Plus 12 More New Releases to Watch This Week on Blu-ray/DVD!
Welcome to this week in home video! Keep reading for a look at the week’s Blu-ray releases, and click the title to buy them from Amazon and help support FSR in the process!
Pick of the Week
The Virgin Suicides [Criterion Collection]
What is it? The deaths of five sisters are recalled by the boys who thought they knew them.
Why see it? Sophia Coppola’s first feature remains her most affecting and beautiful thanks to lush, gorgeous cinematography, memorable performances, and a screenplay that speaks to truths rarely discussed. It’s an uncluttered film, but don’t mistake its softness for simplicity as it’s ultimately Coppola’s heaviest. Criterion’s new Blu-ray presents the film at its most beautiful picture-wise and fills the disc with plenty of extras in the form of enlightening details and an old short film by the director.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: New 4K restoration, interviews, documentary, short film, music video]
Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story
What is it? Hedy Lamarr was far more than a just another pretty face.
Why see it? Most biopics of well-known people do little aside from narrow an already familiar picture, but this one does something spectacular by highlighting aspects of Lamarr’s life that aren’t nearly as well known as they deserve to be. Her inventions, her ideas, and her life itself is one of adventure, sorrow, and wonder, and the documentary does a fine job bringing it all to life.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Interview, outtakes]
Hostiles [4K UltraHD]
What is it? An Army captain is tasked with escorting a Cheyenne chief on a journey fraught with danger and realizations.
Why see it? Scott Cooper’s films are too often dry, grim affairs, but his latest retains the darkness while finding a vitality within its tale and characters. Christian Bale and Wes Studi are both terrific in their roles as enemies forced to reckon with their hatred and find something new between them. It’s a beautifully shot character study featuring dramatic turns, exciting action sequences, and a stunning rebuke of the American way. Rosamund Pike is fine too, but her character isn’t nearly as well drawn. Still, even that negative can’t derail the power of the rest.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Making of]
Killer Klowns from Outer Space [Arrow Video]
What is it? The title pretty much covers the plot synopsis.
Why see it? This is an absolute gem of a film that never fails to bring a smile to my face. Its tone is irreverent and goofy as hell, but the pure fun in every frame is undeniable. The key holding it all together is the visual stylings of the Killer Klowns themselves, from their bulbous heads and big shoes to their toy-like weapons, and they’re constant wonders. It’s beautifully bonkers, and in lieu of a sequel we never got fans can now celebrate with this definitive special edition offering a gorgeously restored picture in addition to numerous extras.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: New 4K restoration, commentary, interviews, documentary, short films, featurettes, deleted scenes, bloopers]
What is it? An orphan boy is taken in by a fancy cult.
Why see it? This is a wonderfully odd film that fills the screen with European sensibilities and weirdness from the very beginning. Its first half feels at times like a film inspired by Dario Argento as our protagonist (admittedly younger than Argento’s) enters a strange”school” of sorts run by people with an unclear agenda. Later details fascinate even if they don’t necessarily enlighten, and the whole works like a vaguely disturbing dream. The score is courtesy of Dead Can Dance and adds beautifully to the film’s ethereal yet earthy atmosphere.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Interview]
What is it? A talking bear goes shopping.
Why see it? It may be time for Merriam Webster to change their definition of “delightful” to a picture of this movie as it is absolutely… delightful. The bear is all about kindness, and his actions grow through the kindness of others, and while it should be endlessly saccharine the film instead finds wit and warmth to spare. It’s funny, sweet, and frequently thrilling, you’ll never forgive yourself if you miss Hugh Grant’s ridiculously entertaining turn as the flamboyant villain. Share this one with your kids, share it with your parents, or just watch it alone. It’s delightful.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, commentary, music video]
Cyborg [Scream Factory]
What is it? A warrior defends a cyborg holding the key to humanity’s survival in the post-apocalypse.
Why see it? Jean-Claude Van Damme’s early success started with this first lead role that cast him as a wandering hero killing baddies one split-kick at a time. Like the Road Warrior, but on foot, he’s a rogue who speaks with his fists and feet. The film has a lot of fans, but I’m in the minority in finding it a minor action effort — the production is cheap and acting is rough, but action that could otherwise save it just underwhelms. Van Damme’s choreography and execution are slow and more interested in looking “cool” than believably effective. That said, fans should consider this a must own as Scream Factory presents the film with a sharp picture and an interesting making-of.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: New 2K scan, interviews, featurette]
What is it? A dictator hides out in suburban America.
Why see it? It’s long been true that Michael Caine doesn’t say no to projects — he’s famously quoted as pointing at Jaws: The Revenge and saying it bought him a summer house — and to that end here’s his latest feature. It’s a comedy, but far too many of the jokes fail to land whether as punchlines or situational gags. Caine’s comic timing remains top notch, but the premise that sees him using his dictatorial experience to help a precocious teenage girl doesn’t quite give him the material required to shine.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]
Den of Thieves
What is it? A gang of thieves plan a new robbery with a hard-ass team of cops on their trail.
Why see it? Comparisons to Heat are to be expected here, but as you’ve probably guessed by now they’re made in reference to plot only. The writing, direction, and casting here isn’t up to the other film’s standards. That said, it’s far from a waste as the film finds its own grungy rhythm with its villains, anti-heroes, and everyone in between. A lot of it is overdone or underbaked — and at nearly two and a half hours there’s definitely a lot — but the action sequences are terrifically crafted and impactful in their violence. If you think you want to watch this one, it’s because you do.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]
Grease [40th Anniversary]
What is it? A girl realizes she needs to look slutty to win a guy’s heart.
Why see it? I kid Grease, but that’s really what it comes down to in the end, and honestly, that’s okay. Not every film has to speak for everyone, and this one simply chooses to value fun and sexual freedom with its tale of two lovers from opposite sides of the divide who come together and bond over leather, hair products, and fast cars. The songs are still catchy, the cast (both lead and supporting) is still aces, and if you’re a fan this new 40th anniversary release is the way to go thanks to an abundance of extras new and old.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Booklet, featurettes, commentary, deleted scenes]
Liquid Sky [Vinegar Syndrome]
What is it? Aliens feeding on pleasure leave a stylish trail of dead bodies through New York City.
Why see it? This early 80s oddball genre effort has been something of an underground classic for decades, and it’s easy to see how it grabbed viewers’ attention. There’s a fresh blend of punk attitudes and fast fashion setting the scene, and the characters moving through it engage in all manner of sex, drugs, and bad behavior as the sci-fi elements slowly push inward. I imagine my younger self may have enjoyed it more, but a first watch now leaves the film leaning a bit overlong. Still, it’s never quite dull despite the running time as the ideas at play here feel a part of another time.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: New 4K restoration, commentary, interviews, documentary, Q&A, outtakes]
The Maze 3D [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A man’s character changes after spending time at his uncle’s home.
Why see it? This early 50s chiller is an oddity that pairs atmosphere with something of a creature feature, and it’s brought to life in glorious black & white 3D. Kino’s new Blu-ray offers a digital restoration along with both the 3D and 2D versions, and it’s a sharp picture. As mentioned, the film is odd as the monster at the heart of it all isn’t as clearcut as expected, and the suspense and story around it follow suit.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, interview]
A Pistol for Ringo / The Return of Ringo [Arrow Video]
What is it? A cowboy saves hostages, and another seeks revenge on those who’ve crossed him.
Why see it? Arrow continues to do strong work bringing Italian spaghetti westerns to beautifully restored life, and this double feature pairs two that are connected in non narrative ways. Same filmmaker and cast reunite for the second feature, but despite the title the Ringo who returns is not the same who sought a pistol in the first. Same actor, different Ringo. It’s odd, but happily both films deliver solid western thrills in their production and set pieces.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: New 2K restorations, commentary, featurettes, interview]
Also out this week:
Backstabbing for Beginners, The Bone Yard, Daughters of Satan [Scream Factory], Dead Man [Criterion Collection], Doctor Detroit [Shout Select], Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, The Final Year, Gray Lady Down, The Strange Ones
Related Topics: Home Video