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Paul Schrader Updates a Genre Classic with Our Pick of the Week

Plus 8 more new releases to watch at home this week on UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD!
the cat of Cat People
Scream Factory
By  · Published on August 30th, 2022

Streaming might be the future, but physical media is still the present. It’s also awesome, depending on the title, the label, and the release, so each week we take a look at the new Blu-rays and DVDs making their way into the world. Welcome to this week in Home Video for August 30th, 2022! This week’s home video selection includes Cat People on 4K UHD, a Hong Kong double feature, and more. Check out our picks below.


Pick of the Week

Cat People KCat People [4K UHD, Scream Factory]

What is it? A remake of a genre classic.

Why see it? Paul Schrader’s best film as director is arguably Blue Collar, but my favorite remains this bloody, atmospheric, and weird redo of 1942’s Jacques Tourneur classic. It somehow manages to be both sexy and the antithesis of sexy? Credit the pairing of Nastassja Kinski and Malcolm McDowell as siblings with a secret for part of its strangeness, and Schrader’s blend of high art and schlock is something magical. Giorgio Moroder’s score adds to the otherworldly wonder, and by the time the gory beats, salacious sibling antics, and near mythical narrative threads come in to play it’s just a highly memorable time. Goofy at times, a bit nerdy even, but Schrader’s eye for the earthy and the weird is just something to behold. Scream Factory’s new 4K UHD brings the film’s colors and attractive visuals to beautiful life alongside some legacy extras.

[Extras: New 4K scan, commentary by Paul Schrader, interviews, featurettes]


The Best

18831883: A Yellowstone Origin Story

What is it? The prequel to your dad’s favorite television show.

Why see it? Taylor Sheridan has found massive success moving his old school American entertainment from the big screen to the small, and while Yellowstone chugs on (season five is the current one, right?) he also found the time to deliver a prequel series exploring the family’s 19th century roots. Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill take the lead here as a wagon master and a couple heading west with family and immigrants in tow. Bad guys, hostile Natives, and the landscape itself all come into play ensuring lots of action and drama along the way. Sheridan and team do good work on the period western front capturing the details and dirt with equal enthusiasm, and it all makes for a compelling show. It’s worth a watch before his next saga hits with 1923 continuing the story with Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren (presumably as the couple in their later years).

[Extras: Featurettes]

Running Out Of Time AndRunning Out of Time 1 & 2 [Arrow Video]

What is it? A pair of Johnnie To bangers.

Why see it? Lau Ching-wan stars in both films as a smart detective faced with wily crooks. The first film sees Andy Lau as a man with a terminal illness and a grudge, and Johnnie To delivers thrills, suspense, and fantastic character beats between the two talented actors. It’s a fun ride despite the serious themes and has set-pieces and heightened drama to spare. The sequel lightens things up more than a bit, and while To is only a co-director this time the film still feels like effortless entertainment. Neither film has necessarily been hard to find over the years, but it’s fantastic seeing Arrow restore and release the pair in this two-disc set. More please!

[Extras: New 2K restorations, commentaries, interviews, documentary]

Symphony For A MassacreSymphony for a Massacre

What is it? A group of crooks behave like crooks.

Why see it? This French thriller from the early 60s kicks off with a familiar enough setup as a band of criminals come together to steal profits from other villains, but it shifts soon enough. The heist is a success, and then the real duplicity begins. Mistrust and suspicion rear their heads after one betrays the rest, and it’s an increasingly dark road they all head down. One of the real highlights here is seeing Jean Rochefort play a terrible, terrible man. The film could easily have been a bit shorter as its nearly two hour running time definitely feels like it’s being stretched, but its atmosphere and suspense work wonders.

[Extras: New 2K restoration, featurette]


The Rest

Mata Hari [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? The story of a legendary and atypical spy.

Why see it? Cinema history is filled with movies that wouldn’t have been made at later times, and this skin-filled tale of intrigue and wartime drama could only have come from The Cannon Group in the mid 80s. Sylvia Kristel stars for director Curtis Harrington as Mata Hari, a nightclub performer who finds her life interrupted by World War I as she uses her powers of seduction to steal secrets and pass them on between the warring factions. Historical angle be damned, Harrington has Kristel topless before the opening credits end and keeps her that way for much of the running time. The film takes its dramatic relationships seriously, though, and offers up a pretty lavish production. That said, its desire to appeal to the T&A crowd frequently overwhelms other intentions.

[Extras: Commentary]

Mysterious Island of Beautiful Women [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A visit to a remote island reveals a group of lost women.

Why see it? While the title and premise sound more in line with direct-to-video fare, this is actually a late 70s made-for-television flick. It’s fairly slight for that reason in both its sauciness and its rise to violence, but fans of the particular subgenre (70s TV movies) will enjoy its cast — Jayne Kennedy, Deborah Shelton, Steven Keats, Peter Lawford, and Clint Walker — and minor thrills. The core sets up a sharp contrast between the men and women while weaving in a small mystery and some outside threats.

[Extras: New 2K master, commentary]

Olga

What is it? A teen gymnast misses her home country’s revolution.

Why see it? This drama is an intriguing blend of coming of age, sports competition, and modern history. Olga is Ukrainian, living and training in Sweden, and watching from afar as her countrymen and women give rise to the Ukrainian revolution.The three narrative threads are varying degrees of engaging, and the effect of the whole feels similarly solid enough, but the one constant that works throughout is the lead performance by Anastasiia Budiashkina. You feel the push and pull between enthusiasm for her current opportunities and the regret of leaving home behind.

[Extras: None]

Summer Heat [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A young couple finds trouble after welcoming a young man into their home.

Why see it? It’s arguably a curious choice making a sultry thriller with Anthony Edwards, Lori Singer, and Bruce Abbott, but that’s the game here with mixed results. At eighty minutes, the film feels very rushed with early dramatic beats happening far too fast to land with any real weight or drama. We don’t understand the couple before the infidelity kicks in, and we haven’t felt the tension before the relationship turns towards violence. The result is a film that probably works better as a character piece than a dramatic thriller.

[Extras: None]

The Tenth Man [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A man makes a deal to avoid the firing squad and must deal with the consequences.

Why see it? Anthony Hopkins headlines this adaptation of the Graham Greene novel, but even the shared presence of Derek Jacobi and Kristin Scott Thomas can’t make it as dramatic as it wants to be. The kernel is there in the man’s journey — he avoids the firing squad by giving his fortune to the other man’s family only to visit them years later under a false name — but so much of it is played out so slowly as to miss the impact of the dramatic beats. Still, there’s some fun in seeing Hopkins and Jacobi square off.

[Extras: Both 1.78:1 and 1.33:1 versions]


Also out this week:

Belle, Brian and Charles, Faceless [Severin Films], Faya Dayi [Criterion Collection], The Female Executioner [Severin Films], Sex and Lucia

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.