Shyamalan’s latest and a couple of Criterions about female bonds at different ages highlight this month’s new physical media releases.
Knock at the Cabin (Universal): M. Night Shyamalan brings the apocalypse to a gay couple (Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge) and their daughter just trying to mind their own business in a luxury Vrbo. Dave Bautista leads a band of true believers convinced that the couple is the key to thwarting a divine plan to destroy the world. One catch: someone has to sacrifice their life to appease the supernatural inevitability. It’s a psychological horror film with that classic Shyamalan rug-pulling fully intact, and it will either thrill you or make you really angry.
All-Star Superman (DC/Warner Bros): In this animated entry (now in 4K), Superman is dying from solar radiation, and Lex Luthor is going to control the world unless the Man of Steel can get it together.
Champions (Universal): Woody Harrelson coaches a basketball team of developmentally disabled adults in this aggressively charming comedy.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (Paramount): The cult-favorite game is finally a movie for people who’ve never played it and/or find it all baffling. Turns out it was lots of fun the whole time.
Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen (DC/Warner Bros): The Justice League get zapped to another dimension as teenagers and together with anime teens Ruby, Weiss, Blake and Yang, they battle the superpowered Grimm.
The Magic Flute (Shout Factory): A mystical portal to a magical fantasy land of Mozart’s famous opera beckons a young student at a music boarding school.
One Day as a Lion (Lionsgate): Scott Caan stars in and wrote this crime-comedy about a hit man who gets mixed up with all the wrong people.
The Swan Princess: A Fairy Tale Is Born (Sony): Queens and kingdoms and origin stories and coronations are all in the mix in this animated feature.
DVD/BLU-RAY RELEASES, MAY 2023: NEW INDIE
Young Bodies Heal Quickly (Factory 25): The 2014 debut feature from Andrew T. Betzer gets its first physical media release, and it’s a lovingly assembled, limited-edition release with commentary, deleted scenes, critical essays, and a collection of Betzer’s shorts including John Wayne Hated Horses, I Turn to Jello, and Important Police Shit. YBHQ follows two brothers on the run after being involved in an accidental death. On their journey to wherever, they wind up in car chases, knife fights with chefs, and a Vietnam-War reenactment with their estranged father. So yeah.
Baby Ruby (Magnolia): A young woman (Noémie Merlant, Portrait of a Lady on Fire) has a baby and suddenly everything gets weird in this psychological thriller.
The Civil Dead (Utopia): This 2022 Slamdance Audience Award winner follows a grumpy photographer, home alone for the weekend eating candy, whose chill times are disrupted by a weird old friend.
Heaven Sent (Mill Creek): A grandmother (Karen Abercromie) and a widowed pastor (Leon Pridgen) find love on the internet in this romantic drama.
Please Baby Please (Music Box Selects): Amanda Kramer’s wildly inventive and equally colorful musical drama stars Andrea Riseborough and Harry Melling as a young couple on a journey through gender and sexuality.
Space Wars: Quest for the Deepstar (October Coast): Michael Paré stars in this sci-fi adventure about a father-daughter team of galactic scavengers.
Sweetheart (Film Movement): An awkward British teen whose gender nonconformity confuses their quintessentially “normal” family meets a cute lifeguard for a summer vacation romance.
The Warrant: Breaker’s Law (Mill Creek): This contemporary western about defending a town from an evil gang stars Neal McDonough, Bruce Boxleitner, and Dermot Mulroney.
DVD/BLU-RAY RELEASES, MAY 2023: NEW INTERNATIONAL
Petite Maman (Criterion Collection): Celine Sciamma’s follow-up to her acclaimed Portrait of a Lady On Fire shifts gears and explores the bonds between mothers and daughters. An 8-year-old girl ventures into the woods and meets the childhood version of her own mother. It begins a conversation about love, connection, and the unexpected turns of life. It’s time-travel like you’ve not seen before. This Criterion Collection edition includes an essay from So Mayer, a video conversation between Sciamma and filmmaker Joachim Trier, as well as the animated feature My Life as a Zucchini, co-written by Sciamma.
La Civil (Kino Lorber): The debut feature from Teodora Ana Mihai is the true story of a woman who rescued her kidnapped daughter from a drug cartel, and it was a Cannes prize-winner in 2021.
A Handful of Water (IndiePix Unlimited): A German drama about an 85-year-old man and his unexpected encounter with a young refugee girl.
Irreversible: Original Cut/Straight Cut (Altered Innocence): Two decades after its initial release, Gaspar Noe’s bleak, brutal drama, originally told in reverse, is now recut in chronological order for this 2-disc set.
A New Old Play (Kani): Director Qiu Jiongjiong’s historical epic of an artist weathering China’s shifting social and political landscape throughout the 20th century.
On the Edge (Kino Lorber): This Belgian crime-thriller from Giordano Gederlini is about a father investigating the death of his son and learning more dark secrets than he ever wanted to.
Pilgrimage (IndiePix Unlimited): Portugal’s 2017 official entry for the Academy Awards is the story of Fernão Mendes Pinto, 16th century explorer, shipwrecked and taken prisoner several times.
Return to Seoul (Sony): A young Korean woman (newcomer Park Ji-min delivers a scorching performance), adopted by a French family when she was very young, explores her identity – with surprising results — in Davy Chou’s acclaimed drama.
Young Ip Man (Well Go USA): An escaped prisoner holds students hostage at young Ip Man’s school, forcing the budding martial arts master to fight back.
DVD/BLU-RAY RELEASES, MAY 2023: NEW DOCUMENTARY
Shabu (IndiePix Unlimited): Shabu is a 14-year-old Dutch-Surinamese aspiring artist living in Rotterdam. This summertime slice-of-life doc follows him as he interacts with family, friends and people in the community… and then he crashes his grandmother’s car. That’s when the film turns into the story of a kid determined to both pay off the debt he’s incurred and showcase his musical talents to make his family proud. It’s sweet, charming, and full of love.
Filmmakers for the Prosecution (Kino Lorber): A documentary that plays like a thriller, it tells the story of how motion-picture footage was used to convict Nazis at the Nuremberg trials. Also included is 1948’s Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today.
The Great Basin (Collective): Filmmaker Chivas Devinck’s intimate portrait of rural Nevada through visits with the people who live and work there.
A Night at The Family Dog / Go Ride the Music / Westpole (Universal): Three full hours of late 60s San Francisco music from legendary bands Santana, the Grateful Dead, and Jefferson Airplane.
The Quiet Epidemic (First Run Features): The disease that the medical establishment says doesn’t exist – Chronic Lyme Disease – is the subject of this investigative look into the lives of patients and the research around the symptoms they have in common.
DVD/BLU-RAY RELEASES, MAY 2023: NEW GRINDHOUSE
Enter the Video Store: Empire of Screams (Arrow): Empire International Pictures made a lot of wild genre films in the ’80s, and this five-disc limited-edition box set collects some digitally restored favorites from the era, including The Dungeonmaster, Dolls, Cellar Dweller, Arena, and Robot Jox. And of course each disc is overflowing with extra material, all of it packaged with an accompanying book celebrating the retro good times of vintage cheesy cinema.
Dracula (The Dirty Old Man) (AGFA/Something Weird): Welcome to this no-budget freakshow of a horny Dracula movie from 1969, only its original soundtrack was discarded and replaced by people improvising all the dialogue. Yes, really.
Justice Ninja Style (VHShit fest): Filmed in the small town of DeSoto, Missouri, on a micro budget, this homemade action movie is literal community theater, and everyone pitched in.
Maximum Overdrive (Lionsgate): Whether you’re a Stephen King completist or just super into trucks that look like the Green Goblin, you’ll want this steelbook release of King’s one feature directorial effort.
Rawhead Rex (Kino Lorber): Classic 1986 entry, written by Clive Barker, about a long-hidden demon come back to torment an Irish village.
The Siege (Well Go USA): Daniel Stisen (Rise of the Footsoldier 3) is an international hitman who teams up with a fellow killer (stuntwoman Lauren Okadigbo) to battle an entire team of assassins.
Unwelcome (Well Go USA): The creatures living the woods near a vacation home turn out to be more than a spooky local legend.
V/H/S/99 (RLJE): The analog days of home video are the backdrop to this horror anthology from directors Maggie Levin, Johannes Roberts, Flying Lotus, Tyler MacIntyre, and Vanessa Winter.
Yakuza Graveyard (Radiance): 1976 crime thriller from Kinji Fukasaku crisscrosses the battle lines between the police and organized crime.
DVD/BLU-RAY RELEASES, MAY 2023: NEW CLASSIC
Trouble Every Day (The Film Desk): A virus is turning people into cannibalistic sex vampires. And while that may seem like the premise of a shlocky horror film, it is instead the jumping-off point for a moody, ice-cold (and yes, blood-soaked) examination of the body and its personal and corporate betrayals from internationally acclaimed arthouse filmmaker Claire Denis. Starring Vincent Gallo and Beatrice Dalle, it’s a spooky, artful outlier in the world of early 2000s New French Extremity.
Branded to Kill (The Criterion Collection): Japanese New Wave gangster movies don’t get cheekier or swinging-sixties-er than Seijun Suzuki’s tale of a yakuza hitman who finds himself becoming a target.
Bullets Over Summer (Kani): This 1999 Hong Kong cops-and-robbers movie is mashed up with lovable sitcom styling.
Cliffhanger (Sony): Sylvester Stallone fights a bunch of terrorists on a mountain and kicks all their asses, for the first time in 4K.
Deep Impact (Paramount): Released for the first time in 4K, a comet is going to smash into Earth and annihilate all human life, but reporter Tea Leoni is going to uncover the truth and save the planet.
The Hourglass Sanatorium (Yellow Veil): Wojciech J. Has’s 1973 surrealist Polish masterpiece explores the generational trauma of the Holocaust.
Max Fleischer’s Superman 1941-1943 (DC/Warner Bros): A collection of the 17 original WWII-era animated theatrical shorts that first brought Superman from comic books to the big screen.
Miami Vice (Mill Creek): Michael Mann’s update of the TV crime drama starring Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell gets an unrated director’s cut and a steelbook package (exclusive to Walmart).
The Naked Fog / Moonlighting Wives (Film Movement Classics): Swinging 60s suburbia explodes in this double-feature of soft erotic drama from Joe Sarno.
Samurai Wolf 1 & 2 (Film Movement Classics): Kiba (Isao Natsuyagi) is a ronin locked in battle with corruption in this one-two punch of genre action from Hideo Gosha.
The Saragossa Manuscript (Yellow Veil): Wojciech J Has delivered this 1965 Polish cult epic – set during the Napoleonic wars – and its reputation keeps growing, with acclaim from Luis Buñuel, Martin Scorsese, and Francis Ford Coppola.
Search for Beauty (Kino Lorber): Delightful 1934 pre-Code comedy about the goings-on at a health and beauty magazine, starring Buster Crabbe and Ida Lupino.
Speaking Parts (Canadian International Pictures): This 1989 film from acclaimed Canadian director Atom Egoyan explores his usual early themes of isolation, obsession and interpersonal strangeness.
Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds (Umbrella): Rescued from obscurity, this 30-year-old debut feature from Alex Proyas (The Crow, Dark City) is an eccentric, post-apocalyptic adventure.
The Sunday Woman (Radiance): This 1975 Euro-mystery stars Jacqueline Bisset and Jean-Louis Trintignant as a woman and her gay friend suspected of murdering her husband.
Superman 5-Film Collection 1978-1987 (DC/Warner Bros): The legendary Christopher Reeve returns as the Man of Steel in this box set of 4K UHD reissues, including Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut.
The Tale of Tsar Saltan (Seagull Films): Russian director Aleksandr Ptushko’s eye-popping 1967 fantasy film, based on the fairy tale by Alexander Pushkin.
Targets (The Criterion Collection): Peter Bogdanovich’s breakthrough movie is also Boris Karloff’s farewell to the silver screen is also a condemnation of the gun culture that plagues the nation more than 50 years later.
Thelma & Louise (Criterion Collection): Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon are on the run from every terrible guy in this buddy drama, now given the Criterion release it deserves.
Violent Streets (Film Movement Classics): This 1974 exercise in yakuza mayhem from acclaimed action director Hideo Gosha deserves a new audience.
Wings of Desire (The Criterion Collection): Wim Wenders’ haunting meditation of angels over Berlin makes its 4K debut in a director-approved release.
The Wounded Man (Anus/Altered Innocence): A gay French teenager falls into an obsessive relationship with a street hustler and it gets very complicated in this psychological drama from Patrice Chereau.
DVD/BLU-RAY RELEASES, MAY 2023: NEW TV
The Hunters (MHz): Two seasons of this Swedish mystery series, both starring Rolf Lassgård (A Man Called Ove) as a retired police officer drawn into into a chilly noir involving environmentalism, murder, and mining. The second season brings the return of a man convicted of a murder that shocked the region and the conflict his presence sparks. For fans of moody Euro mysteries and procedurals that always somehow feel cozy no matter how dark and violent they may get.
The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet: Season 11 + Season 12 (MPI Media): The beloved – and exceptionally long-lasting – classic sitcom’s eleventh and twelfth seasons (sold separately) get a full restoration thanks to the UCLA Film & Television Archive.
Go On: The Complete Series (Mill Creek): Your favorite Matthew Perry–starring sitcom – no, the other one – gets its full run here.
His Dark Materials: The Complete Third Season (Warner Bros): This season finally gets to The Amber Spyglass, the third and final novel in Philip Pullman’s trilogy.
Maria Bamford Stand-up Spotlight (Mill Creek): Two stand-up specials from Bamford on one disc: Weakness is The Brand and The Special Special Special.
Primal: The Complete Second Season (Warner Bros): Genndy Tartakovsky’s Emmy-collecting animated series about cavepeople and dinosaurs is good enough to pretend the science all checks out.
Yellowstone: Season 5 (Paramount) Another season of the extremely popular Dynasty-on-the-range soap, with even more cussin’ and three hours of bonus features thrown in for superfans.