New DVD and Blu-ray Releases for the Week of June 20

From the Big Screen:

Avatar: The Way of Water

photo for Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, “Avatar: The Way of Water” launches the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri, and their kids), the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure. All of this against the breathtaking backdrop of Pandora, where we are introduced to new Na’vi cultures and a range of exotic sea creatures that populate the majestic oceans. Vitals: Director: James Cameron. Stars: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Cliff Curtis and Kate Winslet. Joining the illustrious adult cast are talented newcomers Britain Dalton, Jamie Flatters, Trinity Jo-Li Bliss, Bailey Bass, Jack Champion. CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 192 min., Action Adventure, North American box office gross: $684.060 million, worldwide $2,319.935 million, Fox. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray + Digital Code, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo + Digital Code, 3D/Blu-ray Combo + Digital Code, VOD, Digital. Extras: Fourteen behind-the-scenes featurettes; cast featurette; stunts featurette; special effects featurette; more.
Read more here 3 stars

Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant

photo for Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant (2023) follows US Army Sergeant John Kinley (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Afghan interpreter Ahmed (Dar Salim). After an ambush, Ahmed goes to Herculean lengths to save Kinley’s life. When Kinley learns that Ahmed and his family were not given safe passage to America as promised, he must repay his debt by returning to the war zone to retrieve them before the Taliban hunts them down. Vitals: Director: Guy Ritchie. Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Dar Salim, Antony Starr, Alexander Ludwig, Bobby Schofield, Emily Beecham, Jonny Lee Miller. CC, MPAA rating: R, 123 min., War Drama, North American box office gross: $15.400 million, worldwide $15.949 million, MGM.
Formats: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Code, VOD, Digital. Read more here 2 stars

The Farrows Of Hollywood: Their Dark Side Of Paradise

This Week’s Highlights:

One of the great debut features of the 21 century, Barry Jenkins’s captivating, lo-fi romance “Medicine for Melancholy” (2008) unfolds against the backdrop of a rapidly gentrifying photo for Medicine for MelancholySan Francisco, where a one-night stand between two young bohemians, Micah (Wyatt Cenac) and Jo’ (Tracey Heggins), spins off into a woozy daylong affair marked by moments of tenderness, friction, joy, and intellectual sparring as they explore their relationships to each other, the city, and their own Blackness. Shooting on desaturated video, Jenkins crafts an intimate exploration of alienation and connection graced with the evocative visual palette and empathetic emotional charge that has come to define his work. On Blu-ray, with new high-definition digital master, approved by director Barry Jenkins and director of photography James Laxton, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. From The Criterion Collection.Read more herephoto for The Servant The prolific, ever provocative Joseph Losey, blacklisted from Hollywood and living in England, delivered a coolly modernist shock to the system of that nation’s cinema with “The Servant” (1963), a mesmerizing dissection of class, sexuality, and power. A dissolute scion of the upper crust (James Fox) finds the seemingly perfect manservant (a diabolical Dirk Bogarde, during his transition from matinee idol to art-house icon) to oversee his new London town house. But not all is as it seems, as traditional social hierarchies are gradually, disturbingly destabilized. Lustrously disorienting cinematography and a masterful script by playwright Harold Pinter merge in”The Servant,” a tour de force of mounting psychosexual menace. On Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. From The Criterion Collection. Read more here.

Foreign Films:

“A Radiant Girl” (2021 — France), starring Rebecca Marder, André Marcon, Anthony Bajon, Françoise Widhoff, takes place in Paris, summer 1942. Irene (Marder) is a 19-year-old aspiring actress without a care in the world. Her family watches her discover friends, new love and a photo for A Radiant Girl passion for the theater, all the while without her realizing that time is running out. Legendary French actress Sandrine Kiberlain makes her directorial debut with this allegorical coming-of-age drama set in Nazi-occupied France, that is in turns enchanting and devastating, anchored by a star-making lead performance by Marder. The film highlights both the dangers of complacency in the face of fascism, as well as the moments of beauty that are possible even under the hardest of circumstances. From Film Movement … In “Sublimne” (2022 — Argentina), shy 16-year-old Manuel (Martín Miller) comes alive when he, his best friend Felipe (Teo Inama Chiabrando) and other buddies form a garage rock band. The two boys, friends since childhood, have a close, easy relationship made even more intense with the band and their music making. Strains develop for Manuel when his best mate starts dating a girl. Manuel also begins to date a female classmate, yet all the while suppressing his nascent sexual feelings for Felipe. Confused, and fearful that his feelings are not mutual, he retreats into himself, eventually lashing out which forces him to confront his feelings head on. From Cinephobia. Read more herephoto for Cosa Nostra: Franco Nero In Three Mafia Tales By Damiano Damiani “Cosa Nostra: Franco Nero In Three Mafia Tales By Damiano Damiani” contains three classic Italian crime films presented in a three-disc collector’s Blu-ray boxset, presented from new restorations. “The Day of the Owl” (1968), “The Case is Closed” (1971) and “How to Kill a Judge” (1975). From Radiance. Read more here“Whisper of the Heart” (2023 — Japan) reimagines Aoi Hiiragi’s manga “Mimi wo Sumaseba” for both a new generation and fans of the sensational and classic manga. Hiiragi changed manga history forever with his culturally impactful coming-of-age tale. Now this iconic work comes to the big screen in a heartfelt adaptation directed by Yûichirô Hirakawa (“The Promised Neverland”), intertwining the themes of first love, promises, and finding your dream. This live-action “Whisper of the Heart” offers a retelling of the original manga story from the perspective of 10 years later, featuring well-known moments from the novel that perfectly echo realities of the present-day. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Capelight Pictures … photo for Game Trilogy [Limited Edition] Made at the end of the 1970s, Toru Murakawa’s “Game Trilogy” (1978 — Japan) launched actor Yusaku Matsuda as the Toei tough guy for a new generation. Matsuda was the definitive screen icon of 1980s until his career was tragically cut short by cancer at the age of 40, following his Hollywood debut in Ridley Scott’s “Black Rain.” In this career-defining limited edition triptych, Matsuda is Shohei Narumi, an ice cool hitman of few words, a steely trigger finger, and a heart of stone, hired in “The Most Dangerous Game” by a company bidding for a lucrative government air defense contract to take out the competition. In “The Killing Game,” Narumi finds himself caught in the midst of violent yakuza gang warfare, while his own brutal past catches up with him in the form of two beautiful women still bearing the emotional scars of his past assignments. In “The Execution Game,” Narumi falls for a mysterious saloon bar chanteuse who may or may not be part of the same, shadowy underworld photo for Red Sun organization as the rival hitmen he is employed to rub out. Released for the very first time outside Japan, with their cool blue cinematography by Nagisa Oshima collaborator Seizo Sengen and a sultry score by jazz legend Yuji Ohno, Murakawa’s masterful set of films raised the bar for the Japanese action movie to new heights. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment. Read more here … In “Red Sun” (1970 — Germany), Thomas (Marquard Bohm) gets a ride to Munich where he finds his ex-girlfriend Peggy (counter culture activist and model Uschi Obermaier) who takes him in. In her flat he finds Peggy and her roommates have a commune-like lifestyle where they kill the men in their lives after five days, but will Thomas realize in time? High-definition digital transfer overseen by director Rudolf Thome. On Blu-ray from Radiance.

For the Family:

photo for I Am T-Rex “I Am T-Rex” (2023 — China) is an animated action adventure with the voices of Ben Balmaceda, Charlie Campbell, Y. Chang, Jordan Dash Cruz, Ricco Fajardo. After a power-hungry dinosaur from outside the valley attacks the king of dinosaurs by surprise, a young T-Rex escapes and begins to train, vowing never to return until he is the biggest and bravest in all the land—and finally strong enough to challenge the evil Fang and restore peace to Green Valley. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Well Go USA.

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.

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