Non-comprehensively highlighting the week’s top picks in Blu-ray…
Repo Man – When I was younger, and couldn’t see a vast percentage of the movies released in Ireland (many of which were rated the equivalent of NC-17 even if they were originally R or PG-13 here), my dad used to make sure that during our summer trips to the U.S., we crammed as many movies as possible in that I wouldn’t be allowed to see once we got home (but that he thought, on grounds of their quality, I ought to see). When I was ten years old, one of them was this flick, a movie about a pair of repo men – played by Harry Dean Stanton and newcomer Emilio Estevez – tracking down a stolen car with radioactive aliens hidden in the trunk. Fully encapsulating the weirdness of Reagan-era Los Angeles, the movie featured a soundtrack with the likes of Iggy Pop and the Circle Jerks on it, and ends with (THREE DECADE-OLD SPOILER!) Emilio getting in the alien car and floating up into the sky.
Here’s the thing that helps make that night memorable. We were staying in New York, and had taken the subway all the way across town for a late show. Once we got out, the dark streets were basically empty, but there was one bus, just parked, with the door shut. My dad tried to signal the driver, who made a vague, noncommital gesture, then took off around the corner. My dad said we should run, but he did it half-heartedly. I was a kid with energy, and went full speed.
When we got around the corner the bus was there. The driver let us on, then shut the doors and off we went.
“Were you waiting for us?” asked my father. The driver nodded his head. “Are you going to Madison Avenue?” Yes, he was.
Except he wasn’t picking anybody else up. Even when they tried to signal to him. Were we going to fly into space like the movie never ended?
Nope. But he drove us right to our door.
Anyway, Repo Man‘s an awesome movie regardless of that. And the Criterion Blu-ray has not just the theatrical cut, but an edited-for-TV version that includes alternate takes, deleted footage and clean language. Pop open a generic beer, peel yourself a plate o’ shrimp and enjoy.
Django Unchained – If you haven’t already, you can read my review of this one. There isn’t a whole lot more to add at this time, as the extras are pretty meager: featurettes on the costumes, stunts and production design, as well as promos for the soundtrack and the Tarantino XX box set.
Iron Man: Rise of Technovore – Some wondered what the point was of Marvel Studios getting back rights to the Punisher, since his prior movies haven’t been huge successes. Well, now we know – it was to get him in an Iron Man anime-style cartoon! Also, he’s voiced by Norman Reedus. Can I just skip this one and go straight to the spin-off?
Message from Space – A mid-’70s Star Wars ripoff directed by Battle Royale‘s Kinji Fukasaku, starring Sonny Chiba and Vic Morrow? Yes please! Even if it sucks, I need to know in exactly what ways it sucks. But how can it, really?
For All Mankind: The Life and Career of Mick Foley – Foley has had wrestling DVDs and Blu-rays put out before, so the match selection at this point might feel a bit more desperate, but the attraction here is the feature documentary about his life and career, which feels more comprehensive now that he seems genuinely retired from in-ring action (after several “false finishes,” shall we say). Available with or without “Mr. Socko” sock puppet.
Those are my picks for this week. What are yours?