sold consistently well over the years and there’s still opportunities to be had with what is an exceptional programme which helped usher in the current golden age of television. Lionsgate has put together some strong marketing too, not least a tie in with Honest Burgers, so this is a very strong proposition.

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