We’ve got a whole lot of weird this week in home entertainment. A sci-fi flick about a sentient robot (Chappie), a gory delve into queer psychological horror (Der Samurai, above), a quotable delve into bitchy gay days of yore (The Boys In The Band), and a Kristen Wiig dramedy about an unstable woman who gets a talk show (Welcome To Me).
Meanwhile, streaming services from Netflix to Showtime Anytime are featuring LGBT line-ups in celebration of gay pride month – Fandor, for one, is offering up an exclusive rarity with the erotic gay films of director Wakefield Poole, including 1971’s Boys in the Sand and 1970’s Bijou, plus a quartet of shorts.
($34.99 Blu-ray, $30.99 DVD; Sony)
In the latest sci-fi pic from District 9 director Neill Blomkamp, a police robot with rabbit ears named Chappie gains sentience but is kidnapped by a group of criminal thugs and learns their unlawful ways (and gangsta talk). Dev Patel plays the computer genius who designed the robot’s consciousness and attempts to bring Chappie back to the right side of the law, while Hugh Jackman dons a mullet to play a scheming, competing robocop designer with a cruel streak. It’s a bit of a mess, but the last half hour sees truly over the top, ultraviolent action fun. Extras include an alternate ending, making-of featurettes, and more.
($22.99 Blu-ray, $18.99 DVD; Artsploitation)
When a mysterious young man, wearing a dress and brandishing a samurai sword, shows up in a remote German village to behead its residents, a young local policeman must confront his inner demons as well as this threat. A subversive and sometimes gory genre-bending horror flick from writer/director Till Kleinert, who previously snagged prizes for short films like 2008’s Cowboy. Extras include a making-of featurette and commentary track.
($24.99 Blu-ray, $19.99 DVD; Alchemy)
Turning in a bravura, darkly comic performance, Kristen Wiig stars as Alice, a California woman suffering from borderline personality disorder who, after winning an $86 million lottery, starts a completely gonzo talk show. Of course, that’s where the fun truly begins. Alan Tudyk appears as Alice’s gay ex-hubby, while James Marsden, Joan Cusack, and Jennifer Jason Leigh provide supporting turns as Alice’s network chief and staff. Surreal, strange, and sometimes tragic stuff, and Wiig manages to juggle all those tones with deadpan ease. Damn, she’s good. A behind the scenes featurette entails the film’s sole extra.
($29.95 Blu-ray; Kino Lorber)
Director William Friedkin’s 1970 cinematic adaptation of Mort Crowley’s oft-quoted, sensational play about a group of self-loathing New York gays — and a closet case — ripping each other new assholes in the most delicious, bitchy ways is (thankfully) dated yet still utterly hysterical and gripping. We’ve come a long way indeed, kids. This Blu-ray debut includes three featurettes and commentary from Friedkin. This is a must-see.