The highlight has to be a spectacular LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (226 mins., PG) with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos enhancement. A title that’s long been a flagship for Columbia across many prior home video formats, “Lawrence” debuts on 4K UHD much faster than it inexplicably took it to land on Blu-Ray, and the gains in the staggering visuals of David Lean’s classic are nearly incalculable when taken in on a large screen: colors, details, everything is enhanced by the HDR and clarity of this disc, which also includes a majestic Atmos audio track and a new reconstruction of an unused international text prologue which Lean felt wasn’t necessary. A second disc of extras includes a full array of interviews, documentaries, archival featurettes and other supplements pulled from previous format discs.
Stanley Kubrick’s DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB (94 mins., 1963, PG) and the Jimmy Stewart-Frank Capra classic MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (129 mins., 1939) are also on-hand, each enhanced by 2160p UHD transfers (as well as DTS MA soundtracks reprised from their Blu-Ray releases), while more comparatively contemporary offerings can be found with the inclusion of Richard Attenborough’s Oscar winner GANDHI (191 mins., 1982, PG), the Penny Marshall female baseball comedy A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (127 mins., 1992, PG), and Cameron Crowe’s Tom Cruise hit JERRY MAGUIRE (138 mins., 1996, R), which earned an Oscar for Cuba Gooding, Jr.’s memorable supporting turn. The latter trio also boast new Dolby Atmos soundtracks that make their debut in this package.
On the supplemental side, all the extras from the respective films have been carried over with some new, exclusive materials. These include three episodes from “A League of Their Own”’s 1993 TV series incarnation, along with a podcast interview between Crowe and Alec Baldwin on “Jerry Maguire” and a fresh featurette on “Strangelove” looking at Kubrick and his direction of the 1963 black comic masterpiece. Digital HD copies, a bonus DVD (with excerpts from a 1975 Columbia 50th Anniversary TV special and the doc “Mr. Attenborugh and Mr. Gandhi”) round out the release – a much-needed, and superbly produced, 4K anthology that’s a perfect pick-up for movie buffs.
Note that Sony is currently polling consumers about titles to include in an upcoming Volume 2 release, which could potentially open the door for genre faves “Fright Night,” “Krull” and “Real Genius” to receive the 4K UHD treatment.
Also debuting this week in a 4K UHD anthology is Universal’s THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK CLASSICS COLLECTION, a four-film compilation sporting all-new, HDR-enhanced editions of “Rear Window,” “Vertigo,” “Psycho” and “The Birds.” In general, these transfers show an overall enhancement on their Blu-Ray predecessors, though the restorations are not quite on a level with the discs in Sony’s Columbia Classics package.
REAR WINDOW (115 mins., 1954, PG) offers a more balanced transfer with richer blacks than its well-worn Blu-Ray edition, which seems blander by comparison. Still, whether or not it’s due to the source materials themselves, this is arguably the least significant upgrade of the four films present here, without much benefit of HDR on-hand. Universal’s 4K UHD includes a DTS MA dual-mono soundtrack; extras ported over from its 2012 BD include a commentary by Hitchcock historian John Fawell, a pair of tributes to Hitch offering comments from directors like Scorsese, Carpenter, Del Toro and others, and an interesting interview between Hitch and Francois Truffaut (often with the help of a translator) from 1962. Other extras ported over from prior releases include trailers and an hour-long documentary on the production.
PSYCHO (109 mins., 1960, R) has been clearly given more TLC in terms of its UHD transfer, which between its stark blacks and general crispness, usurps its earlier Blu-Ray releases. The high-bit rate presentation is enhanced with HDR and two different cuts of the movie: the original theatrical release as well as – for the first time in the U.S. – the Unrated edition with the “shower scene” and a few other seconds in their unexpurgated glory. Both versions are on-hand in both Universal’s UHD and remastered Blu-Ray (the only Blu-Ray here that’s not just a reprise of its last format presentation), along with supplements from the prior BD. Among these are commentary from historian Stephen Rebello, another “tribute”-themed featurette featuring many of the same directors from the “Rear Window” supplements, more of the audio conversation between Truffaut and Hitch, plus a huge assortment of extras from earlier DVD editions. The 7.1 DTS:X remixed stereo audio is superb but pursists will be disappointed to find out the included mono soundtrack is actually a fold-down of the remix and not the movie’s original soundtrack.
VERTIGO (130 mins., 1958, PG-13), which has never been one of my favorite Hitchcocks, falls somewhere between “Psycho” and the other two pictures in terms of its transfer. HDR highlights in the movie’s color cinematography are much more impressive here than either “Rear Window” or “The Birds,” though the transfer lacks the crisp detail of the “Psycho” remaster. On the whole, though, this is a strong UHD presentation with 7.1 DTS:X stereo sound (note the 2.0 DTS MA track does offer the original mono soundtrack) and extras including a commentary with William Friedkin (the older commentary with associate producer Herbert Coleman and restoration producers Robert A. Harris and James C. Katz is present on the included Blu-Ray), a documentary profile on “Hitchcock’s Collaborators” (from Saul Bass to Bernard Herrmann), more of the Hitchcock-Truffaut interviews, and all the terrific extras from releases past.
Finally there’s THE BIRDS (120 mins., 1963, PG-13), which due to its many special effects, has always had a grainy, rough appearance on home video – even in its previous Blu-Ray releases. Universal’s new 4K UHD tries to enhance the visual pallet with HDR but there’s only so much that can be done to deal with the numerous optical and composited special effects of its era, and the associated technical drawbacks that result from its source materials. DTS MA mono audio and other extras have, once again, been carried over from earlier releases (documentary, trailers, etc.)
Though not quite a home-run in terms of technical quality, this is still a very highly recommended package with its assorted visual enhancements, a Digital HD code and Blu-Ray copies of all four films included for good measure (though again, only “Psycho” is a new disc).
4K UHD Catalog Releases From Warner Home Video
Making its 4K UHD debut this month from Warner is THE GOONIES (114 mins., 1985, PG; Warner), the “Steven Spielberg Presents” adventure which entertained many a young viewer in the summer of ‘85 and for many years afterwards on the small-screen.
I was nearly 11 when “The Goonies” was originally released – the target audience for this heavily-promoted Warner Bros. production – but for some odd reason the picture never captivated me the way, say, “Gremlins” had the year before. Richard Donner’s expensive film, scripted by “Gremlins” scribe Chris Columbus, manages to incorporate some laughs and a degree of adventure as its young cast tries to find the long-lost treasure of One Eyed Willy in order to save their Oregon homes from an expanding country club. Run-ins with the Fratellis, a group of mobsters, and their deformed brother Sloth make for a picture that’s fun in spots but Donner’s annoying habit of having the kids talk on top of one another proves grating, especially for older viewers. The overall tone also comes off as a little forced, with the kids “having a good time” but not all of it translating to the audience – perhaps the key reason why this would-be franchise stalled out and ended up something of a disappointment for Donner and Spielberg, whose production company had a much bigger success later that same summer with “Back to the Future.”
Warner’s 4K UHD edition of “The Goonies” includes a very crisp, nicely textured HVEC encoded, HDR-enhanced transfer with 5.1 DTS MA audio, sporting a robust Dave Grusin score. Extras are carried over from prior releases, including its Donner/cast commentary, retrospective featurette, deleted scenes, trailer and music video of Cyndi Lauper’s memorable theme song, while the BD and a Digital HD code round out the disc.
Another Warner ’80s audience favorite premieres on UHD this week: BEETLEJUICE (92 mins., 1988, PG; Warner), via a no-frills 4K UHD presentation of Tim Burton’s 1988 afterlife comedy starring Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder. This one sports a fine HVEC encoded HDR transfer, deftly preserving the film’s colorful visuals and even odder characters, and a robust — if not always well-utilized — Dolby Atmos soundtrack, featuring a boisterous and memorable Danny Elfman score. Three episodes of the “Beetlejuice” animated cartoon are also on-hand, plus the trailer, the previously released Blu-Ray and a Digital HD copy.
Guy Ritchie’s moderately entertaining take on Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary sleuth SHERLOCK HOLMES (128 mins., 2009, PG-13; Warner) was a bit more boisterous and action-oriented than most purists liked, with Holmes (another terrific performance from Robert Downey, Jr.) essentially serving as a Victorian era super-hero who aims to stop a villain practicing the black arts named Lord Blackwood who’s recently returned from the grave. Jude Law essays Dr. Watson, who’s nearly as skilled in fighting as his partner, while Rachel McAdams appears as Irene Adler, the woman with the key to Holmes’ heart and a few other tricks (or is it kicks?) up her sleeve.
Fans of Conan Doyle’s writing and prior renditions of the 221B Baker Street detective may be put off by this free-wheeling “revisionist” adaptation of the iconic literary protagonist, and there are times when you’d wish Ritchie and writers Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham and Simon Kinberg would just slow, slow, slow the movie down — does everything today have to be a litany of CGI action scenes paced like a coming attractions trailer? That said the film clicked at the box-office, predictably, as a result, and at least it’s rich in visual invention with Philippe Rousselot’s cinematography being fascinating to look at, and the entire production first-class, anchored by Downey’s performance.
Warner’s 4K UHD proves to be a capable enhancement on the earlier Blu-Ray edition, with HDR adding more layers to the movie’s visuals. The disc otherwise reprieves the BD from the 5.1 DTS MA soundtrack down to a Making Of and a Digital HD copy.
After its commercial success, a sequel went quickly into production, though the inevitable 2011 follow-up, SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS (129 mins., PG-13; Warner), again exchanges trades wit and actual detective work for action scenes, visual effects and a convoluted plot – even more so than its predecessor.
This time out Holmes and Watson once again do battle (literally) with nefarious Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris), who initially targets Watson and his fiancee, but has grander designs on taking out Holmes – and ruling Europe – altogether. The duo team up with a gypsy (Noomi Rapace) as well as Inspector Lastrade (Eddie Marsan) and Holmes’ brother Mycroft (Stephen Fry) in an effort to stop Moriarty before, of course, it’s too late.
“A Game of Shadows” is sure to please fans of the original movie, but for everyone else, this mediocre sequel just offers more of the same: explosions, fisticuffs, great escapes, comedic disguises, and not nearly as much engaging character-driven interplay as there ought to be given the material and the actors. Watching this film I kept recalling how much more entertaining the “revisionist” 1988 comedy “Without a Clue” was, with Michael Caine as a stage performer acting out the “role” of Holmes as concocted by Ben Kingsley’s Dr. Watson. Here we have a pair of talented stars in Downey and Law, who work well together whenever the film takes a breath – but that seldom happens until late in the game, by which point Ritchie’s sequel had already given me a headache.
Warner’s 4K UHD includes a dynamic HDR enhanced transfer deftly rendering Philippe Rousselot’s richly textured cinematography, which is again one of the film’s strongest assets. The DTS MA audio is constantly active (as is Hans Zimmer’s hard-working score), while extra features include a “Maximum Movie Mode” interactive function with picture-in-picture segments, storyboards, still galleries and introductions with Downey. The BD and Digital HD copy round out the combo pack.
New From MVD
Looking back it’s difficult to figure how the low-budget, futuristic British sci-fi thriller SPLIT SECOND (91 mins., R; MVD Visual) managed to net a U.S. release in the spring of 1992 across 1100 theaters – pretty much a nationwide rollout at the time, and from an independent distributor, no less. This mash-up of traditional cop-buddy cliches, “Alien” and “Blade Runner” offers Rutger Hauer as the “unconventional” detective stalking a beast – who leaves notes at the scene of the crime, taunting his opponents! – as well as a number of talented personnel involved in its production. Regrettably, the film is compromised by meager production values and stodgy direction that severely limit the fun.
Boasting an early script by Gary Scott Thompson (writer of the original “The Fast and the Furious”), “Split Second” is set in one of those dreary movie futures – in this case, 2008, but a 2008 where global warming has turned parts of London into Waterworld. The movie’s scientific projections may have been humorously amiss, but it’s a secondary problem to a seriously claustrophobic looking film that mostly features Hauer and his by-the-book partner (Alastair Duncan) following a killer around damp corridors and sewers. It says something that Kim Cattrall taking a shower is one of the film’s highlights (she also looks like she just wandered off the set of “Star Trek VI” with her rough haircut), because even though Hauer is engaged, “Split Second” is so sickly-looking from a visual perspective that it’s hard to generate any enthusiasm for it. Stephen Norrington designed the creature effects, but they’re fleeting in their intensity, while director Tony Maylam (the equally listless “Riddle of the Sands”) helms with all the excitement of a rainy Sunday afternoon.
A movie that performed modestly in theaters, “Split Second” comes to Blu-Ray from MVD in a full-fledged Special Edition. The transfer (1.85) is reported to be a 4K presentation from the 35mm internegative, though the source looks pretty soft; faring better is an active and pleasing 2-channel PCM soundtrack that’s quite active when played back in Dolby Surround. Extras include an enjoyable new commentary from historian Mike Leeder and filmmaker Arne Venema; new interviews with Alastair Duncan, producer Laura Gregory, composer Stephen Parsons, line producer Laurie Borg, creature designer Cliff Wallace, and cinematographer Clive Tickner. Archival supplements include a 1992 featurette spotlighting Norrington (who went onto direct “Blade” and “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” before burning out), another featurette with the cast, the Japanese extended cut (taken off what appears to be a subtitled VHS tape) as well as its discarded sequences presented separately, TV spots, the trailer and a US home video promo.
Also New From MVD on Blu-Ray: Writer John Patrick Shanley’s film work includes a varied lot of classics (“Moonstruck”), cult faves (“Joe Versus the Volcano”) and the occasional “what the hell?” item like “The January Man” and his first original script, FIVE CORNERS (94 mins., 1987, R). This is a strange mix of nostalgic drama, comedy and off-kilter character study, set in the Bronx circa 1964. Jodie Foster stars in one of her first post-collegiate appearances, with Tim Robbins a well-meaning social activist and John Turturro an unhinged nut who’s out of prison and just as unstable as before. Tony Bill directed and shot this barely-released Handmade Films production on-location, and it’s consistently watchable in spite of varied performances and tonal shifts. None of it is helped by a heavy-handed synth score by James Newton Howard that’s so obtrusive, you wish there was a way to turn it off in certain sequences where it totally overpowers the actors. MVD’s Blu-Ray includes a passable 1080p (1.85) transfer and PCM mono sound, the trailer, and a podcaster commentary.
Martial arts veteran Bolo Yeung, who made appearances in “Enter the Dragon” and “Bloodsport,” later appeared in two low-grade, late ’80s genre exercises. MVD’s Double Feature Blu-Ray couples the English-shot, Japanese-produced BLOODFIGHT (1989, R) with the last film of “Dragon” director Robert Clouse, IRONHEART (1992, R), each featuring Yeung, albeit in varying degrees of involvement. MVD’s BD includes 1080p transfers and PCM stereo sound…Also new from MVD’s Rewind Collection is MIKEY (93 mins., 1992, R), a nasty little thriller starring “Family Ties” vet Brian Bonsall as an adolescent killer who ruins life for his new foster family. Josie Bissett and Ashley Laurence co-star with MVD’s BD sporting a new feature length (!) documentary on the film boasting Bosnell’s involvement; a featurette with director Dennis Dimster-Denk; the trailer; a 1080p (1.78) transfer and 2.0 PCM stereo sound…MAX RELOAD AND THE NETHER BLASTERS (101 mins., 2020, Unrated) is a labor of love from directors Scott Conditt and Jeremy Tremp, following a video game store clerk (Tom Plumley) who’s been launched into an unreal adventure after uncovering an ancient, lost cartridge. Greg Grunberg, Kevin Smith, Martin Kove and Wil Wheaton offer support with MVD’s Blu-Ray (2.35, 2.1 PCM audio) boasting bonus featurettes and the trailer.
Blue Underground New on 4K UHD
THE NEW YORK RIPPER 4K UHD/Blu-Ray (93 mins., 1982, Not Rated; Blue Underground): Lucio Fulci’s graphic and unsettling (if not downright exploitative) 1982 film splatters in full 4K courtesy of this new Blue Underground UHD, which also reprises its remastered BD edition from 2019.
This account of a NYC serial killer who brutally (and I mean brutally) slashes his way through a series of beautiful women boasts stylish 2.35 scope cinematography, which has been captured in full in Blue Underground’s 4K UHD, which has been presented with an HDR enhancement in a 66GB dual layer-disc. This marks an upgrade on the 4K-restored Blu-Ray from a year ago while a full array of audio offerings include a fresh Dolby Atmos remix or 5.1 DTS MA, plus 1.0 DTS MA mono mixes in either English or Italian. The UHD carries over Troy Howarth’s commentary and the trailer while the bundled BD reprises the extras from Blue Underground’s 2019 Collector’s Edition, including interviews with co-writer Dardano Sacchetti, star Howard Ross and co-stars Cinzia de Ponti and Zora Kerova (plus a 2009 archival interview with the latter); conversations with historian Stephen Thrower and poster artist Enzio Sciotti, trailer and still galleries, and a NYC location featurette.
Also new from Blue Underground in 4K UHD is another frothy Fulci romp, THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY (86 mins, 1981, Unrated; Blue Underground). This time out, Fulci followed his cult classic “Zombie” with a 1984 shocker about a family who move from NYC to a new home in New England, unaware of its sordid past.
Though not quite as renowned amongst genre enthusiasts as “Zombie,” “House” offers up plenty of splatter for Spaghetti horror fans, and Blue Underground’s 4K UHD restoration should please high-def enthusiasts with its 66GB dual layer presentation, HDR and Dolby Atmos sound – taking full advantage of the format and surpassing its 2019 Blu-Ray restoration. The UHD carries over a commentary from historian Troy Howarth, a deleted scene, trailers and galleries, while the Blu-Ray is a reprise of the 2019 Special Features disc, sporting interviews with star Catriona MacColl, co-writer Giorgio Mariuzzo, and horror expert Stephen Thrower, along with comprehensive extras from the 2011 Blue Underground release. These include conversations with writers Dardano Sacchetti and Elisa Birganti and plenty more. Highly recommended for Spaghetti Splatter fans!
Finally, new on Blu-Ray from Blue Underground is Jess Franco’s CECILIA (105 mins., 1982), the story of an aristocratic housewife (Muriel Montosse) who begins engaging in salacious sexual encounters outside her marriage. Newly scanned from the original negative, “Cecilia” bows on Blu-Ray (1.66) sporting both English and French mono sound and, on the supplemental side, Franco’s rarely-seen original cut of the movie (albeit only in Spanish with English subtitles); archival interviews with Franco, critic Stephen Thrower, the trailer, still gallery, and documentary “Franco-Philes” on the director’s prolific career.
Criterion New Releases: Two new releases from the Criterion Collection highlight the early genre work of director Jules Dassin. BRUTE FORCE (98 mins., 1947) stars Burt Lancaster as an inmate trying to deal with the cruel and inhumane treatment of a prison system embodied by a power-hungry guard (Hume Cronyn, as you’ve never seen him before and seldom did again). A searing drama here granted a 4K digital restoration (1.37 B&W) with extras including a 2007 commentary by noir historians Alain Silver and James Ursini; a 2007 interview with author Paul Mason; a 2017 program on the film’s acting styles by scholar David Bordwell; the trailer; and a booklet note featuring a look at producer Mark Hellinger with an included correspondence between Hellinger and the Production Code, who understandably butted heads over the movie’s adult content.
Dassin followed “Brute Force” with his noir classic THE NAKED CITY (96 mins., 1948), which has also received the Criterion treatment this month. Another TLEFilms restoration in 4K (1.37 B&W) premieres here with PCM mono audio and extras ported over from an array of previous releases. These include a 1996 commentary with writer Malvin Wald; a 2006 interview with historian Dana Polan; another 2006 conversation with author James Sanders; footage of Dassin from a 2004 appearance in L.A.; and a stills gallery. Both Blu-Rays come highly recommended for noir enthusiasts.
The delightful 1953 William Wyler comedy ROMAN HOLIDAY (118 mins., 1953) debuts on Blu-Ray for the first time via Paramount’s new “Presents” line, featuring a 4K restored (1.85) transfer that looks immaculate in high-def. This classic romantic comedy with Audrey Hepburn as a princess who runs away from her royal responsibilities — and falls for American journalist Gregory Peck along the way — was previously issued in a fine Paramount DVD with a few extra features years back. This BD of the film includes a new Leonard Maltin interview on the picture while reprising most of the extras from its “Centennial” DVD edition, including two different retrospectives on Hepburn’s work at Paramount, a tribute to Dalton Trumbo, a costume design featurette, trailers and other galleries.
Debuting in high-def this month from Warner Archive: John Wayne and Robert Ryan take to the skies in Howard Hughes’ production FLYING LEATHERNECKS (102 mins., 1951), a Technicolor actioner that pits Wayne’s fighter squadron pilot against the Japanese as well as his combative executive officer (Ryan) in Guadalcanal. Top-notch aerial sequences are intercut with less impressive dramatics on the ground, though Nicholas Ray attempts to bring a level of auteurism with his direction. Don Taylor co-stars and Roy Webb scored this RKO release, brought to BD for the first time from Warner Archive featuring a satisfyingly crisp 1080p (1.37) transfer with dual-channel DTS MA mono sound.
The comedy duo of Burt Wheeler and Robert Woolsey notched one of their better-reviewed vehicles with the 1934 George Stevens-directed effort KENTUCKY KERNELS (75 mins., 1934), one of those oddball choices for Blu-Ray release that Warner Archive has given us recently. The duo play unemployed vaudevillians who become guardians to George “Spanky” McFarland from “The Little Rascals,” who they believe has inherited a Kentucky farm and a fortune to go along with it. Instead, the trio get involved with a southern family feud – among other shenanigans – in this RKO comedy, debuting on BD this month from Warner Archive with a 1.37 B&W transfer and dual-channel DTS MA mono audio.
Warner New Releases
SUPERMAN: MAN OF TOMORROW 4K Ultra HD/Blu-Ray Combo Pack (86 mins., 2020, PG-13′; Warner): DC reaches into the Man of Steel’s back catalog for this so-so story, which serves as yet another relaunch to the character, set during Clark Kent’s formative years – here an intern at the Daily Planet alongside Lois Lane, and fighting as Superman against the likes of Alien and Lobo. Decent action but very familiar material permeate this production, which does look nice in Warner’s now-available 4K UHD with 5.1 DTS MA audio. Extras include featurettes on Lobo and Martian Manhunter, two bonus cartoons, a preview of the next DCU animated movie, a digital copy and the Blu-Ray disc.
More “Super”-action is available in SUPERGIRL: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON (804 mins., 2019-20; Warner), another uneven season of the increasingly “woke” DC series. This time out, National City is devoid of Lex Luthor’s anti-alien campaign (thanks to Kara’s journalistic skills), yet Kara has to contend with CatCo’s new owner and star reporter – Lena Luthor, who harbors a secret of her own. Supergirl also debuts a new costume (meh) and deals with Mxyzptik in these 19 fifth-season shows, new on Blu-Ray this week from Warner. The multi-disc set includes 1080p transfers, 5.1 DTS MA sound, deleted scenes, a gag reel, Comic Con 2019 footage and a Digital HD copy.
Also new on Blu-Ray from Warner is Season 3 of YOUNG SHELDON (411 mins., 2019-20; Warner), the prequel series to “The Big Bang Theory” featuring a young Sheldon Cooper trying to make his way in the world. Fans seemed to embrace this third year of the CBS program even more than its predecessor, with the show finding its own footing and offering a mix of comedy and heartwarming family drama. Warner’s Season 3 Blu-Ray is now available sporting a 1080p transfer, 5.1 DTS MA sound and a single featurette.
On DVD from Warner and HBO is Season 2 of SUCCESSION (604 mins., 2019; HBO/Warner), the acclaimed, satiric dramatic series set amongst the Roy family: aging tycoon Logan (Brian Cox) and his four children (Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin and Alan Ruck). Each has plenty to deal with in this tasty series with superb performances and sharp writing, with Warner’s DVD available September 15th. Extras include Inside the Episode segments and an “Invitation to the Set” featurette, 16:9 transfers and 5.1 audio.
BAD EDUCATION Blu-Ray (105 mins., 2020; HBO/Warner): HBO original movie stars Hugh Jackman as a Long Island superintendant who, alongside a facilities manager (Allison Janey), work to ensure top SAT scores for their wealthy school district – while pulling off what became the largest public school embezzlement in American history. Ray Romano co-stars in this adaptation of a New York Magazine article which earned critical kudos upon its initial broadcast earlier this year. Available September 8th on Blu-Ray, HBO’s disc includes two featurettes, a 1080p transfer (2.41) and 5.1 DTS MA sound.
WE BARE BEARS THE MOVIE DVD (68 mins., 2020; Warner): Feature-length edition of the Cartoon Network series bows on DVD this week from Warner, following Grizz, Panda and Ice Bear as they venture out on a road trip after Agent Trout and the Department of Wildlife Control come calling. Warner’s DVD includes a 16:9 transfer, 2.0 stereo sound, deleted scenes, animatics, commentary, early sketches and more.
Also New & Noteworthy
IRRESISTIBLE Blu-Ray Combo Pack (101 mins., 2020, R; Universal): There’s nothing much new in “Irresistible” we haven’t seen before – despite a script by director Jon Stewart, this light political dramaedy pits Democratic op Steve Carell against Republican strategist Rose Byrne when both contend for the potential mayoral candidacy of a marine colonel (Chris Cooper). Obvious political points are generated in this well-intentioned but very broadly painted satire, co-starring Mackenzie Davis and Topher Grace. Universal’s BD (1.66, 5.1 DTS MA) includes numerous featurettes, deleted/extended scenes, a DVD and Digital copy.
MAGNUM P.I. Season Two DVD (15 hours, 2019-20; CBS): CBS’ effective remake of “Magnum P.I.” returns for its sophomore season. Here, Jay Herenanez is back in the title role, waiting for an answer from Higgins (Perdita Weeks) about becoming his new partner. Meanwhile, Rick (Zachary Knighton) indulges in his role as the island’s fix-it man while Magnum and company tackle a slew of new cases. CBS’ five-disc DVD box-set is out this week featuring the “Hawaii Five-O” crossover episode, deleted scenes, a video diary, gag reel, featurette, 16:9 transfers and 5.1/2.0 Dolby Digital audio…Also new from CBS is Season 4 of BULL (2019-20) starring Michael Weatherly as Dr. Jason Bull, here (unexpectedly) expecting a baby with his ex (Yara Martinez). Meanwhile, with her brother Benny now having resigned as TAC’s staff attorney, the group has to contend with numerous challenges as they tackle a bevy of challenging new cases. CBS’ DVD includes two commentaries by Weatherly on episodes “Labor Days” and “Fastastica Voyage”, 16:9 transfers and 5.1 sound.
THE BURNT ORANGE HERESY Blu-Ray (98 mins., 2020, R; Sony): Claes Bang stars as an art critic who’s lost his way, relegated to lecturing tourists in Milan when he’s bewitched by an American (Elizabeth Debicki) and tasked by a wealthy dealer (Mick Jagger) to steal a painting from a reclusive artist (Donald Sutherland). Giuseppe Capotondi directed and provides a commentary in Sony’s now-available Blu-Ray (2.39, 5.1 DTS MA) of “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” also sporting a behind the scenes featurette and the original trailer.
MIGHTY OAK DVD (101 mins., 2020, PG-13; Paramount): Director Sean McNamara, who notched a success with the wonderful “Soul Surfer,” doesn’t quite reach the same heights with this well-intentioned, but not nearly as satisfying, faith-based drama. Janel Parrish plays a music manager who believes the young guitar prodigy she’s met is the reincarnation of her singer brother, who died 10 years before. Her attempts to bring the band back together results in something of a treacly drama that doesn’t have the same range of performances as “Soul Surfer” that were needed to pull this material off. Paramount’s DVD is out September 8th with a featurette, 16:9 transfer, 5.1 sound and a digital copy.
BLOOD QUANTUM Blu-Ray (98 mins., 2019; RLJE Films): A zombie apocalypse is on the rise, but the residents of the Red Crow reserve are immune in “Blood Quantum,” a better-than-average genre exercise from writer-director Jeff Barnaby. The usual undead shenanigans are presented here with requisite gore but some occasional flashes of inspiration, making it worth a look for horror fans. RLJE’s Blu-Ray (2.35, 5.1 DTS MA) is now available.
THE BEST OF CHER: Collector’s Edition DVD (Time Life): Superlative, nine-disc DVD anthology from Time Life showcases Cher’s lengthy, varied career in show biz. This retrospective includes 10 episodes from “Cher”, the ’70s variety show where Cher is joined by the likes of Ray Charles, Charo, Elton John, Linda Rondstat, The Muppets and others; two prime-time TV specials; two later Las Vegas concerts; the documentary “Dear Mom, Love Cher”; rare TV clips, a wealth of new interviews (including Bob Mackie, George Schlatter, Lily Tomlin and Cher herself), and a collectible book with some of Mackie’s original wardrobe sketches on-hand.
Film Movement New Releases: New this September from Film Movement, CARO DIARIO (Dear Diary) (100 mins., 1993) was an indie art-house hit back in the early ’90s. Nanni Moretti directed and stars in this meditative comedy as he tries to resolve a skin rash, work on his new script, and look for inspiration while taking a trip to the Aeolian Islands. A Cannes winner for Best Director, “Caro Diario” is basically three stories in one and starts off slowly, but there’s humor and charm to be found in the picture as it moves along. A new 2K digital restoration (1.66) graces Film Movement’s Blu-Ray, available September 8th featuring a Making Of segment, deleted scene and booklet notes…on DVD September 15th from Film Movement is A TRAMWAY IN JERUSALEM (94 mins., 2019), the new film from director Amos Gitai, set on the Jerusalem Light Rail Red Line that connects the city from east from west. Christians, Muslims and Jews comprise the varied populace Gitai profiles in this character piece, new on DVD with a 16:9 (1.85) transfer, 5.1/2.0 sound, and Gitai’s 35-minute short “A Letter to a Friend in Gaza” included on the supplemental side.
GHOST IN THE SHELL 25TH ANNIVERSARY 4K UHD Combo Pack (82 mins., 1995, Not Rated; Lionsgate): One of the seminal films of the anime generation, “Ghost in the Shell” has received a stunning 4K UHD makeover from Lionsgate. Shirow Masamune’s original magna is regarded as a cyberpunk classic, with government cyborg agents working to take down the sentient being known as “The Puppet Master” that threatens the world with a virus that can possess human hosts. A violent and thought-provoking film that’s long captivated genre fans, Lionsgate’s 4K UHD outdoes its 2014 Blu-Ray release with both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos capabilities along with a full array of new extras (commentary, two featurettes; note an additional Making Of and trailer are present on the included Blu-Ray). The litany of audio options includes both Japanese and English mixes in Dolby Atmos along with LPCM stereo audio for the original Japanese mix. A Digital HD copy rounds out the release.
Also New From Lionsgate: Director Kelly Richardt’s FIRST COW (121 mins., 2020, PG-13) tells the story of two men in the Pacific Northwest of the 1820s, on the run from hunters, who strike up an unlikely friendship while they use a businessman’s prized dairy cow to try and make a fortune. This is a richly observed and layered independent film well worth seeing, with Lionsgate’s BD including a 1080p (1.33) transfer, 5.1 DTS MA sound, a Digital HD copy, and DVD…On the opposite end of the spectrum is Orlando Bloom’s formulaic actioner RETAILIATION (96 mins., 2017, R), a Saban Films production from director brothers Paul and Ludwig Shammasian. Lionsgate’s BD includes a 1080p (2.39) transfer, 5.1 DTS MA sound, commentary from the directors, a featurette, and Digital HD copy.
New From AMC Studios and RLJE: Season 3 of KILLING EVE (6 hours, 2020) finds Villanelle believing that Eve is dead; meanwhile, Eve, the ex-MI6 op fleeing from the unemployed assassin, believes she’ll never be found…at least until a shocking death sends the duo back on a collision course with one another. This third season of the BBC America-broadcast series is new on Blu-Ray September 15th featuring a number of featurettes, 1080p transfers and 5.1 soundtracks…A HOUSE DIVIDED: Season 2 (4 hours, 2020) again follows Carissa Walker as she’s just a few steps away from taking control of the Sanders family and their massive fortune. Lawrence Hilton Jacobs, whom some of us may remember from his Sweathog days, stars in this UMC series whose second season debuts on DVD next week from AMC and RLJE. The two-disc set features 16:9 transfers and 2.0 stereo sound.
WEATHERING WITH YOU Blu-Ray/DVD (112 mins., 2019, PG-13; Gkids/Shout): The director of the acclaimed “Your Name,” Makoto Shinkai, spins a modern romantic story revolving around a high school freshman who leaves his island home for the streets of Tokyo. There, he meets, and is instantly intrigued by, a girl who has the power to clear the dank, dreary skies over the city. An interview with Shinkai, featurettes, an interview with Shinkai and Yumiko Udo, trailers, TV spots, a 1080p (1.78) transfer, 5.1 DTS MA English and Japanese audio, and a DVD copy are contained in this terrific Shout release – a worthy follow-up from the director that met with mostly positive acclaim last year…Coming September 15th from Shout and GKids is Hayao Miyazaki’s THE WIND RISES (127 mins., 2013, PG-13), a heavy dramatic work with the animator’s evocative visuals backing this Oscar-nominated, character-driven piece set in the 1920s. Storyboards, featurettes, trailers, TV spots and an episode from the doc “10 Years With Hayao Miyazaki” are included in the Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack, which sports an attractive 1080p (1.85) AVC encoded transfer with 2.0 mono Japanese or English audio and optional subtitles.
NEXT TIME: Kino Lorber September Edition! Until then, don’t forget to drop in on the official Aisle Seat Message Boards and direct any emails to our email address.