This week’s releases include a sample of classic Canadian cinema; a sincere look at San Diego’s Comic-Con; an Oscar-winning story to warm audiences up for the Olympics; and a slow unravelling.
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Black Limousine (DVD)
Jack MacKenzie (David Arquette), once a hot Hollywood composer, has fallen on hard times. Having resorted to taking a draining job as a limo driver just to make ends meet, he is a broken man, trying to put his life back together by picking up the pieces of a shattered family and career. Jack’s sprit and sanity have been crushed by the loss of his first daughter and he has turned to alcohol to deal with the grief. Jack catches a break when he is assigned to drive A-List Actor Thomas Bower (Nicholas Bishop) back-and-forth to the set of his latest film, during which time the two build a friendship of sorts. Bower remembers the score Jack had previously written for a science fiction epic, and appears interested and willing to help him get re-established. Jack also strikes up a sexually charged relationship with Erica Long (Bijou Phillips), a model and singer, who is struggling with demons of her own.
Arquette wouldn't be considered your go-to guy for desperate, fragmented characters, but he holds his own in this disjointed drama. Jack's sense of reality deteriorates slowly at first, making it sometimes difficult to differentiate the real from fantasy – though the music tends to be a clue early on in his delusions. But as his fantasy gradually bleeds further into reality, everything becomes more difficult to follow and distinguish. Even the conclusion is not clear cut, whether you figure out what happened or not. In any case, what begins as a poor script and performance gains momentum and results in an acting achievement for Arquette.
There are no special features. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Chariots of Fire (Blu-ray)
The story, told in flashback, is about two young British sprinters competing for fame in the 1924 Olympics. Eric (Ian Charleson), a devout Scottish missionary runs because he knows it must please God. Harold (Ben Cross), the son of a newly rich Jew runs to prove his place in Cambridge society.
Special features not available. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Comic-Con Episode Four: A Fan’s Hope (DVD & Blu-ray combo pack)
The Morgan Spurlock documentary explores this amazing cultural phenomenon by following the lives of five attendees as they descend upon the ultimate geek Mecca at San Diego Comic-Con 2010. One-on-one interviews with Comic-Con veterans who have turned their passions into professions include Stan Lee, Joss Whedon, Frank Miller, Kevin Smith, Matt Groening, Seth Rogen, Eli Roth, Seth Green and others are shared throughout the film along with up-close and up-front coverage of all the panels, parades, photos, costumes, crowds and camaraderie that make up one of the largest fan gatherings in the U.S.
Going to the San Diego Comic-Con is every geek, fanboy and collector's fantasy. It truly is Mecca for all things "nerdy," from the exclusive toys to the celebrity panels to the rarest comics. People describe attending as finding one's tribe. Not surprisingly, this documentary comes with a prescribed audience: those who have been and those who want to go. The lure is hearing celebrities (and idols) describe the same experiences and feelings as the fans that pay admission, from Whedon's take on "the geeks have inherited the Earth" to Roth philosophizing about why people congregate at the convention each year to hearing stars' star struck moments with other celebrities. Spurlock doesn't present his typical expose, but instead gives an overview of a cultural phenomenon.
Special features include: extended interviews with Stan Lee, Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith, Ellen Page, Harry Knowles and others; deleted scenes; and a behind-the-scenes featurette. (Entertainment One)
Goin’ Down the Road / Goin’ Down the Road Again (Blu-ray)
Goin’ Down the Road tells the story of two down on their luck Easterners, the upwardly mobile Pete (Doug McGrath) and the good old boy Joey (Paul Bradley) as they arrive seeking fortune in the big city: Toronto, circa 1970. But they soon find out that they're in way over their heads, and have to scrounge to make ends meet, working dead-end jobs and ending up with barely enough money to support themselves. In the sequel set 40 years later, Pete is retiring from his days as a Vancouver mail carrier. With the news of his wayward life-long buddy Joey’s demise, Pete finds himself the custodian of a series of letters, an envelope full of money and a plea from his late pal to head back east with his ashes along with details for a special delivery.
Rather than a piece of Americana, this is an example of Canadiana. The gritty visuals are paired with the story of a couple of good ol' boys from the West coming to the big city. The script is not as polished as those of many Hollywood pictures of the same era, but this was a solid attempt by the North to make a commercial narrative. As this movie made its mark on the country's cultural history, it's only fitting someone should attempt to revisit the characters. A sequel 40 years later likely seems delayed and out of context, but doing a dual release of the films will provide an opportunity to initiate the unfamiliar and allow for others to re-examine the cultural experience.
Special features include: commentary by director Donald Shebib; making of featurette for the sequel; featurette about original film’s restoration; and Garth & Gord & Fiona & Alice - the classic SCTV parody starring John Candy and Joe Flaherty. (Union Pictures)