The new year is only slowly ramping up with Blu-ray releases. While this week brings a larger selection than the last couple over the holidays, the biggest titles are some TV shows and festival films. If you were hoping for a major blockbuster, hold tight for another week.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
Mid90s – Jonah Hill makes his feature directing debut with a coming-of-age tale about skater culture during the title period. Most critics were supportive of the venture, though some felt the result was too thinly sketched and derivative. Still, it was successful enough that Hill could take on more ambitious projects in the future.
An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn – Legion co-stars Aubrey Plaza and Jemaine Clement join Craig Robinson and Emile Hirsch in a weirdo crime comedy about a bunch of losers, low-lifes, and a hotel lounge singer (or maybe magic act, I’m not sure?). All the plot descriptions I’ve read are basically incomprehensible, and probably beside the point anyway. Movies like this are made specifically to play at Sundance in the hopes of becoming a breakout cult hit. No such luck in this case. Reviews and word-of-mouth were both poor.
Hounds of Love – Much better buzzed on the festival circuit was this Australian psychological thriller about a young girl abducted by a serial-killing couple, whose only hope of survival is to turn her captors against each other. The movie is said to be unrelentingly harrowing and disturbing (though fortunately not graphic), with more complex characters than your typical horror outing.
Let the Corpses Tan – I guess sometimes style can trump substance. This French/Belgian throwback to the Italian giallo and Spaghetti Western genres charmed most critics enough that they were willing to give it a pass on an allegedly incomprehensible plot.
Debuting in 4k are the first season of Hulu’s Castle Rock and an amusement park-themed horror flick called Hell Fest.
The Criterion Collection closes out the life and career of Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (Close-Up, Certified Copy) with his final feature, 24 Frames. More a film experiment than a narrative story, the piece is a collection of 24 short vignettes inspired by still photographs.
I’m not aware that there was anything particularly lacking about the previous Blu-ray edition of the genre-defining Rob Reiner/Nora Ephron nom-com When Harry Met Sally. Shout! Factory celebrates its 30th anniversary by reissuing the film as part of its Shout Select line anyway. The disc promises a new video transfer and one new interview with Reiner and Billy Crystal, in addition to carrying over most of the old MGM supplements.
Joel Schumacher followed up the notorious, campy flop Batman & Robin with the gritty and unpleasant thriller 8MM, starring Nicolas Cage as a P.I. investigating a snuff film. Despite a script by Se7en screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker, the movie was savaged by critics. Scream Factory digs it up to see if its reputation has improved any over the last two decades.
Emilio Estevez, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jeremy Piven, and Stephen Dorff have a very bad night being chased by Denis Leary through the mean streets of Chicago in the 1993 thriller Judgment Night, which finds its way out of the Warner Archive.
Arrow Video gets its Blaxploitation groove on with Willie Dynamite, the flashiest pimp in New York, and makes a case for it being the genre’s best movie of the 1970s.
The MVD Rewind Collection upgrades another VHS staple with the 1992 sci-fi thriller Nemesis, from schlock auteur Albert Pyun (Dollman, Cyborg).
Mill Creek pairs together the franchise’s two worst entries with a double-feature of The Karate Kid Part III and The Next Karate Kid.
I can’t find any details about Fox’s 20th Anniversary reissue of Office Space, but it looks to me like a simple repackage of the older Blu-ray.
If you’re not ready for 4k, Season 1 of Hulu’s Stephen King mashup Castle Rock will of course get a standard Blu-ray box set too. Also arriving on the scene is the first season of the USA Network’s spinoff of The Purge.
The only title I was actually excited about this week was a Blu-ray edition of David Mamet’s twisty 1997 con artist caper The Spanish Prisoner, but it looks like that disc has been pushed back to April. Failing that, I’ll leave my wallet unopened, though Hounds of Love and Let the Corpses Tan might be worth a watch if I eventually encounter them on cable or streaming. I like When Harry Met Sally, but I don’t need to buy it right now.
Are you more tempted by anything this week?
I love Judgement Night and have wanted a Blu ray of it for years, just my luck Warner Archive are the ones to release it. Those discs are ridiculously expensive and hard to access here in Canada. Might just import the German Blu-Ray after all.
Let the Corpses Tan looks like it’s right up my alley from the trailer! I have a film critic/writer friend who counts it as his favorite thing he saw on the festival circuit last year. There’s no listing for it on Amazon though 🙁 Hopefully I can find a streaming service that has it for rent.
Corpses Tan is listed on Amazon now. Click the link in the poll and follow from there to Amazon.
Apologies, I was referring to Amazon Canada which still has nothing for the movie. Not sure why…
I have Judgment Night ordered but no movement as of yet. I’m curious about Hellfest and might redbox it. I watched 8mm when it was released theatrically and recently caught it on either Amazon or Shudder. I really enjoyed it. I don’t want to throw down 30 for it though if it isn’t from a new master. I saw Hounds of Love on Hulu ( I think) a few months back and thought it was excellent although enfuriating at times. It was very realistic and well acted. Street Law is on my upgrade list. I’ve never heard of Let the Corpses Tan but now I’m intrigued.
Put me down for Nemesis as well, although after a price drop.
I don’t understand why a reviewer and apparent enthusiast would look down on a 4k remaster of a classic like When Harry Met Sally? Yes the old DVD era master looked fine on Blu-ray, but a remaster is always welcome for pretty much any title IMO. They make a huge difference, even on standard Blu. This one isn’t really something I collect, but Carrie, The Thing and others of that ilk sure were. Bring on the remasters, I say.
Anyway, this week I got Stay Tuned and Karate Kid 3 and 4. The latter was mostly for my wife, who grew up on Karate Kid 4 and loved it. I vaguely remember 3 being fun though.
I wouldn’t say I’m looking down upon it. I just didn’t realize there was either a need or demand for it.
Shout are releasing a lot of 80’s comedies with remasters… City Slickers, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Jerk, etc… so there must be a demand for them. Not what I collect, but I’m sure comedy collectors appreciate it.
24 Frames looks spectacular.
I may pick up Castle Rock, other than that nothing for me this week.
Been looking at the releases the past couple of months and looking at the stack of unopened discs on my shelves, and come to a conclusion – my movie buying has pretty much halted. Catalogue wise, I have almost everything I could want on Blu-Ray or 4k, and there have been only a hadful of new movies in the past couple of years that I enjoyed (literally. Deadpool, Logan, Blade Runner, Ralph Breaks The Internet, Mary Poppins Returns. 5 movies. Solo was okay but will probably never watch it again, and The Crimes of Grindlewald was boring). I did pick up 2001 on 4k, which was AMAZING, but long story short, its coming to the point where I just don’t care about buying discs anymore.
I am actually at the point where the majority of the content I am consuming is YouTube, with Netflix Originals being second (Lost In Space, Fuller House, Stranger Things, Anne With an E, Voltron, Castlevania, She-Ra, etc). I tried a couple of the Amazon series but The Tick was okay, and everything else I have seen was garbage.
So long story short, I haven’t been that involved in the forums, mainly because there is like nothing new coming out that intrests me. So, nothing for me this week.
Your comment made me look through my collection and it’s looking like ‘Widows’ will be the only 2018 film I will actually purchase.
I bought lots of discs in 2018, but they were all catalogue titles. There’s still a few 2018 films that I want to see and maybe they will wow me and I’ll buy them; but for now it’s looking like just one title from last year in my collection.