Destroyer (Blu-ray Review)

As is usually the case towards the end of any year, Destroyer is a film that got caught in the middle of a pile of 2018 movies all hoping to receive awards consideration. The Annapurna Pictures release was one of a few to underperform as a result, though it did garner a Golden Globe nomination for star Nicole Kidman. Regardless, the film is a solid gritty crime drama, and it is worth a look. Between the strong cast and the very visceral feel of the film, there’s a lot to latch onto for a movie that shows just how strong something can come across thanks to technical effort, even if the story plays into some familiar concepts.

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Police Story / Police Story 2 – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

A couple of years before this Criterion Collection release of Police Story and Police Story 2, international martial arts star Jackie Chan received an honorary Academy Award for the impact he has had on cinema. Having been in the business for over 50 years, it’s only right to some of this older and most famous films get the deluxe treatment. It further helps to cement Chan’s cinematic contributions into history, which is pretty great when you can see a couple of gritty (and occasionally quite funny) martial arts flicks sit on the same shelves as classic Hitchcock or Bergman features. Whatever the case may be, read on to hear more about what this release for two entries in Chan’s classic Police Story series has to offer.

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The Kid Who Would Be King (Blu-ray Review)

It has become something of a joke to see new cinematic takes on characters such as King Arthur and Robin Hood, and yet studios keep trying and failing to set up new franchises around them. Now, along comes Joe Cornish, director of 2011’s brilliant Attack the Block, with a vision for a kid-centric take on Arthurian legend, and it’s the best interpretation of the property in decades. The Kid Who Would Be King has the spirit and ambition needed to work as a proper film for a young adult audience that adults can also appreciate as well. It did about as bad as expected at the box office, which is a shame, but now families can discover the film at home on Blu-ray.

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Do The Right Thing, Klute, 1984 & More Coming to Criterion Collection in July 2019

When the summer heats up this July, the Criterion Collection will celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Spike Lee’s 1989 masterpiece Do the Right Thing with a definitive director-approved edition, featuring a new 4K restoration. Jane Fonda gives one of the most electrifying performances of her career as a sex worker in peril in Alan J. Pakula’s Klute, appearing on Blu-ray for the first time. Agnieszka Holland’s Europa Europa, a breathless adventure story set amid the chaos of World War II, will appear in a new 2K restoration. Michael Radford’s 1984 stars John Hurt and Richard Burton in the definitive screen adaptation of George Orwell’s prophetic novel, appearing in a new restoration approved by cinematographer Roger Deakins. Marcel Pagnol’s enchanting comedy The Baker’s Wife, featuring the legendary actor Raimu in a new 4K restoration. And that’s not all: Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s career-crowning BRD Trilogy — The Marriage of Maria BraunVeronika Voss, and Lola — will return to the Collection on Blu-ray.

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The Kid Brother – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

Silent comedy legend Harold Lloyd has had a few of his films entered into the Criterion Collection before, including The Freshman and the iconic Safety Last. The Kid Brother has the distinction of being Lloyd’s favorite of his films, and you can see why. Playing with a fun concept that incorporates comedy, romance, and adventure, this is a laugh-a-minute feature that packs in plenty of jokes, physical gags, and stunts. Now that it has been restored for Blu-ray, plenty of fans, old and new, can dive into this delightful feature starring Lloyd as the bespectacled everyman who gets into many kinds of hijinks.

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If Beale Street Could Talk (Blu-ray Review)

It’s incredible to see so much power in If Beale Street Could Talk come from the way characters are presented to us. Intimate and personal, as well as alive and electric, director Barry Jenkins’ follow-up film to his Best Picture winner, Moonlight, continues to show what an incredible force he is as a director. The film is brimming with warmth and a well-crafted, non-linear story, and yet the ambition on display does not derive from an approach requiring overt displays of technical ingenuity. Instead, Jenkins relies on confidence afforded to him by his actors, and the various filmmakers he is working with. The result is a movie that deals with important themes and realistic scenarios while providing characters who are beaming with life. Now the film has arrived on Blu-ray to bring new regard to such a fantastic movie.

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Detour – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

Not too dissimilar from when the Criterion Collection finally produced a spectacular release for Night of the Living Dead, Detour’s status as an acclaimed film noir that’s remained in the public domain has made the Edgar G. Ulmer classic an ideal movie deserving of special treatment. Thanks to a substantial amount of work, detailed in one of this release’s supplements, audiences can now take in this wonderfully atmospheric feature in a whole new way. Even those who know this film well may feel they’ll be seeing an all-new version, given the care done to restore the film. That’s not a bad thing for a movie that lasts barely over an hour, yet does everything needed to work as an essential entry among the many great noir movies out there.

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Swing Time, Hedwig and the Angry Inch & More Coming to The Criterion Collection in June 2019

This June, John Cameron Mitchell’s trailblazing queer rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch will join the Criterion Collection, making its Blu-ray debut in a new 4K restoration. Sergei Bondarchuk’s Oscar-winning epic War and Peace, an awe-inspiring adaptation of Tolstoy’s classic novel, will appear in a major new restoration. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers play out a fine romance and perform some of Hollywood’s greatest dance numbers in the irresistible musical comedy Swing Time, appearing on Blu-ray for the first time. The French iconoclast Bruno Dumont explores the human condition through the brutality and beauty of small-town life in his first two films, La vie de Jésus and L’humanité, both appearing in new 4K restorations approved by the director. And that’s not all-our year of releases commemorating Ingmar Bergman’s centennial draws to a close with a Blu-ray edition of the Swedish master’s trilogy of chamber dramas exploring faith and alienation: Through a Glass DarklyWinter Lightand The Silence.

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The Favourite (Blu-ray Review)

The regal period drama often feels like a requirement for award season, and yet The Favourite is an attempt to work against expectation. Yes, the Yorgos Lanthimos-directed film features elaborate costumes by Sandy Powell, utilizes an enormous country mansion for its primary location, and finds actors putting on fancy accents and large wigs. At the same time, this is Yorgos “Killing of a Sacred Deer” Lanthimos, and The Favourite has no shortage of irreverence and layers of subversion to realize best this story of rivalries and power plays between three complex women. Now, having received plenty of accolades, including multiple Oscar nominations and a win for Best Actress, The Favourite has arrived on Blu-ray.

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To Sleep With Anger – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

For every In the Heat of the Night, the Criterion Collection has found time to pick films to add to their library depicting black life that stays away from focusing on racial oppression, crime, gangs, or other tropes. To Sleep with Anger is an interesting choice. Not a wildly popular film, but the winner of multiple Independent Spirit Awards, and one that’s been added to the National Film Registry. It’s a slow-burn drama that puts focus on a family dealing with tensions that are beginning to boil over. There’s a poetry to what we are seeing and hearing on screen, which was undoubtedly the intention of award-winning writer/director Charles Burnett. Now the film has been restored and fitted with some new interviews and more for this wonderful Blu-ray package.

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Lynch, Haneke, Varda, Mamet & More Coming to The Criterion Collection in May 2019

This May, the Criterion Collection will present Agnès Varda’s poignant feminist musical One Sings, the Other Doesn’t, making its debut on DVD and Blu-ray just in time for the beloved director’s ninety-first birthday. Olivia de Havilland gives a heartbreaking, Oscar-winning performance opposite Montgomery Clift in William Wyler’s psychologically piercing period drama The Heiress, appearing on Blu-ray for the first time. David Lynch’s career-defining masterpiece Blue Velvet will join the Collection in an edition featuring a new 4K restoration and “Blue Velvet” Revisited, a feature-length documentary on the making of the film. The radiant Juliette Binoche plays a woman searching for love in Claire Denis’s richly observed Let the Sunshine In, hailed upon its U.S. release as one of the best films of 2018. Michael Haneke’s notorious Funny Games, a home-invasion nightmare that serves up a disquieting treatise on the nature of screen violence, will appear in a new 2K restoration. And that’s not all: David Mamet’s directorial debut, House of Games, a twisty thriller that revels in the art of the con, will appear on Blu-ray for the first time. Continue reading ‘Lynch, Haneke, Varda, Mamet & More Coming to The Criterion Collection in May 2019’


One of 2018’s Bests – If Beale Street Could Talk Arrives on Blu-ray March 26

2018 had a lot of terrific film releases, and If Beale Street Could Talk was one of the best. From Academy Award® Winner Barry Jenkins, adapted from James Baldwin’s acclaimed novel, comes this timeless love story set in early 1970s Harlem. Newly engaged 19-year-old Tish (KiKi Layne) and her fiancé Fonny (Stephan James) have a beautiful future ahead. But their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit. Now the pair and their families must fight for justice in the name of love and the promise of the American dream in this lush, moving, dramatic film, also starring Academy Award® Nominee Regina King.

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The Sisters Brothers (Blu-ray Review)

Here’s one of the latest post-modern, offbeat westerns that have come about in recent years. While the revisionist western serves as an interesting way to deconstruct the black and white ethics defined in classic westerns, The Sisters Brothers joins films like Damsel, Slow West or the Coen Brothers’ True Grit in terms of westerns that are aware of their perplexing nature. While still acknowledging the darker qualities of living in a time where outlaws could roam free, it is not above films like these to feature so much humor that reflects both the nature of that present era and where things will go. The Sisters Brothers goes one step further by taking on a level of self-reflection, which serves well for the terrific characters featured.

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Widows (Blu-ray Review)

You want them to get away with it. That’s the same thought that always comes to mind when watching a heist thriller. Widows stacks so much against the central characters that all you can do is hope they make it. This is the sort of tricky area that director Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave) is in, as Widows finds a need to balance the rhythms of a typical genre film with the serious-mindedness of his filmmaking style. It worked out as far as delivering a terrific drama for adults, but audiences, sadly, didn’t turn up to see it in theaters. Fortunately, the film can now be seen on Blu-ray.

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The Old Man & The Gun (Blu-ray Review)

Robert Redford has never been a chameleon-like performer, but there’s something to be said for the way he brings an unflappable cool to almost all of his features, let alone a naturalness to any persona he is tasked to put on. The Old Man & the Gun may or may not be the end of Redford’s career in front of the camera, but it would be a fine swan song. This laidback crime caper could have gone down some different avenues to tell the story of a real-life career criminal, but when the camera accomplishes so much with slow push-ins on old man Redford’s very friendly face, why make things more complicated?

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In The Heat Of The Night – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

Starting the year with a bang, The Criterion Collection has released In the Heat of the Night, one of the bigger box office hits of the 60s, along with a major award winner. The mystery drama starring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and is memorable for many reasons. In addition to the characters and quotable lines, the film tells a topical story involving murder, police officers, and the role a black man plays in a small town in Mississippi during the 1960s. As a result, you have a cinematic classic still relevant today, and Criterion has that film on a packed, new Blu-ray release.

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Her Majesty Decrees, THE FAVOURITE (Nominated for 10 Oscars) Arrives on Blu-ray March 5

In early 18th-century England, a frail Queen Anne (Golden Globe® Winner Oliva Colman) occupies the throne, and her closest Friend, Lady Sarah (Academy Award® Winner Rachel Weisz), governs the country while tending to Anne’s ill health and volatile temper. When new servant Abigail (Academy Award® Winner Emma Stone) arrives, Sarah takes Abigail under her wing as she cunningly schemes to return to her aristocratic roots, setting off an outrageous rivalry to become the Queen’s favourite. The Favourite has been one of the most critically-acclaimed films of the year. It has received numerous awards including The Venice Film Festivals’ Grand Special Jury Prize for Director Yorgos Lanthimos, 10 wins at the British Independent Film Awards, selected as AFI’s 2018 Movie of the Year and a Golden Globe for Olivia Colman’s performance as Queen Anne. The film has also nabbed 10 Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Original Screenplay.

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The Hate U Give (Blu-ray Review)

2018 featured many films worth praising concerning both entertainment value, as well as social issues. The Hate U Give is one of those films. Nominated for zero Academy Awards, one of the timeliest films of 2018 has arrived on Blu-ray with many hoping it will finally find the audience it deserves. Adapted from a bestselling young adult novel, while some of these adaptations tend to have some important thematic issues buried within, here’s a film that builds no allusions around what it wants to accomplish.

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