Bring teeth-laden genitals into your home through the magic of video
Adventures for kids TV for adults reissued dramas and music docs galore. It’s been busy at the video store.
Autism: The Musical (2007 dir. Tricia Regan Docurama): In this documentary acting coach Elaine Hall brings five autistic children (and their skeptical parents) together to mount a full-length musical.
Be Kind Rewind (2007 dir. Michel Gondry New Line): Jack Black and Mos Def star in this comedy about two guys who are forced to make homemade versions of all their favourite blockbusters when the tapes at their video store accidentally get erased. The premise is stronger than the film itself but the payoff is brilliant.
Bomb It (2008 dir. Jonathan Reiss Docurama): Using guerrilla filmmaking techniques this doc digs into the history of graffiti as a cultural movement and subversive act.
Californication: Season One (2007 Showtime): In one of the funniest (if not most adult) sitcoms you’ve ever seen David Duchovny turns in a wonderfully understated performance as writer Hank Moody whose spiral into depression after separating from his wife comes in the form of writer’s block rampant alcoholism and hedonistic sex. Never has such a scumbag been so endearing.
The District (2004 dir Áron Gauder Atopia): With its unique animation style this underground festival favourite is a violent cautionary tale about the perils of oil and money.
The Furies (1950 dir. Anthony Mann Criterion): In Mann’s Oscar-nominated drama noir meets western in a Lear-like tale of the father-daughter dynamic.
Glitterbox: Derek Jarman (1986 dir. Derek Jarman Zeitgeist): The king of queer cinema gets a retrospective treatment as four of Jarman’s early works are compiled into one boxed set — The Angelic Conversation Caravaggio Wittgenstein and Blue.
Heavy Metal in Baghdad (2007 dir. Eddy Moretti Suroosh Alvi Arts Alliance): Meet Acrassicauda the only heavy metal band in Iraq. Produced by Vice Magazine this film uses the rock doc format to cross the culture barrier and illustrate the challenges of playing controversial music in a war-torn society.
I’m Not There (2007 dir. Todd Haynes Weinstein): In this star-studded avant-garde pseudo biopic about Bob Dylan pretension often gets in the way of storytelling. Still it’s notable for the Oscar-nominated performance by Cate Blanchett and a great soundtrack.
Joy Division (2007 dir. Grant Gee Weinstein): If you were nonplussed by Control Anton Corbijn’s take on the seminal post punk band Joy Division try this doc which features interviews and rare live footage of the band.
Persepolis (2007 dir. Vincent Parronnaud Sony): More groundbreaking animation this time in an Oscar-nominated international effort. Based on the graphic novel of the same name this is a young woman’s coming of age set against the backdrop of the Iranian revolution.
Robot Chicken: Star Wars (2007 dir. Seth Green Turner): Star Wars fans who love parody have probably worn out their copy of Family Guy: Blue Harvest . Now they can obsess about the Robot Chicken send-up of the greatest trilogy of all time.
The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008 dir. Mark Waters Paramount): Don’t write off this big-screen adaptation of the modern kid-lit fave. This tale of a secret world that lives right outside the door of a frustrated preteen (Freddie Highmore) is more fun than The Chronicles of Narnia and The Golden Compass put together.
Teeth (2007 dir. Mitchell Lichtenstein Weinstein): In this controversial thriller a young woman’s coming of age becomes violently disturbing when she discovers her sexual organs have a few extra parts. It’s Carrie meets Cronenberg.
Youth Without Youth (2007 dir. Francis Ford Coppola Sony): Tim Roth stars as a man who mysteriously grows younger after being struck by lightning. Beautifully shot this film is an epic exercise in pretension whose parts are far more interesting than the whole.
Walk All Over Me (2007 dir. Robert Cuffley Weinstein): Calgary’s Robert Cuffley explores power and domination in this neo-noir caper flick starring Leelee Sobieski as a wannabe dominatrix and Tricia Helfer as her leather-clad mentor.
Work Series: Musician (2008 dir. Daniel Kraus Facets): In cinema-vérité style Kraus explores the life and music of modern jazz legend Ken Vandermark.