February 2014 Home Video Picks
A look forward at the month's most interesting home video titles, from banner local releases and Criterion Collection special editions to international exclusives.
Cowboy Bebop: Remastered Sessions Collection 2 (dir. Shinichirō Watanabe, 1998-1999)
One of the best anime series of all time is here made available in its entirety on Blu Ray. Cowboy Bebop, if you’ve never heard of it, is an anime, originally airing in 1998, that has transcended genres and styles to become beloved by sci-fi, action, western, and most definitely anime fans. It focuses on the perpetually broke and starving crew of the ‘Hammerhead’, their small but functional space ship. The central character is Spike, a bounty hunter, who works with Jet, a pilot/bounty hunter. Then there’s Faye, their female companion and fellow hunter, Ed, the androgynous wunderkind, and Ein, the ship Corgi, who is, unbeknownst to all but Ed, a sort of data storing genius dog. The series is incredible; it has an amazing script and storyline, an English cast that out-perform the Japanese originals, beautiful animation and an impeccable soundtrack that mixes Blues and Jazz music with the noir-ish, space-junk sci-fi setting perfectly. Obviously you should start with Cowboy Bebop Remastered Sessions Collection 1 before moving onto this, but this releasing now is the perfect reason to go out and buy both and watch the whole thing in one of the best marathons you’ll ever experience. Seriously. Or just watch it normally. You’ll still have the time of your filmic life. Released in Australia February 19, 2014 – Blu-Ray.
Dallas Buyers Club (dir. Jean-Marc Vallée, 2013)
Still not out for another two weeks in Australia cinemas, Dallas Buyers Clubis out on DVD on the 4th of February in the US of A, and I highly recommend you get your cracked DVD player out, if it’s not a permanent fixture in your entertainment set up. The film has been picking up awards and nominations all through this years awards season, it’s got a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, an 8.0 on IMDB, and an 84% on Metacritic. Starring Matthew McConuaghey as an electrician who contracts AIDS and subsequently sets up a route for other sufferers to acquire necessary drugs that are outlawed in America, the film is a gritty depiction of the life of those suffering the disease in the 1980s. It’s probably his best performance (before seeing just the trailer I loathed McConaughey, thanks to this and Wolf of Wall Street I don’t mind the guy), and the same could be said for Jared Leto, who portrays a transgender woman also suffering from the crippling disease. So go ahead and beat the Aussie cinemas to it. You’re still supporting the film industry by purchasing the DVD or the Blu Ray from America, and you’re being a free and independent consumer, using the Internet and the global market to your advantage. Good on you. Released in USA February 4, 2014 – DVD and Blu-Ray.
Andy Warhol's Flesh for Frankenstein (dir. Paul Morrissey, 1973)
The 1973 film was directed by Paul Morrissey and produced by Warhol, along with its partner film Blood For Dracula (also getting released this month). It’s a camp, gory Italian/French 70s horror, made by members of The Factory. What more need I say? There’s psycho-sexual sex scenes, dismemberments, and psycho-sexual dismemberments. The Morrissey/Warhol film is a twist on the traditional Frankenstein tale; this time the good doctor wants to create a super-race of Serbians, and so makes two monsters, a male and a female, naturally. But they won’t mate, thanks to the male specimens lack of libido, so he and his assistant, Otto (not Igor), go in search of virile young men. Nearly the whole team made Blood for Dracula the next year, which is equally as gory, camp, and sexual. I’m sure the two would make the perfect double screening. Released in Australia February 5, 2014 – DVD and Blu-Ray.
Gravity (dir. Alfonso Cuarón, 2013)
If you missed this when it aired last year, go and pick it up. While it probably is the type of widescreen cinematic 3D film best experienced in a dark, silent theatre, it’s still worthwhile to see it even on your non-3D television. With an impressive opening shot that lasts nearly 20 minutes and sets up the entire film, you’ll be sucked in right away. You’ll still feel the weightlessness and the lack of control over your own mobility thanks to Emmanuel Lubezki’s beautiful, ever-moving camera work. You’ll still be lifted to those nerve-wracking, tension-holding heights, before being dropped into the silence of space, thanks to the perfect musical score. Released in Australia February 26th, 2014 – DVD and Blu-Ray.