Physical media forever! Those words ring loud and true for fans of DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD releases, all of whom love adding to their home media libraries. This week’s new releases include a documentary tribute to such individuals, as well as cinema classics (including what is arguably the greatest screwball comedy ever made), recent theatrical fare, movies making their 4K debuts, and so much more. Take a look at the great assortment of titles that are now available, and you’ll agree that there’s nothing quite like having a personal film collection!
Bringing Up Baby (Criterion Collection)(1938)
Stodgy, affianced paleontologist David Huxley (Cary Grant) had his worries between finding the last bone for a brontosaur skeleton and wheedling a six-figure grant for his museum. He then caught the interested eye of flighty, fun-loving society gal Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn), who proceeded to undo his ordered existence–with some aid from a tame leopard named Baby. Howard Hawks’ dismissed-in-its-day screwball classic co-stars Charles Ruggles, May Robson, Barry Fitzgerald.
Mirror (Criterion Collection)(1975)
Combining autobiographical accounts of life during World War II, political allegory, dream sequences, and newsreel footage, maverick Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky creates a haunting cinematic vision in this internationally acclaimed drama. A middle-aged, dying poet (Innokentiy Smoktunovskiy) ruminates on his days as a child (Filipp Yankovskiy), adolescent (Ignat Daniltsev), and family man during Stalin’s rule. Margarita Terekhova, Oleg Yankovsky also star.
Defending Jacob (2020)
New England district attorney Andy Barber (Chris Evans) lived a normal domestic existence with his wife Laurie (Michelle Dockery) and their 14-year-old son Jacob (Jaeden Martell). That would end after one of Jacob’s classmates was found stabbed to death in a park…and the parents were faced with circumstantial yet compelling evidence that their son may have been Involved. Gripping miniseries take on the William Landay novel co-stars J.K. Simmons, Cherry Jones, Betty Gabriel.
Equal Standard (2020)
An NYPD Detective is shot by one of his own, benevolent brothers in uniform. Communities are ignited – to march for justice. Gangs put their differences aside – for a united fight, an equal opportunity. “That people not be judged by the color of their skin but for the content of their character.” The movement and unity impacts City society and leads to a Blue Wall intervention within the Police force. White cops’ lust for change and act on it – by flushing out racism. Not an easy fight. In the end, what was considered impossible, became possible. Ice-T, Tobias Truvillion, Maurice Benard star.
The Black Marble (1980)
Two veteran LAPD cops–hard-nosed alcoholic Sgt. A.M. Valnikov (Robert Foxworth) and female detective Sgt. Natalie Zimmerman (Paula Prentiss)–become reluctant partners–and willing lovers–in this comedic crime thriller from scripter Joseph Wambaugh (“The Onion Field”). The mismatched duo goes up against deep-in-debt gambler Philo Skinner (Harry Dean Stanton), who’s holding a wealthy socialite’s prized pet pooch for ransom. With Barbara Babcock, John Hancock.
42nd Street: The Musical (2019)
Captured during the West End revival at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, this staging of the Michael Stewart/Mark Bramble musical adapted from the 1933 Warners footlights chestnut stars Tom Lister as dictatorial Broadway director Julian Marsh and Bonnie Langford as Peggy Sawyer, the kid off the bus from Allentown he’s going to make a star. With Clare Halse, Philip Bertioli, Jasna Ivir, Christopher Howell, Graeme Henderson, and those classic Harry Warren/Al Dubin show tunes.
The Road to Salina (1970)
Thumbing down a desert highway, young drifter Jonas (Robert Walker, Jr.) stopped at a service station run by Mara (Rita Hayworth)–who took him for Rocky, her son who vanished four years earlier. In the moment, he opted to play along with his hostess’s delusion…but after Mara’s daughter Billie (Mimsy Farmer) came home and accepted him as her brother, the oddness would start reaching dangerous levels. Long-sought thriller co-stars Marc Porel, Sophie Hardy, and, in his screen farewell, Ed Begley.
The Ringmaster (aka Finale) (2018)
While most of Denmark’s citizens are home watching their country play in an international soccer final, Agnes (Anne Bergfeld) and Belinda (Karin Michelsen) are stuck working at an out-of-the-way gas station. But there’s worse things than pulling a bad shift on a slow night, as the ladies unfortunately find out when they’re savagely tortured by the evil Ringmaster (Damon Younger) for the entertainment of his dark web audience. Danish shocker co-stars Kristoffer Fabricius.
If anyone ever thought physical media was a thing of the past, and that streaming is the only way to watch movies…this fun and fascinating documentary will make them think again. Here, you’ll meet a group of die-hard devotees to DVD, Blu-ray, 4K–and, yes, VHS–who proudly display their massive movie collections while discussing things like the importance of owning an actual disc or cassette, fond video store memories, and the issue of censorship on some modern streaming services.
The Phantom of the Air (1933)
At the National Air Races in Cleveland, Border Patrol pilot Bob Raymond (Tom Tyler) was approached by scientist Thomas Edmunds (William Desmond) to demonstrate his revolutionary “Contragrav” device. The wonder technology, though, was coveted by ruthless smugglers…and Raymond commands Edmunds’ superplane, dubbed “the Phantom,” to foil their plans. Aviation action-packed chapterplay co-stars Gloria Shea, LeRoy Mason, Craig Reynolds, Walter Brennan.
Blood-curdling horror awaits you in this spooky tale about a creepy mortician (Christopher George, in his final role). When the mortician’s son (Bill Paxton)–who’s also creepy–grows attracted to a young woman (Mary Beth McDonough) whose father recently passed away under suspicious circumstances, a mysterious killer begins to slaughter everyone around her. Mixing cult rituals and mad slasher scares, this vintage ’80s shocker co-stars Lynda Day George, David Wallace.
Elvis: Summer of ’56 (2011)
Share memories worth lovin’ with the “King of Rock ’n’ Roll” in this program commemorating Elvis Presley’s unforgettable summer of 1956. Just as “Heartbreak Hotel” tops the charts and his fame is about to explode across the country, the 21-year-old vocalist meets and courts Mississippi fan June Juanico. Relive this turning point in Presley’s life and career with this nostalgia-fueled tribute!
The Crimes of the Black Cat (1972)
Blind concert pianist Peter Oliver (Anthony Steffen) and his fashion model girlfriend break up, but when the woman is found dead the next day, and several of her colleagues follow, Oliver takes it upon himself to find the killer. Who could be behind the grisly slayings, and just what is the connection to the titular feline? Twisted giallo chiller from Sergio Pastore also stars Sylva Koscina, Giovanna Lenzi, Renato De Carmine, Giacomo Rossi Stuart. AKA: “Seven Shawls of Yellow Silk.”
Only Laura Gemser could make the sands of Egypt even hotter, as she portrays a model who journeys with her sadistic photographer (Gabrielle Tinti) to the home of an old friend (Nieves Navarro) planning an erotic holiday along the Nile for her decadent circle of pleasure-seeking guests. Annie Belle, Al Cliver, Ziggy Zanger, Feodor Chaliapin also star. AKA: “Black Emmanulle, White Emmanulle,” “Emanuelle in Egypt,” “Naked Paradise,” “Smooth Velvet, Raw Silk.”
A Nightmare Wakes (2020)
Based on the timeless novel and the birth of one of cinema’s most iconic monsters. While composing her famous novel “Frankenstein,” Mary Shelley descends into an opium-fueled fever dream and carries on a torrid love affair at a remote lake house. As she writes, the characters of her novel come to life and begin to plague her relationship, forcing everyone—including herself—to question her sanity. Alix Wilton Regan, Giullian Yao Gioiello, Claire Glassford star.
Bäckström: Series 1 (2020)
Evert Bäckström is a rock star among cops. Starring as a TV expert doesn’t help his ego or reputation. He thinks he’s a genius—and he is, at solving crimes. When a woman’s skull is found, it seems she was murdered recently, but DNA points to her death in the 2004 tsunami. Prosecutor Hanna Hwass believes it’s a mistake, but Bäckström sees a case only he can solve: a woman who has died twice. Kjell Bergqvist stars.
The House on Sorority Row (1982)
The sisters of Theta Pi’s plans for a graduation party behind the back of their strict housemother lead to a prank that culminates in the woman’s accidental death. The festivities go on as scheduled (of course), but an uninvited guest is killing the girls one by one. Who is responsible for these mysterious slayings? Slasher classic stars Eileen Davidson, Kathryn McNeil, Harley Jane Kozak.
A powerful performance by Bryan Cranston fuels this true-life drama about Hollywood screenwriter–and member of the Communist Party–Dalton Trumbo. In 1947, Trumbo’s refusal to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee in reference to communist propaganda in American films led to him being imprisoned and blacklisted, forcing him to find work writing for a B-movie producer (John Goodman) while he slowly rebuilt his career. Diane Lane, Helen Mirren co-star.
Locked In (2021)
If the folks on “Storage Wars” thought dealing with the occasional filthy fridge or unit full of worthless junk was bad, they should talk to cash-strapped single mom and storage facility employee Maggie (Mena Suvari), who, along with her teenaged daughter (Jasper Polish), becomes trapped in her workplace with a pair of crooks (Jeff Fahey, Manny Perez) looking for a stash of diamonds. Can Maggie outwit the thieves and make it out alive? Tense actioner co-stars Costas Mandylor.
In the countryside of ‘30s Burgundy, mysterious vagabond Jean Lavigne (Alain Delon) was offered steady labor by farm widow Tati Couderc (Simone Signoret), and he soon insinuated himself into homestead and bedroom. He has his reasons for his silence about his past, though…and after he trains his seductive charm toward her teenage niece (Ottavia Piccolo), her vengeful in-laws will bring it to light. Absorbing take on the Georges Simeon novel co-stars Jean Tissier.
When it hit the public airwaves in 1969, its use of puppetry, animation, and cultural touchstones–and shunning of commercialization–made it an immediate game-changer in the realm of children’s educational television, and its status as an American institution has only grown over the decades. The genesis of “Sesame Street” and its formative years receives a warm look back in this engaging documentary, as creators and performers offer their remembrances of the set.
Anna Kemper (Riva Krymalowski) was 9 in 1933, when the Nazis came to power in Germany–and her noted Jewish intellectual father (Oliver Masucci) decided it best that the family get out of the country. The refugee existence over the ensuing three years that took them to Zurich to Paris to London is memorably chronicled from her perspective, in Caroline Link’s adaptation of Judith Kerr’s semi-autobiographical YA staple. Carla Juri, Marinus Hohmann also star.
Seattle consumer affairs TV reporter Ruby Herring (Taylor Cole) turned her investigative instincts on the homicides in her hometown–to the chagrin of local plainclothesman Jake Killian (Stephen Huszar)–in this series of Hallmark mysteries. Home for her sister’s wedding, Ruby noses around when the affair’s cake baker turns up dead, in “Silent Witness” (2019). When a local health food doyenne’s a no-show for her interview, Ruby suspects foul play, in “Her Last Breath” (2019). Promoted to the crime beat, Ruby’s confronted with cracking the five-years-cold case of a slain psychic, in “Prediction Murder” (2020).
Bowing to family pressure, Leo (Joey Millin) tracked down his estranged addict sister Virginia (Madison West), who insisted she was now clean thanks to joining a new belief system. Trouble is, said she, the cult’s program involved her becoming psychically bonded with a stranger. Leo thought he was humoring his sib when he agreed to a road trip in search of her “soulmate”–and the journey slowly brings him to the chilling realization she isn’t lying. With Nadine Sondej-Robinson, Daniel Abraham Stevens.
Mr. Jealousy (1998)
Noah Baumbach’s witty independent comedy stars Eric Stoltz as Lester Grimm, a substitute teacher and aspiring writer dating museum tour guide Ramona (Anabella Sciorra). Suspicious of Ramona’s relationships with past lovers, Lester gives a fake name and enrolls in a group therapy session attended by one of her ex-boyfriends, pretentious author Dashiell Frank (Chris Eigeman). With Carlos Jacott, Bridget Fonda, Jean-Marie Baptiste, Peter Bogdanovich.
Space Jam (1996) (4K Ultra HD)
It’s a slammin’ mix of live action and animation, as basketball superstar Michael Jordan is “hijacked” into the cartoon world of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the rest of the Looney Tunes crew to help them when they’re forced to play a game of hoops against a gang of alien behemoths who’ve stolen the talents of the NBA’s top players. Wayne Knight, Bill Murray, and the voices of Danny DeVito and Billy West are also featured.
Howard the Duck (4K Ultra HD)(1986)
Marvel Comics’ cigar-smoking, wise-quacking canard makes the leap to the big screen in this fantasy/adventure laced with laughs. Can a 3-foot-tall, talking duck from a parallel world find happiness in Cleveland with a feisty female rocker and defeat an extradimensional demon bent on destroying the planet? Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones, and Tim Robbins star.
Dr. Strangelove, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) (4K Ultra HD)
Director Stanley Kubrick’s razor-sharp satire, often cited as one of the greatest comedies ever made, follows a paranoid Air Force general (Sterling Hayden), who launches an air attack on the Soviet Union–with nuclear annihilation the final consequence–and the efforts of the U.S. president and the military brass to stop a single, disabled plane on its “doomsday” mission. Stars Peter Sellers in three roles, George C. Scott, Slim Pickens. Co-scripted by Kubrick, Terry Southern, and Peter George from George’s novel “Red Alert.”
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (4K Ultra HD)(2010)
Smart and unconventional storytelling techniques highlight director/co-scripter Edgar Wright’s adaptation of the graphic novel series tracking the exploits of Canadian slacker/musician Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera). When he leaves teen girlfriend Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) in order to win the heart of American ex-pat Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Scott learns that to do so he must vanquish all seven of her ex-paramours in battle! Anna Kendrick, Alison Pill co-star.