New DVD and Blu-ray Releases for the Week of February 14
From the Big Screen:
(2022) Loosely based on Steven Spielberg’s childhood growing up in post-World War II era Arizona, from age seven to eighteen, a young man named Sammy Fabelman discovers a shattering family secret, and explores how the power of movies help us see the truth about each other and ourselves. Vitals: Director: Steven Spielberg. Stars: Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, Gabriel LaBelle, Judd Hirsch. 2022, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 150 min., Drama, North American box office gross: $13.605 million, worldwide $17.103 million, Universal. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Code, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo + Digital Code, VOD, Digital. Extras: “The Fabelmans: A Personal Journey.” Blu-ray adds “Family Dynamics”: “Crafting the World of The Fabelmans.” Read more here
Decision to Leave
(2022 — South Korea) What happens when an object of suspicion becomes a case of obsession? Winner of Best Director at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, Park Chan-wook (“Oldboy,” “The Handmaiden”) returns with a seductive romantic thriller that takes his renowned stylistic flair to dizzying new heights. From a mountain peak in South Korea, a man plummets to his death. Did he jump, or was he pushed? When detective Hae-joon (Park Hae-il) arrives on the scene, he begins to suspect the dead man’s wife Seo-rae (Tang Wei) may know more than she initially lets on. But as he digs deeper into the investigation, Hae-joon finds himself trapped in a web of deception and desire, proving that the darkest mysteries lurk inside the human heart. With nods toward classic Hollywood and Hitchcock’s “Vertigo,” “Decision to Leave” is an essential masterwork from the legendary Park Chan-wook, infused with elegance, ingenuity and a knife-edge precision that truly cannot be matched. Vitals: Director: Park Chan-wook. Stars: Park Hae-il, Tang WeiLee, Jung-hyun. 2021, CC, MPAA rating: NR, 139 min., Crime Drama, North American box office gross: $2.179 million, worldwide $22.986 million, MUBI. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray, VOD, Digital.
(2022) Animated family film introduces a legendary family of explorers, the Clades, as they attempt to navigate an uncharted, treacherous land alongside a motley crew that includes a mischievous blob called Splat; Legend, the family dog; and a slew of ravenous creatures. Vitals: Director: Don Hall. Stars: Voices of Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Jaboukie Young-White, Gabrielle Union, Lucy Liu. 2022, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 95 min., Animated Family, North American box office gross: $33.778 million, worldwide $56.994 million, Disney. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray + Digital Code, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo + Digital Code, VOD, Digital. Extras: “Anatomy of a Scene: Creating a Strange World”; “Strange Science” featurette; “Creature Feature”; “The Hidden Secrets of Strange World”; outtakes; deleted scenes. Read more here
This Week’s Best Bets:
“Romeo and Juliet” (1968) is one of the great Shakespeare adaptations, a sublime take on the Bard’s immortal romantic tragedy by Franco Zeffirelli, who breathed new life into the oft-told tale by casting actual teenagers in the title roles. As the young lovers whose affair threatens to inflame the tensions between their feuding families in Renaissance Verona, Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting vividly capture the mix of adolescent ardor and turmoil that fuels their destiny-driven liaison. A sensory banquet thanks to Nino Rota’s delicate score and the exquisite, Oscar-winning costumes and cinematography, “Romeo and Juliet” is Shakespeare at its most deeply felt and passionately alive. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection.
Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:
At the height of the Italian giallo boom of the early 1970s, scores of filmmakers turned their hand to crafting their own unique takes on these lurid murder-mysteries. This volume, “Giallo Essentials White Edition [Limited Edition],” presents three distinctly different but equally thrilling examples of genre, featuring some of European cult cinema’s most recognizable faces. “In The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave,” director Emilio P. Miraglia melds the giallo’s trademark twisty whodunit storytelling with gothic chills, as troubled aristocrat Alan Cunningham (Anthony Steffen) is haunted by the spectre of his dead wife Evelyn, and the gruesome and untimely deaths of several members of his family. Next, Riccardo Freda’s “The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire” finds tough ex-cop John Norton (Luigi Pistilli) drafted in to catch the acid-throwing, razor-wielding maniac who’s terrorizing the streets of Dublin. Finally, Sergio Martino’s “The Suspicious Death of a Minor” melds giallo trappings with elements of the then-flourishing poliziotteschi crime thrillers, as undercover cop Paolo Germi hunts a Milanese criminal outfit following the brutal murder of a teenage prostitute. Brutal violence, globe-trotting intrigue and abundant sleaze collide in these three quintessential gialli, each one fully restored from its original camera negative and presented alongside an array of incisive bonus features. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment. Read more here … In the romantic drama “Nothing Is Impossible” (2022), starring David A.R. White and Nadia Bjorlin, Scott Beck’s life has not gone to plan. Working as the janitor at the high school where he was once the star of the basketball team, he is dealing with an ailing father, a busted truck and memories of Ryan, the girl he loved long ago. But opportunity arises when Ryan, now the owner of the Knoxville Silver Knights, decides to hold open tryouts for the team. Scott attempts to make the impossible happen by not only making the team but getting back the woman he loves. From Sony. Read more here … In “Project Wolf Hunting” (2022 — South Korea), while under heavily armed guard, the dangerous convicts aboard a cargo ship unite in a coordinated escape attempt that soon escalates into a bloody, all-out riot. But as the fugitives continue their brutal campaign of terror, they soon discover that not even the most vicious among them is safe from the horror they unknowingly unleashed from the darkness below deck. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Well Go USA … In “Savage Salvation” (2022), starring Robert De Niro, Jack Huston and John Malkovich, Sheriff Church (De Niro) wants peace in a town whose only interests are the church or oxycodone. After his fiancé dies of an overdose, a recovering addict (Huston) embarks on a vengeful killing spree, hunting down the drug dealers before Church puts an end to his vigilante justice. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Vertical Entertainment … The timeless, unbreakable bond between a boy and his faithful dog is put to the ultimate test in 1930s Germany in “Shepherd: The Story of a Hero Dog i” (2019). When the Nuremberg Laws are passed forbidding Jews to own pets, Kaleb, a German Shepherd, is separated from his Jewish family and his beloved 10-year-old master, Joshua. Kaleb is alone and on the streets – until he is captured and eventually adopted by an SS dog trainer at a Nazi work camp where the dog has now been trained to help round up and terrorize Jewish prisoners. Inspired by real events and adapted from the best-selling, critically-acclaimed novel “The Jewish Dog” by Asher Kravitz. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Shout! Studios. Read more here … When a pair of down on their luck house cleaners discover they’re assigned to clean the mansion of Lebron James while he’s overseas, they decide to make a life changing decision to throw a giant party in a quest for immortality and some cash in “House Party” (2023), starring Jacob Latimore, Tosin Cole and Karen Obilom. As the party gets out of control and one of Lebron’s championship rings goes missing, they’re launched into a wild night they’ll never forget. Remake of the 1990 hit of the same name. On DVD, Blu-ray,fro, New Line/Warner … “There There” (2022), starring Jason Schwartzman, Lennie James, Lili Taylor, Molly Gordon and Avi Nash, is a round robin of emotional two-character vignettes in which seven people reach out and bond momentarily, setting the scene for the next encounter. A pair of new lovers, an alcoholic and her AA sponsor, a teacher and a parent, a lawyer and his client, and more move from scene to scene, revealing intimate details as they forge connections. Via a groundbreaking shooting process, director Andrew Bujalski plays with ideas of isolation and perception by filming each actor individually in separate locations, only joining them to their partner’s performance in the edit. From Magnolia Home Entertainment. Read more here … In “Firenado” (2022), starring Sian Altman, Nicola Wright, Stephen Staley, Toby Wynn-Davies and Gordon Joseph Millar, four scientists uncover a ground-breaking technology capable of controlling weather. On the first use of the device, it malfunctions and creates a Fire Tornado. As the Firenado leaves a wake of destruction, the group assist in evacuating nearby residents but stumble into an organized crime home invasion. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, the group struggle to survive the two threats. From Uncork’d Entertainment. Read more here.
On the Indie Front:
The docudrama “Life & Life” (2021) tracks the journey that musician Reggie Austin takes to redeem his life following a murder conviction 40 years ago. With surprising honesty and depth, the film looks at Austin’s effect on his fellow inmates and his efforts to reconnect with his family, as well as questioning parole and sentencing practices through his story. Ultimately, the film reveals the steep and dangerous hill ex-prisoners must climb upon release to free themselves and create a positive future. From Indican Pictures.
Jane Birkin and Geraldine Chaplin star as theatre troupe members who are invited by a mysterious playwright/director to perform in a strange mansion in director Jacques Rivette’s “Love on the Ground “ (1983 – France). As the rehearsal progresses, secrets are revealed and the line between fiction and reality blurs. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Cohen Film Collection.
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.