The Stack: Holiday Gift Guide 2014 - Drafthouse Films, Part 1
Welcome back to The Stack. While I was looking at all the Scream Factory releases for 2014, I thought I would do the same for Drafthouse Films. In fact I'm just going to cover everything Drafthouse Films has EVER released on Blu-ray.
Blu-rays make amazing stocking stuffers or simple-to-get yet often deeply-appreciated gifts. In the case of Drafthouse, though, they also become an art form. Like Criterion releases, these things are numbered on the spine. Like Scream Factory, they have reversible artwork. Those two comparisons are especially apt when you consider the wonderfully weird mix of great cinema on their label, a fact that will become evident as we roll through all 20 or so films they've released over the last couple of years.
Starting up is Four Lions, a side-splitting slapstick comedy about four middle eastern suicide bombers who are just as in danger of blowing themselves up as anything else. If it sounds politically incorrect, rest assured it is, but it also manages to humanize its characters, especially its lead character. This is a pretty thought-provoking and very, very funny movie.
Next up is The FP. This is perhaps the silliest and least regarded amongst the Drafthouse titles, which seems a little unfair to me. Clearly this is a shoe-string production but what else does anyone expect from a film set in a dystopian future where gang wars are conducted via video game based dance offs? I enjoyed this film quite a bit and recommend it to anyone who enjoys 'so bad it's good' movies.
Number three on the list is Bullhead, a tense, true-crime drama centered around a young cattle farmer that offers revulsion and redemption in equal measure. I almost couldn't believe it when the Oscar buzz started for Michael R. Roskam's debut feature. Drafthouse Films winning an Academy Award? They didn't win but they could have and I think an Oscar is certainly in their future.
When they do win, it probably won't be for something like their, shall we say, irreverent fourth feature, Klown. This Danish film destroyed audiences at Fantastic Fest a couple of years ago with its literal balls to the wall approach to comedy. The plot centers on a man trying to convince his pregnant girlfriend that he can be a good father by kidnapping her 12 year old nephew to go on a raunchy canoe trip with his idiot friend Caspar.
Lastly, as if Drafthouse Films hasn't done enough to prove they are equally comfortable in the arthouse and the outhouse, they offer up a stunning collection of more than two hours of exploitation film trailers in Trailer War. Anyone who has collected the Synapse 42nd Street series will want to get their hands on this.