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 1st, 2023! This week’s home video selection includes a remake of River Wild, James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and more. Check out our picks below.
Pick of the Week
What is it? A remake of 1994’s Meryl Streep-starring The River Wild!
Why see it? Universal 1440 Entertainment has been churning out straight to video remakes and sequels of 80s/90s Universal films for a while now, and while some are barely okay the majority are… not. So why make one of them our pick of the week? Well, this redo of Curtis Hanson’s thriller is actually pretty good! The plot is changed considerably, but it still boils down to a smart, capable woman (Leighton Meester) standing strong against a sociopath, played this time by Adam Brody, while on a white water rafting trip. Taran Killam does good work too! We get some rapid thrills and on-location photography, some suspenseful beats, and a tight ninety minutes. Not bad 1440, not bad.
Cinderella [4K UHD]
What is it? A young woman uses sorcery to find love.
Why see it? Yes, yes, we can all agree that Walt Disney’s classic tale of romance, magic, and morality is incredibly dated in its limiting views on women and relationships. But it’s still a lovely, magical, and beautifully animated tale from the format’s golden age. The artwork and coloring look even more exquisite in 4K as this new UHD pops with vibrancy. There’s fun for kids in the extra features too, but as is often the case with old school Disney it’s absolutely all about the movie itself.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off [4K UHD, steelbook]
What is it? A teenager uses sorcery to have a magical day.
Why see it? Perhaps not coincidentally when it comes to older films getting a re-release, this 80s comedy is in the same boat as that far older animated film above. John Hughes’ films are incredibly dated in certain ways, usually when it comes to race and “comedic” vocabulary, and this one is no different. Again, it’s a product of its times, and we understand that, meaning we can still sit back and enjoy the hell out of this teen comedy about characters looking forward while still trying to hang onto the magic of youth. Matthew Broderick and Alan Ruck are sensational as best friends, Mia Sara is always a pleasure as Ferris’ girlfriend, and the rest of the supporting cast is equally terrific offering up comedic beats big and small. It’s a one-day adventure, a nonsense ride where believability goes out the window in favor of fun and a peak inside the lives of these kids. The museum scene is still an all-timer of sweetness and angst.
[Extras: Commentary, featurettes]
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
What is it? The end of Marvel’s most consistently great trilogy.
Why see it? The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been in something of a slump for a while now — you know it’s true — with movies that feel generic, redundant, and ultimately dull. James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy films have never been any of those things, and he takes the gang out in style with a fun, warm send-off that’ll have you laughing and crying. Everyone’s here, but the focus is on Rocket’s past, his origin story, and the ongoing idea of what it means to be a family. It’s an immensely satisfying film, one that entertains even as it hits on serious issues. Lots of needle drops, creative character design, and energy follows.
[Extras: Featurettes, gag reel, deleted scenes, commentary]
Force of Evil [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A mob lawyer gets in over his head.
Why see it? Morality is a luxury that too many can’t afford, and that’s the case here as a lawyer for the mob, happy to do their bidding, finds himself in trouble when his own brother falls victim to their ways. This late 40s noir is a mean slice of grit, and it’s an impressive watch for a filmmaker’s debut. Abraham Polonsky fell prey to Joe McCarthy’s bullshit a decade later. John Garfield does great work as the lawyer, a man used to looking the other way until he’s forced to take a stand.
[Extras: New 4K restoration, commentary]
Invaluable: The True Story of an Epic Artist [Synapse Films]
What is it? A documentary about the special f/x artist from The Evil Dead.
Why see it? Special effects artists are often the unsung heroes of 80s horror films, well, unsung by everyone but horror fans. Tom Sullivan was the fx artist on Sam Raimi’s seminal The Evil Dead, and the film recounts that relationship via interviews, recollections, and behind the scenes footage rarely (if ever) seen before. Fans of the franchise, and fans of the decade’s practical horror highlights, will enjoy the ride.
[Extras: Documentary, interviews, short films]
Also out this week:
2 Guns [4K UHD], About My Father, Assault on Hill 400, The Big Lebowski [4K UHD], East of Eden [4K UHD], Nightbreed [4K UHD, Scream Factory], Rio Bravo [4K UHD]
Related Topics: Home Video