The Visitor

Franco Nero is Space Jesus in THE VISITOR

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. The Visitor John Huston and Jesus Christ (Franco Nero) are in a never-ending war with Satan, and their latest battleground is Atlanta, GA, where the soul of a child holds the key to saving the universe. Probably. Lance Henriksen, Glenn Ford, Shelley Winters, and Sam Peckinpah join in the fun as Huston struggles to stop the girl’s descent into evil and tendency towards causing bodily harm. It’s hardly news to say that this thirty four year old movie is a mental fingerbang that bends genres and somehow teases both brilliance and stupidity, but I’m saying it anyway. Both highly derivative and wholly original, the film cherry picks elements from The Omen, The Fury, Phantasm, and more, and then swirls them together in a psychedelic mélange of horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and pure nuttiness as it tells the story of good and evil battling over a young girl’s potty-mouthed soul. Drafthouse Films brings this gem to HD for the first time, and while the extras are unfortunately scarce the film alone is enough to warrant a purchase. Read my full review. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Interviews, trailer, booklet]

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Last week, Rob Hunter was so befuddled and inspired by Drafthouse Films’s newest resurrection project The Visitor that he coined a term to make sense of it: “WTF Cinema.” Says FSR’s resident critic Lorde Mayor, “Basically, these are movies that consistently challenge expectations (both visual and narrative) to the point that viewers have literally no idea what to expect. This has nothing to do with plot twists, reveals, or shock endings, and instead has everything to do with leaving an audience in a frequent state of head-scratching awe as the unexpected appears onscreen again and again.” Hunter’s coinage is a useful idiom to describe (or express one’s total failure to describe) a certain type of movie that defies easy comprehension or simple justification for its existence. But I think there’s another aspect of The Visitor worth focusing on that tells us a lot about why it’s taken on this wonderful WTF currency: The Visitor, despite not having been re-edited since its initial theatrical run, is in no way the same film it was when originally released. The Visitor is a film of 2013 more than it ever was a film of 1979.

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feature the visitor drafthouse films

I was going to review the new reissue of 1979’s The Visitor, but then a funny thing happened. I watched The Visitor. It’s hardly news to say that this thirty four year old movie is a mental fingerbang that bends genres and somehow teases both brilliance and stupidity, but I’m saying it anyway. Both highly derivative and wholly original, the film cherry picks elements from The Omen, The Fury, Phantasm, and more, and then swirls them together in a psychedelic mélange of horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and pure nuttiness as it tells the story of good and evil battling over a young girl’s potty-mouthed soul. There are a handful of small distributors (including Severin Films, Vinegar Syndrome, Synapse Films) that bring weird and obscure older films to home video, but for most of them that’s their niche. It’s what they do, the very purpose of the label, and those of us who love movies are grateful for it. Code Red DVD is one such example, and a fitting one too as they were the first to bring The Visitor to the U.S. in an uncut incarnation on DVD a few years ago (that can still be purchased here). Their reach is small though, so the announcement that Drafthouse Films had acquired the film for a remastered rollout in theaters followed by a Blu-ray/DVD release was music to the ears (and eyes) of strange-cinema fans everywhere. It’s great news for many reasons, but most noticeably it’s a reminder that even with Academy Award nominees […]

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Tom McCarthy is a man that needs no introduction. The man’s face has been in Little Fockers, 2012, and The Lovely Bones. We all know him. We’ve all seen him in this or that. All kidding aside about those so-so films in his filmography, McCarthy is not only a strong actor, but the director behind some of the most dramatically subdued and compelling films of the past few years. The Station Agent, The Visitor, and his latest film, Win Win, are perfect companions to each other. The three films share similar thematics and devices, but Win Win is the first film of his to delve into modern suburbia. Unlike many mean-spirited explorations of that lifestyle, McCarthy never pokes fun or goes for easy satirization. There’s a consistent realism and grounding to Win Win. Whenever the film feels like it’s about to take a turn towards being trite or sappy, McCarthy pulls away and adds a spin. Here’s what writer/director Tom McCarthy had to say writing subtlety, revisiting themes and, of course, we start off by discussing the possibility of a graphic novelization of The Visitor…

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Whether you’re trying to avoid the releases this week or augment them with even more movie, Your Alternate Box Office offers some options for movies that would play perfectly alongside of (or instead of) the stuff studios are shoving into the megaplex this weekend. This week features a foul-mouthed alien, proof that taking pills making you better, Matthew McConaughey refusing to leave his vehicle to practice law, and a schlubby wrestling coach.

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Join us each week as Rob Hunter takes a look at new DVD releases and gives his highly unqualified opinion as to which titles are worth BUYing, which are better off as RENTals, and which should be AVOIDed at all costs. And remember, these listings and category placements are meant as informational conversation starters only. But you can still tell Hunter how wrong he is in the comment section below. This week sees five Buy recommendations! And all but one of them are decades old! Insane I tell you, insane! Anyway. Titles out this week include Centurion, the HBO miniseries The Pacific, the uncut version of the absurdly entertaining The Visitor, The Hungry Ghosts, reissues of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Goonies, and more.

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DUNE

Since Peter Berg might possibly, maybe, could not be directing Dune, we’ve decided to throw a few hats into the ring. Who do you think could helm one of the hardest science fiction adaptations of all time?

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The Visitor DVD Giveaway

There is nothing we love more than spreading the love on films that don’t get enough media affection. And it would appear that Tom McCarthy’s The Visitor, which was released onto DVD this week, is one such film.

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