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 January 25th, 2022!
This week’s home video selection includes 4K UHD upgrades, a Hitchcock film, and more. Check out our picks below.
Pick of the Week
The Piano [Criterion, 4K UHD]
What is it? A woman finds desire in an unlikely place.
Why see it? Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog is currently a Best Picture hopeful, but her talents as a filmmaker have been on display for quite some time. Her 1993 feature received plenty of acclaim as well, and it’s all well-deserved. Holly Hunter stars as a mute woman with a young daughter, and the two are shipped off to an arranged marriage in New Zealand with Sam Neill. Of course, it’s Harvey Keitel who floats her boat… Criterion’s new 4K UHD captures Campion’s film (and those landscapes!) in all its beauty making it well-worth the upgrade.
[Extras: Commentary, interviews, featurette, short film]
The Lover [4K UHD]
What is it? Marguerite Dumas’ bestselling autobiography comes to sumptuous life.
Why see it? Jane March headlines as a young Dumas finding love and sexual pleasure with a older man. It’s a controversial tale, and director Jean-Jacques Annaud doesn’t shy away from the scenes that bring those concerns to the screen. If you can accept the reality behind the premise — Dumas is only fifteen, but March was eighteen at the time of filming — then the film is a gorgeously shot drama about finding yourself. The Vietnamese countryside is beautiful, and the film captures the period details extremely well as it tells a very intimate coming of age tale. The sex scenes are sweaty, atmospheric, and erotically charged, but there’s more to the film than just the lust. This new 4K UHD release looks exquisite, and the interview with Dumas, an older one, is a must-listen after watching the film.
[Extras: Interview, deleted scenes, featurette]
Sleep [Arrow Video]
What is it? A young woman finds a mystery in her mother’s dreams.
Why see it? Michael Venus’ atmospheric tale touching on dreams, nightmares, fables, and the horrors of history is a slow burn well worth your time. A young woman explores real-world connections to the dreams that have paralyzed her mother, and the revelations and turns that follow are a blend of surprising, weird, and chilling. It moves at its own dreamlike pace, but memorable visuals and a sense of nightmarish dread are rarely less than compelling. Watch the film and then check out the visual essay by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas for insight and clarity.
[Extras: Commentary, visual essays, interviews, deleted scenes, booklet]
Delirium [Severin Films]
What is it? A vigilante becomes the bigger threat.
Why see it? This late 70s oddity isn’t a good movie, but its creation is more than a little interesting. The director took an unfinished film and then shot new footage focused on an unrelated plot — and then he mashed them together. The different threads are clear throughout making for an uneven watch, and while various genre elements are present including bloody violence and T&A, it’s enough of a mess that they really can’t help. Severin’s new Blu-ray is a gift for fans, though.
Don’t Go in the House [Severin Films]
What is it? A madman kills women.
Why see it? Physical media really is fantastic, and you need look no further than Severin’s killer new release of a mediocre slasher. The film is about a dude who lures women home only to burn them alive in his lead-lined furnace room. It’s cheap and mean and a curiosity as one of the UK’s video nasties. This 2-disc Blu-ray, though, is packed to the gills with enough goodies to make fans very, very happy. Three different cuts, each remastered, plus loads of extras make this a must-own for fans.
[Extras: New 2K scan, 3 versions of the film, commentaries, interviews, featurettes]
Stage Fright [Warner Archive]
What is it? A woman tries to help a friend framed for murder.
Why see it? Alfred Hitchcock’s earlier films might lack the flash and popularity of his later work, but there’s typically still plenty to enjoy. This entry is a fine example as it sets up a whodunnit with both misdirection and some gallows humor on its way to a solid conclusion. The cast includes some heavy hitters like Marlene Dietrich and Jane Wyman, and while they’re not enough to lift it towards greatness they add to the general appeal.
Also out this week:
Bagdad Cafe [Shout Select], The Brain Eaters [Scream Factory], Dancing With Crime/The Green Cockatoo, Dick Johnson is Dead [Criterion], Gomorrah – Season 3, Kamen Rider: Zero-One, Lamb [A24]
Related Topics: Home Video