New DVD and Blu-ray Releases for the Week of March 26

photo for The Iron Claw

The Iron Claw

(2023) The true story of the inseparable Von Erich brothers, who made history in the intensely competitive world of professional wrestling in the early 1980s. Through tragedy and triumph, under the shadow of their domineering father and coach, the brothers seek larger-than-life immortality on the biggest stage in sports. Vitals: Director: Sean Durkin. Stars: Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, Maura Tierney, Holt McCallany, Lily James. CC, MPAA rating: R, 132 min., Action, North American box office gross: $34.984 million, worldwide $39.695 million, Lionsgate. Formats: Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Code, VOD, Digital. Extras: “Brotherhood Is Forever: Making Iron Claw”; “Cast and Crew Q&A”; theatrical trailer. 2 stars Read more here.

photo for The Book of Clarence

The Book of Clarence

(2024) Streetwise but struggling, Clarence (LaKeith Stanfield) is trying to find a better life for himself and his family, make himself worthy to the woman he loves, and prove that he’s not a nobody. Captivated by the power and glory of the rising Messiah and His apostles, he risks everything to carve his own path to a divine life, a journey through which he finds redemption and faith, power and knowledge. Vitals: Director: Jeymes Samuel. Stars: David Oyelowo, Benedict Cumberbatch, James McAvoy, LaKeith Stanfield, Omar Sy, Alfre Woodard. CC, MPAA rating: PG-13 129 min., Comedy, North American box office gross: $6.1342 million, worldwide $6.132 million, Sony. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray + Digital Code, VOD, Digital. 2 stars Formats: DVD, Blu-ray + Digital Code, VOD, Digital. Read more here.

This Week’s Best Bets

Bursting with imagination and having seen her share of tragedy and fantasy, “Amélie” (2001 — France), starring Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Lorella Cravotta, Serge Merlin, Jamel Debbouze and Claire Maurier, is not like the other girls. When she grows up, she becomes a waitress in a Montmartre bar run by a photo for Amélie former dancer. Amélie enjoys simple pleasures until she discovers that her goal in life is to help others. To that end, she invents all sorts of tricks that allow her to intervene incognito into other people’s lives, including an imbibing concierge and her hypochondriac neighbor. But Amélie’s most difficult case turns out to be Nino Quicampoix, a lonely sex shop employee who collects photos abandoned at coin-operated photobooths. On DVD, Blu-ray Steelbook, from Sony … Before he made his name in “Lone Wolf and Cub,” Tomisaburô Wakayama starred in “The Bounty Hunter Trilogy” (1969, 1972), a triptych of violent samurai spectacles that draw on James Bond and Spaghetti Westerns for inspiration yet feature the familiar style and blood-spattering action of the period. In director Shigehiro Ozawa’s (“The Streetfighter”) “Killer’s Mission” (1969), Wakayama stars as Doctor (and spy-for-hire) Shikoro Ichibei, who is hired to prevent the sale of firearms to a hostile Shogun. In Eiichi Kudo’s (“13 Assassins”) follow-up, “The Fort of Death” (1969), photo for The Bounty Hunter TrilogyIchibei is hired on a Seven Samurai-style mission to protect a village of farmers from a ruthless Lord. The final film sees Ozawa return for “Eight Men to Kill” (1972), in which Ichibei is hired to recover a cache of stolen gold from the government’s mine. Featuring an array of weapons and gadgets that would make Q proud (with Ichibei supported by a band of helpers including fellow spies, Ronin and female ninjas), the “Bounty Hunter” films deliver action thrills galore and deserve to sit alongside the celebrated action epics that followed. High-Definition digital transfer of each film presented on two discs, made available on Blu-ray (1080p) for the first time in the world. On Blu-ray from Radiance/MVD Entertainment … photo for The all-American obsession with celebrity turns monstrous in “To Die For” (1995), a deliciously subversive (and disturbingly prescient) satire of our television-mediated, true-crime-obsessed age. In a career breakthrough, Nicole Kidman delivers a diabolical deconstruction of the girl next door as a local TV weather reporter whose perfectly perky facade belies a murderous heart, as her ruthless pursuit of fame ensnares three disaffected teens in a sordid, tabloid-ready scandal. Deftly deploying shifting perspectives, faux-documentary interviews, and a supporting cast featuring Joaquin Phoenix, Matt Dillon, and Casey Affleck, director Gus Van Sant adds provocative layers of meaning to this darkly funny examination of suburban sociopathy. On Blu-ray, 4K UHD + Blu-ray, with new 4K digital restoration, approved by director Gus Van Sant and director of photography Eric Alan Edwards, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and one Blu-ray with the film and special features. Read more here. From The Criterion Collection.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “Good Burger 2” (2023), starring Kel Mitchell, Kenan Thompson, Kamaia Fairburn, Alex R. Hibbert, Lil Rel Howery and Jillian Bell, Dexter Reed (Thompson) and original cashier Ed (Mitchell) reunite in the present day at fast-food restaurant Good Burger with a hilarious new group of employees. Dexter is down on his luck after another one of his inventions fails. Ed welcomes Dex back to Good Burger with open arms and gives him his old job back. With a new crew working at Good Burger, Dex devises a plan to get back on his feet but unfortunately puts the fate of Good Burger at risk once again. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Paramount.

Foreign Films:

After an unforseen threat arises mid-air in “Born to Fly” (2023 — China), starring Yibo Wang, Jun Hu and Yosh Yu, a talented young air force pilot is forced to test not only the capabilities of his top secret aircraft but also his own physical and psychological limits in order to service. On Blu-ray from Well Go USA … photo for Polar Rescue After a young boy gets lost during a bitter snowstorm in “Polar Rescue” (2022 — China), starring Donnie Yen, Cecilia Han and Jia Bing, his frantic parents (Donnie Yen, Cecilia Han) seek help from the local police, who are soon faced with a desperate race against the clock as hours tick by with no sign of the child. On DVD, Blu-ray, from Well Go USA … Bringing a documentarian’s sense of open-ended inquiry to her first narrative feature, writer-director Alice Diop constructs a morally and emotionally layered courtroom drama unlike any other in “Saint Omer” (2022 — France). When she travels to Saint-Omer, France, to attend the trial of a young Senegalese photo for Saint Omerwoman (Guslagie Malanda) accused of murdering her infant daughter, novelist Rama (Kayije Kagame) finds herself shaken to the core by a case that proves to have profound resonances with her own life. Interweaving complex themes of mother-daughter bonds, immigrant alienation, and postcolonial trauma into a piercing portrait of two mysteriously connected women, Diop forgoes mere questions of guilt and innocence in order to plumb the unsettling unknowability of the human soul. On DVD, Blu-ray, with new 2K digital master, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Read more here. From The Criterion Collection … After a struggling actress stands trial for the murder of a lascivious producer in 1930s Paris in “The Crime Is Mine” (2023 — France), she ascends to scandalous stardom with the help of her lawyer roommate. A new life of fame, wealth, and tabloid celebrity awaits her — until the truth comes out. The Crime Is Mine is a rollicking farce and a wily feminist romp from François Ozon. From Music Box Films. Read more here.

Special Interest:

“Ancient Empires” (2023): From Greece to Egypt to Italy, explore the dramatic rise and epic fall of three of the ancient world’s most iconic rulers – Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, and Julius Caesar – in this HISTORY Channel’s documentary. Filled with thrilling live-action sequences and explosive battle scenes, as well as insightful expert interviews from renowned authors, generals, and historians, this docuseries sheds new light on these compelling, enigmatic figures whose passion and drive to rule at all costs, as well as their eventual downfall, shaped the world we live in today. From Lionsgate.

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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