Welcome to this week in home video!
Pick of the Week
Kansas City [Arrow Academy]
What is it? A young woman tries to negotiate her husband’s safety.
Why see it? Robert Altman’s jazz-infused gangster movie eschews his more familiar rambling style to tell a fairly focused narrative about a woman’s misguided attempts to help her unworthy husband. Jennifer Jason Leigh is both sad and spirited here on a losing journey, and the supporting cast (including Harry Belafonte, Dermot Mulroney, Miranda Richardson, Steve Buscemi, and more) are equally strong. The music feels a part of the character, place, drama, soul, and pain of it all making for a memorable glimpse into Kansas City’s turbulent past.
[Extras: Commentary by Robert Altman, appreciation, visual essay, featurettes]
What is it? The true story of one man’s attempt to help thousands.
Why see it? Mark Ruffalo plays a real-life lawyer who went against the grain (and his own firm) to defend small-town people against corporate behaviors that led to illness and death across generations. It’s a true story and devastates in just the right ways as it targets corporations that have grown too powerful and a system that protects that imbalance of power. The cast is pretty stellar too with supporting turns by Tim Robbins, Anne Hathaway, Bill Pullman, and more.
Pray for the Wildcats [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? Advertising executives face an unexpected challenge from their new client.
Why see it? Andy Griffith once terrified with A Face in the Crowd (1957), and he revisits that sociopathic nature in this fairly thrilling TV movie. He plays a CEO who enjoys pushing people past their breaking point, and his latest target is a trio of ad execs played by William Shatner, Robert Reed, and Marjoe Gortner. He plays each in different ways, but when a line is crossed and someone ends up dead their true natures come to light. There’s some action and suspense here, but the big pull is the character work between these men as their careers flash before their eyes. Add in Angie Dickinson and Lorraine Gary and you have a TV flick worth revisiting.
[Extras: New 2K master, commentary]
What is it? A young woman’s inheritance comes with strings attached.
Why see it? This atmospheric slice of indie horror went mostly unnoticed earlier this year, but I continue to be a fan for what it accomplishes with so little. Elements feel familiar — an inheritance, a devilish pact, a big spooky house — but the film succeeds in blending them together into a new, low-key symphony of terror. Rutger Hauer appears briefly, but the film’s biggest strength is the atmosphere it evokes through imagery and score. There are also some very cool beats in the third act.
The Captain’s Paradise / Barnacle Bill [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? Two Alec Guinness comedies from the 50s!
Why see it? Both of these films feature new 4K restorations which pairs well with the often sharp comedy on display. The first opens with Guinness’ character dying only to see his story told in flashback as a man falls for two completely different women and tries to make both relationships work. The second sees Guinness cast as a naval war hero who again tells a rather unflattering tale in flashback. Both are fun diversions.
[Extras: New 4K restorations]
What is it? A trio of strangers bond over a weird shared interest.
Why see it? Yorgos Lanthimos would go on to direct beloved oddities like The Lobster (2015) and The Favourite (2018), but his first feature is something of a far smaller affair. It’s still as eccentric as you’d expect, though, as three people begin re-enacting murder scenes only to reveal truths about themselves in the process. It lacks the finesse and style of his later films, but fans will want to seek it out.
Superdome [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? The upcoming Superbowl faces numerous challenges.
Why see it? This is an odd movie. The setting is New Orleans in the days leading up to the Superbowl, but rather than tell a more focused narrative the film spreads itself thin following numerous story lines and characters. Most of them aren’t all that interesting, but the cast of familiar faces keep things entertaining anyway. David Janssen, Tom Selleck, Ken Howard, and others move in and out of the story, but only the thread involving a mysterious killer holds any real attention.
[Extras: New 2K master, commentary]
Sweeney / Sweeney 2 [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A tough pair of cops tackle bad guys.
Why see it? The Sweeney was a popular UK TV show, but its move to the cinemas allowed it far more leeway in regard to violence, sex, and attitude. These two films aren’t quite as focused as a Dirty Harry movie, but they carry a similar vibe as the two cops bust heads and go up against the establishment time and again. The plots here are dense at times, but that just allows for more possible victims.
Titans – The Complete Second Season
What is it? The Titans regroup and come out stronger than ever.
Why see it? While Marvel continues to dominate the cinemas, DC’s grip on television only gets tighter with shows and crossovers and then more new shows. This series features a mix of characters that lean towards the lesser known (and at times unknown), but fans of the comics are served well with its world-building and playful approach to action, character, and humor.
Also out this week:
By the Grace of God, Ne Zha, Playmobil: The Movie, Queen & Slim
Related Topics: Home Video