June 10, 2009


Also this week: Gran Torino, The International, Iron Maiden: Flight 666, Lost Song, Nurse. Fighter. Boy., The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

Highlight of the Week

Woodstock: 40th Anniversary (Warner) Let your freak flag fly by picking up this tricked-out anniversary edition (the only thing not included: a hit of the infamous brown acid) of Michael Wadleigh’s 228-minute Oscar-winning documentary that somehow managed to make the naked, muddy, colossally stoned audience appear as engaging as the legendary musical acts they were groovin’ out to. Also available in high-def; the 16mm footage looks about as good as one could hope for. Extras: featurettes aplenty, two additional hours of unseen performances. Ultimate extras: housed in a sexy buckskin (with fringe!) keep case containing a removable iron-on patch, this version also includes a 60-page Life magazine reprint, a replica of the three-day ticket (cost: $24) and probably more memorabilia than you can handle.

Also Available

Gran Torino (Warner) A grunty Clint Eastwood shoots for geriatric Dirty Harry in this hugely inconsistent (notably in the acting and schmaltz departments) drama that garnered surprisingly high acclaim from several top-tier critics. So go ahead and rent it if you must. In fairness, it’s not as galling as the final minutes of Million Dollar Baby. Extras: two disposable featurettes about cars. (Think I’m kidding? I’m not.) 

The International (Sony) Sorta-celebrated director Tom Tykwer has made several varyingly successful efforts since breaking new ground with the brilliant Run Lola Run. His latest endeavour attempts to convey a sense of paranoia as seen in ’70s classics The Parallax View and The Conversation, but sooner than later falls short — marvellous 10-minute shootout at the Guggenheim notwithstanding. Extras: commentary, featurettes. 

Iron Maiden: Flight 666 (Capitol) Directors (and fellow Torontonians) Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn continue their heavy metal winning streak (see also: Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey and Global Metal) with this hugely appealing rockumentary chronicling a spectacular reunion tour that begins in Bogota and wraps in T.O. Audacious music lovers may want to check this out alongside this week’s highlight. Extras: Flight 666: the concert. 

Lost Song (Mongrel) One of the finer picks at last year’s Canada’s Top Ten (it also won the award for Best Canadian Feature at last year’s TIFF), the French Canadian art house flick — concerning first-time parents coping with the difficult demands of parenthood, among other issues — utilizes a deceivingly simple narrative to develop tension and impending discomfort, culminating in a calamitous finale. Extras: no such luck.

Nurse. Fighter. Boy. (Mongrel) Toronto’s own Charles Officer made his feature debut at last year’s TIFF with this dreamy urban drama involving — as the title implies — a nurse, her son and yes, a fighter (played by The Shield/The Wire’s Clark Johnson). Splendid cinematography by Steve Cosens — he also shot Bruce McDonald’s The Tracey Fragments — improves matters. Extras: making-of, two shorts: Genie-nominated Short Hymn, Silent War and Urda/Bone.

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (Fox) Before catching this week’s Tony Scott–ified makeover, take a look at the exceptional 1974 original that inspired the colour names in a little indie gem called Reservoir Dogs. Directed by Jaws: The Revenge (the one with Michael Caine) helmer Joseph Sargent and co-starring the late, indubitably great Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw. Extras: original trailer.