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 September 29th, 2020 which includes our pick of the week, Gotcha!
This week’s home video selection includes some mighty 10-film sets, some new-to-Blu classics from past decades, Gotcha!, and more. Check out our picks below.
Pick of the Week
Gotcha! [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A college student finds love, sex, and spy shit in Europe.
Why see it? This mid 80s action/comedy was an HBO staple in my youth, and it remains a great time. Anthony Edwards headlines Gotcha! alongside the always great Linda Fiorentino as a nerdy college student who meets a mysterious woman in Europe. Murder, chase scenes, and CIA antics follow. The soundtrack, hair styling, and dialogue are all all straight out of the 80s, and it remains a good time. Sure it’s silly at times, but the action is well crafted and delivers entertaining thrills.
Alphabet City [Fun City Editions]
What is it? A drug dealer runs afoul of his own crew.
Why see it? 1980s New York City is a thing of the past guaranteed never to return, but happily we still have movies to show us the world and the time in all its grimy, energetic, lived in color. This mid 80s tale is a stylish snapshot with neon-lit rooms, fast cars, and 80s stalwart Michael Winslow. Of course, Vincent Spano takes the lead and captures the era’s bravado and confidence well as he speeds toward a date with violence. As the first release from a new label, this is a strong start and great promise of what’s to come.
[Extras: New 2K restoration, interview, video essay, commentary]
The Caller [Vinegar Syndrome]
What is it? A woman is visited by a strange man.
Why see it? Malcolm McDowell plays the strange man, obviously, and he does great work at constantly keeping viewers guessing as to motivation and purpose. The film as a whole manages the same, and if you think you’ve guessed it before the reveal I can guarantee you that you haven’t. The ending is a left-field swing that’s ambitious in its creativity and satisfying for that reach alone. As two-handers go, the film maintains suspense and interest throughout.
[Extras: New 2K scan, interviews]
Dreamworks – 10 Movie Collection
What is it? Ten movies from Dreamworks!
Why see it? The ten films included are Shrek, Spirit, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, The Croods, Home, Trolls, Boss Baby, and Abominable. Some of these are quite good making this a worthwhile set for households with children, and even the lesser titles still make for entertaining enough distractions.
[Extras: Short films, music videos, featurettes, deleted scenes]
Focus Features – 10 Movie Spotlight Collection
What is it? Ten movies from Focus Features!
Why see it? The films here include some hefty award winners and acclaimed gems including Lost in Translation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Pride & Prejudice, Brokeback Mountain, Atonement, Burn After Reading, Moonrise Kingdom, Theory of Everything, On the Basis of Sex, and Harriet. Enough of these are great to make this a worthwhile pick up for film fans.
[Extras: Commentaries, interviews, featurettes, deleted scenes]
Ghost Ship [Scream Factory]
What is it? A salvage crew discover a haunted ship at sea.
Why see it? While it’s true that Ghost Ship‘s best scene is the opening one — it’s an all-timer, people — there’s still fun to be had in everything that follows. Gabriel Byrne joins two ER veterans (Julianna Margulies and Ron Eldard) as part of the salvage team, and their adventure finds ghostly shenanigans, action, and some solid gore beats too.
[Extras: Commentary, interviews, featurettes, music video]
Blumhouse of Horrors – 10 Movie Collection
What is it? Ten movies from Blumhouse!
Why see it? The ten movies here are The Purge, Ouija, The Boy Next Door, Unfriended, The Visit, Split, Get Out, Happy Death Day, Truth or Dare, and Ma. None are great, necessarily, but one or two are very good. The rest, though? Blumhouse has better films, and had they been smart they would have included Sweetheart here as a reason to buy the set.
[Extras: Featurettes, deleted scenes, commentaries, interviews]
Crackers [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A group of weirdos plan a heist.
Why see it? The 80s were a weird time, man, and that’s nowhere more evident than in the oddball ensemble comedies that the decade produced. This remake of an Italian hit brings together Donald Sutherland, Sean Penn, Jack Warden, and more for a movie that takes its time getting to the heist itself — it’s a while before they even talk about it. Until then it’s a character piece with a talented bunch of actors, and that’s not a bad thing.
Five Graves to Cairo [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A British soldier is trapped behind enemy lines.
Why see it? The great Billy Wilder directs this solid wartime thriller about a soldier who finds himself trapped in a hotel that’s soon to be visited by General Rommel. Suspense, near-misses, and intrigue come together in a tight little package lovingly restored for home video.
[Extras: New 4K master, commentary]
Genesis II / Planet Earth [Warner Archive]
What is it? Two TV films from Gene Roddenberry.
Why see it? Always on the hunt for more series success stories, Star Trek‘s Gene Roddenberry tried launching numerous others with little success. This two film “series” came close, and it remains an entertaining double feature of light sci-fi fun. The second is the best as John Saxon takes over the role of Dylan Hunt (from Alex Cord) and finds himself captured by warrior women who refer to men as dinks. It’s obviously a good time.
Havana [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A gambler takes a chance on love.
Why see it? Sydney Pollack directs this 50s-set drama starring Robert Redford as a gambler hoping for one last score — and we know how those usually go — in Cuba. Standing in his way are a dangerous revolutionary (Raul Julia) and his temptress of a wife (Lena Olin). This is a solid pairing with Pollack’s Out of Africa as an adult drama with Redford at its center. Watch it for the cast and luscious production design.
Illumination Presents – 10 Movie Collection
What is it? Ten movies from Illumination Studios!
Why see it? The ten included films are Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2, Despicable Me 3, Minions, The Secret Life of Pets, The Secret Life of Pets 2, Sing, The Lorax, Hop, and The Grinch. It’s a solid pick up for households with kids despite the films being more concerned with volume and bombast than wit and style.
[Extras: Short films, music videos, featurettes]
The Legend of Tomris
What is it? Amazons started here.
Why see it? Amazonian women have been a part of pop culture for centuries, but their origin rests with one very real woman. Queen Tomris and her female soldiers helped repel invading armies, and that story finds life in this solid enough adventure/drama from Kazakhstan. The film manages some fairly big action beats with marauding armies, but the focus is more on the characters and struggles.
The Milagro Beanfield War [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A culture clash erupts between the haves and the needs.
Why see it? Robert Redford directs this comedy about small town people working day to day, and while there’s a serious issue at its heart — water access should be a right not a privilege — the story finds humor in the varied character antics and interactions. Ruben Blades, Sonia Braga, Julie Carmen, Melanie Griffith, John Heard, Daniel Stern, and more star and help bring this ensemble tale to entertaining life.
Pandemonium [Vinegar Syndrome]
What is it? A school reopens after a bloody murder, hijinks ensue.
Why see it? Horror/comedies remain the toughest mix to get right, and this early 80s effort gets all of it wrong. The laughs just aren’t there no matter how hard they try — and they try so very hard — and the result is far more obnoxious than it is entertaining. It’s from the director of the great and sleazy Alice Sweet Alice, but while Alfred Sole delivers some kills they’re drowned out by the endlessly unfunny gags and jokes. The restoration looks nice, though, so there’s that.
[Extras: New 2K scan, interview]
What is it? A hunter pursues the man who abducted his daughter.
Why see it? Nikolaj Coster-Wallis plays a man overcome by grief at the loss of his daughter, but he finds new life — however tenuous, when he comes to suspect the man responsible to be nearby. The film hits the standard beats for the genre and story, but it does so well enough to entertain and hold the attention throughout.
Stargirl – The Complete First Season
What is it? Yet another series in the DC universe.
Why see it? DC’s iron grip on television heroes continues with this well-received new series about a teen who discovers a mystical staff capable of imbuing super powers. Cue up all the action, villains, and heroics you’ve come to expect from DC. The character may not be all that well known — I’d never heard of her — but the first season quickly lays the groundwork for her lineage and her future.
Also out this week:
The GoodTimesKid, Love Me Tonight [KL Studio Classics], Variety
Related Topics: Home Video