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New Release Wall
It’s possible that “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) might have somehow been an even bigger box-office sensation had it not been released during a global pandemic, but all things considered, it still did pretty well for itself. Monetary success aside, this is a rousing and thrilling superhero tale that manages to feel self-contained as it compulsorily sets the stage for a whole bunch of upcoming MCU plot twists. The 4K and Blu-ray versions include a smattering of extras, including bloopers, panel discussions with the guest villains, and behind-the-scenes featurettes.
“C’mon C’mon” (Lionsgate): Mike Mills’ disarmingly lovely look at family ties offers Joaquin Phoenix one of the more subdued and humane characters he’s ever played.
“Death on the Nile” (20th Century Studios): Toast Kenneth Branagh’s second Agatha Christie adaptation with enough champagne to fill the… oh, you know.
“The Desperate Hour” (Vertical Entertainment): Harried mom Naomi Watts goes for a morning run and contends with possible peril for her children.
“The Fallout” (Warner Bros. Home Video): Jenna Ortega and Maddie Ziegler play high schoolers who become unlikely intimates in the wake of a school shooting.
“The Humans” (Lionsgate): Playwright Stephen Karam adapts his own play about a tense family Thanksgiving, with an all-star ensemble including Richard Jenkins, Beanie Feldstein, Steven Yuen, Amy Schumer, and original Broadway cast member Jayne Houdyshell.
“Jackass Forever” (Paramount Home Entertainment): Johnny Knoxville and company prove they’ve still got the mettle to be slammed in the genitals while also introducing us to a younger generation of thrillseekers.
“Kimi” (Warner Bros. Home Video) Zoë Kravitz is an agoraphobic computer whiz who uncovers a conspiracy while dealing with COVID-19 lockdown in Steven Soderbergh’s latest.
“The King’s Daughter” (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment): Pierce Brosnan stars in this elaborate period fantasy.
“Last Looks” (RLJE Films): Retired cop Charlie Hunnam seeks to prove that boozy TV star Mel Gibson is innocent of murdering his wife; also features Morena Baccarin, Rupert Friend, Clancy Brown, Dominic Monaghan, and Method Man.
“Moonfall” (Lionsgate): Halle Berry and Patrick Wilson must save the Earth from our own dang satellite in this wacky Roland Emmerich disaster-palooza.
“Scream” (Spyglass/Paramount): The franchise is back with this new “requel,” and the meta-commentary magic and mayhem remains very much on display.
The COVID-19 lockdown required filmmakers to get creative, and we probably haven’t seen the last of movies like “Family Squares” (Screen Media), a dysfunctional-family dramedy with a sprawling cast communicating with each other from their respective homes. The impressive lineup here includes not just the first-ever teaming of Margo Martindale and Ann Dowd but also Judy Greer, Billy Magnussen, Elsie Fisher, Sam Richardson, Casey Wilson, Henry Winkler, June Squibb, Timothy Simons, and Zoë Chao.
“Expired” (Lionsgate): Ryan Kwanten and Hugo Weaving star in this futuristic thriller.
“Hellaware” (Factory 25): Michael M. Bilandic’s 2014 art-world satire co-stars Sophia Takal, who would go on to direct and co-write the 2019 remake of “Black Christmas.”
“Jockey” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): Spirit Award nominee Clifton Collins, Jr. gives a career-highlight performance as an aging athlete fearful of what lies ahead.
“Moon Manor” (GDE): This exploration of death and how to face it on your own terms seeks to put the “fun” in “funeral.”
“See You Then” (Breaking Glass Pictures): Two former lovers meet for dinner and to catch up on what’s happening in their lives — including the fact that one of them has transitioned.
Penélope Cruz not winning Best Actress this year goes onto the lengthy “Oscar got it wrong” list, but “Parallel Mothers” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) will endure nonetheless. Another intense collaboration between Cruz and writer-director Pedro Almodóvar, this film feints toward melodrama (Cruz and Milena Smit play two very different women who bond when they give birth on the same day in the same hospital) but packs a punch in its exploration of history — both Spain’s (particularly the nation’s continuing struggle with reckoning the sins of the Civil War) and of humanity in general (where every birth, every life, and every death plays a crucial role).
“Eyimofe (This Is My Desire)” (The Criterion Collection) In this acclaimed Nigerian import, two people trying to improve the lives of their families are torn between seeking opportunities abroad and finding success at home.
“Fabian: Going to the Dogs” (Kino Lorber) An ad man falls in love with as aspiring actress in the waning days of Weimar Germany in this award-winning adaptation of the novel.
“The Long Walk” (Yellow Veil Pictures) Mattie Do, the first (and so far only) female filmmaker in Laos, directs this sci-fi festival hit about a time traveler on a desperate mission.
“Ode to Nothing” (Kani Releasing) This intriguing art-horror hybrid from Filipino director Dwein Ruedas Baltazar follows a lonely ghost, haunting her family’s funeral home, who becomes obsessed with a newly-arrived corpse.
“Oranges and Sunshine” (Cohen Media) Emily Watson stars in this searing docudrama about a British social worker who uncovers a horrifying system of deporting UK orphans to Australia for hard labor.
“Servants” (Film Movement) Two Czech seminarians fall in love in 1980, just as the Communist government begins cracking down on the clergy in this beautifully austere drama.
“Sibyl” (Music Box Selects) Justine Triet’s compelling psychodrama makes its North American Blu-ray debut.
“A Taste of Hunger” (Magnolia Home Entertainment) Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Katrine Greis-Rosenthal play a Copenhagen culinary power couple whose relationship may not survive the stress of their pursuit of a coveted Michelin star.
In the powerful “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment), directors Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler interweave a lecture by civil-rights attorney Jeffery Roberson, interviews, and news footage to craft a portrait of anti-Black racism and discrimination in the United States, starting with slavery and working its way to the present day. It’s the kind of movie that summoned the white-supremacist trolls to downvote the movie (sight unseen) on various film websites, but it packs the required punch in getting its point across with effective precision.
“For All Mankind” (The Criterion Collection) Al Reinert’s breathtaking assemblage of footage from NASA’s moon launches looks better than ever in its first 4K release.
“Royalty Free: The Music of Kevin MacLeod” (First Run Features) You might not know MacLeod’s name, but you’ve most likely heard his music, which has become nearly ubiquitous following his decision to release it directly into the public domain.
“Where Are You, Jay Bennett?” (MVD Visual) This documentary pays tribute to the legendary musician — including his solo work and his essential contributions to Wilco — who died at the age of 45.
“Writing With Fire” (Music Box Films) This Oscar-nominated doc tells the story of India’s only woman-led news outlet.
Vincent Price’s brand of horror was always delivered with grandiloquence and the subtlest of winks, and the double-feature Blu-ray “The Abominable Dr. Phibes” / “Dr. Phibes Rises Again” (KL Studio Classics) captures his hammy intensity at its finest. Whereas Price’s vengeance-minded killer in “Theatre of Blood” took his cues from Shakespeare, Dr. Phibes borrows from the seven plagues of Egypt when he goes after the doctors whom he’s convinced are responsible for his wife’s death. (In the sequel, he travels to Egypt in pursuit of immortality.) Both films are witty and creepy, with lots of visual and visceral delights.
“The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter” (Arrow) One of the last great martial-arts films produced under the Shaw Brothers shingle gets its first North American Blu-ray release.
“Bleed With Me” (Shudder/RLJE) For the millionth time — if someone invites you to stay at a cabin in the woods, you say no.
Drive-In Retro Classics: Science Fiction Triple Feature (Corinth Films) Pop the popcorn and enjoy vintage genre cheeseballs “Rocketship X-M,” “The Hideous Sun Demon,” and “The Brain From Planet Arous.”
“The Exorcism of God” (Lionsgate) An American priest in Mexico botches an exorcism and has to live with the consequences.
“Girl on a Chain Gang” (Something Weird/The Film Detective) This 1966 exploitation classic pioneered the “trio of young travelers get thrown into a hellish Southern prison” sub-genre.
“The Ice Demon” (Shout Studios) The return of a woman’s long-lost father leads to supernatural calamity in this Russian import.
“The Long Night” (Well Go USA Entertainment) This creepy tale of a woman looking for her family and instead finding a killer cult features an impressive ensemble, including Scout Taylor-Compton, Nolan Gerard Funk, Deborah Kara Unger, and Jeff Fahey.
“New Year’s Evil” (KL Studio Classics) A serial killer stalks a TV hostess amidst the confetti and champagne.
“Night Creatures” (Scream Factory) Peter Cushing and Oliver Reed star in this Hammer Films fave.
“Pathogen” (AGFA/Bleeding Skull) Director Emily Hagins conceived of this horror film when she was 12 and shot it when she was 15 – this first-ever wide release of this cult classic comes with a new making-of documentary, “Zombie Girl: The Movie.”
Rogue Cops and Racketeers: Two Crime Thrillers by Enzo G. Castellari (Arrow) This new collection features a pair of favorites from the genre legend, “The Big Racket” and “The Heroin Busters.”
“Spiritwalker” (Well Go USA Entertainment) In this Korean martial-arts thriller, a man loses his memory and wakes up in a new body every 12 hours.
“Tentacles” (KL Studio Classics) Italian-made “Jaws” rip-offs were never as star-studded as this doozy, featuring John Huston, Shelley Winters, Henry Fonda, Bo Hopkins, and Cesare Danova.
“V/H/S/94” (Shudder/RLJE) A quintet of directors craft found-footage vignettes for this horror anthology.
“Vicious Fun” (Shudder/RLJE) A film critic finds himself in a serial-killer support group and tries to bluff his way through in this gore-splattered horror comedy.
“The Violent Breed” (Code Red) A Vietnam vet returns to Southeast Asia to take down a drug kingpin in this Italian exploitation thriller.
“Warhunt” (Lionsgate) American soldiers face off with German witches in this unconventional WWII saga.
Animator-turned-director Frank Tashlin brought his Looney Tunes aesthetic to “The Girl Can’t Help It” (The Criterion Collection), turning Jayne Mansfield into his Bugs Bunny — her reluctant singer here is resilient, forthright, and she always gets what she wants, even when her gangster/father figure (Edmond O’Brien) tries pushing her into a show-business career. (Her exaggerated va-va-voominess is a joke here, but it’s a joke that Mansfield is 110% in on.) The plot is mainly window dressing for a cavalcade of brilliant musical acts, including Little Richard, Fats Domino, Abbey Lincoln, Eddie Cochran, Julie London, Gene Vincent, and the Platters, making this both a fizzy, boundary-pushing comedy and the greatest jukebox musical Hollywood ever made.
“12 Monkeys” (Arrow) If you’ve been revisiting Bruce Willis’ best movies, here’s a new 4K of the dystopic sci-fi drama.
“American Flyers” (Warner Archive Collection) Up-and-comer Kevin Costner co-stars opposite David Marshall Grant, Rae Dawn Chong, and Jennifer Grey in this saga about brotherly bonds and bicycle racing.
“Armageddon” (KL Studio Classics): Not the Michael Bay mess — this 1977 thriller stars Alain Delon as an Interpol psychologist out to stop terrorist Jean Yanne.
“The Body of My Enemy” (KL Studio Classics) Jean-Paul Belmondo stars as an ex-con out for revenge in this stylish 1976 thriller.
“Born to Win” (Fun City Editions) Rescuing an early Ivan Passer film from falling through the cracks completely, this new Blu-ray offers audiences a new look at this acclaimed addiction drama from the Czech director (his first in English), starring George Segal and Karen Black and featuring Paula Prentiss, Robert De Niro, and Hector Elizondo.
“Breakout” (KL Studio Classics) Charles Bronson engineers a daring prison break for wrongfully-incarcerated Robert Duvall in this action-adventure, which also stars Jill Ireland, John Huston, and Sheree North.
“Dementia” (Cohen Film Collection) This 1955 psychological horror curiosity melds elements of film noir and dream imagery, all shot by the cinematographer of “Plan Nine from Outer Space.”
“Dingo” (Dark Star Pictures) Miles Davis’ final film, directed by Rolf de Heer, gets a long-awaited US DVD reissue.
“Fandango” (Warner Archive Collection) Kevin Costner and Judd Nelson star in this ensemble dramedy about a quintet of college graduates taking one last spree in the summer of 1971 before adulthood comes crashing in.
Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema VI (KL Studio Classics) The latest box set celebrating cinema at its shadowiest includes “The Raging Tide,” “Johnny Stool Pigeon,” and “Singapore.”
“From the Journals of Jean Seberg” (Kino Classics) Mark Rappaport’s brilliant examination of the victimized actress and her life and times offers a revealing and provocative look at cinema history. Essential.
“Grand Slam” (KL Studio Classics) Edward G. Robinson, Janet Leigh, and Klaus Kinski star in what many consider to be one of the greatest heist pictures ever made.
“Heavy Metal” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) The animated sci-fi extravaganza makes its 4K home video debut in a steelbook collection with follow-up “Heavy Metal 2000.”
“In the Heat of the Night” (KL Studio Classics) Pay tribute to the late, great Sidney Poitier with the first-ever 4K release of one of his greatest films.
“The Indian Tomb” (Kino Classics): Fritz Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou wrote this silent four-hour Orientalist fantasy adventure about a maharajah whose plans for vengeance are foiled by a British architect.
“Jigsaw” (Cohen Film Collection) New restoration of a 1962 British noir classic from director Val Guest.
“Man on the Flying Trapeze” (KL Studio Classics) One of W.C. Fields’ classic comedies sees one little white lie get blown way out of proportion and leading to hilarious catastrophe.
“Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” (Arrow) Kenneth Branagh got an Oscar for his “Belfast” script and now he gets a 4K release and possibly a re-evaluation of his not-universally-loved horror adaptation.
Miklós Jancsó Collection (Kino Classics) Fans of the Hungarian master filmmaker can pick up this six-film box set (including “The Round-Up,” “The Red and the White,” “The Confrontation,” “Winter Wind,” “Red Psalm,” and “Electra, My Love”) or a double-disc collection of “The Round-Up” & “The Red and the White.”
“Miracle in Milan” (The Criterion Collection): Legendary neorealist Vittorio De Sica gets to indulge his playful side with this whimsical working-class fantasy.
“My Afternoons with Margueritte” (Cohen Media) An illiterate (played by Gérard Depardieu) and an older lady (Gisèle Casadesus) strike up a friendship that will change them both forever in this sentimental French comedy-drama.
“The Olive Trees of Justice” (Kino Classics) This narrative film from American documentarian James Blue — the only French film shot in Algiers during the Algerian war — returns with a new 4K restoration.
“Only Yesterday” (Studio Ghibli/GKIDS) Isao Takahata’s beautiful and heart-tugging tale of a city woman who visits her relatives in the countryside gets a new steelbook release.
“Ordinary People” (Paramount Presents) Robert Redford’s Oscar-winning dysfunctional-family drama – featuring powerhouse performances by Mary Tyler Moore, Timothy Hutton, Donald Sutherland, Judd Hirsch, and Elizabeth McGovern – still packs a punch 40 years later, as a newly remastered Blu-ray release confirms.
The Other French New Wave, Vol. 1 (Canadian International Pictures) This collection celebrates three Quebecois filmmakers that shook up the province’s film industry in the 1960s.
“RoboCop” (Arrow) You probably can’t buy that for a dollar, but you definitely want a 4K of this Paul Verhoeven classic in your collection.
“’Round Midnight” (The Criterion Collection) Bertrand Tavernier’s moving drama of American jazz expats (and the French fans who worshipped them) gets the full Criterion treatment.
“Singin’ in the Rain” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment) One of the greatest movies ever made feels even more glorious in 4K.
“The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” (Studio Ghibli/GKIDS) A latter-day triumph from legendary animator Isao Takahata, this gorgeous period piece gets a steelbook reissue.
Through the Decades: 1980s (Mill Creek Entertainment) This mixed bag of Columbia Pictures films — “Band of the Hand,” “Blue Thunder,” “Like Father, Like Son,” “Little Nikita,” “The New Kids,” “Punchline,” “Roxanne,” “Suspect,” Vice Versa,” “Who’s Harry Crumb” — offers an entertaining dip into the Reagan era.
Through the Decades: 1990s (Mill Creek Entertainment) There’s an interesting mix of drama, comedy and horror in this compilation: “Anaconda,” “The Deep End of the Ocean,” “The Devil’s Own,” “Donnie Brasco,” “The Freshman,” “Housesitter,” “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer,” “The Matchmaker,” “One True Thing,” and “White Palace.”
Twisting the Knife: Four Films by Claude Chabrol (Arrow) A quartet of titles — “The Swindle,” “The Color of Lies,” “Nightcap,” “The Flower of Evil” – from France’s master of suspense.
“You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man” (KL Studio Classics) W.C. Fields’ onscreen clash with his radio nemesis Charlie McCarthy (and puppeteer Edgar Bergen) ranks among the great comedic confrontations.
“You’re Telling Me!” (KL Studio Classics) This 1934 pre-Code W.C. Fields comedy features an early screen appearance from Buster Crabbe, before he went on to fame as Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon.
“What if historical figures were dumb and horny?” has become something of a TV sub-genre, but perhaps no one’s doing it better than the folks behind “The Great”: Season Two (Paramount Home Entertainment). Far from being a one-joke premise, the Hulu series’ second season found Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult finding new shadings — and new treachery — in their respective portrayals of Catherine and Peter the Great. It’s funny, smart, and sexy, and you’ll probably find yourself checking Google to see if all this really happened.
“The Handmaid’s Tale”: The Complete Fourth Season (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment) Just when you think you’ve seen the worst Gilead has to offer, this riveting drama takes us deeper and deeper into its dystopic vision.
“The Honeymooners Specials”: The Complete Collection (MPI Home Video) A quartet of full-color specials (“Second Honeymoon,” “Valentine’s Special,” “Christmas Special,” “A Christmas Carol”) featuring Jackie Gleason and company reprising their legendary sitcom characters.
“The Immortal” (Kino Lorber) Can’t get enough “Gomorrah”? Here’s a feature film based on the Italian gangster drama.
“Rocco Schiavone: Ice Cold Murders”: Season One (Kino Lorber) A Rome detective is exiled to a touristy Alpine ski resort where he immediately encounters some very chilly homicide.
“Up All Night”: The Complete Series (Mill Creek Entertainment) This two-season sitcom is a bit of a blip on the careers of the very busy Christina Applegate, Will Arnett, and Maya Rudolph, but it’s one of the funniest series you might never have seen.
“You Had Me at Aloha” (Cinedigm) “When Calls the Heart” co-stars Pascale Hutton and Kavan Smith find love in Hawaii in this Hallmark romance from acclaimed indie director John Putch (“The Father and the Bear”).