The Eclipse CityNews.ca Pick of the Week – The Eclipse is one of the most unsettling, freaky films to come along since 2007’s El orfanato (The Orphanage). And it’s not a horror movie or even a thriller but, oddly enough, a drama about love, family, relationships, and how we deal with the loss of someone close. Based on the story Tales from Rainwater Pond by Billy Roche, The Eclipse is a near-perfect film with great directing, atmosphere, and acting. This is all thanks to writer-director Conor McPherson, who has been celebrated for his many years working in theatre. If this is any indication of what he can do on-screen, I hope he sticks with it. Special features include a making-of and behind-the-scenes featurette. Also available on Blu-ray. Film **** DVD *** (out of 5 stars).
Hot Tub Time Machine (Blu-ray) – Adam (John Cusack), Lou (Rob Corddry), and Nick (Craig Robinson) were best friends in the era of leg warmers, Ronald Reagan, and crop tops. In present time, they find themselves barely speaking to each other and none of them are where they had hoped to be in life. After Lou’s suicide attempt, the three friends decide to take a trip to the ski lodge they used to party at in the ’80s. Adam’s 20-year-old nephew Jacob (Clark Duke) tags along for the ride. Once they arrive, however, it’s not quite the party paradise they remember — this place has definitely seen better days. Even so, the hot tub beckons; the four get in in and party like it’s 1986. When they wake up in the morning, somehow it IS 1986. Hot Tub Time Machine is a ridiculously funny movie, reminiscent of classic ’80s flicks like Back to the Future, Bachelor Party, and Caddyshack (it also has a lot in common with early ’90s films Ski School and Ski Patrol). Special features on the Blu-ray include an unrated cut of the film, deleted scenes, promotional spots, plus more. Film **** Blu-ray **** (out of 5 stars).
The Crazies (2010) – Set in a small Iowa town, the film follows Sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant), his wife Judy (Radha Mitchell), who is also the town doctor, and Deputy Russell Clank (Joe Anderson) as they try to figure out why the townspeople have begun going insane, getting increasingly violent and murderous. After the military quarantines the area, they learn that the town’s water supply was contaminated when a plane carrying an experimental drug crashed nearby. The soldiers begin using excessive force on anyone they believe to be infected, and soon David, Judy, and Russell are on the run and fighting for their lives. Will they get infected or killed, or will the military find them first? The Crazies is a remake of George A. Romero’s 1973 film of the same name, and this updated version does a much better job with the idea. Special features include commentary, making-of featurettes, photo gallery, and more. Also available on Blu-ray. Film *** DVD *** (out of 5 stars).
Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage – I’ve never quite understood why the Canadian band Rush is so popular – their music isn’t my cup of tea at all. That said, Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, is a great documentary about the group and the influence they’ve had on the world of music over the last 40 years. Fans of the band will surely want to add this to their collection, but I also recommend it to non-fans like myself — it might not fully convert you, but you will gain an understanding of why this iconic band matters so much within the Canadian music landscape. Special features include deleted full-length performances, a pre gig warm-up, dinner with the band, and more. Also available on Blu-ray. Film *** DVD **** (out of 5 stars).
When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors – Narrated by Johnny Depp, When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors is an interesting look at the band and uses unseen footage of the band that will give the biggest fan some new perspective into the band. Unlike Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage this is definitely for fans only and I felt it got somewhat tiring near the end. Special features include an exclusive interview with Jim Morrison’s father who has never talked about Jim’s life. Film *** DVD *** (out of 5 stars).
More New DVD releases this week: Predator – Extended Edition (Blu-ray), Creation, White Ribbon, Classic Albums: Black Sabbath – Paranoid, St Urbain’s Horseman, Hoarders: Season 1, Tom and Jerry Deluxe Anniversary Collection
Top image: A scene from The Crazies. Courtesy Alliance Films.