Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, Shin Ultraman, The Watermelon Woman, and More
New Release Wall
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret (Lionsgate): Judy Blume’s legendary coming-of-age novel finally makes it to the big screen, and this funny, moving look at a young woman’s passage into teenhood is one of 2023’s best films so far, thanks to an intuitive adaptation by director Kelly Fremon Craig (The Edge of Seventeen) and unforgettable performances from three generations of actors: Abby Ryder Forston (as Margaret), Rachel McAdams, and Kathy Bates.
Barbie: 4-Movie Special Collection (NCircle Entertainment): The iconic toy was an animation star well before Greta Gerwig took her to live action; this compilation includes the features Big City, Big Dreams; Dreamtopia; The Lost Birthday; and Princess Adventure.
Beau Is Afraid (A24/Lionsgate): If Ari Aster’s epic of anxiety seemed like too much to tackle in theaters, now you can enjoy it in safe, comfy surroundings. And if you’ve already seen it, now you can pick through all the stuff you missed during the initial freakout.
Book Club: The Next Chapter (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment): Candice Bergen, Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, and Mary Steenburgen are back, and this time they’re rampaging through Italy, one bottle of prosecco at a time.
Fool’s Paradise (Lionsgate): Like many an actor turned first-time-director, Charlie Day corralled an impressive cast of fellow thespians for this Hollywood satire.
Justice League: Warworld (DC/Warner Bros.): This R-rated animation feature sees Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman transported to the eponymous planet, where only a mysterious (but somehow familiar) trio can save them.
Kandahar (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment): Gerard Butler is here to kick ass, shoot guns, and liberate Afghanistan.
Knights of the Zodiac (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): The Saint Seiya manga and anime come to live-action for the first time, as a teenager taps into mystical powers he never knew he possessed.
Love Again (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): This bananapants rom-com stars Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Sam Heughan as a couple falling in love in New York City (which is actually London), and they both benefit from the romantic wisdom of Céline Dion (as herself).
Scream VI (Paramount): Woodsboro is in the rear-view mirror, but moving to Manhattan doesn’t mean getting away from Ghostface in this entertaining sequel.
Video Diary of a Lost Girl (AGFA): 2012 experimental horror comedy from Linsday Denniberg about a girl who works in a video store. She’s also a demon.
Altered Innocence, Vol. 2 (Altered Innocence): The queer indie label’s latest collection of shorts includes work by Adam Baran, Érica Sarmet, Alexis Langlois, Sam Max, and Naïla Guiguet.
Buddy Games: Spring Awakening (Paramount): Josh Duhamel directs this bro-comedy sequel about a group of aging knuckleheads who accidentally find themselves in the midst of spring break.
The Harbinger (XYZ): A woman discovers that her best friend’s nightmares are contagious.
Shin Ultraman (Cleopatra Entertainment): Like Shin Godzilla before it, this action-adventure reimagines the lore and legacy of Ultraman, but yes, he still fights kaiju. And if you have snobby art-house friends reluctant to watch, just tell them that it co-stars Hidetoshi Nishijima from Drive My Car.
Amor Bandido (Cinephobia Releasing): In this Argentine thriller, the lines between intergenerational romance and flat-out kidnapping become blurred.
Are You Lonesome Tonight? (Film Movement): A man grows close to the widow of the man he accidentally killed in a hit-and-run – and then things get really complicated in this Chinese thriller.
Carmen (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): A refugee (Melissa Barrera) and a Marine veteran with PTSD (Paul Mescal, Aftersun) flee together to Los Angeles, where they find solace in a dance club run by a friend of the woman’s mother (Rossy de Palma) before the authorities close in.
Chile ’76 (Kino Lorber): A bourgeois housewife finds herself embroiled in political intrigue in the early days of the Pinochet regime in this festival fave from director Manuela Martelli.
The Cow Who Sang a Song into the Future (Kino Lorber): This magical-realist eco-fable from first-time Chilean director Francisca Alegría is one of 2023’s best-reviewed films.
Employee of the Month (Film Movement): This dark comedy taps into the current moment with the twisted tale of a long-suffering employee who … well, let’s just say it goes beyond what happens in 9 to 5.
One Piece Film: Red (Crunchyroll): The highest-grossing release in Japan in 2022, this 15th entry in the One Piece saga sees enigmatic pop star Uta revealing herself to the world in a live concert.
Persian Lessons (Cohen Media Group): A French Jewish man in 1942 saves himself from the Nazis by pretending to be Iranian, not Jewish, which leads to complications when he has to give Farsi lessons to a high-ranking office.
The Pied Piper (Deaf Crocodile): Jiří Barta’s 1986 Czech stop-motion classic, restored and featuring lots of extras, makes its North American Blu-ray debut.
Spacked Out (Kani): New restoration of this 2000 Hong Kong drama about a gang of young teenage girls and their attempts to locate a doctor to perform an abortion.
Soundies: The Ultimate Collection (Kino Classics): A special kind of coin-operated jukebox in the 1940s played short film reels, known as “soundies,” featuring established musical stars like Duke Ellington and Count Basie alongside up-and-comers like Doris Day and Ricardo Montalban. Of interest to fans of 20th-century music (jazz, folk, country-western, and boogie-woogie are among the genres covered here) but also a fascinating glimpse into the story that the pop culture of the time was telling about itself.
Adjust Your Tracking: The Untold Story of the VHS Collector (VHShitfest): This is a column that celebrates physical media, so hats off to directors Dan Kinem and Levi Peretic for this documentary about people who collect vintage videocassettes.
Close to Vermeer (Kino Lorber): Lovers of art and of art museums get an insider look at the diplomacy, the research, and even the sleuthing that goes into putting together a major exhibition.
Fake It So Real (Factory 25): This 2011 doc about amateur wrestling in North Carolina won rave reviews from Roger Ebert and even legendary tough cookies like Richard Brody.
In the Arms of Morpheus (IndiePix Films): Dutch filmmaker Marc Schmidt explores just what happens when we sleep and also examines the lives of people battling sleep disorders and how it impacts their lives to be deprived of this essential act.
In the Company of Rose (Greenwich Entertainment): Playwright James Lapine looks back at the life of his good friend Rose Styron, widow to author William as well as a poet, journalist, and confidante of the powerful in her own right.
It Ain’t Over (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): Baseball legend Yogi Berra’s extraordinary life on and off the field is the subject of this affectionate doc that’s a must for fans of the boys of summer.
Only in Theaters (Kino Lorber): Raphael Sbarge tells the story of Los Angeles’ Laemmle Theatres chain, an essential resource for arthouse and international cinema, and the dedicated family that has run the big-screen business for generations.
Slava Ukraini (Cohen Media Group): Bernard-Henri Lévy’s war diary takes us to the heart of the Ukraine conflict in its second year.
Yes I Am: The Ric Weiland Story (Virgil Films): After co-founding Microsoft, this queer entrepreneur used his wealth for advocacy and philanthropy, all the while grappling with self-doubt and impostor syndrome.
Robot Monster: 70th Anniversary Edition (Bayview Entertainment) One of the all-time great terrible movies, a bonkers example of budget-horror and improvisational costuming, and a weirdly unforgettable entry in the 1950s 3D craze, this dude-in-a-gorilla-costume-and-a-space-helmet-who-falls-in-love-with-an-Earth-girl movie is now as old as your grandfather and has to be seen to be believed. It also comes with over two hours of extras (and the option to watch it in 3D on your home system).
Blood Money: Four Western Classics, Vol. 2 (Arrow) $10,000 Blood Money, Vengeance Is Mine, Find a Place to Die, Matalo! (Kill Him): Four Italian westerns, all lesser-known-gems from the late 1960s, deliver all the violence and antiheroes you could want.
Cracked (Film Movement): Model Chayanit Chansangave and K-pop star Nichkhun star in this dark, creepy Thai horror film about a haunted painting about to unleash evil.
Day Zero (Well Go USA Entertainment): Former MMA fighter Brandon Vera stars in this zombie thriller.
Fighting Back (Arrow Video): This 1982 spawn of Death Wish stars Tom Skerritt as a deli owner on a mission of vigilante vengeance against neighborhood Crime People.
Mad Heidi (Raven Banner) Sweet Swiss Alps moppet Heidi is all grown up now and here to kick the ass of evil fascists.
Midnite Spares (Umbrella Entertainment): This wild 1982 Ozploitation car-crash action film delivers vehicular mayhem and 1983’s Playmate of the Year, Amanda Dole.
My Best Friend Is a Vampire (Lionsgate): This horror comedy from Vestron’s golden-80s archive stars Robert Sean Leonard as a delivery boy who meets the wrong horny customer.
Number One with a Bullet (KL Studio Classics): Billy Dee Williams and Robert Carradine are 1980s narcotics detectives hunting bad guys in this underseen Cannon Films classic.
Resident Evil: Death Island (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): The franchise gets animated and dives into zombies, kidnapped scientists, and killer sea creatures.
Sisu (Lionsgate): At the end of World War II, a solitary Finnish prospector creatively slaughters a shockingly large number of Nazis in wildly violent ways.
Star Pilot (2+5 Missione Hydra) (Raro Video): After the release of Star Wars, this cheap 1966 Italian sci-fi movie was dubbed into English and dumped on American drive-ins. We’re all better for it.
What the Waters Left Behind: Scars (Cleopatra Entertainment) This sequel to Argentina’s version of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” brings more insane gore.
The Watermelon Woman (The Criterion Collection): Cheryl Dunye’s landmark comedy is a cornerstone of the early-90s New Queer Cinema, but it’s also a defining film for the decade and beyond. Not only does Dunye – the first openly lesbian Black director to make a feature film – explore queer relationships and desire (Dunye stars opposite Guinevere Turner), but she also digs into the hidden history of Black performers in Hollywood by having the lead character (a video-store clerk with filmmaking aspirations) go on a search for the elusive title figure, a forgotten movie actor of the 1940s.
52 Pick-Up (KL Studio Classics): As crazily sleazy as you’d want a John Frankenheimer–directed Elmore Leonard adaptation for Cannon Films to be, with the added bonus of Ann-Margret, Roy Scheider, Vanity, John Glover, Kelly Preston, Doug McClure, and Clarence Williams III.
The Anderson Tapes (KL Studio Classics): Sean Connery, at the end of his first go-round as 007, co-stars in Sidney Lumet’s tense caper film opposite Dyan Cannon, Martin Balsam, and baby Christopher Walken.
Breathless (The Criterion Collection): More than 60 years later, Godard’s gangster homage remains a cornerstone of contemporary cinema, and now you can own it in 4K
A Dandy in Aspic (KL Studio Classics): Laurence Harvey (who took over directorial duties) plays a spy who’d very much like to come in from the cold in this Cold War thriller.
Dirty Money (Canadian International Pictures): The 1972 debut feature from Canadian auteur Denys Arcand (The Decline of the American Empire), part of an informal trilogy that includes Rejeanne Padovani and Gina.
Douglas Fairbanks Double Feature: Robin Hood and The Black Pirate (Cohen Film Collection): In the whole history of cinema, few big-screen action stars have ever swashed a buckle like the legendary Fairbanks; this collection features two of his most thrilling outings.
End of the World (Kino Classics): You kids think your generation invented apocalyptic cinema? Napoleon director Abel Gance made this sci-fi freakout back in 1931,
Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema XV (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): The latest in this ongoing series includes The Tattered Dress, The Girl in the Kremlin, and Man Afraid.
Gloria (KL Studio Classics): Writer-director John Cassavetes and his wife, actor Gena Rowlands, collaborated on any number of understated, naturalist dramas, but this 1980 action saga proved that they could also create a humdinger of a genre movie without sacrificing their aesthetic principles. Rowlands scored one of her several Best Actress nominations for playing a mob moll who goes on the offensive to save a young child’s life.
The Great Train Robbery (MGM): Michael Crichton’s period heist tale is a charming little lark with a cast that includes Donald Sutherland, Sean Connery, and Lesley-Anne Down.
Hugo (Arrow): Martin Scorsese’s love letter to the dawn of cinema comes in an extras-packed two-disc set featuring tons of extras as well as 2D and 3D hi-def options.
Human Desire (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): Fritz Lang does Émile Zola, with a classic film-noir love triangle inhabited by Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, and Broderick Crawford.
The Iron Prefect (Radiance): Pasquale Squitieri’s award-winning crime saga, based on the true story of the cop who took on the Sicilian mob, co-stars Claudia Cardinale and features a score by Ennio Morricone.
Michael (Kino Classics): Alongside Different from the Others, this Weimar-era German silent film ranks among the very first LGBTQ+ features; Carl Theodor Dreyer directed (and co-wrote with Thea von Harbou), and the film features early appearances by Walter Slezak (who would go on to have a Hollywood career) and Nora Gregor (who later co-starred in The Rules of the Game).
Mickey & Friends: 10 Classic Shorts, Volume 2 (Walt Disney Home Entertainment): Even if that infinity symbol Disney puts in its 100th-anniversary logo is a little off-putting, it’s great that the studio is digging into its history and making these early animated shorts available on Blu-ray.
Needful Things (KL Studio Classics): This Stephen King adaptation, which gives new meaning to “retail hell,” makes its 4K debut.
Neil LaBute: 4-Film Collection (Mill Creek Entertainment): This set looks back at the turn-of-the-millennium glory days of the playwright-turned-filmmaker with Nurse Betty, Your Friends and Neighbors, Possession, and The Shape of Things.
Nevada Smith (KL Studio Classics): Steve McQueen teamed up with director Henry Hathaway for this Western based on a character from Harold Robbins’ The Carpetbaggers.
Once a Moth (Kani Releasing): This 1976 landmark of Filipino cinema from Lupita Aquino-Kashiwahara is a protest film about the imperial occupation of the Philippines.
One False Move (The Criterion Collection): Carl Franklin’s lean-and-mean neo-noir is a modern masterpiece, with unforgettable performances from Cynda Williams, Billy Bob Thornton, and the late Bill Paxton.
The Ranown Westerns: Five Films Directed by Budd Boetticher and Starring Randolph Scott (The Criterion Collection): A celebration of one of the great actor-director partnerships in the Western genre, this Criterion set features The Tall T, Decision at Sundown, Buchanan Rides Alone, Ride Lonesome, and Comanche Station.
So I Married an Axe Murderer (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): If you are of the right age and generation, then this 4K release counts as a very big deal.
Tintin and the Mystery of the Golden Fleece / Tintin and the Blue Oranges (Kino Classics): Before Steven Spielberg got his hands on the legendary cartoon adventurer created by Hergé, Tintin was featured in these two early-60s French-language live-action adventures.
The Truman Show (Paramount Home Video): Time has not withered this tale of the disconnect between reality and a media-created simulacrum, and now you can enjoy its stunning cinematography in 4K.
To Live and Die in L.A. (KL Studio Classics): Making its 4K debut, William Friedkin’s tale of crime in the City of the Angels has an ever-growing cult; its hazy cinematography and car-choked expressways also make it one of the definitive screen portraits of Los Angeles.
Which Way Is Up?/The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings (Mill Creek Entertainment): Two very different sides of Richard Pryor’s comic talent emerge in this remake of a Lina Wertmuller comedy and a charming period piece about Black baseball in the days before Jackie Robinson integrated the major leagues.
Hallmark Channel Countdown to Christmas 6-Movie Collection (Hallmark): There’s a gap of several months between Christmas in July and actual Christmas, and Hallmark Channel seeks to ease your holiday-loving soul with this new box set of Yuletide faves: Campfire Christmas (a rare summertime Christmas movie, with queer characters to boot), Christmas in Toyland, My Grown-Up Christmas List, Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane, Welcome to Christmas, and Gingerbread Miracle.
Aber Bergen: Complete Series (MHz Choice): This Norwegian legal drama revolves around lawyers, newly divorced from each other, who have to keep working together.
Deliver Us (MHz Choice): In this Danish crime drama, a group of people plan a revenge murder, and then things go as badly as possible.
The Last of Us: The Complete First Season (HBO): If you’re still holding out on this one because of its game origins, then there’s no convincing you of its greatness. And if you already know it’s great, then here’s a 4K to keep it safe from the threat of sudden streaming disappearance.
South Park: Seasons 21-25 (Comedy Central/Paramount): In real life, they’d all be 35 years old at this point, but these are forever-kids, and they keep saying wildly inappropriate things.
The Venture Bros.: Radiant Is the Blood of the Baboon Heart (Adult Swim/WB): An all-new feature-length movie with the voice cast returning for a new Venture adventure into absurdity.
Your Honor: Season Two (Paramount Home Entertainment): Bryan Cranston is a disgraced judge, now ex-con, determined to battle the mob.