Sunday 25 April 2010


SLACKER on DVDs is a round-up of this weeks most notable releases on DVD and Blu-Ray along with some less notable ones too.

More after the jump...


So the big release this week is AVATAR, and there's not really much left to be said about that. Except to say that this really is a bare bones DVD and Blu-Ray. Remember the time when you'd laugh at a list of special features because all it said was 'Interactive Menus'? Well, AVATAR has got one menu to help you choose subtitles, but that's it. To be fair, it's so they can use as much space on the disc as possible for the movie, so maybe that's commendable. AVATAR still looks great on the small screen, but it really was best enjoyed as a cinematic experience. The lack of 3-D will annoy some people, but without the bells and whistles audiences will be able to honestly judge whether they like this or not. Is it just Dances with Wolves in space? We will definitely be getting a special edition of this film, possibly even before the year is out, so if you're interested in finding out all the behind the scenes stuff, best wait for that one.


I've always enjoyed Danny Huston's on screen presence (he may just be the living embodiment of the devil), and he's always capable of keeping you interested when he balances your pre-conceived ideas about the character with some pathos. One of his best performances is IvansXTC, and here he is re-teamed with the same director, Bernard Rose. This is the second part of a proposed trilogy of Tolstoy tales, and stylistically this definitely carries on from IvansXTC. Is his Pianist wife cheating on him? Is he imagining all the glances between her and Aiden, the Violinist? Is all the rough sex a bit too much? Though not as compelling here than as Ivan, the man set to self destruct, Huston shows enough inner turmoil and frustrated jealousy to keep your attention.


About to set off for college and not sure how to pay for it, Shirley discovers she can charge the local men extra for sexual favours on the way home from Babysitting. Before long she's constructed an empire of floozies, and like some junior Heidi Fleiss, she's raking it in. The main problem of this movie is that it's hard to believe these sweet homely girls would be that willing to sell their bodies for cash. Basically they're kids in high heels that don't fit well. As for the letchy parents (Including John Leguizamo), i suppose their viewpoint is worryingly believable. They want to recapture their youth, and being with these girls helps. Now this is clearly satirical, but doesn't offer the biting wit or social commentary it thinks it does. It is too morally ambiguous, and at the end of the day, what lessons are learnt?


I'd tell you the plot, but i'm not sure this film has one. The first 15 minutes are bizarre. Essentially you get to see a hefty man in Thailand have a shower, dry himself off then eat some toast. This sets itself up as some Warhol obsessed students graduation piece. And i'm sure this film is trying to take a leaf out of David Lynch's playbook, but doesn't have the supernatural elements or trust in the method that make the Lynchian universe somehow work. This really is on oddity with no discernible script or narrative, and it's not as deep as it'd like to be.



Based on the true story of Alexander Pearce, a dangerous and violent criminal in one of the Tasmanian prison colonies, who upon escaping found himself and his fellow prisoners battling a vicious terrain and a vicious hunger. Anyone who's seen The Proposition will testify that a good western doesn't have to be set in the Old West. Here we have another Australasian film that further cements that. The fact that this film is set nearly 200 years ago and can still be filmed in the same place, shows you how desolate a place it really is. Of course, the main point of interest here is the lengths Pearce goes to to survive. Eventually cannibalism is the only option to survive, showing desperate men at their lowest ebb. This really is heavy going but rewarding viewing. Reminiscent of Werner Herzog's Rescue Dawn but with more despair.

DVD of the Week? Well you're all going to buy Avatar anyway, but if you want to try something new, take home Van Diemen's Land.

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