Sun. Sep 25th, 2022


10 NEW TO HBO MAX

“Across the Universe”
“Blade”
“The Card Counter”
“Colossal”
“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”
“The Goonies”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Iron Giant”
“Magic Mike”
“Red Eye”
“Total Recall”

10 NEW TO NETFLIX

“The Departed”
“Dumb & Dumber”
“The Fighter”
“The Golden Compass”
“The Hurt Locker”
“It”
“Kung Fu Panda 2”
“Lean on Me”
“Mission: Impossible”
“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”

14 NEW TO BLU-RAY

“Ambulance”

Michael Bay returned in 2022 with one of his best films, a thrill ride about a bank robbery gone very wrong. Jake Gyllenhaal and Yayha Abdul-Mateen II star as a pair of brothers who end up with an injured cop in a speeding ambulance, with half the city of Los Angeles on their tail. It’s a set-up that allows Bay to go insane with drone shots, explosions, vehicular stunts, and shoot-outs. The plot gets increasingly ludicrous but there’s a visceral nature to the filmmaking here that plays to Bay’s skill set. Just turn your brain off and take the ride. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
DOLBY VISION/HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK
Bayhem – Featurette
Pedal to the Metal – Featurette
Aerial Assault – Featurette
A Tribute to First Responders – Featurette
Finding Ambulance – Featurette
Chase Capital of the World – Featurette

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“The Bad Guys”

Loosely based on the books by Aaron Blabey, this film has quietly become one of the biggest hits of 2022, making over $240 million and counting worldwide in the middle of a pandemic. Why has it become such a smash? It plays to a wide demographic. Kids can enjoy the fast-moving action of a film about a wolf (cleverly voiced by Sam Rockwell) who gets caught up in a plot that involves him possibly going “good” while adults can admire the film’s obvious inspirations, which include everything from Tarantino to Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s” films. It also has a fun, diverse voice cast that includes Marc Maron, Awkwafina, Craig Robinson, and Anthony Ramos. It’s not a modern classic but it’s a reasonably entertaining diversion, which feels pretty valuable in the chaos that is 2022.

Buy it here 

Special Features
Audio Commentary
From the Drawing Room
Snake’s Frozen Pop Shop
It’s Showtime: Cast Table Read
Assemble the Crew
Devise the Plan: Making the Bad Guys
Deleted Scenes
New Short: Maraschino Ruby

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“Everything Everywhere All at Once”

In an era where it feels like only blockbusters can make money, one of the joys of 2022 was watching this film skyrocket up the box office charts, becoming the most successful film in the history of A24. How did it happen? Inventive, creative filmmaking, anchored by a truly phenomenal performance by a living legend. I’m not 100% sure that all of “EEAAO” comes together in the end (and it’s way too long), but I am positive that Michelle Yeoh gives one of the best performances of the year. She’s just perfect here and the great joy of the film is watching her play in the sandbox lovingly crafted by the Daniels in a way that makes it feel like no one else could have played this role. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK
Audio Commentary with Writers-Directors Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
“Almost Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Everything Everywhere All At Once” Featurette
“Putting Everything on a Bagel: Cooking up the Multiverse” Featurette
Deleted Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary
Outtakes
Music Visual
Theatrical Trailer

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“Farewell Amor” (Criterion)

Ekwa Msangi’s Sundance drama was an unexpected but welcome choice for the Criterion collection. It’s a gentle character study about a man (a great Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine) who is reunited with his wife Esther (Zainab Jah) and daughter Sylvia (future household name Jayme Lawson) after 17 years apart. A different aspect of the immigrant story is told here in a film that’s at its best when it just focuses on its well-crafted characters. Msangi injects some unneeded drama into the final act that’s disappointing in the form of a dance-off, but it fits thematically in that this film is an act of expression. Criterion also includes a commentary and they do one of my favorite things they do with new filmmakers, including several early shorts from the director, including the one that was expanded into this feature.

Buy it here 

Special Features
New 2K master, approved by director Ekwa Msangi, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New audio commentary featuring Msangi and cinematographer Bruce Francis Cole
Three short films by Msangi: Suspense (2011); The Market King (2014); and Farewell Meu Amor (2016), a prequel to Farewell Amor
New interviews with actors Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Zainab Jah, and Jayme Lawson
Deleted scenes
Trailer
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by scholar Tiana Reid

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“Killer’s Kiss” (4K)

Kino Lorber has remastered one of Stanley Kubrick’s early films in 4K. Collectors and cinephiles often only consider Kubrick’s output from “2001” and on, which is understandable given how much those works reflected the craft and creativity of the legendary filmmaker and changed the medium. However, there’s real value in his early films too. You can see how Kubrick was starting to hone his skills in films like “The Killing,” “Fear and Desire,” and this film from 1955, a brief noir that stars Jamie Smith as a boxer who comes to the rescue of a neighbor, played by Irene Kane. It’s not Kubrick’s best but it’s a formative chapter for a form-changing filmmaker.

Buy it here 

Special Features
4K 16-BIT RESTORATION OF THE FILM
NEW DOLBY VISION/HDR GRADE
NEW Audio Commentary by critic Imogen Sara Smith
Theatrical Trailer

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“Morbius”

The movie that became a meme is now out on DVD and Blu-ray and you’re better off just seeing this flick as a pop culture oddity instead of an actual movie. I made the mistake of doing the latter, and this is a bafflingly horrible film, a picture that reminded me of knockoff comic book movies like “Jonah Hex” more than the modern Marvel or DC factories. It’s just deeply incompetent in terms of filmmaking, only brought to life occasionally by Matt Smith, the only person who understood the assignment included having some fun. I normally only include highlights in this column, but “Morbius” has become such an odd pop culture story that I felt you should be warned.

Buy it here 

Special Features
DOLBY VISION/HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK (DTS-HD MASTER AUDIO 5.1 ON THE BLU-RAY)
Outtakes & Bloopers
Featurettes:
Defining The Antihero
From Human to Vampire – Visual Effects
Lights, Camera, Action
The Good, Bad & Ugly – Supporting Cast Doing the Stunt Work
Living Vampire from Comics to Screen
Nocturnal Easter Eggs

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“The Northman”

Robert Eggers’ Viking epic is an imperfect film (largely owing to its episodic nature) but it’s also easily one of the most ambitious movies of 2022. At its best, it’s a powerful study of vengeance with stunning production design and uniformly strong performances, especially from Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicole Kidman. There’s so much to unpack and admire in “The Northman,” making it a perfect fit for physical media, and Universal has released one of their strongest Blu-rays for a current film in a long time. Not only is there an informative commentary, deleted scenes, and featurettes about the making of the film, but the HDR presentation and ATMOS audio track are top of the line.

Buy it here 

Special Features
DOLBY VISION/HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK (ALSO AVAILABLE ON THE BLU-RAY)
Audio commentary by co-writer and director Robert Eggers
Deleted and extended scenes
An Ageless Epic – An in-depth look at how filmmakers, cast, and crew immersed themselves in Norse history and mythology in an effort to make The Northman the most accurate Viking epic ever filmed.
The Faces of the Vikings – The cast of The Northman, alongside director Robert Eggers, discuss the depth of the characters and their experiences working together.
Amleth’s Journey to Manhood – Aurvandil’s initiation of Amleth into manhood is one of the most pivotal points on his journey. Take a deeper look at how filmmakers and cast crafted this mysterious ritual.
Shooting the Raid – Go behind-the-scenes of the raid and learn how different departments worked together to pull off this intricate sequence.
Knattleikr Game – Learn all about this little-known game, how the scene was filmed, and why it’s an essential moment for Amleth.
A Norse Landscape – We explore the spectacular shooting locations of The Northman and discuss how filmmakers were able to overcome the unique challenges of shooting the film in Northern Ireland.

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“Out of Sight” (4K)

One of my absolute favorite films of all time has finally been given the 4K treatment from Kino Lorber, with a transfer that was supervised by the movie’s cinematographer. Every aspect of this movie is underrated, but I never see people write about its visual language, its use of color and light, and so it’s nice to see the cinematography of this modern classic elevated in 4K. If you haven’t seen it, George Clooney stars in this adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel of the same name, playing a bank robber who crosses paths with U.S. Marshal Karen Sisco (Jennifer Lopez, in her best screen performance). It’s a brilliant motion picture that pops off the screen with old-fashioned movie star charisma in a way that just doesn’t happen that often. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
NEW 4K RESTORATION OF THE FILM supervised by cinematographer Elliot Davis
Audio Commentary by Director Steven Soderbergh and Screenwriter Scott Frank
Inside OUT OF SIGHT: An Original Documentary on the Making of the Film – Featuring Behind-the-Scenes Footage and Interviews with Steven Soderbergh, George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Albert Brooks, Don Cheadle, Ving Rhames, Steve Zahn, Elmore Leonard and Scott Frank
Deleted Scenes
Two Theatrical Trailers (Newly Mastered in 2K)

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“Pink Flamingos” (Criterion)

There’s something a little crazy about a film that used to really only be available in dirty theaters at midnight showings being made available in pristine 4K by the most lauded Blu-ray company in the world. The folks at Criterion are smart, and so they haven’t over-polished John Waters’ breakthrough film, just presenting it in the best video quality possible, a restoration approved by Waters himself. For this 4K upgrade of a title already available on Blu-ray, Criterion has included a new conversation between Waters and another American indie icon, Jim Jarmusch. They’ve also imported previously available features like the feature-length 1998 documentary about the film, “Divine Trash,” along with deleted scenes and two audio commentaries from Waters.

Buy it here 

Special Features
New 4K digital restoration, supervised and approved by director John Waters, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
Divine Trash, a feature-length 1998 documentary by Steve Yeager about Waters and the making of Pink Flamingos, featuring interviews with cast and crew
Two audio commentaries featuring Waters, from the 1997 Criterion laserdisc and the 2001 DVD release
New conversation between Waters and filmmaker Jim Jarmusch
Tour of the film’s Baltimore locations, led by Waters
Deleted scenes and alternate takes
Trailer
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by critic Howard Hampton and a piece by actor and author Cookie Mueller about the making of the film, from her 1990 book Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black

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“Shaft” (Criterion)

One of the most important films of its era, Gordon Parks’ “Shaft” isn’t included enough when people write about the essential works of the 1970s. Released in 1971, this adaptation of Ernest Tidyman’s novel of the same name broke open doors, putting themes essential to the Black American Experience of the era up on the big screen. Richard Roundtree became an icon as the title character, and the theme song won the Oscar, a first for a Black man. The Criterion release is loaded with special features, including a new documentary on the making of the film, a fascinating new program on the Black detective, and more archival material. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
Alternate uncompressed stereo soundtrack remastered with creative input from Isaac Hayes III
In the 4K UHD edition: One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and two Blu-rays with the film and special features
Shaft’s Big Score!, the 1972 follow-up to Shaft by director Gordon Parks
New documentary on the making of Shaft featuring curator Rhea L. Combs, film scholar Racquel J. Gates, filmmaker Nelson George, and music scholar Shana L. Redmond
Behind-the-scenes program featuring Parks, actor Richard Roundtree, and musician Isaac Hayes
Archival interviews with Hayes, Parks, and Roundtree
New interview with costume designer Joseph G. Aulisi
New program on the Black detective and the legacy of John Shaft, featuring scholar Kinohi Nishikawa and novelist Walter Mosley
A Complicated Man: The “Shaft” Legacy (2019)
Behind-the-scenes footage from Shaft’s Big Score!
Trailers
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by film scholar Amy Abugo Ongiri

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“The Tales of Hoffman” (Criterion)

A gorgeous film is even more striking with the 4K restoration included on this Criterion release. Released in 1951, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s adaptation of the 1881 opera of the same name is a lavish production, more notable for its craft than its storytelling. A triptych of tales, “Hoffmann” unfolds with lyrical precision, each costume and design choice so perfectly considered. It’s a movie that I like to put on and just let unfold in the background, one of the most visually striking and almost soothing experiences of its era. If you don’t believe me, just listen to George Romero, who appears in a great interview on this release, speaking about how the movie basically broke open the potential of filmmaking for him. He also offers an amazing anecdote about how he would literally rent the film print itself to rewatch, occasionally stymied by another young New Yorker who was doing the same thing, Martin Scorsese.

Buy it here 

Special Features
4K digital restoration by The Film Foundation and the BFI National Archive, in association with STUDIOCANAL, featuring newly rediscovered footage and with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Audio commentary from 1992 by filmmaker Martin Scorsese and critic Bruce Eder, newly updated by Eder
Interview with filmmaker George A. Romero from 2005
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1956), a short musical film based on the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe story and directed by Michael Powell
Collection of production designer Hein Heckroth’s design sketches and paintings
Gallery of production and publicity photographs
Trailer
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Plus: An essay by film historian Ian Christie

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“True Romance” (4K)

Arrow is the best. They spare no expense when it comes to special edition releases, and what they’ve dropped for this beloved 1993 Tony Scott film will take collectors days to explore. A lot of the material here was previously available, including four separate audio commentaries, but Arrow didn’t just fall back on that, providing new interviews with major players like the film’s costume designer and co-editor. I hadn’t seen the film in years, and it still plays very well, a perfect blend of Scott’s maximalist style and Tarantino’s young wit. It’s also a perfectly cast film from top to bottom, and it’s interesting to see variations on the final product in the deleted scenes and alternate ending. Finally, I love what Arrow does with packaging, never recycling floating head posters but crafting new artwork that speaks to their love of every one of their products.

Buy it here 

Special Features
4K RESTORATIONS of both the Theatrical Cut and the Director’s Cut from the original camera negatives by Arrow Films
4K (2160p) Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible) of both cuts
Original uncompressed stereo audio and DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Audio commentary by director Tony Scott
Audio commentary by writer Quentin Tarantino
Audio commentary by stars Christian Slater & Patricia Arquette
Audio commentary by critic Tim Lucas
Select scene commentaries by stars Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Brad Pitt and Michael Rapaport
Brand new select scene commentary by star Saul Rubinek
New interview with costume designer Susan Becker
New interview with co-editor Michael Tronick
New interview with co-composers Mark Mancina and John Van Tongeren
New interview with Larry Taylor, author of Tony Scott: A Filmmaker on Fire
New interview with Daniel Storm, co-founder of the annual True Romance Fest and owner of the original Cadillac
Deleted scenes with optional commentary by Tony Scott
Alternate ending with optional commentaries by Tony Scott and Quentin Tarantino
Electronic press kit featurettes, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Tony Scott, Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper and Gary Oldman
Trailers and TV spots
Image galleries
Limited Edition packaging with reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Sam Gilbey

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“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent”

I’m so happy that there’s been a renewed appreciation for the four-decade career of one of the most interesting actors that ever lived, Nicolas Cage. Yes, the Oscar winner had some down years, but he was also consistently doing interesting indie film work in movies like “Joe,” “Mandy,” and “Pig.” His latest allows him to unpack his own reputation, playing a fictional version of himself who is sucked into a real action movie involving a kidnapping. I have to admit that the concept here is stronger than the execution. The film feels a little toothless at times, more eager to have fun with its setting and cast than write anything deep. It’s certainly an enjoyable movie, and it’s really fun to watch Pedro Pascal have such a good time, but there’s a version of this movie that aims a little higher. However, if it gets Cage more respect and more work then it’s been worth the unbearable weight.  

Buy it here 

Special Features
DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK
Audio commentary
Deleted scenes
S&SW Film Festival Q&A

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“The Worst Person in the World” (Criterion)

My hope is that the critical and awards season success of Joachim Trier’s wonderful “The Worst Person in the World” will bring people to the previous work of this brilliant filmmaker. Start with the other two films in what has been called the “Oslo Trilogy,” “Reprise” and “Oslo, August 31st.” Of course, this isn’t a feature on Trier but a blurb on one of this site’s best films of 2021. Criterion is the first company to release the work on physical media, giving it a relatively bare-bones treatment (at least for Criterion) but there’s one special feature we definitely want to highlight: an essay by our very own Sheila O’Malley! Buy it just for that! (Well, and also because it’s a great movie.)

Buy it here 

Special Features
New 2K digital master, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New interviews with director Joachim Trier; coscreenwriter Eskil Vogt; actors Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielsen Lie, and Herbert Nordrum; cinematographer Kasper Tuxen; and sound designer Gisle Tveito
On-location footage from the creation of the film’s time-freezing sequence
Deleted scenes
PLUS: An essay by critic Sheila O’Malley

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