November 18, 2009


Also this week: Star Trek, Galaxy Quest, The Limits of Control, Brüno, Spectacle: Elvis Costello with…, Sex, Lies, and Videotape

Highlight of the Week

Thirst (Alliance) Park Chan-wook throws another genre curveball in the form of this horror/melodrama tragicomedy crossbreed, in which a priest gets infected by a transfusion that gives him superhuman powers and an insatiable craving for blood, sex and, logically, bloody sex. As with the director’s brazen Vengeance trilogy, the results are gruesome and off-the-rails gonzo. Park’s perverse pastiche of love and vampirism is the ultimate antidote to a certain squeaky-clean vamp-lit adaptation opening in theatres this week. Extras: not one drop.

Also available

Star Trek (Paramount) Collecting more than a few specs of space dust during its dormant phase, the long-enduring USS Enterprise enterprise owes a lot to geeky golden boy J.J. Abrams’ slick relaunch. With an appealing crew and efficient thrills to appease both old and next generations, the sci-fi saga now feels more accessible to non-diehards. Also available on Blu-ray for optimal sheen. Extras: commentary, featurettes bonanza, gag reel.

Galaxy Quest (Paramount) Before Tropic Thunder’s meta hi-jinx, there was this late-’90s Trekkie send-up that makes for a perfect companion rental alongside this week’s major sci-fi release. (See previous entry, damn it.) Extras: featurettes, Sigourney Weaver rapping, deleted scenes.

The Limits of Control (Alliance) Jim Jarmusch tests the limits of tedium with another existential assassin flick that isn’t as palatable as its unofficial cousin, 1999’s Ghost Dog. Arty landscape photography from the great Chris Doyle, a tripped-out soundtrack and cool-as-can-be cameos add to the rebellious, what-the-hell-is-happening spirit of the film. Extras: hour-long Jarmusch doc, landscape footage.

Brüno (Universal) Gay panic is so 20th century. But Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest should stir even the wearily progressive crowd, and that counts for something. Cohen’s shockumockumentary rightfully earned its divisive reviews last season, and it’s difficult to tell what camp you’ll side with until seeing Brüno’s CG’d talking urethra in all its close-up glory. Extras: commentary, interview, deleted scenes.

Spectacle: Elvis Costello with…: Season One (VSC) Elvis Costello’s talk show, a Canadian co-production, may read as a familiar concept, but it’s a major cut above its broad, late-night competition. It features anecdotes and jams from the eclectic likes of Elton John, Bill Clinton and She & Him. Is it too early to pre-order season two? Extras: bonus songs and backstage interviews.

Sex, Lies, and Videotape (Sony) The film that brought Steven Soderbergh and independent cinema into prominence looks and sounds better than ever on un-indie Blu-ray. Sell-out. Extras: commentary with Soderbergh and playwright/filmmaker Neil LaBute, Sundance reunion, deleted scenes, interview, interactive stuff.