With the July 4th holiday lull out of the way, the Blu-ray and UHD release calendar jolts back to life this week. However, those of us whose wallets are still recovering from the Criterion, Arrow Video, and other recent sales (not to mention Amazon’s imminent Prime Day) may be feeling that sometimes dead is better.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
Pet Sematary – Following soon after the success of Warner Bros.’ It, Paramount attempts to revive another old Stephen King bestseller with a remake that’s darker and less campy than the last film adaptation. Most critics were divided as to whether the result in this case is actually an improvement or not. Our Deirdre liked it fairly well. Relative to its modest budget, the movie was a box office success, but far from the blockbuster It was.
High Life – Arty French filmmaker Claire Denis makes her first venture into science fiction with an existential tale about a convict (Robert Pattinson) sentenced to participate in ethically dubious experiments aboard a spaceship traveling toward a black hole. Juliette Binoche is the scientist running the tests. More Solaris than Star Wars, the film played well at festivals, but Jason had some issues with it.
Little – It’s the opposite of Big! Regina Hall plays an uptight businesswoman who gets magically transformed back into a kid (Marsai Martin from Black-ish). Notably, the 14-year-old Martin developed the project and is the youngest person to ever receive an Executive Producer credit on a Hollywood studio production. Sadly, the reviews were pretty middling, calling the comedy cute but uneven and predictable.
After – YA romance nonsense based on a “novel” first published on social media.
The Professor – Johnny Depp stars as a college professor who becomes an obnoxious man-child asshole after learning that he only has a few months to live. This is supposed to be a comedy, but just feels pathetic and sad given the current state of Depp’s life and career. The movie played in one film festival where nobody saw it and is effectively going straight to video.
Transit – See my write-up from June 25th. The Blu-ray was apparently pushed back a couple weeks.
Paramount delivers Pet Sematary onto Ultra HD with a SteelBook option at Best Buy. Alternately, you can also get it bundled in a 2-Movie Collection with the 1989 adaptation of the story. (Not included is 1992’s Pet Sematary II.)
Universal upgrades a couple of duds to UHD with Ang Lee’s Hulk and Kevin Costner’s Waterworld. Best Buy has a SteelBook for the latter.
Mill Creek launches the 2002 IMAX documentary Space Station, featuring narration by Tom Cruise, to 4k glory. Honestly, though, this one is probably best watched in 3D.
Just in time for the Barnes & Noble sale are Criterion editions of Agnieszka Holland’s 1990 WWII drama Europa Europa and Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The BRD Trilogy (which is comprised of The Marriage of Maria Braun, Veronika Voss, and Lola).
The second volume of the Cohen Film Archive’s Buster Keaton Collection contains new restorations of the silent classics Sherlock Jr. and The Navigator.
Kino’s new wave of discs features an eclectic mix of titles that span from a 1924 silent adaptation of Peter Pan to Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 sci-fi/noir mashup Alphaville, Claude Chabrol’s 1967 mystery thriller The Champagne Murders, and even the ridiculous 1985 Brat Pack street gang drama Tuff Turf.
The Warner Archive dusts off Clint Eastwood’s 1980 action comedy Bronco Billy, which is allegedly one of Eastwood’s personal favorites among his own work.
Philip Kaufman’s 1972 Western The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid rides into the Shout Select line from Shout! Factory.
The new Godzilla movie in theaters has inspired Mill Creek to license Toho’s 1961 kaiju spectacular Mothra. The SteelBook package contains both the original Japanese and the (dubbed/re-edited) American versions of the movie.
If Hard Ticket to Hawaii got you hooked on the ’80s cheese/sleeze of trash auteur Andy Sidaris, consider also his 1988 Picasso Trigger or 1989 Savage Beach.
The 1981 biker gang drama The Loveless marked the screen debuts for both star Willem Dafoe and co-director Kathryn Bigelow. Arrow Video brings it to Blu-ray.
The schlocky 1955 sci-fi B-movie This Island Earth sort-of appeared on Blu-ray previously, as the film being mocked in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. Scream Factory offers a restored release of the feature proper, for those fans who feel that it deserves better than the MST3K treatment.
After that, Scream Factory revisits the 2002 horror video game adaptation Silent Hill with a Collector’s Edition.
Fox’s Gotham finally petered out after five seasons. Fans and completists can purchase the final season on its own or a complete series collection.
Also available are the fourth season of Syfy’s The Magicians and the sixth season of the British detective drama Endeavour.
The famed Western miniseries Lonesome Dove gets reissued as a Special Edition SteelBook, while the true crime Ted Bundy TV movie The Stranger Beside Me makes its Blu-ray debut.
I have Fassbinder’s BRD Trilogy on DVD and would love an upgrade. The Marriage of Maria Braun in particular is, in my opinion, a masterpiece.
I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Europa Europa, but I get it confused in my mind with Agnieszka Holland’s totally unrelated next film, Olivier Olivier. I probably need a revisit.
I don’t believe I’ve watched Alphaville since the Criterion Laserdisc. That also needs an upgrade. I’ll put Mothra on my guilty pleasure wish list. I’m curious enough about High Life for a rental.
What will you dig up this week?