This week will not go down in memory as one of the greatest weeks of home video releases to ever occur, but there do appear to be some pleasures for the taking nonetheless:
Valhalla Rising (MPI Home Video) — Walking out of Valhalla Rising when I saw it at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival, it struck me: Nicolas Winding Refn, Lars von Trier, and Gaspar Noe really need to get it over with and start their own European Auteurs Fight Club. While I knew full well what I was getting into with this thing, Refn still managed to outdo himself. Which is to say that he almost went too bloody far. While Refn’s Nordic death march starts with a genuine bang—and by “bang” I mean a huge title card reading “NICOLAS WINDING REFN PRESENTS”—by the time the third act rolls around and he starts resorting almost exclusively to super-slow-motion, it borders on self-parody (I’ve heard that if you play Valhalla Rising on 45rpm, it’s actually only eleven minutes long). Midway through the film, I started jotting down a list of my own alternate titles: Severed Bronson, Lord of the Nords, Legends of the Fjord, and my own personal favorite: Heart (Pulled Out of Chest) Of Darkness. To be honest, I still think Melissa Auf der Mar and Tony Stone’s Out of Our Minds is a more genuinely butt-kicking experience, but that film doesn’t have the commanding presence of Mads Mikkelsen. Buy it on DVD.
Waking Sleeping Beauty (Walt Disney Home Video) — Animation fanatics will eat this documentary up, but even if you aren’t obsessed with Walt Disney, this remains a charming little moving picture. Buy it on DVD.
MAKE-OUT with VIOLENCE (Factory 25) — Though the DVD has already dropped, this ambitious micro-budget film by the Deagol Brothers is now officially available on Blu-ray. Read Craig Zobel’s essay about the film if you haven’t already.
Have Not Seen But Really/Kinda/Sorta Wanna