July 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.
Scanners (dir. David Cronenberg, 1981)
David Cronenberg’s early films are, to put it lightly, a mixed bag. The director’s pre-Videodrome output ranges from stylistically interesting misfires (The Brood), to irredeemable juvenilia (Shivers). Scanners, though, was something of a turning point, an increased budget and directorial maturity lending this cerebral sci-fi thriller a seriousness lacking from Cronenberg’s earlier work, and he would go on to become one of North America’s most unique and visionary directors. The Criterion Collection brings Scanners to Blu-ray with a 2K digital transfer, four documentary featurettes/interviews and the director’s first feature film, Stereo. Released in the United States on July 15, 2014 — Dual Format DVD/Blu-ray.
The LEGO Movie (dir. Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, 2014)
One of the year’s most wonderful surprises, The LEGO Movie somehow manages to both skewer the way that commercial enterprise pervades every aspect of modern creative expression, and bring product placement to new levels. It defies logic, but despite being literally a 100 minute commercial for plastic building toys, it’s currently sitting in my list of favourite films this year because it is — in almost every way — awesome. Released in Australia on July 3, 2014 — DVD and Blu-ray.
In a World... (dir. Lake Bell, 2013)
What happens when a talented, liberated and hilarious young woman invades the domain of stuffy, old, white men? The underrated gem In a World..., that’s what. Lake Bell’s sarcastic look at the world of Hollywood voice-over artists is both charming and possessive of a distinct "fuck you" spirit, and despite being relatively light on special features (apart from an audio commentary by Bell), this is worth the price of admission for Tig Notaro’s scenes alone. Released in Australia on July 17, 2014 — DVD.
Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery (dir. David Lynch, 1990–1992)
The current golden age of television — and its shining lights, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad and The Wire — owes a huge debt of gratitude to David Lynch’s labyrinthine murder mystery Twin Peaks. It literally changed television forever, and now binge-watchers the world over can revel in its enigmatic charms on Blu-ray. Over 10 discs the set features the entire television series (complete with both the U.S. and international versions of the pilot), the feature film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, and hours of extended, deleted and never-before-seen material. Released in the United States and United Kingdom on July 29, 2014 — Blu-ray.
Herzog: The Collection (dir. Werner Herzog)
I have a love-hate relationship with director Werner Herzog (not to be confused with "Werner Herzog", with whom I have a love-love relationship), but I can’t deny that the German iconoclast offers a wholly unique cinematic view of the world.
16 of Herzog’s film and documentaries are collected in this special edition box set, including 15 making their first appearance on the high-definition format. Highlights include Aguirre, the Wrath of God, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, Stroszek, Woyzeck and the demented, stylistic Nosferatu the Vampyre. The set is limited to 5,000 copies and features a raft of audio commentaries (in English and German), conversations with the director and two full-length biographical documentaries. Released in the United States and United Kingdom on July 29, 2014 — Blu-ray.