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 December 7th, 2021!
This week’s home video selection includes Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 4K UHD, a hilarious werewolf flick, and more. Check out our picks below.
Pick of the Week
Who Framed Roger Rabbit [4K UHD]
What is it? A gruff private eye is tasked with helping a cartoon rabbit accused of murder.
Why see it? Pop culture crossovers used to be a lot more common with characters slipping in and out of other properties, but it’s just not something we see anymore these days. Why? Because corporations are assholes. Anyway, this comedic noir blending live action and animation brings together new characters and old alike — Roger Rabbit crosses paths with Daffy Duck (WB!) and Donald Duck (Disney!) and dozens of others, and the result is some kind of madcap genius. It’s a fast-moving romp with a sharp script, energetic direction by Robert Zemeckis, and some big, cartoon-centric laughs. Plus Bob Hoskins as the PI who hates toons? And Christopher Lloyd as a legitimately unsettling villain? Now in 4K?! Yeah, this is a must own, people.
[Extras: Commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes]
Beavis and Butthead Do America
What is it? MTV’s idiot kids take off on an epic cross-country road trip.
Why see it? I’ll be honest, most of Mike Judge’s antics really aren’t my bag. I see the appeal, and I know they’re beloved, but Office Space aside, his humor just isn’t really for me. That said, it’s hard to discount some of this feature’s appeal as Beavis and Butthead encounter a variety of oddball characters leading to some entertaining interactions as dumb meets dumber. The bigger reason I’m giving this a “best” spot, though, is that fans should be ecstatic that the movie is finally hitting Blu-ray twenty-five years after its release.
[Extras: Commentary by Mike Judge, featurettes]
Busting [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? Two cops cause trouble in pursuit of good.
Why see it? Peter Hyams’ feature debut is a 70s cop flick that gives no fucks about your delicate sensibilities. Elliott Gould and Robert Blake talk non-pc smack, shoot wildly in crowds, and refuse to follow their chief’s orders. They’re wild cards I tell ya, wild cards! Hyams makes great use of a Steadicam, the action beats are solidly to the point, and the script has fun even as it spews cynicism across the screen. Kino’s new Blu is a solid release with a new HD remaster, and both commentary tracks are worth a listen.
[Extras: Commentaries with director Peter Hyams and Elliott Gould]
What is it? A bad guy lands in jail, and another follows with murderous intentions.
Why see it? Joe Carnahan’s latest is arguably his best and most entertaining movie — ironic seeing as he reportedly had a bad time with it and won’t even talk about it. Frank Grillo is arrested for bad behavior, and shortly thereafter Gerard Butler lands in the cage too. All is not as it seems, and soon the remote police station becomes a slaughterhouse as violence erupts between those inside and those who arrive looking for trouble. The action is thrilling, entertaining stuff, and the script keeps things lively with both laughs and engaging character beats. It’s just a wildly entertaining ride.
Harold and Maude [Paramount Presents]
What is it? A young man with a death fetish falls for a much older woman.
Why see it? Hal Ashby’s iconic and unforgettable coming of age film gets a sharp new release with a new remaster and a fun, informative commentary from fans Cameron Crowe and Larry Karaszewski. Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon are an absolute delight here and do terrific work with the film’s blackly comic script. It’s a love story, one that’s never consummated but no less sincere for it. Cat Stevens’ music is timeless and adds to the emotional effect, and by the time death comes calling you can’t help but feel caught up in these people’s experience.
[Extras: Commentary with Cameron Crowe, interview with Cat Stevens]
Krampus – The Naughty Cut [Scream Factory]
What is it? A young boy unwittingly calls Krampus.
Why see it? Michael Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat is one of the best Halloween horror movies, and Krampus is one of the better tales of Christmas terror. Both films focus on blending humor with the horror, and Krampus finds support there in a strong cast including Adam Scott, Toni Collette, and David Koechner. Cookies comes alive, mischievous elves attack, toys turn deadly, and fun is had as the family is targeted by the big and menacing Krampus. This new release sees Scream Factory unleash the previously unreleased “naughty” cut adding some R-rated dialogue into the mix. Fans will want to upgrade for that and the new Dolby Atmos sound mix.
[Extras: Commentary with Michael Dougherty, interviews, deleted scenes, gag reel, featurettes]
Let’s Scare Jessica to Death [Imprint]
What is it? A woman leaves an asylum behind but finds more madness waiting.
Why see it? The 70s were the best decade for movies for many reasons, but one is the raw feeling captured in films like this. Low budget but not amateurish, low-key but not one-note, the atmosphere here as a three people head to a remote estate feels almost as if the camera is capturing real life. Zohra Lampert’s performance in the title role is magnificent and teases the edge of genuine anxiety, fear, and madness. There are some solidly unsettling sequences here as she begins to think an undead woman is stalking her every move, and the film captures that paranoia beautifully.
[Extras: Commentaries, interviews, featurette]iud
The Long Goodbye [KL Studio Classics
What is it? A private eye investigates bad behaviors in Los Angeles.
Why see it? Robert Altman’s inspired and odd take on the famed Philip Marlowe sees Elliott Gould at the top of his game in a beautiful, rambling mystery. It’s funny and weird, sexy and strange, and it’s unafraid to get mean when necessary (up to and including the ending). The tone and delivery will put some off, but if you can settle into its relaxed vibes a terrific and unique tale awaits. Kino’s previously released this one, but it’s now here with a smart 4K facelift and a bunch of extras.
[Extras: New 4K master, commentary, featurettes]
The Medusa Touch [Imprint]
What is it? A man believes he can cause death and destruction merely by thinking of it.
Why see it? Richard Burton’s late career saw him walking day drunk through many of his roles, and that probably applies to this late 70s thriller as well. That said, Burton is fantastic as a haunted man, haunted by his belief that he’s killed people with his mind. A detective attached to the case starts to suspect there may be something to it, but is it madness or actual psychic powers? The film builds to an engrossing finale, and as this is a region-free release with some solid extras it’s well worth a pick-up.
[Extras: Commentary, video essay, interview, featurette]
Mr. Majestyk [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A melon farmer takes on the mob.
Why see it? People love Charles Bronson’s westerns and Death Wish films, and I do too, but my favorite from his filmography has always been Mr. Majestyk. Richard Fleischer directs from Elmore Leonard’s script, and Bronson is just perfection as a mild mannered man who only wants to get his damn watermelons to market — and he would if it wasn’t for a rude mobster and his cronies. Great action beats, a sharp script, and a hero to root for make for a fantastic time. As with the entry above, this is a re-release from Kino with a new 2K master.
[Extras: New 2K master, commentary, interviews]
Number Seventeen [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A hobo finds a corpse, and a detective finds trouble.
Why see it? It’s a beautiful world for many reasons, but one is that it’s still possible to find new to me movies from Alfred freaking Hitchcock. This entry is from the early 30s, and it’s a witty little mystery that unfolds mostly in a single location — a house holding both a body and secrets. That contained nature takes a turn in the final act and goes out with a bang involving a chase and a set-piece built with miniatures. It’s a terrific little film.
[Extras: 4K restoration, commentary, documentary, interview]
One Night in Miami [Criterion Collection]
What is it? A fictional meeting of legends.
Why see it? Regina King’s feature directorial debut is a character piece, of sorts, concerned with four unforgettable real-life characters. Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown meet and exchange pleasantries, verbal blows, and ideas, and it’s a fascinating “what if” scenario speaking to the state of America both then and now. The four leads — Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Leslie Odom Jr., and Aldis Hodge — are terrific and bring both charisma and intensity to these men, and they also bring them to life. It’s as entertaining as it is enlightening, and it’s a welcome addition to the Criterion Collection. The disc includes plenty of extras offering an additional glimpse into the film and these legends.
[Extras: 4K master, interviews, featurettes]
Stir of Echoes [Imprint]
What is it? A man begins seeing visions of very bad things.
Why see it? David Koepp’s filmography is a mixed bag, but this adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel sees him in fine form as both writer and director. It’s a haunted house tale, of sorts, that pits a terrific Kevin Bacon against the ghostly images swirling around in his head and before his eyes. Atmospheric scares and a good central mystery make for an engaging thriller with supernatural threads all coming together for an affecting and intense third act.
[Extras: Commentary by David Koepp, interviews, featurettes, deleted scenes]
What is it? A park ranger discovers a monster in a small town.
Why see it? Josh Ruben’s latest is as delightful a horror/comedy as you’re likely to find, and it’s also one of the best video game adaptations you’re likely to see. Sam Richardson stars as the park ranger who lands at a small, rural community just as some kind of beast — human or otherwise — isolates the town and begins knocking off the residents. It’s very funny, manages some minor (but fun) gore beats, and delivers an entertaining mystery building to a wonderfully ferocious finale. Is there even a werewolf? Gotta watch to find out!
21 Hours at Munich [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A dramatic recounting of the tragic terror attack at the Olympics.
Why see it? The terrorist attack at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany was an act of brutal cowardice, and it’s been dramatized more than a few times on the screen. This feature from 1976 takes a straightforward approach and includes some actual footage from the Olympics, and it’s not played for thrills. I can only assume it’s accurate in its details, and if so it’s clear that the German police bungled their handling and reading of the situation at nearly every turn. It’s a pretty bleak watch, accordingly.
Blue Monkey [Code Red]
What is it? An insect-like creature invades a hospital.
Why see it? The cover art for this one — also known as Insect — was always an intriguing mainstay on video store shelves in the late 80s, and while the movie itself can’t live up to the art it manages some minor fun. Steve Railsback takes the lead as a cop forced to confront the beast, and as B-movies go this one doesn’t even feature a monkey. When the practical effects do come there’s fun to be had, but there’s not nearly enough of it.
Body Parts [Imprint]
What is it? A limb transplant starts acting of its own accord.
Why see it? Eric Red will forever be enshrined in genre history for his script of The Hitcher and his werewolf gem Bad Moon. This somewhat familiar chiller can’t live up to their highs, but it still delivers some solid thrills alongside an unhinged performance from Jeff Fahey. He plays a psychologist who loses his arm in an accident, and the new one they attach has a violent history that isn’t quite finished. The disc includes some strong extras with a commentary by Red along with some insightful interviews.
[Extras: Commentaries, interviews, deleted scenes]
Broadcast Signal Intrusion
What is it? A young man discovers a conspiracy in the late 90s.
Why see it? There can never really be enough conspiracy thriller movies, and I can only suspect that someone somewhere is limiting how many we get each year. I will find the truth! Anyway, this indie genre effort fits the conspiracy mold to solid effect as a man discovers weird details behind some video tapes. The imagery delivers some unsettling imagery thanks in part to various masks, and while the end loses steam and peters out the film is still worth a watch.
Checkered Flag and Crash [Code Red]
What is it? An offroad race in Manila leads to adventure.
Why see it? Joe Don Baker and Susan Sarandon are an odd pairing, but they make the most of it as a race driver and the journalist assigned with riding along for the story. Larry Hagman co-stars as the race promoter, and while there’s some minor hijinks along the way this PG-rated tale is mostly about the race and minimal shenanigans. A bit too much of the action is slow-mo, but we still get some fun stunts and collisions.
[Extras: New 2K master]
Dear Evan Hansen
What is it? An idiot gets caught up in a lie.
Why see it? Dear Evan Hansen is a dopey movie. A bad one even. Ben Platt originated the role on Broadway, but while he’s too damn old to be playing a highschooler he forges ahead anyway without success. Unintentional comedy and an insanely unlikable lead character — who we’re supposed to root for — makes this drama an obnoxious and unfortunate watch. The core premise becomes more untenable by the second.
Get Crazy [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A rock and roll concert might save a venue or see it destroyed.
Why see it? Allan Arkush captured the energy of the youth with Rock n Roll High School, and while this effort can’t come close to the same it still finds energy and fun in its execution. A concert venue in Los Angeles is targeted for takeover by Ed Begley Jr., but a successful concert could hold him off. What are the odds given that the staff is silly, drugged up, and looking to score, the fans are wild, and the night takes one weird turn after the next. Daniel Stern, Malcolm McDowell, and more familiar faces bring the silliness.
[Extras: New 2K master, commentary, documentary, featurette]
The Gift [Imprint]
What is it? A psychic is targeted by a killer.
Why see it? Sam Raimi gathers together a terrific cast for his slice of southern horror/thriller — Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi, Keanu Reeves, Katie Holmes, Kim Dickens, Greg Kinnear, and Hilary Swank — but none of them can overcome a lackluster script. There’s an intended mystery at the heart of it all, one that never really hooks viewers, and while Raimi captures the atmosphere of the region the oppressive feel of it all is wilting fast. Still, that cast is pretty great.
[Extras: Commentary, interviews, featurettes]
Hard Target [4K UHD, KL Studio Classics]
What is it? JCVD takes a turn at the most dangerous game.
Why see it? John Woo’s Hollywood debut is a fun 90s movie that doesn’t reinvent the action wheel. Jean-Claude Van Damme stars as a drifter who gets caught up in the investigation of a friend’s death at the hands of wealthy hunters killing human targets in New Orleans. Woo edits too much of the action in choppy slow-mo for my tastes, but the beats he lets speak for themselves impress. Plus, and this can’t be understated, Van Damme punches out a rattlesnake. Kino’s new release looks fantastic with its 4K restoration, but a mastering error has resulted in an audio error on the 4K disc — the Blu-ray is fine — which is being replaced by the company.
[Extras: New 4K restoration, commentary, interviews]
Also out this week:
Angels with Dirty Faces [Warner Archive], Big Doll House, Broken Lullaby [KL Studio Classics], Creepshow – Season 2, Cry Macho, God’s Not Dead – 4-Movie Collection, Gomorrah – Second Season, The Karate Kid Collection [4K UHD], The Monkey King Reborn, One Shot, Rick and Morty – Season 5, Ron’s Gone Wrong, Shirobako: The Movie