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 May 17th, 2022! This week’s home video selection includes The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance in 4K, a Charles Bronson banger, and more. Check out our picks below.
Pick of the Week
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance [4K UHD]
What is it? A western classic.
Why see it? John Ford, James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles, Lee Marvin, Lee Van Cleef… this is a stacked pool of talent, so it’s no surprise that the film they’re collaborating on is an absolute stellar western about honor, violence, and the truth. Stewart plays a beloved politician recounting for the first time the real story behind his most infamous act of heroism, and Wayne takes a backseat while delivering a strong performance with the kind of cracks he rarely displayed. The genre’s themes are evident along with solid action and character beats, and it culminates in one of the great quotes — “when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” The film’s sharp black & white cinematography has never looked better than it does with this new 4K UHD release.
[Extras: Featurettes, commentary by Peter Bogdanovich]
What is it? A girl comes of age via social media.
Why see it? Leave it to Mamoru Hosoda to deliver a beautiful animated tale merging the classic Beauty and the Beast story with a slightly exaggerated take on social media’s ubiquitous presence. The story follows a shy girl who comes alive online, and it’s there where she discovers that people are at their best when they’re allowed to be who they truly want and need to be. The film is a fantastical journey offering action, color, and vibrancy in nearly every frame while delivering an engaging and emotionally satisfying tale.
Violent City [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A hitman fights for revenge and love.
Why see it? This one doesn’t quite get the love it deserves among Charles Bronson’s filmography, but it’s absolutely worth a watch — and this 2-disc release from Kino is absolutely worth a pickup. Bronson plays a hitman ready to hang up his rifle for the love of a good woman (Jill Ireland), but things take a turn. Soon he’s fighting for his life, making bold choices, and risking it all on one last gambit. From the stellar opening car chase to a killer, dialogue/music-free hit that lands beautifully, this is a solidly gritty action/thriller with European sensibilities and an Ennio Morricone score.
[Extras: US cut on separate Blu-ray, commentary, interview]
Beverly Hills Cop II [4K UHD]
What is it? The man with the banana is back!
Why see it? Beverly Hills Cop might not have been Eddie Murphy’s first comedy film, but it was certainly his biggest meaning a sequel was inevitable. Tony Scott takes the reins this time out, and while he brings his expectedly glorious excesses the film itself is a familiar blend of laughs and 80s action beats. Everything feels a bit ramped up at times, and that leaves some of the comedy feeling forced. Still, Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, and the late Gilbert Godfrey make for a fun enough bunch. Paramount’s new 4K UHD release is devoid of extras but does good work delivering a fantastic picture delivering vibrant colors, dark blacks, and a respect for the original grain.
De Sade [Scorpion]
What is it? A look into the mind of a sadist.
Why see it? The Marquis de Sade’s tastes in sexual play led to the coining of a new word, but he wasn’t always interested in inflicting pain on others. This fictional biopic (of sorts) explores his life through flashbacks, stage plays, and artistic choices, and it reveals a man shaped by the cruel whims of others. T&A is more a focus than actual acts of sadism, though, as aside from some “playful” whippings and slaps the film’s more interested in simple debauchery. Still, it’s an oddity with its script by the master Richard Matheson and a creepy supporting turn by John Huston.
[Extras: New 2K master, commentary, interview]
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde [Warner Archive]
What is it? An adaptation of the classic tale by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Why see it? Spencer Tracy was one of Hollywood’s greatest, and this early film sees him tackling a classic tale of horror. He plays both the respectable doctor and the insidious madman within, and he does equally good work with both halves of the personality. The film itself is a pretty straightforward adaptation, and while it lacks real energy or terror it’s more than watchable thanks to this performance. Add in Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner, and you have a movie worth it for the cast alone.
What is it? A teen struggles after his apartment complex is set for demolition.
Why see it? Imagination is often the key to surviving life’s more stressful and damaging events, and that’s the key theme with this drama from France. Yuri has always had dreams, but after his home is set to be destroyed he and some friends put their imaginations to good use. It’s all for naught, of course, but that doesn’t mean things can’t end with a dose of magical realism. Budgetary restrictions are clear, but solid performances from a young cast and an embrace of emotional logic makes for a compelling debut.
Girls Nite Out [Arrow Video]
What is it? A killer in a bear costume is killing coeds.
Why see it? A small college town is home to a vicious string of murders that might be connected to a madman’s actions from decades earlier, and only Hal Holbrook can solve it! Well, Holbrook and a couple college kids. This early 80s slasher delivers some familiar enough stalking s and killings, but it has fun with its story and red herrings, not to mention its killer in a wholly inconspicuous bear suit. Arrow’s new Blu-ray gives the film a better presentation than its ever seen before meaning fans will be more than pleased.
[Extras: New 2K restoration, commentary, interviews]
Infinite [4K UHD]
What is it? A man discovers he’s had past lives.
Why see it? I’ll defend Mark Wahlberg’s comedic abilities to the end, but his success as a lead in an action film or drama is always going to be a rarity. That’s doubly the case when a script as poor as Infinite‘s is his blueprint. My review gets into more detail, but the gist of the issues come down to a plot that feels lifted wholesale from a few other far better movies. The parts that are “original” all fall flat, and Wahlberg’s bland performance as “the one” isn’t helping anything. Everyone involved has done far better work.
What is it? A rambling, engaging, and inconsistent hang-out movie set in early 70s Los Angeles.
Why see it? Paul Thomas Anderson films will always be worth watching, and while his latest isn’t quite a home run its pieces and atmosphere make it one you don’t want to see end. Cooper Hoffman plays a teen who’s both full of himself and in love with an older girl he just met (played by Alana Haim). The film kind of meanders through their summer, pausing for interactions, random set-pieces, and more. It’s funny at times with the movie’s highlight being an appearance by Bradley Cooper, but there’s also a sadness to it that’s not always acknowledged. That last line is the most depressing finale of any film last year, so don’t go in expecting the romance that some have labeled the film to be. My full review is here.
Outside the Law
What is it? Three brothers fight for independence.
Why see it? The end of World War II wasn’t the end of war, and even as the Allies celebrated the citizens of Algeria kept fighting for independence from France. This decades-spanning drama follows three brothers who saw their parents decimated by French rule, and as each goes about fighting back in their own way they’re all eventually led back together for a final rebellious push. Plenty of drama follows with brief bursts of violence to keep things lively.
[Extras: Featurette, interviews]
Two Men in Town
What is it? One man targets another.
Why see it? Forest Whitaker and Harvey Keitel aren’t exactly a pairing that immediately comes to mind, but they do strong work here. Whitaker is an ex-con trying to get his life back on track, and Keitel is the small town sheriff intent on making sure that doesn’t happen. Add in some outlaws from Whitaker’s past who show up causing trouble, and the fuse is lit for a dramatic thriller and showdown.
Without Warning [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? An alien stalks a small rural area.
Why see it? Jack Palance and Martin Landau might make for a better pairing in 1982’s Alone in the Dark, but they’re still good, unsettling fun in this low-budget alien horror film. Greydon Clark’s film follows a quartet of friends (including a very young David Caruso) who wander into an alien’s hunting ground, and soon they and the locals are under attack. The alien uses cool, little biological disc with hungry tendrils, and they’re one of the few highlights here outside of the acting legends. Kino’s new disc updates the Scream Factory release from a few years ago with a 2K master.
[Extras: New 2K master, commentary, interviews]
Also out this week:
A Day to Die, Death Valley, Escape from New York [4K UHD, Scream Factory], Extreme Prejudice [Vestron Video], The Funeral [Criterion Collection], The Last Kingdom, Slasher: Flesh and Blood, Sundown, Wyrmwood Apocalypse
Related Topics: Home Video