From the Big Screen:
(2021) Based on the book, “Cry Macho” stars Clint Eastwood as a one-time rodeo star and washed-up horse breeder who, in 1978, takes a job from an ex-boss to bring the man’s young son home and away from his alcoholic mom. Crossing rural Mexico on their way back to Texas, the unlikely pair faces an unexpectedly challenging journey, during which the world-weary horseman may find his own sense of redemption through teaching the boy what it means to be a good man. Vitals: Director: Clint Eastwood. Stars: Clint Eastwood, Eduardo Minett, Natalia Traven, Dwight Yoakam. 2021, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 104 min., Western Drama, US box office gross: $10.242 million, worldwide $11.642 million, Warner. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray + Digital Code, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo + Digital Code, VOD, Digital. Extras: “Back In The Saddle: The Making Of Cry Macho.” Blu-ray adds “The Mustangs.” Read more here
“Dear Evan Hansen”
(2021) Ben Platt steps back into Evan Hansen’s shoes one last time with an incredible final performance in the film adaptation of the remarkable generation-defining Tony and Grammy Award-winning Broadway musical that broke records at the Music Box Theatre. The film follows Evan Hansen, a high school senior with Social Anxiety disorder and his journey of self-discovery and acceptance following the suicide of a fellow classmate. Vitals: Director: Stephen Chbosky. Stars: Ben Platt, Kaitlyn Dever, Amandla Stenberg, Nik Dodani, Colton Ryan, Danny Pino, Julianne Moore, Amy Adams. 2021, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 137 min., Musical Drama, North American box office gross: $14.987 million, worldwide $15.791 million, Universal. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Code, VOD, Digital. Extras: “Songs to Be Seen” behind-the-scenes featurette on the film’s songs; “Looking Through the Lens: The Making of Dear Evan Hansen”; “Stars In Our Eyes” cast and crew featurette. Blu-ray adds “Sincerely, Ben Platt” featurette. Read more here
(2021) Screaming through the Nevada desert in a bullet-ridden Crown Vic, wily con artist Teddy Murretto (Frank Grillo) hatches a desperate plan to hide out from lethal hitman Bob Viddick (Gerard Butler): He sucker-punches rookie officer Valerie Young (Alexis Louder) to get himself arrested and locked up in a small-town police station. But jail can’t protect Murretto for long. Viddick schemes his own way into detention, biding his time in a nearby cell until he can complete his mission. When the arrival of a competing assassin (Toby Huss) ignites all-out mayhem, mounting threats force Viddick to get creative if he wants to finish the job and escape the explosive situation. Vitals: Director: Joe Carnahan. Stars: Gerard Butler, Frank Grillo, Alexis Louder. 2021, CC, MPAA rating: R, 107 min., Crime Action, North American box office gross: $5.213 million, worldwide $6.657 million, Universal. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Code, VOD, Digital. Read more here
“Ron’s Gone Wrong”
(2021) The story of Barney, a socially awkward middle-schooler and Ron, his new walking, talking, digitally-connected device, which is supposed to be his “Best Friend out of the Box.” Ron’s hilarious malfunctions, set against the backdrop of the social media age, launch them into an action-packed journey in which boy and robot come to terms with the wonderful messiness of true friendship. Vitals: Director: Sarah Smith and Jean-Philippe Vine. Stars: Voices of Jack Dylan Grazer, Zach Galifianakis, Olivia Colman, Ed Helms, Justice Smith, Rob Delaney, Kylie Cantrall, Marcus Scribner, Ricardo Hurtado, Thomas Barbusca. 2021, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 107 min., Animated Adventure, North America box office gross: $21.420, million, worldwide $54.699 million, Fox/Disney. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Code, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo + Digital Code, VOD, Digital. Extras: “A Boy and His B*Bot: When Jack Met Zach” with Zach Galifianakis and Jack Dylan Grazer, the voices behind Ron and Barney; “Making Ron Right” behind-the-scenes featurette; “Sunshine” music video performed by Liam Payne. Read more here
This Week’s Best Bets:
Elliott Gould gives one of his best performances as a quirky, mischievous Philip Marlowe in “The Long Goodbye (Special Edition)” (1973), this fascinating and original send-up of Raymond Chandler’s classic detective story from maverick filmmaker Robert Altman. Co-starring Nina van Pallandt, Sterling Hayden, Mark Rydell and Henry Gibson with a screenplay by Leigh Brackett (“The Big Sleep,” “The Empire Strikes Back”), “The Long Goodbye” is a gloriously inspired subversion of the film noir genre with the “sun-baked Sodom” of 1970s Hollywood as its backdrop. Private eye Philip Marlowe (Gould) faces the most bizarre case of his life, when a friend’s apparent suicide turns into a double murder involving a sexy blonde, a disturbed gangster and a suitcase full of drug money. But as Marlowe stumbles toward the truth, he soon finds himself lost in a maze of sex and deceit -— only to discover that in L.A., if love is dangerous … friendship is murder. Brand mew 4K master. In a Blu-ray debut from Kino Lorber Studio Classics … Adapted by Kemp Powers from his acclaimed play, “One Night In Miami” (2021), the feature directorial debut of Academy Award–winning actor Regina King, puts viewers in a room with four icons at the forefront of Black American culture as they carouse, clash, bare their souls, and grapple with their places within the sweeping change of the civil rights movement. February 25, 1964, has gone down in history as the day that the brash young boxer Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) defeated Sonny Liston, but what happened after the fight was perhaps even more incredible: Ali, civil rights leader Malcolm X, NFL great Jim Brown, and “King of Soul” Sam Cooke all came together at a Miami motel. Electric with big ideas and activist spirit, the film — produced by Amazon Studios — plunges us into the midst of an intimate, ongoing conversation — and a defining moment in American history. On DVD, Blu-ray, with new 4K digital transfer, approved by director Regina King, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection. Read more here. … The acclaimed Warner Bros. gangster classic “Angels With Dirty Faces” (1938) paired off-screen pals James Cagney and Pat O’Brien for the sixth time. Cagney’s Rocky Sullivan is a charismatic ghetto tough whose underworld rise makes him a hero to a gang of slum punks. O’Brien is Father Connolly, the boyhood chum-turned-priest who vows to end Rocky’s influence. Other top talents join them including Humphrey Bogart as a scheming lawyer, Ann Sheridan (in her first major leading-lady role) as Rocky’s hard-edged girlfriend and the Dead End Kids as worshipful street urchins, all ably directed by the great Michael Curtiz. The 1938 New York Film Critics Best Actor Award came Cagney’s way, as well as one of the film’s three Oscar nominations. In a Blu-ray debut from Warner Archive … “Harold and Maude” (1971), directed by Hal Ashby and starring Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort, Vivian Pickles and Cyril Cusack, is an amazing cult classic. Young, rich, and obsessed with death, Harold finds himself changed forever when he meets lively septuagenarian Maude at a funeral. Originally released on December 20, 1971, the film celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and has been beautifully restored and remastered for this Limited-Edition release. For the restoration, the original negative was scanned in 4K and careful color correction and cleanup were undertaken to pay homage to director of photography John Alonzo’s memorable work and honor the look of the film. In addition, the incredible soundtrack was completely remixed using recently discovered tracks to add clarity and depth. On Blu-ray from Paramount Presents.
From TV to Disc:
Following “Creepshow Season 1’s” Saturn Award 2021 win for Best DVD/BD Television Release comes “Creepshow Season 2,” the anthology series based on the 1982 horror comedy classic. A comic book comes to life in nine chilling tales told across five episodes. Explore terrors ranging from murder, creatures, monsters and delusions to the supernatural and unexplainable with C. Thomas Howell, Keith David, Breckin Meyer, Molly Ringwald, Justin Long, Kiefer Sutherland and more. On DVD, Blu-ray, from RLJE Films … “My Life Is Murder, Season 2” (2021) is a three-disc set with 10 episodes. Ex-cop Alexa Crowe (Lucy Lawless) returns to her New Zealand hometown and finds herself investigating puzzling murders alongside charismatic DI Harry and partner-in-crime-solving Madison, who’s closer than ever to her mentor — literally, as she moves into Alexa’s home. But to truly make a fresh start, Alexa must deal with the family troubles she’s avoided for years. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Acorn Media … “Rick and Morty: The Complete Fifth Season” (2021) is a two-disc DVD set, one-disc Blu-ray with all 10 episodes, America’s favorite crazy scientist and his grandson return for their long-awaited and highly anticipated misadventures when the latest season of Adult Swim’s hit series arrives. The half-hour animated comedy series follows a sociopathic genius scientist who drags his inherently timid grandson on insanely dangerous adventures across the universe. Rick Sanchez is living with his daughter Beth’s family and constantly bringing her, his son-in-law Jerry, granddaughter Summer, and grandson Morty into intergalactic escapades. From Warner.
Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:
In “Amityville Uprising” (2021), starring Kelly Lynn Reiter, Mike Ferguson, Micah Fitzgerald, Scott C. Roe, Tank Jones and Alysha Young, a chemical blast at a military base sets off a supernatural disaster. As Sgt. Dash tries to keep the peace at the local police station, the explosion unleashes a toxic acid rain that dissolves the flesh of anyone trapped in it. Even worse, it causes the dead to rise again and attack the living. Can Dash and fellow officer Nina Rossi figure out who is friend and foe, fend off the attacks, and defend their colleagues until the savage cataclysm subsides? From Lionsgate. Read more here … In “Werewolves Within” (2021), starring Sam Richardson, Milana Vayntrub, George Basil, Sarah Burns and Michael Chernus, after a proposed pipeline creates divisions within the small town of Beaverfield, and a snowstorm traps its residents together inside the local inn, newly arrived forest ranger Finn (Richardson) and postal worker Cecily (Vayntrub) must try to keep the peace and uncover the truth behind a mysterious creature that has begun terrorizing the community in this horror-comedy whodunit. On DVD, Blu-ray, from RLJE Films … In “Broadcast Signal Intrusion” (2021), starring Harry Shum Jr., Chris Sullivan and Kelley Mack, while logging tapes of decades-old TV broadcasts, video archivist James (Shum Jr.) discovers a surreal and disturbing clip that he believes is the product of a mysterious broadcast signal hacking. His discovery takes a sinister turn when he tracks down similar broadcast intrusions that send him on an obsessive mission. Now James must confront two very real possibilities: that the videos may be clues to a crime beyond all comprehension; and that whoever was behind them may be very aware that James is coming uncomfortably close to the truth. Inspired by actual broadcast interruptions that occurred in Chicago in the late 1980s, and remain unsolved to this day. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Dark Sky Films … When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, young Max is disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas in “Krampus: The Naughty Cut” (2015), starring Adam Scott, Toni Collette, Allison Tolman and David Koechner. Little does he know that this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus — a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers. All hell breaks loose as beloved holiday icons take on a monstrous life of their own, laying siege to the fractured family’s home and forcing them to fight for each other if they hope to survive. Supervised by director Michael Dougherty, this two-disc set includes both 4K UHD and Blu-ray editions and marks the first time “The Naughty Cut” of the film has been available. From Scream Factory … After newlywed Jocelyn learns that her husband Jody had her father murdered, she flees from the Callahan ranch in fear in “Last Shoot Out” (2021), starring Bruce Dern, Cam Gigandet and Michael Welch. She’s rescued by gunman Billy Tyson, who safeguards her at a remote outpost as he staves off Jody’s attempts to reclaim his bride. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate. Read more here.
“Ema” (2019 — Chile), starring Mariana Di Girólamo, Gael García Bernal and Santiago Cabrera, is a psychologically acute exhumation of Latin American life featuring an unforgettable heroine who is determined to move freely through the world as she electrifies everyone and everything around her after she deals with the aftermath of an adoption that goes awry as their household falls apart. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Music Box Films … “Woke: Season 3 (Les Engagés: XAOC)” (2021 — France) is a single disc with all three episodes of the French LGBTQ series. When a Chechen refugee is attacked at his home, Hicham and Thibaut and the Lyon LGBT+ Center find themselves plunged into a case with complex ramifications that will turn their lives upside down. From Breaking Glass Pictures. Read more here … “The Monkey King: Reborn” (2021 — China) is an all-new anime action-adventure fantasy with an English language dub. After short-tempered trickster Monkey King is insulted while visiting a temple with his master Tang Monk, he destroys a magical tree and accidentally releases the ancient King of Demons, who kidnaps Tang Monk as revenge for his long imprisonment. Now, Monkey King and his fellow disciples must rescue their master within three days, before the Demon King regains his full power and unleashes his armies to destroy the earth. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Well Go USA … Four years after “Shirobako” (2014), Aoi Miyamori keeps busy dealing with the ordinary troubles in her daily work at Musashino Animation in “Shirobako the Movie” (2020 — Japan). After a morning meeting, Aoi is put in charge of a new theatrical anime project for the studio. The project has unexpected problems, and Aoi is unsure if the company can proceed with a theatrical anime with its current state of affairs. A self-reflexive love letter to the anime industry. Sequel to the television anime series of the same name, which has also been adapted as a manga series.On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Shout! Factory. Read more here.
For the Family:
“The Ultimate Aang and Korra Blu-ray Collection” is an 18-disc set with the complete “The Last Airbender,” which aired on Nickelodeon from February 2005 through July 2008 and the sequel series, “The Legend of Korra,” which aired on Nickelodeon and Nick.com from April 2012 through December 2014. The two-series collection features new outer packaging designed with custom art of Aang and Korra in the Japanese Sumi art style, plus a brand-new bonus disc and eight collectible art cards. Included on the bonus disc are over 80 minutes of exclusive content. Experience the complete Avatar saga with Aang and Korra, from the discovery of Avatar Aang in the iceberg in to Korra’s heroic journey to set things right in Republic City. On Blu-ray from Nickelodeon/Paramount.
“The Jesus Music” (2021): With stirring songs of faith, love, and hope, the Jesus Music movement rose from America’s 1960s counterculture to become a worldwide phenomenon. This fascinating documentary reveals Jesus Music’s uplifting, untold story — from its humble beginnings at the Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California, through its transformation into the multi million-dollar industry of Christian Contemporary music. Featuring intimate interviews with the genre’s biggest stars — including Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, TobyMac, and Kirk Franklin — this love letter to CCM fans reveals the trials and triumphs of the artists who have devoted their lives to sharing their faith through the universal power of music. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Lionsgate. Read more here.
All DVDs and Blu-rays are screened on a reference system consisting of an Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray Disc Player w/SACD & DVD-Audio, a Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center), and 50 (rear) speakers, and Power 10 subwoofer.