Asteroid City, Metalocalypse, Impulse, Jon Moritsugu and More!
This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the works being covered here wouldn’t exist.
NEW RELEASE WALL
Asteroid City (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment): The levels-within-levels storytelling of Wes Anderson’s latest – it’s about people gathered in the desert in the 1950s, but that story is actually a play, and that play is actually part of a live TV drama – rewards repeat viewings, all the more reason to own this one in your physical-media library. The writer-director assembles another extraordinary ensemble cast (featuring regulars like Jason Schwartzman and Edward Norton alongside newcomers including Maya Hawke and Tom Hanks), but Margot Robbie might steal the whole thing in just one scene.
The Blackening (Lionsgate): This hilarious horror-comedy flew under many viewers’ radars among the big summer movies; catch up with it on Blu-ray.
Fast X (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment): Jason Momoa sweeps in to give this venerable franchise some much-needed zazz as it enters its final chapters.
The Flash (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment): Since David Zaslav decided this elaborate, expensive superhero saga merited a theatrical release, everyone’s all the more excited to see how Batgirl turned out.
Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 3 (Marvel/Disney): The wacky band of space travelers return in a more downbeat entry; as such, fans either loved it or hated it.
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania / Hotel Transylvania 4-Movie Collection (both Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): The latest animated adventure of these groovy ghouls is available on its own or as part of a series-spanning box set. Adam Sandler voices Dracula only for the first three, but this franchise ranks among his best contributions to cinema.
The Machine (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): Stand-up comic Bert Kreischer stars in this action-comedy based on his stand-up; Mark Hamill co-stars as his dad.
You Hurt My Feelings (Lionsgate): The great Nicole Holofcener reteams with Julia Louis-Dreyfus for this brilliant and stinging comedy about how much truth people in relationships really want to hear from their partners.
Vengeance Is Mine (The Film Desk): This 1984 comedy from Michael Roemer (The Plot Against Harry) gets its first real release. Brooke Adams stars as a woman who returns to her childhood home, only to encounter the chill of her actual family and the alcoholic turmoil of the neighbors in whose lives she becomes embroiled. This Blu-ray features a new Q&A with Roemer and Adams conducted by Bilge Ebiri.
The Catechism Cataclysm (Factory 25): Rough House Pictures (David Gordon Green, Jody Hill, and Danny McBride’s production company) present this indie comedy about a priest and his high-school idol, who both realize they’ve lost their way in life.
Give Me Pity! (Utopia): Director Amanda Kramer presents the variety show–psychological horror hybrid you’ve been waiting for.
Name Above Title and Other Tales of Woe by Carlos Conceição (Altered Innocence): A collection of experimentally outrageous (and mostly dialogue-free) shorts from the director of Tommy Guns.
Nobody’s Hero (Strand Releasing) / Revoir Paris (Music Box Films): Two new French films examine the impact of terrorism and paranoia on the lives of everyday people, taking very different approaches: The darkly comic Hero, from Alain Guiraudie (Stranger by the Lake) frames his tale as something of a sex farce, with the central couple’s trysts being interrupted by violence or by snooping neighbors looking for troublemakers. Alice Winocur’s Revoir Paris follows the survivor of a mass shooting, along with her fellow survivors, on the slow and uncertain path of recovery. Both are fascinating examinations of the modern world and its impact on our collective psyches.
Aloners (Film Movement): This Korean drama follows a woman who has created a life of isolation, and what happens when the outside world encroaches upon her solitude.
Falcon Lake (Yellow Veil Pictures) The feature directorial debut of Charlotte Le Bon premiered at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight before receiving international acclaim. Based on a French graphic novel, the film tells a coming-of-age (with a ghost or two).
Madeleine Collins (Greenwich Entertainment): Virginie Efira (who also stars in Revoir Paris) plays a woman with a double life in Antoine Barraud’s thriller.
Mavka: The Forest Song (Shout Kids): This animated feature from Ukraine’s Animagrad Animation Studio blends ancient Slavic traditions and folklore with a soundtrack of contemporary Ukrainian folk musicians.
Tower. A Bright Day / Monument (Yellow Veil Pictures): A family and a group of interns, respectively, find themselves plunged into unsettling mysteries in this pair of films from Jagoda Szelc.
Other People’s Children (Music Box Films Home Entertainment): The busy Virginie Efira also stars in this internationally acclaimed drama about a woman who must decide if getting involved with a single dad will undo her own sense of self.
Scarlet (Kino Lorber): The director of Martin Eden returns with the saga of a woman over the course of two tumultuous decades, 1919-1939.
Seire (Film Movement): A new dad discovers there’s a reason behind Korean superstition and folklore regarding the three weeks after a baby is born in this supernatural chiller.
Two Tickets to Greece (Greenwich Entertainment): Laure Calamy (Call My Agent!) and Kristin Scott Thomas co-star in this comedy about middle-aged French friends who impulsively take a trip to the Mediterranean.
The Complete Story of Film (Music Box): This box set features Mark Cousins’ back-to-back documentaries tracing the history of world cinema up to the present time. The Story of Film: An Odyssey takes the story through the early 21st century, while The Story of Film: A New Generation focuses on 2010-2021. Together, they represent a comprehensive overview of an ever-evolving art form.
Invaluable: The True Story of an Epic Artist (Synapse Films): Tells the story of sculptor and artist Tom Sullivan, whom Sam Raimi recruited to create the unforgettable practical effects in The Evil Dead.
The Melt Goes On Forever: The Art & Times of David Hammons (Greenwich Entertainment): An incisive and intimate look at the life and works of the legendary, provocative Black American artist.
Impulse (Grindhouse Releasing): William Shatner delivers one of his most indelible performances in this notoriously sleazy thriller that stars the sci-fi/camp icon as a seductively dangerous con man, gigolo, and killer. Newly remastered in 4K, the film offers a cult-movie dream team of a supporting cast, including Al Adamson vet Jenifer Bishop, Ruth Roman, Harold “Oddjob” Sakata, and Blood Feast’s William Kerwin.
Bride of Chucky / Seed of Chucky / Curse of Chucky / Cult of Chucky (all Scream Factory): Fans of Don Mancini and the latter-day entries in the Child’s Play franchise will want to snag this quartet of titles in 4K.
Brightwood (Cinephobia Releasing): A squabbling couple is distressed to find themselves in an infinite loop, jogging around a pond with no apparent exit – and then a killer shows up.
Dead Man’s Hand (Lionsgate): Jack Kilmer, Stephen Dorff, and Cole Hauser co-star in this vengeance-minded Western.
Death in Brunswick (Umbrella Entertainment): This Australian horror-comedy stars Sam Neill as a loner forced to exercise an increasingly bloody form of self-defense as hoodlums place themselves between him and the woman he loves.
Kill Shot (Well Go USA Entertainment): Hunters in Montana stumble upon a cache of stolen cash… and of course, that never goes well.
The Last House on the Left (Arrow): It’s a new 4K! Of the 2009 version!
A Moment of Romance (Radiance): A bank-robbery getaway driver and his hostage form an unlikely romantic pair in this Andy Lau hit.
Night of the Assassin (Well Go USA): South Korean action movie about a long-dormant assassin who goes on a spree of vigilante justice.
Nightbreed: Collector’s Edition (Scream Factory): This new release of Clive Barker’s cult fave features both the theatrical cut (in 4K for the first time) and the director’s cut (on Blu-ray).
Shaw Brothers Classics Vol. 2 (Shout Factory): Another breathtaking collection of some of the greatest martial arts classics ever committed to celluloid; this new box set includes Lady of Steel, Brothers Five, Crimson Charm, Bride from Hell, The Shadow Whip, Delightful Forest, The Devil’s Mirror, Man of Iron, Water Margin, Brides from Hell, Heroes Two and Flying Guillotine. (Not to mention new interviews and commentaries, vintage trailers, and much more.)
Swamp Thing (MVD Rewind) 4K collector’s package has so much extra material you may never finish watching it. But try!
Wrong Reasons (MVD Entertainment): Kevin Smith executive-produced this dark comedy about the kidnapping of a pop singer and the media circus that ensues.
Terminal Degeneration: The Films of Jon Moritsugu (AGFA): One of the most influential American experimental filmmakers of the 1990s and beyond, Jon Moritsugu came up as something of a straight adjunct to the New Queer Cinema; his classmates at Brown included Todd Haynes and Christine Vachon, and Moritsugu’s films often feature LGBTQ+ characters and themes. This essential new four-disc box set captures his brilliantly gonzo filmography, including influential features Mod Fuck Explosion and Fame Whore, as well as his banned-by-PBS-stations short Terminal USA, along with interviews, commentaries, outtakes, audition reels, and more.
3 Days of the Condor (KL Studio Classics): One of the essential 1970s paranoid thrillers, it features Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway at peak sexiness, and it’s a Christmas movie – and now it’s in 4K for the first time.
Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams (The Criterion Collection): This sumptuous anthology film, among the last of the master’s great works, gets the full 4K treatment.
Audie Murphy Collection II (KL Studio Classics): A further celebration of the war-hero-turned-Western-hero, featuring Destry, Kansas Raiders, and Sierra.
Bo Widerberg’s New Swedish Cinema (The Criterion Collection): While Ingmar Bergman was off writing poetry, Widerberg was more interested in quotidian, working-class experiences – not that he didn’t have his biggest international hit with a lush period piece (which was, nonetheless, a proletarian tragedy). This collection includes The Baby Carriage, Raven’s End, Elvira Madigan (the lush period piece), and Ådalen 31.
Cinderella (Walt Disney Home Entertainment): Disney’s centennial celebration of its centennial continues with a 4K release of one of the studio’s animated classics.
Cosa Nostra: Franco Nero in Three Mafia Tales by Damiano Damiani (Radiance): New restorations of three late-60s Italian crime dramas; included are Day of the Owl, How to Kill a Judge, and The Case Is Closed, Forget It.
The Day and the Hour (Kino Lorber): New 4K restoration of Rene Clement’s WWII thriller, starring Simone Signoret, Stuart Whitman, and Michel Piccoli.
Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart (The Criterion Collection): Indie legend Wayne Wang followed his debut Chan Is Missing with this acclaimed comedy about an immigrant Chinese widow trying to deal with unfinished business after it is foretold that she will die in the new year.
The Doll and I Don’t Want to Be a Man (Kino Classics): Check out these two early silent comedies for a look at the ahead-of-his-time boldness of Ernst Lubitsch. The Doll is about a young man who “marries” a doll to collect an inheritance, not knowing she’s really the toymaker’s daughter, while I Don’t is a gender-bending tale of a tomboy who disguises herself as male, leading to all kinds of complication.
Dream Life (Canadian International Pictures): Quebec’s first feature film to be directed by a woman (Mireille Dansereau) is a vibrant portrait of female friendship in the 1970s.
Drylongso (The Criterion Collection): Way before Fruitvale Station and Blindspotting put Oakland on the cinematic map, ’90s filmmaker Cauleen Smith spun a tale that mixes the buddy movie and serial-killer genres as a way to comment on the deaths of Black men in the community.
East of Eden (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment): With this release, all three of James Dean’s feature films can live in your home video library in 4K.
Enter the Dragon (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment): The Bruce Lee masterpiece, available in a 4K release for the first time.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Paramount Home Entertainment) / Weird Science (Arrow): Speaking of 4K, two John Hughes favorites (one more problematic than the other) get the UHD treatment this month. (Ferris has one of the few director’s commentaries, if not the only one, that Hughes ever recorded.)
Force of Evil (KL Studio Classics): This landmark noir has John Garfield facing the imminent collapse of his corrupt empire; this blistering tale marked an impressive debut for Abraham Polonsky, who wouldn’t work again for decades after being blacklisted.
Heroic Times (Deaf Crocodile): This 1980s animated epic presaged Game of Thrones by portraying the Age of Chivalry as a pretty grimy place to be.
Is Paris Burning? (KL Studio Classics): Yes, the drag-ball documentary got its name from this hit 1960s all-star thriller about the 1944 Liberation of Paris.
Malone (KL Studio Classics): Burt Reynolds’ beginning-of-the-end period includes this vehicle that has him playing a CIA hitman trying to retire, only to discover he needs to liberate a small town from some powerful mercenaries.
Music & Romance: 6-Movie Collection (Mill Creek Entertainment): These movies have nothing in common (besides, one imagines, a common rights-holder), but together, they make the mixed-est of mixed bags: Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, The Caveman’s Valentine, Connie & Carla, Madame Sousatzka, The Man Who Cried, and Shout.
Outrage (KL Studio Classics): The legendary Ida Lupino directed this noir film, thought to be the first Hollywood feature to address sexual assault and its aftermath. Martin Scorsese calls it “a subdued behavioral study that captures the banality of evil in an ordinary small town.”
Pretty Baby (KL Studio Classics): Now that you’ve seen the Brooke Shields documentary of the same name, revisit Louis Malle’s controversial drama, written by Polly Platt and set in New Orleans’ red-light district of 1917. Also stars Keith Carradine, Susan Sarandon, and Frances Faye.
Rio Bravo (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment): Howard Hawks directs this unlikely-buddies Western, starring John Wayne and Dean Martin, making its 4K debut.
Roman Holiday (Paramount Home Entertainment): Celebrate the 70th anniversary of this rom-com all-timer with a gorgeous new 4K release.
Sex, Power, and Money: Films by Beth B. (Kino): Legendary New York No Wave filmmaker Beth B. gets all her provocative and hard-to-find short films collected in one brash location.
The Spanish Dancer (Milestone): Pola Negri stars in this silent romance classic, shot by James Wong Howe.
Staying Alive (KL Studio Classics): Saturday Night Fever’s Tony Manero becomes the toast of Broadway in John Travolta’s camp epic, directed by Sylvester Stallone and now available in 4K.
Strangers in the House (KL Studio Classics): Henri-Georges Clouzot adapts Georges Simenon for this classically Gallic murder-mystery.
Three Into Two Won’t Go (KL Studio Classics): Rod Steiger cheats on Claire Bloom with Judy Geeson – and is then gobsmacked to discover that Geeson wants to move in with them, in this 1969 cult classic.
Unman, Wittering and Zigo (Arrow): David Hemmings stars as a schoolteacher who comes to realize that his students murdered his predecessor and that he may be next on their list. A long-awaited home video release for this 1971 cult fave from director John Mackenzie (The Long Good Friday).
Uranian Dreams: Two Homosexual Films from Eloy de la Iglesia (Altered Innocence): It was no mean feat to be a queer socialist filmmaker during the Franco era, and after the dictator’s death, de la Iglesia made two of the country’s first LGBTQ+ films, Hidden Pleasures and Confessions of a Congressman, featured in this collection alongside trailers and new video essays.
Metalocalypse: Army of the Doomster (Adult Swim/WB): The head-bangers of Dethklok return in a new feature written and directed by Metalocalypse series co-creator Brendan Small. Can Nathan Explosion (voiced by Small) reunite the band and write the Song of Salvation that will save the planet? Find out in this new animated comedy, which also features the voice talent of Mark Hamill, Jon Hamm, Juliet Mills, Malcolm McDowell, and Laraine Newman.
Babylon 5: The Road Home (WB Animation): The beloved sci-fi series celebrates its 30th anniversary with this animated feature that continues the ongoing saga.
The Lincoln Lawyer: Season 1 (Lionsgate): This adaptation of the Michael Connelly novel may be peak Dad TV until Yellowstone comes back.
NCIS: The 20th Season (Paramount Home Entertainment): Speaking of Dad TV, this procedural is about to launch its third decade on the small screen. Some formulas just last.