Welcome to this week’s rundown of Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD new releases! And what a diverse batch it is, with everything from a recent Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster to obscure TV curiosities. The breadth and depth of physical media is on full display here, and you won’t want to miss any of the following titles!
Black Widow (2021)
Hiding in Europe after the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) thought she was well off the grid–until contacted by Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), a fellow product of the brutal KGB regimen that bred her to espionage. Given the means to break “Widows” planted worldwide of their conditioning, can she confront her violent past–and the spymaster (Ray Winstone) who engineered it? Anticipated solo vehicle for the Marvel superheroine co-stars David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, O-T Fagbenle.
Mare of Easttown (2021)
HBO’s acclaimed limited series is anchored by a powerful performance from Kate Winslet as Marianne “Mare” Sheehan, a police detective with deep ties to her community–the Philadelphia suburb of Easttown. As Mare investigates the murder of a teenage mother, she must also reopen a case involving the disappearance of another young woman, all while dealing with her own myriad personal demons and family issues. With Jean Smart, Julianne Nicholson, Evan Peters, Guy Pearce. 7 episodes on 2 discs.
Santa Fe Trail (1940)
Focused more on staunch abolitionist John Brown than on the titular transportation route, this frontier drama set in pre-Civil War Kansas follows Brown’s anti-slavery raids as a prelude to the Civil War. Errol Flynn and Ronald Reagan star as Major General Jeb Stuart and General George Armstrong Custer, respectively, vying for the love of railroad executive’s daughter Kit Carson Holliday (Olivia de Havilland). Sweeping WB tale directed by Michael Curtiz co-stars William Lundigan, Alan Hale, and Raymond Massey as Brown.
Walk on the Wild Side (1962)
New Orleans’ infamous Storyville brothel district in the 1930s is the destination for Texas farmboy Dove Linkhorn (Laurence Harvey), as he tries to track down lost love Hallie Gerard (Capucine). He finds her in the employ of madame Jo Courtney (Barbara Stanwyck), whose unsavory and proprietary interest in her may be more than merely professional. Steamy drama, based on Nelson Algren’s 1956 novel, co-stars Jane Fonda (her second film), Anne Baxter, Juanita Moore; Edward Dmytryk directs.
Growing up took Tim Templeton (voiced by James Marsden) to fatherhood, his buttoned-down little brother Ted (Alec Baldwin) to a CEO’s chair…and in different directions personally. That’ll change, as Tim’s infant daughter Tina (Amy Sedaris) turns out to be a BabyCorp exec herself–and her business plan for shutting down a corrupt pre-educator (Jeff Goldblum) involves reverting her dad and uncle to their younger selves! Fun follow-up with the voices of Eva Longoria, Lisa Kudrow, Jimmy Kimmel.
In 2015, Detroit diner waitress/part-time exotic dancer Aziah “Zola” Wells (Taylour Paige) hit it off with customer Stefani (Riley Keough), who’d advised her that Florida was where to go for real money in stripping. However, her choice to join her duplicitous new pal for a road trip to Tampa descended into a nightmare weekend of sex trafficking and bloodshed. Janicza Bravo’s stylish crime dramedy inspired by Wells’ infamous Twitter thread also stars Nicholas Braun, Colman Domingo.
The Fan (1981)
Generation-past Hollywood diva Sally Ross (Lauren Bacall) was understandably nervous as she was kicking off a comeback with her Broadway musical debut. Unfortunately, she’s got more to worry about than the critics, as an obsessed admirer (Michael Biehn) responds to her blow-offs by systematically slaying her inner circle, and saving her for last. Stylish suspenser co-stars James Garner, Maureen Stapleton, Hector Elizondo.
Alone in the Dark (Collector’s Edition)(1982)
As a new psychiatrist at a New Jersey asylum called the Haven, Dr. Dan Potter (Dwight Schultz), tries to work with four of the institution’s most dangerous and disturbed cases. But during a power failure, the quartet escapes and, somehow convinced Potter killed his predecessor, sets out to terrorize him and his family. First-rate shocker also stars Jack Palance, Donald Pleasence, Martin Landau, Erland Van Lidth, Deborah Hedwall.
Catch the Bullet (2021)
When marshal Britt MacMasters (Jay Pickett) discovered that vengeful outlaw Jed Blake (Gattlin Griffith) had kidnapped his young son Chad (Mason McNulty), he rode off through Sioux territory in pursuit with Indian guide Chaska (Cody Jones) and bigoted deputy Tucker (Calder Griffith). Beyond the threat of ambush, the lawman would find peril within his own search party–while Blake would discover his resourceful hostage was anything but harmless. Peter Facinelli also stars.
The Shawshank Redemption (4K Ultra HD)(1994)
Director Frank Darabont’s powerful adaptation of a novella by Stephen King stars Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne, a Portland, Maine, banker wrongly convicted of killing his wife and her lover in 1947. Sentenced to two life sentences in New England’s brutal Shawshank Prison, Dufresne learns to maintain hope in the most hopeless of circumstances with the help of fellow lifer “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman)…and a little rock hammer. An initial box-office disappointment, the classic prison drama has gone on to become a home media hit. Co-stars James Whitmore, William Sadler, Bob Gunton.
Back in Thatcher’s Britain, prim censor Enid Baines (Niamh Algar) was earnest in her governmental duties trimming horror movies–“video nasties”–into worthiness for public consumption. However, a film crossed her desk that hewed far too close to the circumstances of her sister’s childhood disappearance…and her obsession with finding out why might dislodge her grip on reality. Distinctive genre-celebrating chiller also stars Michael Smiley, Nicholas Burns, Adrian Schiller.
Left with a sitter while her art broker parents (Mircea Monroe, Austin Nichols) went to a charity costume party, Casey (Alyvia Alyn Lind) wouldn’t have a good night’s sleep–courtesy of two murderous fencing-masked home invaders looking to loot her parents’ treasures. As she tries to evade their clutches, her mom and dad–offered a ride home by caterer Rose (Bella Thorne)–have no idea what they’ll be walking into. Twisting thriller also stars Skyler Samuels, Michael Proctor, Joana Metrass.
Takeshi Yamato, a twenty-two year old young man lives a double life. During the day time, he is a rookie but popular science teacher at a junior high school in Tokyo. But after school and on Sundays he works as a member of the elite UGM(Utility Government Members), an earth defense organization which tackles difficult situations such as alien invasion and attacks from monsters. When the situation gets out of control, Takeshi transforms into a 50 meter tall mighty warrior, Ultraman 80 and knocks down the most terrifying monster to save the day.
The venerable sci-fi/fantasy series received its first anime incarnation, as space station worker Chōichirō Hikari headed home to take a post with the Science Guard–but his journey would contain a fateful rendezvous with Ultraman Joneus, who’d merge with Hikari and battle the leviathans mysteriously afflicting Earth. With the voices of Kei Tomiyama, Sumi Shimamoto, Kinya Morikawa. 50 episodes on 6 discs.
Out of Death (2021)
Retired cop Jack Harris (Bruce Willis) thought he’d left the high stakes behind after he moved into a rural cabin. However, he happened on the scene as the corrupt local sheriff’s department was about to make cover-up collateral damage out of hiker/murder eyewitness Shannon Mathers (Jaime King)–and no one in their orbit would be safe in the ensuing flight for their lives. Gripping suspenser also stars Lala Kent, Kelly Greyson, Tyler Jon Olson, Michael Sirow.
David Copperfield (1970)
This lavish British production of the Charles Dickens classic is told in flashback from the 28-year-old David Copperfield’s (Robin Phillips) point of view. David recalls his incredible experiences with his abusive stepfather, his days at a boarding school, romances, and encounter with the swindler Uriah Heep (Ron Moody). Richard Attenborough, Laurence Olivier, Edith Evans, Pamela Franklin, Wendy Hiller, Michael Redgrave, and Susan Hampshire star.
Snappy crime drama from England centering on a Chicago gangster situated in London who operates a nightclub as a cover for his illicit activities. When he guns down one of his associates, the man’s wife pretends to fall for the hood in order to implicate him in the crime. Jack LaRue, Sandra Storme, Bernard Lee, and Googie Withers star. AKA: “Murder in Soho.”
Magnum P.I.: Season Three (2020)
Bowing on CBS in 2018, this reboot of the favorite ‘80s action/drama found Jay Hernandez slipping into the Hawaiian shirts as Navy SEAL-turned-private investigator Thomas Magnum, working his trade while serving as the security consultant and more-or-less permanent houseguest of never-seen novelist Robin Masters. Rounding out the cast were Perdita Weeks as Masters’ major domo, ex-MI6 operative Juliet Higgins; Stephen Hill as chopper pilot TC Calvin; and Zachary Knight as barkeep Rick Wright. 16 episodes on 5 discs.