New Release Wall
“Encanto” succeeded with the notion of “no villain, except generational trauma,” and Disney keeps that idea going with the delightful “Turning Red” (Walt Disney Home Entertainment), a young woman’s coming-of-age story that’s a metaphor for any number of growing-up issues, including that moment when the “model” child begins to chafe at parental domination. It’s charming and adorable, and the boy-band songs by Billie Eilish and Finneas have already made their way into the latter’s stage act.
“The Batman” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment) Does a three-hour superhero saga have deleted scenes? You bet your bat-hook, and they’re on the 4K/Blu-ray/DVD release alongside other extras.
“Blacklight” (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment) Liam Neeson in the first of two (to date) 2022 thrillers that suggest that maybe it’s time for him to put down the gun.
“Cyrano” (MGM/Universal) Peter Dinklage gives his all to a mixed-bag musical reinterpretation of the classic Edmond Rostand tale.
“Dog” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment) Veteran soldier Channing Tatum and a volatile, retired service dog hit the road for a soldier’s funeral and bond as two survivors of war trying to figure out what comes next.
“Infinite” (Paramount Home Entertainment) Mark Wahlberg and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in Antoine Fuqua’s perplexing time-travel action thriller.
“Licorice Pizza” (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment) Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest bout of 1970’s San Fernando Valley nostalgia was one of 2021’s more divisive films, but still my favorite of the year.
“Umma” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) Just in time for Mother’s Day comes this horror tale starring Sandra Oh as a terrifying mom with her own mother issues.
“Uncharted” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) Tom Holland managed to score another hit on the heels of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” in that least reliable of movie genres, the video-game adaptation.
It’s easy to feel true-crimed out with all the podcasts and cable docs and whatnot, but Sharlto Copley’s performance as the Unabomber makes “Ted K.” (Decal/Super) stand out in a crowded field. The “District 9” star chillingly gets under the skin of the infamous domestic terrorist; TheWrap’s Elizabeth Weitzman wrote that writer-director Tony Stone “brings us right to the edge of Ted’s mind as he documents the brilliant passion curdling into narcissistic madness.”
“Agent Game” (Lionsgate) Dermot Mulroney, Jason Isaacs, Barkhad Abdi and Mel Gibson star in this spy thriller.
“Clean” (RLJE Films) Garbageman Adrien Brody (who also co-wrote the script) tries to put his criminal past behind him only to find himself haunted by it anew in a drama co-starring Glenn Flshler, Mykelti Williamson, RZA and Michelle Wilson.
“Strawberry Mansion” (Music Box Films Home Entertainment) This very trippy indie stars Kentucker Audley as a bureaucrat in a future society where even dreams are subject to taxation.
In a French housing development named for a Soviet cosmonaut, the young impoverished residents band together to rescue their home before it’s demolished. “Gagarine” (Cohen Media Group), filmed at the Cité Gagarine housing project in Ivry-sur-Seine, casts the real-life, working-class inhabitants in a film that embraces hope and idealism while also asking tough questions about French governmental policy toward its most vulnerable citizens.
“Belle” (GKIDS) The latest anime effort from director Mamoru Hosoda (“Summer Wars”) retells “Beauty and the Beast” through the filter of virtual reality and online avatars.
“Bloody Oranges” (Dark Star) In this dark comedy from France, seemingly everyday people and their everyday lives take some very bleak twists.
“The Burning Sea” (Magnolia Home Entertainment) This Norwegian disaster saga contemplates dire circumstances caused by offshore oil drilling.
“Indemnity” (Magnolia Home Entertainment) A retired South African firefighter must fight for his own survival when he is accused of murdering his wife.
“The Islands of Yann Gonzalez” (Altered Innocence/Strand) This compilation Blu-ray features early short films and the first feature from the director behind “Knife + Heart.”
“Lovecut” (Omnibus Entertainment) Three young couples in Vienna grapple with identity and sexuality in a world where all human experience is filtered through digital experiences online.
“Mascarpone” (Dark Star) The end of Antonio’s marriage to another man is the beginning of his spiritual rebirth in this gay coming-of-middle-age romantic comedy from Italy.
“Playground” (Film Movement) This Belgian Oscar entry takes a grim, child’s-eye-view look at power dynamics among grammar-school kids.
“Poupelle of Chimney Town” (Shout Factory) Based on a beloved picture book, this anime about hope, friendship and perseverance comes with a separate English-language soundtrack featuring Tony Hale, Stephen Root and Hasan Minhaj.
“Presagio” (IndiePix Films) This Argentine festival hit examines a traumatized young writer, struggling with reality (and with finishing his novel) following the death of his family.
“Sundown” (Decal/Bleecker Street) Tim Roth stars as a man whose seemingly blasé response to a family tragedy sets off an unexpected chain of events in this new drama from Michel Franco (“New Order”).
You might expect the documentary “¡Viva Maestro!” (Greenwich Entertainment) simply to celebrate the achievements of L.A. Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel — and it certainly does that — but the film’s look at the global classical-music star is filtered through the prism of turmoil in Dudamel’s native Venezuela and how political crackdowns there drove out artists and musicians, making the musician’s attempts to work with young, up-and-coming talents all but impossible. The results are somewhat unfocused but nonetheless capture a singular presence on the music scene and the struggles faced by creative people under totalitarian regimes.
“a-ha: The Movie” (Lightyear Entertainment) American listeners might think of the legendary band behind “Take on Me” as one-hit wonders, but this Norwegian trio has had multiple hits in Europe over the decades; this documentary examines their success (and their prickly internal relationships) that continues to this day.
“Beauty Day” (Circle Collective) Before there was “Jackass,” Canada had the early-’90s cable-access cult hit “The Cap’n Video Show.” This documentary follows Ralph Zavadil as he brings the Cap’n back for one last go-round.
“Flee” (Decal/Neon) Nominated for International, Animated and Documentary Oscars, this moving non-fiction film tracks the arduous path of a young gay Afghan refugee making his way to shelter.
“How They Got Over” (First Run Features) This stirring music doc connects the dots between gospel acts of the early 20th century and the rock acts that would later be inspired by them.
“A Life Among Whales” (IndiePix Films) A look at the life of conservationist Roger Payne, whose life work was dedicated to educating the public about the plight (and intelligence) of whales.
“Of Animals and Men” (Strand Releasing Home Entertainment) Examines the real-life Polish couple who rescued 300 Jews during World War II and inspired “The Zookeeper’s Wife.”
“Other Music” (Factory 25) Tragically, there’s a whole documentary sub-genre now about the death of independent retail and public spaces – this film looks back at the influential New York record store.
“The Revolution Generation” (Greenwich Entertainment) Can young people save the world? This documentary introduces us to a new generation of leaders hoping to address environmental issues alongside social, cultural, and racial injustices.
“The Sanctity of Space” (Greenwich Entertainment) Three climbers tackle one of Alaska’s more foreboding peaks in this breathtaking nature doc.
“Straight to VHS” (IndiePix Films) A filmmaker tries to track down the creator of Uruguay’s most notorious cult film (“Act of Violence in a Young Journalist,” also included on this DVD) in this look at the country’s analog moviemaking revolution of the 1980s.
“Sunken Roads: Three Generations After D-Day” (First Run Features) A 20-year-old filmmaker travels to France for a 70th-anniversary celebration of D-Day in the hopes of capturing stories from the survivors who are still alive.
“A Taste of Whale” (Greenwich Entertainment) This film asks questions of both whalers and environmentalists, as it places the hunting of whales for food in the context of global meat consumption.
“The Unmaking of a College” (Zeitgeist) The longest higher-education sit-in in US history happened not in the 1960s but in 2019 at Hampshire College; this film looks into the protests and the larger issues at stake.
“Why Is We Americans?” (Corinth Films) Newark’s legendary Baraka family (including poet Amiri and queer activist Shani) is the focal point in this look at the Black experience in America, executive-produced by Ms. Lauryn Hill and Oren Moverman.
“The Wobblies” (Kino Classics) This 4K restoration of the 1979 documentary about the history of organized labor feels more timely and vital than ever.
“Workhorse Queen” (Breaking Glass) “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum Mrs. Kasha Davis works hard for the money (and for the community) in this new documentary.
Ti West pens a valentine to exploitation cinema and its hardy creators with “X” (Lionsgate), a 1979-set horror film about the cast and crew of a porno movie that picks the worst location for their movie — an isolated farm whose sexually-repressed owners keep their the pitchforks sharpened. West assembles a terrific ensemble (including Mia Goth, Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi and Brittany Snow), and while his trademark slow burn remains in place, once the carnage starts, it just keeps escalating.
“Cursed” (Scream Factory) One of the more appropriately-titled films ever, this much-anticipated reunion of “Scream” director Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson (on a werewolf picture, no less) devolved into a nightmare of reshoots and edits dictated by the Weinstein brothers; this new edition features the director’s final R-rated cut, as well as the even more chopped-up PG-13 theatrical release version.
“A Dangerous Man” (Liberation Hall) The “Steven Seagal is…” title tradition returns for this 2009 effort.
“Dark Night of the Scarecrow 2” (VCI Entertainment) A 2022 sequel to the 1981 cult-classic made-for-TV movie.
“Death Valley” (Shudder/RLJE) “Psycho Goreman” star Matthew Ninaber writes and directs this creature feature about mercenaries and a bioengineer defending themselves from the onslaught of a nasty beast.
“Dinosaur World” (Shout Factory) Competitors come together for a deadly game in a virtual world ruled by dinosaurs in a film that is in no way meant to make you think of any other successful franchise.
“The Mob” (Canadian International Pictures) A drug dealer under fire for killing a gangster starts calling a radio show to spill the secrets of organized crime in this 1975 Quebecois cult classic.
“One-Armed Boxer” (Arrow Video) Legendary Hong Kong studio Golden Harvest had one of its early hits with this action epic starring and written and directed by Jimmy Wang Yu. (The first pressing of this new Blu-ray includes an essay by TheWrap’s Simon Abrams.)
“Row 19” (Well Go USA Entertainment) Some unseen force is killing passengers on an airplane in gruesome ways in this Russian thriller; this new release features an English dub.
“Son of Samson” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics) Also known as “Maciste in the Valley of the Kings,” this one belongs in the collection of any fan of Italian swords-and-sandals-and-musclemen movies.
“Sunnyside” (Code Red) Joey Travolta stars as a gang leader in Queens caught between turf war and finding a better life for his family.
“They Look Like People” (Yellow Veil Pictures) Two estranged friends team up to save themselves from what appear to be shape-shifters – or are they?
“Treasure of the Four Crowns” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics) Between the 1950s and “Avatar,” various filmmakers tried to bring 3-D back — among those notable attempts were Tony Anthony’s low-budget films in the 1980s. The Blu-ray comes with both the polarized and anaglyphic (red/cyan) versions and glasses too.
“Violent City” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics) Lina Wertmüller wrote and Ennio Morricone scored this crime saga starring Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland and Telly Savalas. (An alternate cut was released in the US in 1973 under the title “The Family”; both versions appear on this new Blu-ray.)
“Wicked World” (AGFA/Bleeding Skull) Canadian splatter-meister Barry J. Gillis’ 1991 slasher epic returns in a Blu-ray collection that includes the original theatrical version, a 2019 director’s cut, and the feature documentary “Reality: The Making of ‘Wicked World’.”
“Without Warning” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics) Directed by Greydon Clark (“Angels’ Brigade”) and with an ensemble that includes Jack Palance, Martin Landau, Sue Ann Langdon, Larry Storch and Darby Hinton, plus an alien creature played by Kevin Peter Hall (“Predator”), this one’s about as cult as cult gets.
“Yeti: Giant of the 20th Century” (Code Red) Gianfranco Parolini, the director of the “Sabata” spaghetti Westerns, cranked out this campy “King Kong” ripoff in 1977.
One of the Missing Movies to return to circulation in a big way is Mira Nair’s “Mississippi Masala” (The Criterion Collection), making its Blu-ray debut after a 4K restoration and theatrical re-release. This 1991 romantic comedy sees Sarita Choudhury and Denzel Washington – each at the beginning of their brilliant careers – as two people of color finding each other, even though they come from very different backgrounds. (She’s the daughter of an Indian family that emigrated from Uganda, which makes both of them fit the definition of “African American.”) It’s a charming, provocative film, and its resurgence is a reminder of how movies can disappear from our consciousness when they’re not readily available on physical media.
“Almost Summer” (Scorpion Releasing) Long missing from circulation, this 1978 high-school comedy — in many ways, a precursor to “Election” — is finally available on Blu-ray.
“The Carey Treatment” (Warner Archive Collection) While director Blake Edwards is most known for comic farces, his eclectic career spanned many genres. This 1972 medical thriller starring James Coburn and written by Michael Crichton deals with the once-again-timely issue of illegal abortion.
“Chan Is Missing” (The Criterion Collection) Indie legend Wayne Wang made this breakthrough feature with this 1982 neo-noir set in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
“The Coca-Cola Kid” (Fun City Editions) Eric Roberts gets a rare romantic lead role as an American soda executive who travels to Australia and winds up falling for Greta Scacchi in a comedy from Dusan Makavejev, known for much wilder films like “WR: Mysteries of the Organism.”
“De Sade” (Scorpion Releasing) The notoriously mild Keir Dullea plays one of history’s most infamous sexual paradigm-shifters in this 1969 biopic.
“Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” (Warner Archive Collection) This 1941 adaptation with Spencer Tracy in the lead role is perhaps most notable for letting Ingrid Bergman play the sexy woman of the world while Lana Turner got to be the fancy lady, a reversal of the roles they usually played.
“Double Indemnity” (The Criterion Collection) One of the great noir films of all time – Billy Wilder directs Barbara Stanwyck as a femme fatale who ensnares insurance salesman Fred MacMurray into a scheme to bump off her husband – gets the Criterion treatment.
“Femme Fatale” (Shout Factory) A twisty and sexy thriller — one of my very favorite Brian De Palma movies — featuring Rebecca Romijn, Antonio Banderas and the Cannes Film Festival.
“A Fistful of Dollars” & “For a Few Dollars More” (both Kino Lorber Studio Classics) New 4K releases of the films that put Clint Eastwood, director Sergio Leone and the spaghetti-Western genre on the map.
“Flower Drum Song” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics) The Rodgers & Hammerstein musical about the Chinese-American experience is both delightful and problematic, but it’s never looked as good on home media as this new Blu-ray release.
“Forbidden Letters” / “Passing Strangers” (Altered Innocence) A new restoration of two gay adult features from filmmaker Arthur J. Bressan Jr., whose singular career covered documentaries, features (“Buddies” was the first narrative film about AIDS) and pornography.
Francis the Talking Mule: 7 Film Collection (Kino Lorber Studio Classics) Before Babe, before Mr. Ed, there was Francis, the leading mule of a series of hit Universal comedies where he starred opposite Donald O’Connor (and, for the last one, Mickey Rooney). This complete box set comes packed with new commentaries for all seven films.
“The Funeral” (The Criterion Collection) Juzo Itami’s hilarious follow-up to “Tampopo” is another look at culture and ritual through an activity that everyone, eventually, has to participate in — and while this is a physical-media column, I would be remiss not to mention that The Criterion Collection is running a series of Itami films this month, including the very funny “Supermarket Woman” and several other titles still unreleased on DVD or Blu-ray in North America.
“Jude” (Scorpion Releasing) Christopher Eccleston and Kate Winslet star as the doomed lovers of Thomas Hardy’s “Jude the Obscure” in an adaptation directed by Michael Winterbottom.
“Julietta” (Icarus Films Home Video) Jean Marais, Jeanne Moreau and Dany Robin star in this farcical love triangle.
“Lady Chatterley’s Lover” (Icarus Films Home Video) Once banned in New York, this controversial adaptation of the D.H. Lawrence novel stars the luminous Danielle Darrieux.
“Mamba” (Kino Classics) Legendary gay actor Jean Hersholt (the guy they named the honorary Oscar after) stars in this early Technicolor tale of an uprising against white colonizers in East Africa.
“The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” (Paramount Presents) James Stewart, John Wayne and Lee Marvin star in this essential John Ford Western (now in 4K), which features the immortal line, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”
“Mr. Klein” (The Criterion Collection) Alain Delon (whose entire filmography seems to be getting remastered lately) stars in Joseph Losey’s blistering, Kafka-esque portrayal of Vichy collaboration during WWII.
“Outside the Law” (Cohen Media Group) In this 2010 drama, a trio of Algerian brothers reunites in 1950s Paris and get involved in the fight for Algerian independence.
“Pushing Hands” (Film Movement Classics) Ang Lee made his feature debut with this intimate comedy about a Bejing tai chi master adjusting to life in New York City with his Americanized relatives.
“Sacco & Vanzetti” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics) This 1971 drama examines one of the 20th century’s most controversial court cases, and this Blu-ray features a new commentary track from “Repo Man” director Alex Cox.
“Times Square” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics) One of those early-’80s cult classics consigned to video limbo because of extensive music-rights issues, this beloved tale of two girls from different backgrounds breaking through in punk-era New York finally makes it to Blu-ray.
“Top Secret!” (Paramount Home Entertainment) After taking on the disaster genre with “Airplane!,” Zucker-Abrams-Zucker went after spy films and Elvis movies simultaneously with this outrageous romp, featuring a breakthrough performance from a thoroughly game Val Kilmer.
“Two Men in Town” (Cohen Media Group) Forest Whitaker plays an ex-con trying to go straight, only to face pressure from his former colleagues as well as from the local sheriff (Harvey Keitel) whose deputy he killed. Also stars Brenda Blethyn and Luis Guzmán.
“Wild Things” (Arrow Video) John McNaughton’s wonderfully trashy and erotic neo-noir – featuring the unforgettable foursome of Neve Campbell, Matt Dillon, Denise Richards and Kevin Bacon – gets a 4K release with plenty of new extras.
“Year of the Jellyfish” (Cohen Media Group) After the porno-chic boom of the early 1970s and the VCR revolution of the early 1980s, we had softcore European arthouse films where international stars like Laura Antonelli or Sylvia Kristel took their tops off a lot. This one’s among the best of the genre, starring Valerie Kaprisky, best known for her role opposite Richard Gere in the “Breathless” remake.
Move over, “six seasons and a movie”: “Ray Donovan: The Movie” (CBS/Paramount) came on the heels of seven seasons of Liev Schreiber as a Hollywood fixer on the Showtime hit. This final outing sees the whole Donovan clan back in Boston to close the loop on some unfinished business.
“The Boys”: Seasons 1 & 2 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) Amazon’s violent series asks the question, “What if superheroes were actually total s—bags?”
“CSI: Vegas”: Season One (CBS/Paramount) The franchise that would not die laps itself, as original stars William Petersen and Jorja Fox return for more adventures, this time in Sin City.
“The Good Fight”: Season Five (CBS/Paramount) If you need a fix of Christine Baranski and Audra McDonald before season two of “The Gilded Age” comes around, this beloved legal drama’s got you covered.
“Gomorrah”: Fifth and Final Season (Kino Lorber) The acclaimed Italian crime drama reaches its conclusion.
“Great Escapes with Morgan Freeman”: Season One (Lionsgate) The Oscar-winner breaks down the mechanics of some of history’s most legendary prison breaks.
Jackie Gleason Television Treasures: 70th Anniversary Collection (MPI Home Video) Fans of Gleason will want this collection of variety-show moments and long-lost “Honeymooners” sketches featuring the TV legend.
“Kin”: Season One (AMC/RLJE) The Kinsella family takes on the international cartel — but seriously, you had me at “starring Charlie Cox.”
“Lucifer”: The Complete Fifth Season (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment) More Satanic shenanigans in the hit series’ fifth go-round.
“Slasher: Flesh & Blood” (Shudder/RLJE) David Cronenberg stars in this season of the Canadian horror anthology, in which a rich, dysfunctional family travels to an island only to discover they’ll be pitted against each other in a game of life and death.
“Succession”: The Complete Third Season (HBO/WB) The latest adventures of TV’s most talked-about dysfunctional dynasty belongs in your portfolio.
Ultraman Mebius Collection (Mill Creek Entertainment) The further adventures of the beloved Japanese TV superhero.