New DVD and Blu-ray Releases for the Week of November 21

Happy Thanksgiving

From the Big Screen:


photo for Oppenheimer (2023) The story of American scientist, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and his role in the development of the atomic bomb. During World War II, Lt. Gen. Leslie Groves Jr. appoints physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer to work on the top-secret Manhattan Project. Oppenheimer and a team of scientists spend years developing and designing the atomic bomb. Their work comes to fruition on July 16, 1945, as they witness the world’s first nuclear explosion, forever changing the course of history. Adapted from: “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer.”Vitals: Director: Christopher Nolan. Stars: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Josh Hartnett, Casey Affleck with Rami Malek and Kenneth Branagh. CC, MPAA rating: R, 180 min., Biodrama, North American box office gross: $323.704 million, worldwide $941.067 million, Universal. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray + Digital Code, Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Code, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo + Digital Code, VOD, Digital. Extras: Seven-part documentary “The Story of Our Time: The Making of Oppenheimer”; trailers; “Innovations in Film: 65mm Black-and-White Film in Oppenheimer”; “Meet The Press Q&A Panel: Oppenheimer”; “To End All War: Oppenheimer & the Atomic Bomb.” Read more here 4 stars


photo for Expend4bles (2023) A new generation of stars is added to the adrenaline-fueled adventure of The Expendables as action legends Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, and Randy Couture are joined for the first time by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Megan Fox, Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, and Andy Garcia. As the highly skilled mercenaries take on an arms dealer and his private army with every weapon they can get their hands on, the new recruits bring daring styles and tactics that give “new blood” a whole new meaning. Vitals: Director: Scott Waugh. Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Megan Fox, Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais, Andy Garci­a, 50 Cent, Randy Couture.
CC, MPAA rating: R, 103 min., Action, North American box office gross: $16.710 million, worldwide $35.748 million, Lionsgate. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Code, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo + Digital Code, VOD, Digital. 2 stars

Saw X

photo for Saw X (2023) John Kramer (Tobin Bell) is back. The most chilling installment of the “Saw” franchise yet explores the untold chapter of Jigsaw’s most personal game. Set between the events of “Saw I” and “II,” a sick and desperate John travels to Mexico for a risky and experimental medical procedure in hopes of a miracle cure for his cancer – only to discover the entire operation is a scam to defraud the most vulnerable. Armed with a newfound purpose, John returns to his work, turning the tables on the con artists in his signature visceral way through a series of ingenious and terrifying traps. Vitals: Director: Kevin Greutert. Stars: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Synnøve Macody Lund, Steven Brand, Renata Vaca, Michael Beach. CC, MPAA rating: R, 118 min., Horror, North American box office gross: $43.150 million, worldwide $73.050 million, Lionsgate. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Code, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo + Digital Code, VOD, Digital. Extras: Audio commentary with director-editor Kevin Greutert, cinematographer Nick Matthews, and production designer Anthony Stabley; “Drawing Inspiration: Illustrated Scene Breakdowns” with Greutert; “Make-Up Department Trap Tests”; deleted scenes; theatrical trailer. Blu-ray adds Six-part “Reawakening” making-of documentary. Read more here 2 stars

This Week’s Best Bets:

“La Cérémonie” (1995 — France), Claude Chabrol’s 49th feature, stands as the crowning achievement of his prolific career — a coolly riveting study of class dynamics, the psychology of crime, and the sordid secrets lurking beneath the veneer of everyday life. A fascinatingly enigmatic, César Award–winning Isabelle Huppert is the photo for La Cérémonie chaotic yin to Sandrine Bonnaire’s tightly coiled yang. They are, respectively, a small-town postal worker and a maid to a wealthy family, a pair of outsiders who form a mysterious alliance that gradually, almost imperceptibly, goes haywire. With a master’s control of sound, editing, and suspense, Chabrol constructs a tour de force of sustained tension that delivers each brilliant shock with ice-pick precision. New 4K digital restoration, approved by actor Thomas Chabrol and composer Matthieu Chabrol, sons of director Claude Chabrol, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. On DVD, Blu-ray, from The Criterion Collection. Read more here. … With “Mean Streets” (1973), Martin Scorsese emerged as a generation-defining filmmaker with this gritty portrait of 1970s New York City, one of the most influential works of American independent cinema. Set in the insular Little Italy neighborhood of Scorsese’s youth, “Mean Streets” follows guilt-ridden small-time ringleader Charlie (Harvey Keitel) as he deals with the debts owed by his dangerously volatile best pal, Johnny Boy (Robert De Niro), and pressure from his headstrong girlfriend, Teresa (Amy Robinson). As their intertwined lives spiral out of control, Scorsese showcases his precocious photo for Mean Streets mastery of film style — evident in everything from his propulsive editing rhythms to the lovingly curated soundtrack — to create an electrifying vision of sin and redemption. New 4K digital restoration, approved by director Martin Scorsese and editor Thelma Schoonmaker, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. On Blu-ray, 4K UHD/Blu-ray Combo. In the 4K UHD edition: One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and one Blu-ray with the film and special features. From The Criterion Collection. Read more here. … Colleen Moore stars as Hester Prynne in “The Scarlet Letter” (1934), this 1930’s version of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic tale of sin and redemption. Bearing a child out of wedlock was punishable in 17th century Massachusetts by being forced to wear a scarlet letter ‘A,’ but unwed mother Hester, who was born to a noble family, is determined to rise above her situation. Hardie Albright, Alan Hale, and William Farnum also star for director Robert G. Vignola, while the recreation of old Puritan Boston was by art director Frank Dexter. DVD, Blu-ray, from Film Masters.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

In “Crocodile Island” (2023 – China), starring Gallen Lo, Yinyue Liao and Bingxiang Wang, a plane malfunction lands a single father and his daughter on Crocodile Island, in an area around the Devil’s Sea also known as the Bermuda Triangle of Asia. They and the other survivors must battle enormous crocodiles and spiders in an epic battle for their very survival. From Well Go USA … Just in time for the holidays comes “The Police Academy Collection,” a five-disc boxed set with all seven films — with new 2K Scans of the interpositives — plus bonus features. “Police Academy,” “Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment,” “Police Academy 3: Back In Training,” “Police Academy 4: Citizens On Patrol,” “Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach,” “Police Academy 6: City Under Siege” and “Police Academy: Mission to Moscow.” From Shout! Studios.

Foreign Films:

Best Actor Oscar-winner Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”) stars as Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath, code name Agent OSS117 — the pride of French Intelligence — in two hilarious and witty spy send-ups in the “OSS117 Blu-ray Box Set.” Featuring jubilant retro musical scores, pitch-perfect period production design, and inspired performances by the irrepressible Dujardin, this double feature follows the cluelessly suave secret agent on gut-busting adventures to Cairo and Rio de Janeiro: “Cairo, Nest of Spies” (2006 – France) and “Lost in Rio” (2009 – France). On Blu-ray from Music Box Films.

From TV to Disc:

“Farscape: The Complete Series (25th Anniversary Edition)” (1999-2003) is a 22-disc set with all 88 episodes from the show’s four seasons, including the Emmy-nominated two-part miniseries “The Peacekeeper Wars” as well as new photo for Farscape: The Complete Series (25th Anniversary Edition)and previously existing extras. John Crichton. Astronaut. Flung through a wormhole and lost in a galaxy far from home. He finds himself in the middle of a prison break, surrounded by hostile aliens, soaring through space inside a glorious living spaceship called Moya. Hunted by the relentless Peacekeepers, he allies himself with his unimaginably alien fellow refugees and searches for a way home. So begins the epic sci-fi classic “Farscape.” A fusion of live-action, state-of-the-art puppetry, prosthetics and CGI, “Farscape” features mind-boggling alien lifeforms, dazzling special effects, edge-of-your-seat thrills, irreverent humor and unforgettable characters — all brought to life by the creative minds at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. No wonder it’s been called the most imaginative sci-fi series in television history. On Blu-ray from Shout! Studios. 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.

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