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 April 19th, 2022! This week’s home video selection includes the Italian double feature Rogue Cops and Racketeers, Peter Dinklage’s triumphant musical, and more. Check out our picks below.
Pick of the Week
Rogue Cops and Racketeers [Arrow Video]
What is it? A double feature of hard-hitting poliziotteschi films!
Why see it? Arrow Video continues to be a godsend when it comes to international genre films getting goldstar treatment on home video, and their latest effort is a double feature delivering plenty of thrills. The Big Racket stars Fabio Testi as a cop pushed too hard by criminals and the rules of law who finally decides to kick ass using any means necessary in his effort to stop the thugs. Director Enzo Castellari delivers a mean, exciting thriller featuring bloody action, surprising cruelty, and a rousing finale. Castellari and Testi return for The Heroin Busters sending a cop deep undercover to ruin some drug smugglers’ day, and it’s again a litany of bad dudes, action beats, and cathartic violence. Both films are restored and look great, and the extras offer up a wealth of detail on their productions and more.
[Extras: New 2K restorations, commentaries, booklet, interviews, featurettes]
What is it? The best musical of 2021!
Why see it? West Side Story and In the Heights gobbled up all the attention from musical fans in 2021, and it’s a damn shame as the year’s best missed out on some much deserved attention and love. Peter Dinklage stars in the title role as a smart, witty man who believes himself unworthy of love due to his physical appearance. We all know the story that follows, but Dinklage, director Joe Wright, and a talented cast/crew deliver magic with the familiar creating a new version of the story that finds big emotion, romance, and excitement along the way. The songs are memorable, the cinematography is beautiful, and the heartfelt emotions are real. Seek this one out and settle in for a wonderful experience.
In the Heat of the Night [4K UHD, KL Studio Classics]
What is it? Still one of the absolute best buddy cop films.
Why see it? Norman Jewison’s late 60s feature is a groundbreaking film for various reasons with the biggest being the scene of Sidney Poitier slapping a white man. Half a century later and the scene still rips, but it’s just one part of this masterpiece capturing racial tensions, an unlikely pairing in Poitier’s northern detective and Rod Steiger’s southern sheriff, a suspenseful mystery, and the shared humors between all people. The performances are aces across the board, the cinematography pulls you into its characters’ journey, and it’s also just entertaining as hell. Kino’s new 4K release maintains the film’s feel while strengthening the clarity and shadows, and the extras include both feature sequels starring Poitier as a returning Virgil Tibbs. A must-own.
[Extras: Commentaries, featurettes, bonus features They Call Me Mister Tibbs! and The Organization]
What is it? Another round of found footage terrors!
Why see it? The fourth entry in the popular horror anthology series returns with a vengeance delivering new tales of found footage nightmares. It’s a big step up from the last, and there’s not a dud across its four tales (although the wraparound sags). Chloe Okuno, Simon Barrett, Timo Tjahjanto, and Ryan Prows deliver thrills, bloody spills, and some grim laughs along the way. The disc comes packed with extras ensuring plenty of meat on this title’s bones.
[Extras: Featurettes, interviews, commentaries, deleted scenes]
Ghosts of the Ozarks
What is it? A small town hides secrets in post-Civil War Arkansas.
Why see it? There are some solid beats here in the story of a Black man traveling the country after the Civil War and arriving in a small town that his uncle presides over. Something lurks in the woods keeping people in line, but is it supernatural or man made? Tim Blake Nelson, David Arquette, and Angela Bettis co-star, and the film finds some unsettling imagery in creepy masks, but the bulk of it feels a bit too raw. Period films in general, and period horror in particular, suffer from a too-clean digital look, and that’s the case here as too much of it feels like people cosplaying in costumes borrowed from the local museum.
[Extras: Short film, featurette]
Girl on a Chain Gang
What is it? An exploitation flick highlighting the dangers of the South.
Why see it? Three friends travel below the Mason-Dixon line and find a deadly welcome party in the local police. Made just a year after three real-life Civil Rights workers were murdered by racist assholes, the exploitative bent is clear, and it definitely manages some minor sleazy thrills. Some rough acting and a dial that never fully turns up hold it back some, but fans of the genre will find some value here.
[Extras: Commentary, featurettes]
Heavy Metal [4K UHD, steelbook]
What is it? Saucy animation and hard rock combine for
Why see it? Heavy Metal magazine was something unto itself with its raw tales of adventure brought to life in comic book form, and the film offers a fitting adaptation to the pages. Big names animate the stories, give voice to the characters, and score the adventure, and while many only know it for the cartoon T&A the film delivers minor laughs and big action as well. This new release ups the ante with a 4K UHD presentation ensuring the colors and details pop even brighter and with more clarity, and the rocking soundtrack kicks even harder in Dolby Atmos.
[Extras: Featurettes, bonus feature Heavy Metal 2000, rough cut with commentary, documentary, deleted scene]
What is it? More of the same, for better and worse.
Why see it? People who love Jackass, love Jackass, and if you’re in that category then you already know if the gang’s latest big screen adventure is for you. I’m more of a small doses kind of fan, but the rest of you should enjoy the bruises, pranks, and genital violence unleashed here. There’s a real sense that the main guys are getting up there in years, and while I would have liked them to lean into that idea some they instead just have a blast revisiting old gags and adding in a few new ones along the way. There’s fun here when they’re not stressing out animals.
[Extras: Deleted stunts]
The King’s Daughter
What is it? A film completed in 2014 and forgotten about until this year.
Why see it? There’s a lot that can be said about Sean McNamara’s fantasy/adventure, but unfortunately none of them are all that good. Pierce Brosnan is collecting a check, William Hurt is stopping by for a visit, Fan Bingbing is ensuring Chinese investors come through, and Kaya Scodelario is still five years away from her triumph in Crawl. Even on its own terms, though, the film fails to build its characters to the degree that either the adventure or the romance even come close to landing. Questionable CG effects don’t help.
[Extras: Deleted scene, featurette]
My Afternoons with Margueritte
What is it? A nice little French film.
Why see it? Sometimes you want bombast and thrills, but other times? You just want a simple tale that warms your heart while amusing you along the way. This French comedy from 2010 fits that latter group as a subdued Gerard Depardieu befriends a kindly old woman at the park. He’s a simpleton, she’s a well-read retiree, and together they find an unlikely friendship. It’s a straightforward movie, but at 83 minutes it’s also a quick one well worth your time. The film is great, but as its hit Blu-ray before and comes with no extras I’m leaving it here under “the rest.”
Night Creatures [Scream Factory]
What is it? A town is haunted by ghostly phantoms on horseback.
Why see it? Hammer films come in all kinds and all genres, and while this one teases horrors it lands closer to the studio’s historic tales. That’s not a knock as the film finds an engrossing atmosphere in its story of a small 18th century village beset by nighttime shenanigans, and plenty of violence erupts on the way to the truth. Peter Cushing stars with a fine supporting turn by a young Oliver Reed, and even if the ultimate resolution underwhelms some there’s still some solid Hammer fun to be had.
[Extras: New 2K scan, commentary, interview, featurettes]
Also out this week:
The Desperate Hour, The Exorcism of God, From the Journals of Jean Seberg, The Girl Can’t Help It [Criterion Collection], The Humans, Man on the Flying Trapeze [KL Studio Classics], Miracle in Milan [Criterion Collection], The Olive Trees of Justice, You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man [KL Studio Classics], You’re Telling Me [KL Studio Classics]
Related Topics: Home Video