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You are here: Community Film Blu-ray/DVD Review Roundup for September 11, 2020

Blu-ray/DVD Review Roundup for September 11, 2020

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Welcome to yet another look at highlights coming your way on Blu-ray and DVD. Once again, there’s plenty of exciting stuff here to choose from in a wide variety of genres. So, since you likely can’t make it out to the movies this week, be sure to give one of these titles a try!

BIG NEW RELEASES!

THE CORDIL­LERA OF DREAMS: This documentary follows a Chilean man who left his home country 40 years ago after a military dictatorship took control of the country. He decides to return to Chile and in order to process and examine his experiences and feelings about the place, as well as to revisit and reconnect with some of its most beautiful locations (including a vast chain of mountains). The press greatly admired this non-fiction effort.

One or two felt that the metaphors being used to detail his feelings were a little too on-the-nose and felt that the movie overstayed its welcome. Everyone else felt very differently about the feature. They called it a beautifully shot, poetic, moving and completely personal tribute to the country and the mixed and complicated feelings he still harbors so many decades later.

DESERT ONE: In 1979, the U.S. government undertook a secret operation and attempted to rescue 52 U.S. citizens who were taken hostage by Iranian revolutionaries in Tehran. The operation did not go as planned and this documentary tells the story of what happened using archival sources, never-before-seen footage and exclusive interviews with the people involved (including President Jimmy Carter). The film earned raves almost across the board from reviewers. A couple of them had minor issues, stating that the movie was too talky and didn’t tell them anything new about the ordeal.

However, the rest felt very differently. They thought the newly discovered footage and sound was powerful and also thought the story was put together in such a way that it made viewers feel as if they were right there with the participants. At this moment, this feature is only available on DVD.

FIRST COW: Set in the 19th century, this drama follows a cook who decides to head west. After arriving in Oregon Territory, he befriends a group of fur-trappers and develops a close working relationship with a Chinese immigrant. Together, the two men set out to start their own business. The two quickly realize that the success of their venture depends on the health and safety of a specific milking cow.

Critics gave this drama extremely high marks. A small number of them said they found the feature slow-moving, obtuse and impenetrable. Everyone else thought it was excellent, stating they were impressed with the photography, found the story engaging and believable, and felt that the movie also had plenty of things to say about the pitfalls of capitalism. The movie stars John Magaro, Orion Lee, Ewen Bremner and René Auberjonois.

SUPERMAN: MAN OF TOMORROW: It seems like Warner Bros. releases more and more titles in their line of animated, adult-themed DC superhero flicks just about every week. This PG-13 effort depicts the early days of Clark Kent and Superman. The plot follows Kent as he is hired by the Daily Planet. He struggles to balance his professional career in Metropolis after the city comes under assault from villains like Lobo and Parasite.

The press gave this effort solid marks. In fact, so far there haven’t been any negative write-ups. They all state that while it isn’t the deepest or most insightful of superhero flicks, it is a well-animated and entertaining feature that does a good job depicting the origins of the character. The voice talent includes Darren Criss, Zachary Quinto, Alexandra Daddario, Ike Amadi, Ryan Hurst and David Chen.

VITALINA VARELA: This foreign-language feature from Portugal takes the name of its lead actress and tells a completely fictionalized story about her. The movie is also a follow-up to another film by the same director with the same lead that was called Horse Money. The performer plays a newly arrived immigrant in Lisbon and recent widow who attempts to start a new life while uncovering the disturbing past of her late husband. This drama was very well received by critics.

One or two simply couldn’t get into the story and found it all a bit too forced. However, the vast majority described it as a powerful story with impressive photography that deals effective with heavy themes like regret, remorse and anger. The cast includes Vitalina Varela, Ventura, Manuel Tavares Almeida and Marina Alves Domingues.

BLASTS FROM THE PAST!

As usual, there are plenty of interesting older titles getting high definition upgrades. Recently, Arrow Video announced a Special Edition of the strange UK cult science fiction pic The Comic (1985) to Blu-ray. Its release was ultimately delayed, but interested parties should be happy to learn that it is now hitting store shelves.

Arrow is also putting out a “2-Disc Special Edition” Blu-ray set of a Japanese feature, Graveyard of Honor. The story charts the rise and fall of real-life Yakuza gangster Rikio Ishikawa. You’ll get both the 1975 Kinji Fukasaku original and the 2002 Takashi Miike remake. Both of the titles have been given a high definition presentation and arrive with impressive bonuses.

Several studios are delivering 4K upgrades of previously released titles. The highest profile set coming this week is The Alfred Hitchcock Classics. Collection from Universal. If you have the proper set up, you’ll be able to watch 4K versions of Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963) in the best possible quality.

Additionally, Universal is rolling out 4K editions of The Incredible Hulk (2008) and the recent remake of The Invisible Man (2020). And, if you don’t want the entire Hitchcock set, you’ll be able to pick up Psycho (1960) on its own in 4K. You’ll have to check the details on each individual title to see if they also include the extras that have been released on previous editions.

Lionsgate is also getting in on the 4K action with a new edition of the popular Japanese animated feature, Ghost in the Shell (1995). And those who enjoy Rob Zombie flicks and want to see all the gruesomeness in the highest quality possible can pick up a Target Exclusive Steelbook of the Rob Zombie Trilogy, which includes all of the flicks featuring members of the villainous Firefly family. You’ll get House of 1,000 Corpses (2003), The Devil’s Rejects (2005) and the most recent entry, 3 from Hell (2019).

Finally, Warner Archive is making the comedy Kentucky Kernels (1934) available through its site as a made-to-order Blu-ray.

YOU KNOW, FOR KIDS!

Here are some kid-friendly titles that may entertain children.

JoJo Siwa: Party Pack (3-Disc Gift Set) (Nickelodeon)

PAW Patrol: Jet to the Rescue (Nickelodeon) (Amazon Early Release Exclusive)

Wiggly Halloween (The Wiggles)

ON THE TUBE!

And these are the TV-themed releases coming your way.

And She Could Be Next (PBS)

Bad Education (HBO movie)

Bull: Season 4

Frankie Drake Mysteries: Season 3 (PBS)

Love, Fall & Order (Hallmark TV-movie)

PAW Patrol: Jet to the Rescue (Nickelodeon) (Amazon Early Release Exclusive)

Supergirl: Season 5

VISIT: WWW.CINEMASTANCE.COM

By Glenn Kay
For the Sun