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Judy, Judy, Judy! The Best of Garland on Blu-ray

That voice. Instantly recognizable, it brims with power and emotion, expressing heartbreak, longing, and boundless joy with equal fervor. It can raise the rafters and plumb the depths of your soul - sometimes simultaneously - all while sending chills of excitement down your spine. Almost as soon as she learned to talk, Judy Garland began to sing, and her inimitable, indefatigable instrument coupled with her peerless ability to connect with audiences eventually led her to be dubbed the World’s Greatest Entertainer. That might sound like hyperbole, but time and again Garland lived up to the moniker. She may have stood only four-feet-eleven-inches tall, but she was a giant in the entertainment industry, a triple-threat dynamo who conquered every medium - movies, television, radio, recordings, the concert stage - and remains one of the most admired, beloved, and enduring performers in show business history.

Garland would have turned 100 years old this month, and although she died much too soon at age 47 from an accidental prescription drug overdose, she’s still very much alive on TV, movie, and computer screens and music streaming services. As long as there’s a video monitor, speaker system, or pair of AirPods, Garland will continue to beguile, thrill, and delight. 

"The rest of us will be forgotten. Never Judy."

Like many children of a bygone era, I first discovered Garland through the annual network television broadcasts of The Wizard of Oz. The fateful year for me was 1967. I was 4. Yet even at that tender age, Garland’s warmth and sincerity touched me, so when my dad opened his daily New York Times a couple of years later and announced the woman who played Dorothy had tragically died, I felt genuine sadness. Five years after that, in 1974, my parents dragged 11-year-old me to a screening of That’s Entertainment!, MGM’s lavish salute to its legendary Golden Age musicals. “A documentary?!” I whined. I couldn’t imagine anything more boring.

Two-plus hours later, my life had forever changed. Not only did That’s Entertainment! expose me to the full breadth of Garland’s massive talent and turn me into a lifelong, passionate fan, it also sparked a love affair with classic movies that continues to this day. Garland, though, was the instigator, the hook, the portal that transported me into a wondrous cinematic world. I read everything I could about her, watched her films on late-night TV (there wasn’t even VHS back then), bought her records, and soaked up the magic of her performances. Decades have passed and her work continues to amaze and inspire me. I can’t think of any artist who is more genuine, who can communicate so directly and so viscerally, and who can dazzle the senses so consistently and so completely.

Judy Garland is one of a kind. We’ll never see anyone like her ever again. I could celebrate her every day, but her 100th birthday seems like the perfect time to spotlight in chronological order what I feel are the 10 best examples of Garland’s best film work. All of the movies are available on Blu-ray - and one is even in 4K UHD and 3D! Click your heels to guess which one. You can certainly take my word for how good the following films are, but if you watch the accompanying video clips (and I strongly encourage you to do so!), you’ll witness the breathtaking talent that made Garland an entertainment icon and keeps her relevant, relatable, accessible, and - most importantly - timeless. Frank Sinatra once said, “The rest of us will be forgotten. Never Judy.” He was right.

Happy 100th, Judy. Here's looking at - and listening to - you, kid...

THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939)

The cyclone may whisk Dorothy from Kansas to Oz, but the impact of The Wizard of Oz on Garland was far more consequential, transforming her from an adolescent MGM contract player into a major movie star. We've all seen this intoxicating fantasy dozens of times, but the reason we keep coming back to it is Garland. As I wrote in my review of the 70th anniversary edition of the film in 2009, “Though so many elements contribute to the success of a film, it's impossible to imagine any one piece of the Oz puzzle having a greater impact on the film's viability and durability than Garland's performance. Sure, her simple yet stirring rendition of 'Over the Rainbow' ranks high on the list of milestone movie moments, yet this gifted 16-year-old actress brings so much more to the table than her mellifluous voice. Honesty and sincerity ooze from her pores; every word she utters is totally believable, and her pluck, vulnerability, innocence, and empathy instantly seduce the audience. From the opening frames to the 'no place like home' coda, Garland keeps us transfixed, maintaining an intimacy that's rare in such an extravagant production. Her performance, more than any other, keeps The Wizard of Oz contemporary, and allows the picture to connect with past, present, and future generations.” This all-time classic is available in Blu-ray, 3-D, and 4K UHD editions, and in standard, steelbook, and collectible box set packaging.


FOR ME AND MY GAL (1942)

This rousing, surprisingly dramatic salute to vaudeville during World War I not only showcases Garland’s enviable singing, acting, and dancing abilities, it also marks the film debut of Gene Kelly. As I wrote earlier this month upon the movie’s long-awaited Blu-ray debut, For Me and My Gal showcases [Garland’s] talent in all three disciplines to a greater degree than perhaps any other film. As the sole star, Garland must do it all, and she handles the heavy responsibility of 'carrying' a major motion picture with ease. The movie also offered Garland her first truly mature role, as well as the chance to step out from behind Mickey Rooney's shadow. She makes the most of both opportunities, and her unqualified success hastened her breezy transition to adult stardom.” Below, she performs one of the all-time great torch songs, “After You’ve Gone,” which would later become a staple in her concert repertoire.


MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944)

One of the most beloved and acclaimed musicals of all time, Meet Me in St. Louis chronicles a year in the life of a typical American family as they anticipate the 1904 World’s Fair. Director Vincente Minnelli’s sumptuous film brims with humor, charm, warmth, and romance, and completes Garland’s seamless transition to adult roles. It also contains an array of future Garland standards, including “The Boy Next Door,” “The Trolley Song” (see clip below), and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Along with The Wizard of Oz and A Star Is Born, Meet Me in St. Louis stands as one of Garland’s greatest and most enduring films and features one of her most natural and endearing performances. The Blu-ray is available in both standard and digibook editions.


THE CLOCK (1945)

Garland and Minnelli followed up Meet Me in St. Louis with The Clock, a beautiful and affecting romantic drama about a GI (Robert Walker) and office secretary (Garland) who fall in love during his 48-hour leave in New York City. Garland doesn’t sing a note in The Clock (one of only two non-musicals she would make during her career), but her understated, intuitive portrayal is so good, we don’t miss her vocals at all. As I recently wrote in my Blu-ray review, “Though the lyrical script…gives her only one brief emotional scene, Garland’s enviable ability to bring meaning and authenticity to the mundane makes her quiet work here rival her raw, powerful, Oscar-nominated portrayals in A Star Is Born and Judgment at Nuremberg.” At last available on Blu-ray after an interminable wait, The Clock is one of Garland’s most unheralded and underrated movies, and her revelatory work continues to resonate more than 75 years after the picture's premiere.


THE HARVEY GIRLS (1946)

Did waitresses tame the Wild West? According to The Harvey Girls, they did. A musical homage to the adventurous women who ventured west in the late 1800s to work for the Harvey House restaurant franchise, The Harvey Girls gives Garland a chance to show off her flair for comedy (see clip below) and participate in a no-holds-barred catfight that rivals the barroom brawl in Destry Rides Again. As I wrote in my 2020 Blu-ray review of this blockbuster hit, “Garland…carries this infectious film that wonderfully showcases her comic timing, spunky personality, transcendent warmth, and - of course - legendary voice. Her powerhouse pipes belt out the picture's signature song, the Oscar-winning 'On the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe,' as well as a few other spritely tunes by Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren. Though the top-notch ensemble cast includes such big names as John Hodiak, Angela Lansbury, Ray Bolger, Virginia O'Brien, Preston Foster, Marjorie Main, and - in her first speaking part - a young Cyd Charisse, it's Garland who looms the largest, wins our hearts, and reminds us why she later would be dubbed the World's Greatest Entertainer.”


EASTER PARADE (1948)

The dream pairing of Garland and Fred Astaire only happened once, but the resulting film, Easter Parade, is another all-time classic that deserves a spin every spring. Two-dozen Irving Berlin tunes pepper this romantic romp about a jilted ballroom dancer (Astaire) who vows to transform a chorus girl (Garland) into a vision of terpsichorean sophistication. In my 2013 Blu-ray review, I laud Garland for once again combining “heartbreaking vulnerability with impeccable comic timing (just watch how she proves to Astaire she's a sexy dish) to create a totally unaffected portrayal…Garland is always completely genuine, and that all-too-rare quality - as much as her peerless voice - puts the audience in the palm of her hand. [Although] many cite ‘A Couple of Swells’ (a classic number in which Judy and Fred cavort as lovable tramps) as the picture's musical highlight, in my book, a medley of Berlin standards capped by an exhilarating rendition of ‘When That Midnight Choo-Choo Leaves for Alabam'’ displays Garland to even better advantage. Sure, Judy's no Ginger, but she more than holds her own with Astaire, and their dances together possess an infectious enthusiasm that more than compensates for the simplistic steps.”


SUMMER STOCK (1950)

This is my go-to Garland movie. If ever I need a jolt of Judy to lift my spirits, I pop in Summer Stock, the last of three movies she made with Gene Kelly, her final film at MGM, and the one that contains perhaps her most stylish and infectious number, "Get Happy" (see clip below). The backstage story calls to mind the plots of the Rooney-Garland let's-put-on-a-show musicals, but the snappy script, swift pacing, crackling chemistry between Garland and Kelly, and exhilarating songs and dances put Summer Stock in a class by itself. Garland's feisty portrayal and full-throated vocals reveal a newfound maturity, and anyone who doubts her terpsichorean talent need only take a gander at the dynamite "Portland Fancy" competition dance with Kelly to see how nimble, precise, and energetic she could be.

Summer Stock isn't a great film, but it's immensely entertaining and showcases everything we love about both Garland and Kelly. "Forget your troubles, c'mon get happy," indeed!


A STAR IS BORN (1954)

The second of the four versions of A Star Is Born is without question the best, and that's all because of Garland's bravura performance. Upon the film's release in 1954, Time magazine called it "just about the greatest one-woman show in modern movie history," and to date it hasn't been topped. The oft-told Hollywood heartbreak story still resonates, and the striking parallels between Garland and the film's tragic hero, Norman Maine (James Mason), add extra potency, poignancy, and irony to the film. (The memorable, emotional scene at the Oscars that climaxes with a shocking slap used to seem a bit far-fetched until Will Smith made it oh-so-real at this year's Academy Awards ceremony.) Garland's rich, soaring vocals burst with soulful passion and continually take our breath away (her rendition of another future signature song, "The Man That Got Away," is arguably her most thrilling and magnetic movie musical performance), but her disarmingly raw dramatic portrayal infuses this A Star Is Born with a power and authenticity the other versions lack. Watch the dressing room scene below and be blown away. It's not only Garland's greatest dramatic screen moment, it's one of the most affecting and memorable turns by an actress in motion picture history.

When Garland lost the Best Actress Oscar to Grace Kelly, Groucho Marx famously called it "the biggest robbery since Brink's," and few disagreed. A Star Is Born captures Garland's brilliance more completely than any other movie and remains the pinnacle of her film career. The Blu-ray is available in both standard and digibook editions. We can only hope a 4K UHD release is in the works.


JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG (1961)

Garland's role in director Stanley Kramer's searing, three-hour depiction of one of the post-World War II Nazi war crimes trials lasts less than 10 minutes, but her wrenching portrayal of a dowdy German hausfrau who's attacked on the witness stand by an overzealous German defense attorney (Maximillian Schell) makes a huge impression and earned Garland a well-deserved Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination. (She lost to Rita Moreno in West Side Story.) Once again, Garland proves she can scale tremendous dramatic heights, and singing is not required to cast a riveting spell. Here is her devastating climactic scene:


I COULD GO ON SINGING (1963)

Garland's final film, released just six years before her death, casts her as Jenny Bowman, a celebrated singer who inside and out bears an uncanny resemblance to Judy Garland. Jenny comes to London for a concert engagement and hopes to rekindle her relationships with a British doctor (Dirk Bogarde) and the son she gave up a dozen years earlier so she could pursue her career. As I wrote in my 2016 Blu-ray review, "Like Judy, Jenny is an über-talented, temperamental, demanding, vulnerable, and deeply beloved entertainer who gives her all on stage, but is needy, insecure, manipulative, and emotionally fragile in her private life. The two women are so similar, it's often difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins. Add to the mix a handful of riveting concert sequences that showcase Garland's brilliance as a live performer, and you have a film that comes closer to capturing the essence of the real Judy Garland than any movie she ever made." Garland called the dated, melodramatic plot "rubbish," but the prophetically titled I Could Go On Singing contains one of her finest dramatic scenes, a seven-minute tour de force that encapsulates the struggles and stresses she felt in her turbulent life. Her four songs are master classes in the art of performance, but it's the final 90 seconds of "Hello, Bluebird," culminating in a euphoric explosion of Judy Garland joy, that bowl me over every time. I can't think of a better way to end this tribute to Garland the Great than by watching this rafter-raising clip.

 


Of course, a few other Garland films available on Blu-ray merit mention - and a viewing, too. Girl Crazy, the best of the four let's-put-on-a-show musicals she made with Mickey Rooney, is especially notable for its spectacular "I Got Rhythm" finale directed by Busby Berkeley. Garland also sings such standards as "Embraceable You," "But Not for Me," and "Bidin' My Time" in this delightful adaptation of the hit George & Ira Gershwin Broadway show. There's also The Pirate, which was a flop when first released but now enjoys a rabid cult following. Far too sophisticated for 1948 audiences, this lavish, broadly comic musical re-teams Garland with Kelly, whose acrobatic dancing steals the show, and features an underrated Cole Porter score. Another favorite is In the Good Old Summertime, a charming musical remake of The Shop Around the Corner that pairs Garland with Van Johnson and contains several lilting period tunes.

The only Garland film available in 4K UHD is The Wizard of Oz, but hopefully, Warner Home Video will release Meet Me in St. Louis and A Star Is Born in the format as well - and soon. Not only are they considered Garland's greatest films (along with Oz), but they are also without question two of the greatest musicals of all time, and their Technicolor photography and sumptuous production values make them a natural for 4K UHD. Hopefully, by Garland's 101st birthday, those two classics will be in our collection, too.

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray & Blu-ray Release Guide - June 19, 2022 - June 25, 2022

 Happy Summer Solstice! What are you doing to celebrate the arrival of the Summer months? Dinner and a movie? A cookout and a home video? The Summer movie season is upon us, are you looking forward to anything in particular?

 Welcome to Volume 3 Episode 5 of our weekly release guide. A look at the highlights of what's coming to disc this week, as well as a look at announcements from last week.

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Releases-

 There are TWO new releases this week, with a total of FOUR SKUS.

 First, from Dreamworks Animation, via Universal Pictures, an animated adventure comedy titled The Bad Guys.

 

 And next, from LionsGate, an action comedy titled The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent starring Nicolas Cage. This one is available as a standard edition, a Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook and a Walmart Exclusive edition.

 

 Moving on to catalog titles, first a Western from Warner Bros titled Giant, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean.

 Criterion Collection has an appearance in this category this week with Shaft (1971). Featuring an all new 4K restoration with Dolby Vision, this one is sure to please.

 

 Blue Underground releases Uncle Sam this week. When I first saw this movie I was very pleasantly surprised, to get it in 4K will be satisfying.

 

 The final listing in this category this week is a double-dip of sorts, LionsGate gives us Universal Soldier in one of their Best Buy Exclusive Slipcover SteelBooks.

 

Blu-ray releases-

 Getting to the blu-ray counterparts of the 4K titles above, The Bad Guys gets a blu-ray/dvd combo edition. And, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent gets a standard edition and a Target Exclusive Edition. I've mentioned it a lot lately, Target appears to have abandoned 4K in their exclusive editions, I am a bit disturbed by this. What next, DVD exclusive editions? Criterion Collection also releases a blu-ray special edition for Shaft (1971).

 LionsGate has a busy week with a drama/sci-fi titled After Yang, a thriller titled Escape the Field and a drama/thriller titled Private Property.

 

 TV on disc, The Umbrella Academy: Season Two comes via Universal Pictures.

 Sony Pictures is releasing the Amazon Prime Video movie Cinderella (2021) to blu-ray this week.

 

 Edge of Sanity is available as a single release this time from Arrow Video. Previously it was part of a double-feature from Scream Factory. Also from Arrow, a 1978 horror titled The Initiation of Sarah.

 Criterion Collection has also got a foreign drama available this week titled Rouge.

 Anime highlights include Getter Robo Arc - Complete Collection, Hunter x Hunter: The Complete Series [Amazon Exclusive], IRODUKU : The World in Colors Complete Collection  and Panda! Go Panda!.

 

 Honorable mentions: I had mentioned that several out of print titles were picked up by an outfit named Sandpiper Pictures. This week they are rereleasing Richard III and The Russia House.

 Also, a Time Life feature set Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: In Concert (2010 - 2019) is available this week. Looks like quite a bill of performances, do check it out!

 

Notable announcements from last week:

 Sony has announced they will be releasing the 80s comedy Real Genius to 4K disc on September 13th.

 Target now has listed a 4K Exclusive Edition of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. I think this might be a fluke, Target's latest track record is blu-ray exclusives.

 Multiple SKUs have been added to retailer sites of Jurassic World: Dominion and of the six-film collection. Not listed yet (but to be expected) is a SteelBook collection of all six films. If the new SteelBook artwork for Dominion 4K is the style of artwork expected in the full set, I might find it hard to resist buying the set (and the previous 5 movies) again, damn it! There is also a full set (not SteelBook) that comes with a limited edition (and numbered) Velociraptor sculpture. As we get closer to an actual release date we will see what other retailers will be offering.

 Season Two of Star Trek: Picard will be coming on October 4th. Just like last time, available as a standard release and as a SteelBook.

4K Release Calendar

2K/BD Release Calendar

Which titles are you buying this week? Which ones are on your wishlist, be it to buy as an impulse buy or to wait for the right price?



4K Ultra HD Blu-ray & Blu-ray Release Guide - June 12, 2022 - June 18, 2022

 If you keep your eyes open for bargains, last week was a big one for that. Upcoming Kino titles like Killer's Kiss 4K was listed at $15 and Out of Sight 4K was at $20, plus the 'bugs' disaster movies (Ants!, Tarantulas and Terror out of the Sky) listed for $12.49. Multiple Paramount 4K titles have hit sub $10-12 as well. That's great and all, but the best way to support physical media is to buy titles early on in their release cycle, but if you were on the fence about some titles or really didn't intend to buy them, I am sure you've got a price that is hard to resist, I know I do.

Welcome to Volume 3 Episode 4 of our weekly release guide. A look at the highlights of what's coming to disc this week, as well as a look at announcements from last week.

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Releases-

 Not an incredibly busy week, but there are TWO new releases. First, from Universal,  love him or hate him, Michael Bay's Ambulance is sure to send us over the top with action! Amazon still lists the 4K as 12/31/22, hope they fix it soon.

 

 Next, from Sony Pictures, Morbius, available as a standard edition, a Walmart Exclusive which comes with a collectible pin, and a Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook. This one has gotten enough MeMe fanfare that it made a comeback to theaters. I missed out on the MeMes, fortunately (?)

 

 

 From Paramount, a SteelBook reissue by way of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Many have said these are the SteelBooks they should have released originally, and based on the cover art, I agree 100%. But because it is not part of the box set, it appears to lack in special features, which Matthew says cynically that they will likely include all the special features with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. UGH.

 For Friday releases, Turbine Media announced (at the last second) a pair of Friday 4K media book releases, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Cover A edition and Cover B edition. In case you've got concerns, I've had no issues in the past with purchasing from their shop, it's 100% legit.

 If you did save a few bucks this week, the next two weeks have a decent amount of releases in the 4K category.

Blu-ray releases-

 As we do here every week, getting the blu-ray counterparts out of the way first, Ambulance from Universal and Morbius from Sony Pictures are available for purchase. The latter is also available as a Target Exclusive, which the trend is disturbing to me in that Target appears to be dropping out of the 4K field for exclusives.

 Much delayed Paramount catalog title Eurotrip (which the cover art indicates is the elusive Unrated Edition) appears to finally be available this week.

 

 From Sony Pictures, 2022 drama Father Stu starring Mark Wahlberg and Mel Gibson. A Kevin Hart comedy titled Fatherhood also arrives this week. Not done yet, a comedy drama titled Love and Human Remains. Under the Sony Pictures Classics label, biography/romance Wilde (yes, Oscar Wilde) debuts to blu-ray.

 

 From Criterion Collection, a drama/romance titled Farewell Amor.

 

TV on disc from Universal comes as Hacks: Season One and Rutherford Falls: Season One.

 

 Anime highlights include El-Hazard: The Wanderers Collection, Hetalia: World Stars Season 7, Naruto: Set 7 and Sailor Moon: Complete First Season.

 

 Honorable mention: If you've been wondering what Paul Verhoeven has been up to, one of his recent titles Benedetta is available this week.

Notable announcements from last week:

 Kino Lorber is still going strong with adding more Paramount catalog titles to their 4K line. We have Tropic Thunder, Leviathan and now Escape From Alcatraz in the 'coming soon' category.

 More catalog titles coming from Paramount so far include Down to Earth, Leap of Faith and Domestic Disturbance.

 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse has a release date of July 26th, see the news story here.

 Michael Mann's Heat has an official 4K street date of August 9th, see the news story here. I will push out only my positive thoughts on this one, it's the best this film has ever looked on disc and it truly is a great movie! My negative comments are elsewhere.

4K Release Calendar

2K/BD Release Calendar

Which titles are you buying this week? Which ones are on your wishlist, be it to buy as an impulse buy or to wait for the right price?



4K Ultra HD Blu-ray & Blu-ray Release Guide - June 5, 2022 - June 11, 2022

 The week after a holiday always feels like a ho-hum business as usual slow week to me, but a lot is happening with new releases and announcements, so it really is not business as usual. The Summer movie season has kicked off, Top Gun: Maverick appears to be incredible with Imax 4DV or whatever it's called being the ultimate experience. What is this 4th element, smell?

 Welcome to Volume 3 Episode 3 of our weekly release guide. A look at the highlights of what's coming to disc this week, as well as a look at announcements from last week.

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Releases-

 Before we start with domestic releases, as I mentioned last week in my mini-rant, a lot of titles are getting gift sets or other deluxe releases overseas. Zavvi is offering an Exclusive SteelBook release of The Untouchables with a Monday release, the U.S. release last week was pretty basic. It's not as elaborate as some of the overseas releases, but it does add some swag pertinent to the film.

 This week there are two New Releases in the 4K disc category, an action/thriller from Paramount titled The Contractor starring Chris Pine. And no, he's not a drywall or other such contractor, check out the synopsis.

 

 And from Universal, the norse movie titled The Northman. This one got a street date literally at the last second. Zavvi UK also has a SteelBook for this film releasing in July, if you prefer to go that route.

 

 The rest of this category is dominated by catalog titles, but in a way they're all considered "double-dips." First a pair of SteelBook releases, Lawrence of Arabia and The Bridge on the River Kwai. When the latter came out I was not overly impressed with the cover art they went with, I am not sure what to think on the latest cover seen here either.

 Each studio has their own franchise or franchises they release over and over again. In this case I'm referring to Universal and the Jason Bourne franchise. The Bourne Complete Collection this week comes as a standard edition and as a Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook. As to whether this set offers anything new, I am not sure. There's been unsubstantiated claims of new transfers, but there wasn't anything wrong with the previous ones, so I doubt that claim is true.

 

Blu-ray releases-

 For the month of June, this week looks to be the busiest week for blu-ray releases. Blu-ray counterparts to the 4K titles above, that would be The Contractor from Paramount, and The Northman from Universal.

 Warner Archive Collection brings us a Judy Garland triple play with a drama/romance The Clock,  a musical/romance titled For Me and My Gal, which also stars Gene Kelly and Ziegfeld Girl, which also stars James Stewart.

 

 From the Warner Bros. label, Eraser: Reborn, which seems similarly based on the original Eraser movie.

 Anime highlights this week include 5 Centimeters Per Second, BEM: Become Human - Movie, BTOOOM! Complete Collection, Children Who Chase Lost Voices, One Piece: Season Eleven - Voyage Eight, Only Yesterday, The Place Promised in Our Early Days and The Tale of The Princess Kaguya.

 

 More TV on disc with La Brea: Season One from Universal.

 

 Catalog titles from Paramount include Kinky Boots (2005), The Mexican, Pretty in Pink, She's Having a Baby, Some Kind of Wonderful and The Weather Man.

 Criterion has a single release this week, a musical/romance titled The Tales of Hoffmann.

 

 LionsGate's action release of the week is Fortress: Sniper's Eye. It is a followup to the movie Fortress, which was actually a pretty decent movie for its genre.

 

 MVD Rewind Collection brings us The Fabulous Baker Boys, a well known movie from '89. Also an all star comedy from 1997, Highball.

 Honorable Mention: Kino Lorber is releasing the next Film Noir Collection, this one is Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema VII, which includes the films The Boss, Chicago Confidential and The Fearmakers.

Notable announcements from last week:

 Shout Factory has announced the next batch of titles among their various labels. For Scream Factory, Child's Play, Child's Play 2 and Child's Play 3 all get 4K combo releases on August 16th. You could go all in and get the set available from Shout Factory's store which comes with a NECA figure and other swag. The Shout Factory label is offering The Bionic Woman: The Complete Series on August 30th, no doubt to go with the Six-Million Dollar Man set you would have bought in July. The Shout Select label has Red Dawn (1984) coming to 4K combo pack on August 16th. Also, blu-rays of Last Days In The Desert on August 2nd,  Learning To Drive and A Walk In The Woods on August 30th. The GKIDS partner label has Belle coming to 4K Collector's Edition on August 30th. No word on region coding on this one, hopefully they got enough flak for region locking Weathering With You.

 LionsGate has been busy as well. Mid-Century will be arriving on blu-ray on July 26th. For previously released films now getting a 4K upgrade in mid to late July, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, The Kid and Primal. It's becoming a theme that if we see a 4K release a few months later, it's absent a slipcover. I recently got Malignant 4K from Warner and Fatale from LionsGate, no slips.

4K Release Calendar

2K/BD Release Calendar

Which titles are you buying this week? Which ones are on your wishlist, be it to buy as an impulse buy or to wait for the right price?



Hitchcock Heaven: The Best 4K UHD and Blu-ray Releases from the Master of Suspense

A chase across the face of Mount Rushmore. A massive flock of vicious birds perched upon a playground jungle gym poised for attack. A frantic pursuit to the top of the Statue of Liberty. A crazed, knife-wielding maniac ripping open a shower curtain. A wheelchair-bound man with a broken leg peering into the rear windows of his tenement neighbors through a camera’s telephoto lens. A woman clutching the key to a notorious wine cellar where Nazi secrets may be hidden. An assassin escaping a rain-soaked murder scene amid a sea of jostling umbrellas. A merry-go-round kicked into high gear that spins off its axis while terrified fair-goers flee. A desperate man chasing the object of his desire up the narrow staircase of a church bell tower while battling the debilitating symptoms of vertigo. These are just a handful of iconic images crafted by the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock.

Elegant and sophisticated, clever and witty, yet always accessible and relatable, Hitchcock fashioned countless thrillers over the course of a career that spanned six decades. He chronicled espionage, murder, blackmail, psychosis, obsession, political intrigue, and bizarre phenomena all while pushing the cinematic envelope with innovative sight and sound techniques that enhance his arresting style. Sensual romances, risqué innuendoes, and dark yearnings also pepper his films. Along with his trademark MacGuffins, such titillations are essential distractions that add to the fun and make his stories more human. Sexual tension complements the other myriad tensions coursing through Hitchcock’s pictures and it’s often just as delectable as the nail-biting moments that make us squirm.

Since I joined the High-Def Digest staff in 2009, I’ve reviewed 27 Hitchcock movies for the site. That’s about half of the legendary director’s feature film output. While a few Hitchcock pictures have yet to make their Blu-ray debut (Sabotage, Secret Agent, Young and Innocent, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith chief among them), we’re blessed to have the bulk of Hitchcock's cinematic canon in high definition, as well as nine movies in 4K UHD, and one title in its native 3D. Not all of them are classics, but even Hitchcock’s misfires have merits and are just as fascinating to watch, assess, and analyze as his more renowned works.

The following list, though, isn’t about Hitchcock's failures, also-rans, guilty pleasures, and undiscovered gems. It’s about the crème-de-la-crème of Hitchcock in the home video realm. Below you’ll find a few quick takes on the best looking and the best sounding Hitchcock thrillers in 1080p and 2160p. First and foremost, this is an HD and 4K UHD list. If one of your favorite Hitchcock masterworks didn't make the cut, it's not because it isn't worthy artistically; it's because another Hitchcock masterwork boasts better picture and audio quality...at least to my eyes and ears. I've only singled out five movies, but all of them define this brilliant craftsman who not only produced some of the most exciting and entertaining motion pictures of all time, but also advanced the medium’s artistry through his creatIve vision and fluency in the nuanced language of film.

Hitchcock once said, “For me, cinema is not a slice of life, but a piece of cake.”

Let’s sample five of this master baker’s most delicious creations that look good enough to eat…and sound great, too.

Best All-Around 4K UHD Hitchcock Release: VERTIGO (1958) 

"Beauty, at least in this film, is only skin deep, and Hitchcock takes that adage and runs with it..."

When I reviewed the first 4K UHD Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection in 2020, I called Vertigo “the crown jewel” of the set, and it remains the most breathtaking home video presentation of a Hitchcock film to date. The movie itself isn’t bad either. Vertigo may not rank as my favorite Hitchcock film (although it’s definitely up there), but I believe it to be the director’s finest. A masterpiece of mood, mystery, and slow-burn suspense, Vertigo casts a mesmerizing spell, and its equally hypnotic HDR10 transfer faithfully renders Robert Burks’ lush, colorful VistaVision cinematography that - believe it or not - is even more gorgeous than Kim Novak herself.

As I wrote in my review, “Provocative themes, shocking twists and turns, impeccable craftsmanship, inventive imagery, finely etched performances, overarching lyricism, and tension that grows ever tauter as the narrative progresses...all those key components of Hitchcock's best works are here. Vertigo, though, ramps them up to the same dizzying heights that force retired police detective John "Scottie" Ferguson (James Stewart) to succumb to the title affliction. Like Scottie, viewers often feel a bit disoriented and imbalanced while watching Vertigo, and that's part of the film's allure, along with the obligatory icy Hitchcock Blonde (portrayed by an aloof, enigmatic, and magnetic Kim Novak), who achieves mythic status in this defining production.” 

The particulars of the plot, as intriguing as they may be, really don’t matter. The disturbing underlying themes are what fuel the Vertigo narrative and Hitchcock’s stylish, often brash presentation. Beauty, at least in this film, is only skin deep, and Hitchcock takes that adage and runs with it, crafting serene, seductive, picture-perfect images that hide the deceptions and nefarious motives lurking underneath. Obsession, transformation, guilt, and burning desire swirl around this noir-ish tale of a damaged detective who falls down a rabbit hole after agreeing to tail a rich man’s mentally unbalanced wife. Hitchcock pulls out all the stops in this operatic opus that features stunning San Francisco locations, striking photographic effects, and a memorable chase up the steep steps of a claustrophobic church bell tower.

The video transfer has to be seen to be believed. Eye-popping color, seamless special effects, razor-sharp close-ups, and a glorious film-like feel are just a few of its joys, and though the DTS:X audio track won’t blow the roof off your house, it deftly honors this quiet film and Bernard Herrmann’s marvelous score. A bunch of great extras also enhance the disc, which is now available as a stand-alone release in both standard and steelbook packaging. I said it in 2020 and I’ll say it again: Vertigo is one heady movie, and as Hitchcock spins his tangled yarn, he makes us dizzy...with delight.”


Best All-Around Blu-ray Hitchcock Release: NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959)

"The quintessential chase film, a blueprint for the modern action epic..."

If I had to pick one Hitchcock flick that completely defines the director and reflects everything he has brought to the cinematic table over the course of his illustrious career, it would have to be North by Northwest. No contest, no discussion, a no-brainer. Other Hitchcock films may have more cachet, more notoriety, more gravitas, but this breathlessly paced, consistently thrilling concoction is hands-down the most fun. 

So many memorable elements… Of course, tanned, debonair Cary Grant rushing into a desolate Indiana cornfield to evade a deadly crop-dusting plane intent on gunning him down tops the list, but the climactic chase across the treacherous face of Mount Rushmore - as preposterous as it is - ranks a close second. Then there’s the crackling sexual chemistry and titillating banter between Grant and the Hitchcock blonde du jour Eva Marie Saint, whose duplicitous portrayal drips with icy-hot allure; the suave villainy of the mellifluous James Mason; Martin Landau as a silent, hulking henchman; Bernard Herrmann’s dramatic and playful score... The list goes on and on.

As I wrote in my original review 13 years ago, “When screenwriter Ernest Lehman first began collaborating with the Master of Suspense, he aspired to create ‘the Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures,’ and many would agree North by Northwest is just that. The quintessential chase film, a blueprint for the modern action epic, and Hitchcock's personal homage to himself, this captivating transcontinental pursuit smoothly combines suspense, thrills, comedy, romance, and intrigue, and presents them with all the elegant artistry and brash innovation that has made Hitchcock one of cinema's most esteemed and admired directors.” Though I love many Hitchcock films for many different reasons, I would definitely choose North by Northwest as my desert island Hitchcock flick.

The fine grain structure, bold colors, and enhanced clarity of VistaVision make North by Northwest a Blu-ray natural, and Warner Home Video’s splashy restoration maximizes the impact of the process’ myriad attributes. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track immerses us in all the action (the bass boom when the crop-dusting plane hits the tanker truck is thunderous), and a sizable supplemental package sweetens the deal. The beautiful 50th Anniversary digibook edition is still available (albeit with a hefty price tag), but there’s also a disc-only release that fits everyone’s budget.


Best Black-and-White 4K UHD Hitchcock Release: PSYCHO (1960) 

"Often imitated but never equaled, Psycho remains a crazy-good chiller that never loses its edge..."

The shower. The stairs. The fruit cellar. Mother. Psycho is without a doubt Hitchcock’s most famous - and frightening - film, a low-budget tour de force that flipped the thriller genre on its ear and spawned the modern slasher flick. What starts as a brooding, atmospheric portrait of a woman on the run takes a hairpin turn the moment Janet Leigh steps into the shower, turns on the water, and confronts her wigged (and wigged-out) knife-wielding assailant. Psycho shocked audiences when it premiered in 1960, and though it’s tame when compared to the gory horror fare of today, it can still scare the bejesus out of you.

Especially in 4K UHD. Though John L. Russell’s gritty, naturalistic black-and-white cinematography doesn’t scream 2160p splendor, the terrific clarity and contrast of the HDR10 transfer makes Psycho more immersive and creepy than ever before, while remaining true to the film’s modest roots. Add a dynamite DTS:X track that makes full use of all the speakers during the torrential rain scenes and heightens the impact of Bernard Herrmann’s deliciously screechy score, and you’ve got the definitive home video presentation of this Hitchcock masterwork. A few snippets of cut footage add extra appeal to this release that includes all the supplements from the 50th anniversary Blu-ray edition. Like Vertigo, Psycho is also available in both stand-alone and steelbook editions.

As I wrote in my 2020 review, Psycho is remembered as a physically violent film, marked by brutal slayings in the shower and on the stairs, and for its climactic chamber of horrors twist. Yet those three scenes comprise less than three minutes of the picture's 109-minute running time and feature surprisingly little gore. (Hitchcock's genius lies in his ability to make us think we see more than we actually do.) Sure, they leave an indelible impression, but they can't quite overshadow the more intriguing and complex psychological studies of both Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) and Marion Crane (Leigh), whose paths coincidentally and fatefully cross one dark and stormy night. That's where the true allure of Psycho lies, and Hitchcock expertly develops those characters so we identify and empathize with them. He also sprinkles in some welcome bits of ghoulish humor to take the edge off, and frames it all with his patented visual artistry. A close-up of an eye peering through a hole in the wall, reflections representing duality and duplicity, high and low angle shots altering perspective and enhancing a sense of unease…Hitchcock delicately and seamlessly weaves them into his fabric so we're only marginally aware of his technique.” 

Perkins had as much trouble shedding the skin of Norman Bates as Norman had freeing himself from his domineering mother, but that’s only because his finely etched, nuanced portrayal is so riveting. Though he would allow Norman to consume him later in his career in a series of entertaining - if misguided - sequels, Perkins could never top his original performance, which was criminally denied a Best Actor Oscar nomination. Leigh, who reportedly never took a shower again after she completed her scenes, got a well-deserved Best Supporting Actress nod for her terrific work, which stands the test of time and becomes more fascinating and dimensional each time I see the film.

Often imitated but never equaled, Psycho remains a crazy-good chiller that never loses its edge, no matter how often we revisit it. As I wrote in 2020, it’s “unique among Hitchcock films in its tone, execution, and look…[and] it's a movie to watch, enjoy, study, and scrutinize over and over again.”


Best Black-and-White Blu-ray Hitchcock Release: NOTORIOUS (1946) (Criterion) 

"...a climax that ranks among the most memorable - and quietest - in Hitchcock history."

I love the Hitchcock blondes, but there’s a reason the Master of Suspense cast the brunette Ingrid Bergman in three of his films over a four-year period in the late 1940s. Aside from her breathtaking beauty (always an important attribute to Hitchcock), Bergman is a great actress. I’d even go so far as to say she’s the best actress Hitchcock worked with during his long career. Grace Kelly and Tippi Hedren may be the Hitchcock poster girls, but Bergman brings heart and soul, flesh and blood, and sweat and tears to her Hitchcock heroines. In Hitch’s artificial world of action, intrigue, and murder, she’s often the one real element.

Bergman could play anything - good girl, bad girl, saint, seductress, victim, patriot - and she plays them all in Notorious, one of Hitchcock’s most fully realized, suspenseful, and elegantly crafted motion pictures. Vertigo may be Hitchcock’s most hypnotic film, Psycho may be the scariest, North by Northwest the most action-packed, but Notorious just might be the most perfect of all Hitchcock productions. Edgy, romantic, taut, sexy, substantive, and brimming with artistry and lyricism, Notorious grabs you from the first frame and holds you until that brilliant humdinger of an ending.

Cary Grant, who never looked more dashing or filed a more surly performance, portrays Devlin, a cynical government agent who enlists the services of Alicia Huberman (Bergman), the “notorious” daughter of a convicted Nazi spy, to go undercover and expose a ring of exiled Nazi conspirators in Rio de Janeiro. The plot sounds straightforward, but Ben Hecht’s literate, Oscar-nominated script focuses on the tangled relationships and myriad psychological conflicts that add complexity and spice to the story. Love vs. duty is a central theme, and issues of trust, jealousy, guilt, manipulation, and self-loathing - as well as a fascinating Oedipal relationship - fuel the film, but there’s plenty of agonizing tension, crackling sexual chemistry, and illicit deeds, too. 

Hitchcock delivers one dynamite scene after another. In addition to the justifiably famous, lengthy zoom shot that begins on the second floor of a mansion and ends on an extreme close-up of Bergman’s hand fidgeting with a key, there’s the breathlessly tense wine cellar sequence, a telephone conversation that’s gotta be one of the sexiest things I’ve ever seen on screen, several disorienting camera angles, and a climax that ranks among the most memorable - and quietest - in Hitchcock history. All that plus Grant, Bergman, the Oscar-nominated supporting work of the marvelous Claude Rains (it’s such a shame Hitchcock didn’t use him in any of his other pictures), and a virtuoso turn by Madame Konstantin, the film’s Machiavellian Madame Defarge.

Criterion’s 2019 Blu-ray outclasses the previous 2012 MGM release with a beautiful 4K restoration that’s largely drawn from the original camera negative, strong audio, and a bunch of fascinating supplements. Until we get a 4K UHD edition, this is the definitive presentation of Notorious, which in 2019 I called “a stirring, absorbing, emotionally involving, and artistically satisfying film that hits all the right notes - a symphony of suspense, if you will, conducted with nuance and gusto by the genre's most accomplished maestro.” Bravo, Hitch!


Best Blu-ray Release of a British Hitchcock Film: THE LADY VANISHES (1938)

"The Lady Vanishes is a prime example of lean, focused moviemaking."

There’s no denying Hitchcock made his best pictures in Hollywood, but the formative and largely admirable films he produced across the pond in his native Great Britain merit attention, too. Such exciting, engrossing, and innovative thrillers as the original The Man Who Knew Too Much (which I prefer to the bloated 1956 remake), The 39 Steps (a fantastic forerunner to such action-packed, on-the-run classics as Foreign Correspondent, Saboteur, and North by Northwest), and Sabotage all contain the patented hallmarks Hitchcock would continue to cultivate, expand upon, and refine over the ensuing four decades of his career. I’m a big fan of Hitchcock’s British period, and though I greatly appreciate and thoroughly enjoy all of the aforementioned movies, my vote for the best British Hitchcock flick goes to The Lady Vanishes

What starts as a screwball comedy and for the first half-hour seems like the antithesis of all things Hitchcock quickly evolves into another quintessential Master of Suspense movie. The disappearance of a kindly old lady (Dame May Whitty) on a European train forms the crux of the plot, but the narrative really gets interesting when no one except the woman’s fleeting travel companion (Margaret Lockwood) believes she exists at all. Though the story has been recycled and reinvented several times, this is the original version, and it has no peer. Humorous antics, vivid characters, a love/hate relationship, claustrophobic tension, and an edge-of-your-seat shootout finale pepper and propel the tale, and though at times it feels as if Hitchcock is just throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks, nothing could be further from the truth. A master planner, the Master of Suspense meticulously mapped out almost every frame of every film he directed, and The Lady Vanishes proves once again how adept he is at molding myriad, often competing elements into a cohesive whole.

As I wrote in my 2011 review of the film, “There's no fluff or extraneous palaver gumming up the works; The Lady Vanishes is a prime example of lean, focused moviemaking. Though the film takes its time laying its groundwork and might seem initially aimless, don't doubt Hitchcock. Like the train on which most of the action takes place, it quickly picks up steam and barrels full throttle toward a thrilling climax. And along the way, there's plenty of snappy dialogue and witty repartee to sweeten the journey, much of it pointedly aimed at British society, apathy, and egotism.” There’s no love lost between Hitchcock and England here. In fact, Hitchcock seems almost eager to bite the hand that feeds him, which of course makes the movie more fun. Not surprisingly, Hitch would become a British expatriate just two years later when he bolted to Hollywood to make Rebecca for producer David O. Selznick and cement his status as one of cinema’s first bona fide auteurs.

Criterion’s video transfer may not be a stunner, but it’s by far the best home video rendering of this timeless classic. Clean and vibrant, with great clarity, excellent contrast, and a pleasing grayscale, this film-like presentation immerses us in the action, while solid audio and plenty of extras enhance the experience. So hop aboard and hang on for a turbulent and terrific rollercoaster ride. If you haven’t yet seen any of Hitchcock’s British films, The Lady Vanishes is a great introduction to a highly interesting period, and will surely whet your appetite for more.  


HIGH-DEF DIGEST’S HITCHCOCK INDEX
If you’re interested in reading full reviews of dozens of Hitchcock movies, many of which come highly recommended, check out the links below, listed in chronological order by date of theatrical release with the name of the reviewer in parentheses.

The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927) (David Krauss)

Blackmail (1929) (David Krauss)

Murder! (1930) (David Krauss)

Rich and Strange (1931) (David Krauss)

Number Seventeen (1932) (David Krauss)

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) (David Krauss)

The 39 Steps (1935) (David Krauss)

The Lady Vanishes (1938) (David Krauss)

Rebecca (1940) (David Krauss)

Foreign Correspondent (1940) (David Krauss)

Suspicion (1941) (David Krauss)

Saboteur (1942) (M. Enois Duarte)

Shadow of a Doubt (1943) (M. Enois Duarte)

Lifeboat (1944) (David Krauss)

Spellbound (1945) (David Krauss)

Notorious (1946) (David Krauss)

The Paradine Case (1947) (David Krauss)

Rope (1948) (Aaron Peck)

Under Capricorn (1949) (David Krauss)

Stage Fright (1950) (David Krauss)

Strangers on a Train (1951) (David Krauss)

I Confess (1953) (David Krauss)

Dial M for Murder (1954) (David Krauss)

Rear Window (1954) (David Krauss)

To Catch a Thief (1955) (David Krauss)

The Trouble with Harry (1956) (Matthew Hartman)

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) (Aaron Peck)

The Wrong Man (1957) (David Krauss)

Vertigo (1958) (David Krauss)

North by Northwest (1959) (David Krauss)

Psycho (1960) (David Krauss)

The Birds (1963) (David Krauss)

Marnie (1964) (M. Enois Duarte)

Torn Curtain (1966) (Aaron Peck)

Topaz (1969) (Aaron Peck)

Frenzy (1972) (Aaron Peck)

Family Plot (1976) (M. Enois Duarte)

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray & Blu-ray Release Guide - May 29, 2022 - June 4, 2022

 Would you consider this the last week of May or the first week of June? With Tuesday being official movie release day, the month of May goes out with a bang with the volume of titles available, so let's call it the last week of May. And of course there's the Memorial Day holiday, which solidly puts us at the end of May in case there was any doubt.

Welcome to Volume 3 Episode 2 of our weekly release guide. A look at the highlights of what's coming to disc this week, as well as a look at announcements from last week.

 

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Releases-

There are no actual 'New Releases' this week, but there are catalog titles for everyone!

  Starting with Sony, a 50th anniversary release of 1776 opens the pot.

 

 Upping the ante, Brian De Palma helms The Untouchables, available as a standard edition and as a Limited Editon SteelBook. In what I consider a disturbing trend, some of these limited edition releases are getting more inclusive editions overseas, ie: swag and other pack-in trinkets just about everywhere else in the world. Because it's the studio itself releasing them in both places, one cannot blame licensing issues. Would I be more likely to buy a specific version if it had the extra stuff in it? In most cases, ABSOLUTELY! The Untouchables gets a slightly spruced up release next week from the UK if you're considering that option.

 

 Kino Lorber brings us A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More, both 4K SDR encodes. These releases are the best these films have ever looked, probably even better than when they were released in 1964/1965.

 

 A pair of releases from Scream Factory, Happy Death Day and the sequel, Happy Death Day 2U.

 

 The next 4K Criterion release comes as Double Indemnity, David says this one is a 'Must Own' presentation, and you know what that means, you must comply! I got my ship notice kind of early so I sort of expect it before this article posts on Sunday.

 

Blu-ray releases-

 We do have a single blu-ray counterpart of the above 4K titles this week, Criterion Collection offers up Double Indemnity. If you didn't get the 4K, then you must get this one!

 Criterion Collection is also growing by one more title this week, a foreign drama/mystery titled Chan is Missing.

 TV on disc this week starts out with The Boys: Seasons 1 & 2 Collection from Sony Entertainment.

 

 More TV on disc comes with Lucifer: The Complete Fifth Season from Warner Archive Collection.

 Anime highlights (there are a lot this week) include Astro Boy 1980 Series, Darkstalkers: The Complete OVA Collection, Double Dragon - The Complete Series, Kageki Shojo!! - The Complete Season, Kemono Jihen - The Complete Season, Lupin the 3rd Part I - Classic Adventures, Mon Colle Knights, Poupelle of Chimney Town and Super Cub - The Complete Season.

 

 LionsGate's thriller of the week is titled The Devil You Know starring Omar Epps.

 

 Honorable Mention: Beauty Day, which Bryan mentions is a 'Highly Recommended' release comes to blu-ray this week. Before Jackass, Canadian legend Ralph Zavadil aka Cap'n Video pioneered dangerous home-grown stunts, this is a product of his work.

The May batch of Imprint Films releases are available via Amazon on Friday, here's a run down:

 

Notable announcements from last week:

 Downton Abbey: A New Era already has a listing for the blu-ray and 4K editions. No ETA yet but if it follows the typical model, look for it late July or so.

 The next 'Paramount Presents' title announced is Back to the Beach, a 1987 comedy/musical. This one is spine number 34 and is scheduled for an August 9th release date.

 Warner has made Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore official with a June 28th release date. There will be the usual assortment of skus available, if you liked what Walmart did for The Batman with their exclusive gift set, this one will get the same treatment, both blu-ray and 4K listings. And just like The Batman, Target's exclusive for Dumbledore is again a blu-ray and not a 4K combo edition. I just wonder where the decision for that comes from.

 Kino Lorber has acquired the rights to release multiple Paramount films. Their first teaser is that we will get Tropic Thunder as a 4K release. Date TBA soon. Makes me wonder what titles Paramount is focusing on, but with Kino Lorber behind a bunch, we are in for some great releases.

 On the topic of Paramount, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has an official release date of August 9th. The week after that, Paramount has a few more catalog titles on blu-ray, they are Coneheads, What Women Want and What's Eating Gilbert Grape. Again, not sure what their operation book is saying here with the Kino Lorber deal and what they will or will not release. In time, Kino will tell us more.

 Arrow Video will be releasing Flatliners (1990) on both blu-ray and 4K discs on August 2nd. Also on August 30th they will release Running Out Of Time Collection on blu-ray. Hard to believe there's just 3 skus for August, but it's possible.

 

4K Release Calendar

2K/BD Release Calendar

Which titles are you buying this week? Which ones are on your wishlist, be it to buy as an impulse buy or to wait for the right price?



4K Ultra HD Blu-ray & Blu-ray Release Guide - May 22, 2022 - May 28, 2022

 As mentioned last week, we have reached the end of year two for our weekly release guide, and so, this week we kick off year 3.

 Don't know about you, but I feel it has gotten hot out there early this year! Heat waves in much of the country, snow in Denver, what a wild month. When outdoor activity is restricted, why not enjoy a good movie?

 Welcome to Volume 3 Episode 1 of our weekly release guide. A look at the highlights of what's coming to disc this week, as well as a look at announcements from last week.

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Releases-

 Speaking of hot, things are heating up on the release schedule. This week is the busiest week for 4K releases for the month. Let's dig in to the goodies now! Breaking the normal order of things this week, I think you will understand why I've done it.

 Dare you say his name FIVE times? It's Candyman (1992) week, and counting all the individual SKUs, we have FIVE to pick from. Monday editions first, which generally (and does here) indicate imports. From the UK, Arrow Video offers their traditional Limited Edition fat-pack that offers the movie with Atmos sound, a poster, theater cards and a book.

 Next, from Turbine Media in Germany, they're offering three distinct variant cover Mediabooks. We list them as Variant A, Variant B and Variant C, and each edition is a very limited quantity release. Keep in mind though that unless the specs are wrong, these do NOT include Dolby Atmos sound. Turbine has reasonable shipping rates and will get it to your door pretty quickly.

 Domestically, Scream Factory has a 3-disc edition which includes a 4K disc with both cuts (Theatrical and Unrated) as well as blu-rays of each cut, and bonus features sprinkled across these discs. Unfortunately there is no all-inclusive edition among all five skus, so you will need to consider each one carefully.

 

 

 

  The new release of the week is The Batman, with Matt Reeves at the helm and Robert Pattinson donning the batsuit. Available as a standard edition, a Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook and a rather handsome Walmart Exclusive. Target this go round opted for a blu-ray exclusive (see below). Directional audio fans should be happy this one is not directed by Christopher Nolan, because if it was, you would be stuck with a 5.1 track!

 Still with Warner Bros, a kind of new(ish) release, a 4K edition of the 2021 horror Malignant.

 

 From Universal and Showtime Entertainment, Ray Donovan: The Movie. Having not been a premium channel subscriber, I am a bit in the dark on this series, so the movie is even more a mystery to me.

 And the final new release of the week, a Norwegian film titled The Burning Sea. Sort of gives off a Deepwater Horizon vibe.

 Doing some backpedaling here as we go to catalog titles, Scream Factory releases Lifeforce to 4K disc.

 

 Arrow Video gives us three different editions of Wild Things, a limited edition, a SteelBook edition and Deluxe limited edition.

 

 

Blu-ray releases-

Getting the new release counterparts out of the way first, The Batman gets a standard edition and a Target Exclusive edition. The Burning Sea gets a blu-ray edition as well, and lastly, Ray Donovan: The Movie. Catalog title counterpart, Arrow offers a limited edition of Wild Things.

LionsGate's action/thriller entry this week is titled Agent Game. Their horror entry this week is a single letter of the alphabet, it's titled "X". Capelight Pictures is doing a 4K media book for this one in Germany, you can order direct from them HERE and HERE, depending on which cover art you prefer. I could take one for the team and buy the 4K so that a 4K will be announced for the U.S., just encourage me to do so in the comments!

 

Criterion Collection's title this week is Mississippi Masala, a drama/romance from '91. Maybe you've heard of the stars of this film, Sarita Choudhury and Denzel Washington.

Arrow Video has got another Shaw Brothers type release, this one is titled One Armed Boxer.

From Universal Pictures, 2022 comedy/horror Studio 666. Also a little TV on disc, The Sinner: The Complete Series.

 

Sony's 2022 horror Umma gets a blu-ray release this week.

Liberation Hall has two titles of interest this week, TV on disc by the name of Robocop: The Series and a Steven Seagal movie from 2009, A Dangerous Man.

 

Anime highlights include Black Clover: Season 4, available in a standard edition and as a limited edition, Skate-Leading Stars - The Complete Season and Somali and the Forest Spirit - Complete Collection.

Kino Lorber has a Rodgers & Hammerstein musical titled Flower Drum Song this week.

 

Honorable Mention: Powerhouse Video's Indicator Series title this week is The Pemini Organisation, a drama/thriller series with three films.

Notable announcements from last week:

Criterion has revealed their August slate of Criterion Collection titles. I honestly do not know any of these titles myself, and none of them are 4K, but I am sure that they have been carefully procured and do have appeal to some of you. The titles are Buck and the Preacher, Daddy Longlegs, Faya Dayi, Frownland and Hotel du Nord.

Edge of Tomorrow will be coming on to 4K on July 5th as a standard edition and a Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook. Once again Warner Bros. has snubbed the U.S. market by releasing a nicer deluxe edition overseas.

Angel Heart will be getting a 4K release from LionsGate as a Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook on July 12th. When that film first came out, it got an X rating.

If availability frustrated you for each individual season, Paramount/CBS will be releasing Charmed: The Complete Series on June 14th.

4K Release Calendar

2K/BD Release Calendar

Which titles are you buying this week? Which ones are on your wishlist, be it to buy as an impulse buy or to wait for the right price?



4K Ultra HD Blu-ray & Blu-ray Release Guide - May 15, 2022 - May 21, 2022

 If you look at the next paragraph, you will see that we have hit a milestone for the weekly Release Guide. Yup, the end of a second year. As I reflect, I write these articles because I want to share my passion for movies. Most of the ones I post either appeal to myself personally and/or to the mainstream audience. Hope you enjoy our weekly recap and use our links to make your purchases. By doing so helps support our operation, we really do appreciate it.

 Welcome to Volume 2 Episode 52 of our weekly release guide. A look at the highlights of what's coming to disc this week, as well as a look at announcements from last week.

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Releases-

 Mostly catalog titles this week, and some fine ones at that.

 First, the new release of the week is titled Infinite, an action/sci-fi film and is brought to you by Paramount Pictures.

 

 Staying with Paramount but moving on to catalog titles, there are a few here to talk about. Although it feels like only yesterday for the trilogy to be release on blu-ray, Beverly Hills Cop II joins the original movie to the 4K format. That means that only part 3 hasn't made the jump to 4K, and you will probably hate me for it, I thought it was a decent film on its own, but not comparing it to the first 2 films.

 

 Also this week we get our very first 4K release from the 'Paramount Presents' label, a Western titled The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance starring John Wayne and James Stewart. In my opinion Days of Thunder should have been the first 4K disc from them as they released a blu-ray under this label the same day they released a 4K standard release of the film, and just about every release from this label has been sourced from a 4K transfer. Remember that strong sales translate to cementing in place future endeavors, so let's remember to buy this as well as other discs that interest you!

 

Shout! Factory has two titles to get this week, The Craft and Escape From New York. You realize that likely means you got to buy The Craft: Legacy now, right?

 

 

The next slipcover style Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook comes out this week, look for Hell or High Water from LionsGate. Keep in mind if you like to be all inclusive, the digital codes that come with these also unlock the 4K stream.

 

For Friday releases, a domestic music release, Goo Goo Dolls: Grounded With The Goo Goo Dolls and an import of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre from Turbine Media in a standard case.

 

Blu-ray releases-

Moving on to blu-ray, as we do every week, listing the blu-ray counterpart from above first, Infinite is the only one this week. Sounds as confusing as the phrase 'One AND Many' doesn't it?

How 'bout some TV on disc with Blood & Treasure: Season One from Paramount Entertainment? Making its blu-ray movie debut, the comedy/crime film Top Secret! makes itself available this week.

 

An action film from Vertical Entertainment titled A Day to Die. This one stars Bruce Willis and has surely got to be close to one of his last films he has starred in.

More TV on disc from Universal Pictures, The Last Kingdom: Season Five and The Last Kingdom: The Complete Series are available on Tuesday. The 2021 comedy/romance Licorice Pizza also comes out this week as well. The latter is one of those titles (as so many do) that has 4K digital available but not 4K disc.

 

From Warner Archive Collection, the 1941 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Shout! Factory brings us a new remaster of Brian DePalma's Femme Fatale.

The next Vestron Video release via LionsGate Extreme Prejudice streets this week.

 

Criterion Collection's next entry is a Japanese comedy titled The Funeral and will be available Tuesday.

From Arrow Video, 1982 horror/thriller Girls Nite Out, the standard edition street Tuesday, the Exclusive "The Scaremaker" O-Card edition on Monday, available at DiabolikDVD as well as other specialty shops.

Anime highlights include Belle, available as a standard release and as a Target Exclusive SteelBook (keep in mind a deluxe 4K edition is coming this Summer), Boruto: Naruto Next Generations - Set 12 (Kara Actuation), Infinite Stratos (Season 1) - Complete Collection, NANA - Complete Collection and SSSS.DYNAZENON - The Complete Season.

 

Honorable mention: More Charles Bronson action from Kino Lorber, Violent, as well as the US cut of the film known as The Family, both come in the same package.

 

Notable announcements from last week:

Preorder links are available for Kino Lorber's release of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 4K and blu-ray editions, both available July 26th.

Paramount has announced a 4K SteelBook release for Event Horizon with a street date of August 9th. Not done with Paramount, let's file this one under inevitable, they will be releasing the cult classic Friday the 13th on 4K disc September 13th. That's NOT a Friday in case you were wondering, May 13th is the only Friday the 13th this year.

Overseas, StudioCanal has announced a 4K release of Red Sonja with a date of July 18th. It is probable that this release will make it to the U.S. under the Shout! Factory label, or even LionsGate. We have a link for the Zavvi Exclusive SteelBook release if you would like to check it out.

Universal Home Entertainment will be bringing the original TV series The A-Team to blu-ray on June 28th. Finally a reason to retire the DVD box set!

4K Release Calendar

2K/BD Release Calendar

Which titles are you buying this week? Which ones are on your wishlist, be it to buy as an impulse buy or to wait for the right price?



4K Ultra HD Blu-ray & Blu-ray Release Guide - May 8, 2022 - May 15, 2022

Alright, after a semi-slow week for releases, things are beginning to heat up. I get the feeling the Summer is going to have a ton of 4K releases and a higher than average slate of blu-rays as well.

Welcome to Volume 2 Episode 51 of our weekly release guide. A look at the highlights of what's coming to disc this week, as well as a look at announcements from last week.

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Releases-

On the surface, this week looks like a very busy week. And if you are so inclined, you might want to buy a lot of the titles being offered. Let me explain as we go.

First of all, the new release of the week is titled Uncharted, and yes, it's *that* Uncharted, the one based on the Nathan Drake video game universe. You can get this one as a standard edition and as a general release SteelBook.

 

The Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection Vol. 2 is also available this week, bringing you 5 more titles from his vast collection. Unlike the first collection, this one has got all the titles available individually as well on the same day, they are Family Plot, Marnie, Saboteur, Shadow of a Doubt and The Trouble with Harry.

 

And lastly, in preparation for the movie Jurassic World: Dominion, Universal is releasing the original 5 movies again, with the iconic simple artwork on each case. Look for Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. We know this franchise has sold a ton of product, because... dinosaurs!

 

Blu-ray releases-

Getting the blu-ray counterpart listed first, Uncharted is available as a standard release.

If you have been collecting the series, Paramount's next Jason franchise single movie release SteelBook streets this week, Friday the 13th Part III.

From Scream Factory, look for Wes Craven's werewolf feature titled Cursed. This one is listed as a Collector's Edition. From the Shout Factory label, The Ghost and the Darkness, and finally, from the Shout Select label, Two For The Money.

 

From The Warner Archive Collection, the 1972 crime/thriller The Carey Treatment.

If you've been waiting for a certain specific sequel, VCI has you covered with Dark Night of the Scarecrow 2.

 

From Kino Lorber, a 3-D Film Archive restoration of Treasure of the Four Crowns (3D).

From MGM Studios, a Channing Tatum comedy titled Dog.

 

Criterion Collection's release this week is a French crime drama titled Mr. Klein.

Anime highlights include Full Dive: This Ultimate Next-Gen Full Dive RPG... in a standard release and a limited edition, The Legend of Heroes - Trails in the Sky, Megazone 23 and The Saint's Magic Power is Omnipotent - The Complete Season.

 

Honorable Mention: A little 80s nostalgia, A-ha: The Movie gets a blu-ray release. A few months ago it was pointed out to me that their signature hit video 'Take On Me' had recently had a 4K remaster posted on YouTube and I thought that was pretty random, but now this explains everything!

 

Notable announcements from last week:

Robocop: The Series has been delayed 2 weeks to May 24th.

Shout! Factory's various labels have been busy with announcements for the month of July. Titles include a 4K release of Species, Lion of the Desert 4K, The Message 4K (previously leaked by another retailer for April, but obviously pushed back), blu-rays of The Six Million Dollar Man: The Complete Series, JFK Revisited: The Complete Collection, Pompo The Cinephile, Georgia Rule and Starhunter ReduX: The Complete Series. I would expect a couple of more titles to be added to this list in the next week or so, and also would expect to see an official announcement for the 4K collector's edition of Belle for an early July(ish) release as well.

Another Netflix release on blu-ray via Sony Pictures is coming June 14th, Fatherhood. Coming soon Better Call Saul: Season Six, which appears to be the final season, and Outlander: Season 6, just like before, a standard release and a Collector's Edition.

The Beatles: Get Back appears to be coming soon as well after being recalled due to audio issues. I would expect an official announcement soon for that as well.

Kino Lorber's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 4K has a July 26th street date.

4K Release Calendar

2K/BD Release Calendar

Which titles are you buying this week? Which ones are on your wishlist, be it to buy as an impulse buy or to wait for the right price?



4K Ultra HD Blu-ray & Blu-ray Release Guide - May 1, 2022 - May 7, 2022

There is a positive vibe happening right now for physical media. Brick & Mortar stores seem to continue their downsizing of their video departments and I doubt any amount of complaining to their corporate offices will do anything. However, the current pre-order page on Amazon.com for 4K and blu-ray actually encompasses about 20 pages of titles. That number has been as low as 12 over the Winter months so it's a sign the studios still support our little obsession.

Welcome to Volume 2 Episode 50 of our weekly release guide. A look at the highlights of what's coming to disc this week, as well as a look at announcements from last week.

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Releases-

There are just two actual titles available this week on 4K disc. New release first...

Disney Pixar's Turning Red, a story of a 13-year old that turns into a giant red panda when she gets excited. This title is available as a standard edition release, a Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook, a Walmart Exclusive 'Enamal Pin' edition and a Target Exclusive Art Edition.

 

The second 4K entry this week is a catalog title, Smokin' Aces, and this one is available as a standard edition and as a Best Buy Exclusive SteelBook. No word on the sequel getting a new release but if this one sells well, it's highly possible.

 

Blu-ray releases-

Semi-slow week for the blu-ray category this week. Getting the blu-ray counterpart out of the way first, bring us a standard edition of Turning Red. If you want an exclusive for this format, you need to visit Disney Movie Club.

From Universal, 2022 Liam Neeson action/thriller Blacklight. And, added at the very last second, a crime/drama title, The Outfit.

 

From Warner Bros, DC Animated title Constantine: The House of Mystery.

If you did not buy the Paramount release of Audrey Hepburn Collection a few month's back because you didn't want to double-dip on most of the titles, you can now get Paris When It Sizzles as a standalone. For a new release title, action/thriller Tom Clancy's Without Remorse gets a blu-ray release this week.

 

As we wait for Jurassic World: Dominion to hit theaters, what better time to grab Dinosaur World from Shout! Factory.

 

Anime Highlights include just two titles this week,  2.43: Seiin High School Boys Volleyball Team - The Complete Season and OBSOLETE - Complete Collection.

From Kino Lorber, Francis the Talking Mule (7 Film Collection) awaits your video rack!

 

Honorable Mention: If you enjoy Hallmark movies, now is your chance to get one on blu-ray. Maybe they're testing the waters again to see how sales go, The Wedding Veil should be available Tuesday.

The April batch of Imprint Films releases should be available on Friday, here's the listing:

>The Wicker Man - Imprint Films Limited Editi


 



Notable announcements from last week:

Warner Archive collection has three Judy Garland musicals coming in June. Titles include The Clock, For Me and My Gal and Ziegfeld Girl. Other names you may have heard of are Gene Kelly, James Stewart and Lana Turner.

Lionsgate has revealed to retailers that Everything Everywhere All at Once will be coming to 4K, blu-ray on June 14th. Additionally, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent will be getting a 4K, blu-ray and Target exclusive blu-ray sometime around the same time as well.

Arrow Video's July slate has been revealed. Titles include Giallo Essentials V3 Black Edition, Hell High, Hell High (Raging Fury Slip), The Sacred Spirit and Tenebrae 4K. Tenebrae 4K is a UK only title, but for the U.S, Synapse Films is offering very similar releases, a standard retail box and a retailer exclusive box that is available at Diabolikdvd.

GKIDS has revealed they will be releasing a 4K collector's edition for the 2021 animated film Belle. Although we are not affected by it in the U.S., hope they do no region lock this release too, it's just blasphemous for a 4K release.

4K Release Calendar

2K/BD Release Calendar

Which titles are you buying this week? Which ones are on your wishlist, be it to buy as an impulse buy or to wait for the right price?



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