Welcome back! Time once again to check out the highlights of what’s arriving on DVD and Blu-ray. There’s definitely some interesting stuff to be found, although a few of the best releases may be for classic films. You can read all about them below, and click on any links you see to read detailed reviews. So if you can’t make it out to the movies this week, be sure to give one of these titles at try!
Big New Releases!
Army of One – This eccentric comedy follows a man who has a vision from God. The Supreme Being tells him to go to Pakistan and hunt down Osama Bin Laden. However, after arriving and meeting the locals as well as old acquaintances, his views begin to change. There aren’t many reviews online for this independent title, but the ones that have appeared are split. All thought it was totally unique. Some felt the humor didn’t work, others stated that the sweetness and strangeness on display made up for it. Nicolas Cage, Russell Brand, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Rainn Wilson and Paul Scheer headline.
The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years – Ron Howard directs this documentary about the famous band. It uses archival footage as well as interviews to show the band’s years touring and how their time on the road altered the group dynamic. Critics all seemed to enjoy the picture. While a few commented that there wasn’t a lot of new insight here, many still found it to be an enjoyable documentary with some phenomenal color concert footage and an impressive new audio mix. If your a fan, you might want it simply for the sound upgrade.
Cardboard Boxer – A desperate man living on Skid Row in Los Angeles is coerced by wealthy teens to fight other homeless persons for money. The forced conflict with others on the street takes its toll, but he finds some solace after finding a lost diary. Reviews weren’t very strong for this drama, admiring the work of the actors but claiming that the movie doesn’t get dark or gritty enough to really make an impact. It stars Thomas Hayden Church, Terrence Howard, Boyd Holbrook and Macy Gray.
Cosmos – The final film from Polish director Andrzej Zulawski (best known for the strange 1982 horror flick, Possession) follows a man who has just failed his law-school examinations. He and a friend head to a guest house, where they experience some bad omens; their behavior begins to become more erratic. Notices for this foreign-language arthouse effort were quite good, calling it fantastically shot and interestingly surreal. Sabine Azema, Jean Francois-Balmer and Johan Libereau headline the feature.
Finding Dory – A fish suffering from amnesia attempts to find her long lost parents in this animated Pixar hit and sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo. Of course, many characters from the original film return and offer assistance along the way. This feature made massive sums of money over the summer and got good reviews overall. All admitted the story was slight, a few found it repetitive and several believed wasn’t quite as impressive as its predecessor. Yet, write-ups complimented the vocal performances work and found it to be excellent family entertainment despite these caveats. Ellen Degeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Idris Elba, Dominic West, Kate McKinnon, Bill Hader and Sigourney Weaver bring the characters to life. You can read the site’s review of the film here.
Fort Tilden – Two twenty-something friends at a crossroads in life decide to spend a day at the beach. As they travel towards their destination, they attempt to figure out what they’re going to do with their lives. Reaction to this indie comedy was quite strong. While most wrote that these weren’t the nicest characters (in fact, they’re pretty self-involved and awful) and suggested that the movie was frequently discomforting, they also complimented it for being well-written and possessing a certain authenticity. The cast includes Bridey Elliott, Clare McNulty and Reggie Watts.
Blasts From the Past!
There’s a ton of stuff arriving this week, so let’s get right to it. C.H.U.D. (1984) is a cult horror B-movie about the title characters (Cannibal Humanistic Underground Dwellers) terrorizing New Yorkers. Arrow Video have brought the film to Blu-ray as a two disc set that features loads of extras, including the Director’s Cut and Theatrical Cut of the film, two commentary tracks, interviews with crew members, a still collection and other great extras. It’s a very fun release with plenty of entertaining extras. You can read all about it right here.
Not to be outdone, Olive Films have a great collection of titles arriving on Blu-ray. They include the period biopic Carrington (1995) starring Emma Thompson and Jonathan Pryce. You can also pick up Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes (2003), an ensemble piece featuring tons of famous faces, including Bill Murray, RZA, Tom Waits, Steve Buscemi, Iggy Pop, Cate Blanchett and numerous others discussing various things while sipping java. A full review of the disc is available right here.
But that’s not all. Tony Curtis takes on the title role in Houdini (1953), a biopic of the famous escape artist. The famed French WWI flick J’accuse (1938) aka I Accuse is hitting high definition too. This exceptional film from famed director Abel Gance (Napoleon) has been nearly impossible to find for decades. Read all about it here.
They also Blu-rays of the Dorothy Lamour drama Lulu Belle (1948) and the Oscar-nominated adventure flick One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1942). The latter is from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, known for 40s classics like Black Narcissus, The Red Shoes as well as the 60s chiller, Peeping Tom. Olive also are releasing ‘Pimpernel’ Smith (1941) in high definition.
That’s already plenty, but there are also a couple Olive Signature Edition titles arriving this week. Hannie Caulder (1971) is a Western starring Raquel Welch as a woman out for revenge. It also features Robert Culp and Ernest Borgnine. Besides a new restoration of the picture, this disc comes with a commentary track from Western fan and film director Alex Cox. Additionally, there is an examination of this type of film and a piece on the studio who produced it. Read a review of the disc here. They also have Orson Welles’ take on Shakespeare’s MacBeth (1948). That Blu-ray comes with a new restoration of two cuts of the film, an audio commentary with a Welles biographer, as well as numerous interviews and making-of featurettes.
And we’re just getting started. Shout! Factory are bringing the ‘creepy’ with David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers (1988). Jeremy Irons plays identical twins with a medical practice who start dating the same woman. This two-disc Collector’s Edition includes a crazy amount of extras. They include the theatrical feature with two audio commentaries; one with actor Irons and a new one featuring a Cronenberg historian. The second feature contains a new transfer of the movie at the director’s preferred aspect ratio, as well as new interviews with cast and crew. Looks like an interesting release. They also have the Dustin Hoffman version of Death of a Salesman (1985) coming your way.
Criterion have lots of material too. Breathless (1960) is arguably French filmmaker’s Jean-Luc Godard’s most famous work. While they’ve put it out on Blu-ray before, it has been long out-of-print and is now getting a reissue. They also have the gorgeously shot Japanese effort, Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams (1990). The movie includes several vignettes representing imaginings and nightmares. The disc itself comes loaded with bonuses. Besides a new 4K transfer of the feature, there’s a film scholar commentary, a 2 and 1/2 hour documentary on the production, interviews with crew members and much more.
Finally, Criterion have the eccentric and compelling romance, Punch-Drunk Love (2002), starring Adam Sandler and Emily Watson. I’m a big fan of this one, which features an odd, pudding-obsessed loner who falls for woman but must battle with his psychological issues to be with her. The Blu-ray comes with all kinds of extras that include all the bonuses from the DVD release (like deleted scenes) way back in 2003, as well as new interviews with crew members and featurettes on the production.
And Kino have some noteworthy Blu-ray titles. There’s a box set called The Buster Keaton Collection: 14 Disc Set which contains numerous silent films starring the performer, including one of his most famous efforts, The General (1926). They also have the film noir Boomerang! (1947) and the Joan Crawford drama, Daisy Kenyon (1947). Film noir fans can pick up the Oscar-winner for Best Writing, The House on 92nd Street (1945). Finally, Kino have the well-regarded Scott Glenn action flick, Man on Fire (1987). He plays an ex-FBI agent tasked with protecting a little girl. If this sounds familiar, it’s may be because the movie was remade in 2004 with Denzel Washington.
Citizen Kane (1941) is generally considered one of, if not the best movies ever made. Sony are putting out a 75th Anniversary Blu-ray edition. One imagines that it’s probably the same disc as the 70th Anniversary version, but those who don’t own it can at least find it a little easier now.
Perhaps because everyone else is putting something out this week, Warner Archive have decided to get in on the action as well. They are distributing a Blu-ray of the sci-fi thriller Time After Time (1979). It follows author H.G. Welles, who must transport himself to the modern 20th century (meaning the late 70s) after Jack the Ripper steals a time machine and continues his murderous crimes in San Francisco. If memory serves, it’s a fun little thriller and features Malcolm McDowell, Mary Steenburgen and David Warner. Warner Archive are also making several Westerns available as made-to-order DVDs. They include Montana (1950), Rocky Mountain (1950), San Antonio (1945) and Virginia City (1940).
Finally, Panama Films are making a DVD available of the long-lost, dune buggy heist flick Flash and the Firecat (1975). And by that, I mean the robbers use dune buggies to steal cash, they don’t actually steal those goofy looking vehicles.
You Know, For Kids!
Here are a couple of releases that children’s might enjoy.
Peanuts Holiday Collection: Anniversary Edition
Star Trek: The Animated Series
On the Tube!
And here’s what’s new on TV!
Better Call Saul: Season 2
Community: The Complete Series
Cook’s Country: Season 9 (PBS)
Game of Thrones: Season 6
Game of Thrones: Season 1 – 6 Box Set
The Living and the Dead (BBC)
Looking: The Complete Series & Movie (HBO)
The Lucy Show: The Complete Series
McMillan & Wife: The Complete Series Collection (All 40 movies from The NBC Mystery Movies)
The Mindy Project: Season 4
Nash Bridges: The Complete Series
NYPD Blue: Season 11
Peanuts Holiday Collection: Anniversary Edition
The Rifleman: Season 3, Vol. 2
Star Trek: The Animated Series
The Syndicate: All or Nothing
Wentworth: Season 1