Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for September 4, 2020


Welcome back to another look at some of the highlights arriving on Blu-ray and DVD. There’s plenty of interesting stuff to choose from both new and old in this edition. So, since you likely can’t make it out to the movies this week, be sure to give one of these titles a try!


BABA YAGA: TERROR OF THE DARK FOREST: For those unfamiliar with Baba Yaga, this figure is a witch famous in Eastern European folklore. This Russian horror flick updates the legend for modern audiences. A family moves out to the countryside and hires a nanny to care for the kids. Unfortunately, the children immediately start to suspect that the governess is a monster.

The son becomes certain when his sister disappears and his parents begin acting in a trance-like manner. There aren’t any reviews yet in this part of the world for this Russian-language feature, but online write-ups haven’t been all that positive. Many have complained that the filmmakers throw away the character’s history and instead ape the generic American horror film formula. It features Oleg Chugunov, Glasha Golubeva and Artem Zhigulin.

BLOOD QUANTUM: This independent horror flick from Canada was premiered on the horror streaming service Shudder and is now it is being released on disc. The plot involves a zombie plague rampaging through a First Nations community. After locking themselves in from the undead, the group must figure out how to find a cure and whether or not to let outsiders into their reserve. This picture earned a lot of great press and received solid reviews.

One or two thought that it mishandled an interesting concept. However, the majority stated that it was a violent and disturbing horror picture with plenty of great commentary. Some even thought it reminded them of the films of George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead). It stars Michael Greyeyes, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Forrest Goodluck and Kiowa Gordon.

CHILDREN OF THE SEA: After she claims to have witnessed a ghost at the aquarium where her dad works, a young girl grows up and is drawn back to the site some years later. She befriends two boys who claim to have heard and seen the same things that she did. As the group tries to figure out what they have experienced, they soon discover that those working at the aquarium may actually know more about the phenomenon than they are letting on. Notices were generally positive for this animated feature from Japan.

A few said that it was pretty, but that the story didn’t make much sense. However, most suggested that while it was confusing in spots, this still was a gorgeously animated ode to the sea that impressed and transfixed them. The release includes a Japanese track with English subtitles and an English language audio track.

CUT OFF: If you’re looking for a crime thriller revolving around the world of forensic pathology, you may be interested in this German-language effort (released as Abgeschnitten in its homeland). It follows a coroner asked to perform an autopsy on a severed head from a crime scene. The lead is shocked to discover a note in the skull with his estranged daughter’s phone number scrawled on it. With the help of an intern, he heads out to try and determine who the killer is and save his daughter … before she becomes the next victim.

Critics enjoyed this picture and it hasn’t yet received any negative reviews. They appear to admit that the movie is a bit over-the-top and exaggerated, but they couldn’t help but be swept up in the narrative and found it to be a pulse-pounding ride. Moritz Bleibtreu, Jasna Fritzi Bauer and Lars Eidinger headline the flick.

IRRESISTIBLE: Comedian and political commentator (among other things) Jon Stewart wrote and directed this comedy about a Democratic political strategist looking to make inroads in a conservative farming community. When he decides to encourage a local man to run for mayor, the lead’s Republican nemesis arrives and the small-town race makes national headlines. Desperate to win, the opponents try more and more outrageous tricks to one-up each other. Reaction was mixed toward this effort and it received a few more negative notices than positive ones.

Some thought that it was a good deal of fun and aptly criticizes modern political campaigns. However, more wanted it to take a stronger stance and suggested that it doesn’t tell us anything about the process that we don’t already know. It stars Steve Carell, Rose Byrne, Chris Cooper, Brent Sexton, Will Sasso, Topher Grace and Natasha Lyonne.


Looking to discover or revisit something a little older? AGFA (American Genre Film Archive) is releasing a Blu-ray of Limbo (1999), written and directed by Tina Krause, the star of hundreds of micro-budgeted independent genre pictures. It is described as presenting three days in the life of a woman named Elizabeth, as she deals with identity issues, sexist mouth-breathers, supernatural manifestations ... and a possible trip to Hell. The movie has been transferred from the original S-VHS master tape and comes with a filmmaker commentary, an archival behind-the-scenes documentary, a short film made by Tina Krause, a Q&A and another short starring Krause.


Kino has a great selection of titles this week, including some amazing international features that are well worth picking up. The first Blu-ray is of the foreign-language film noir, Black Gravel (1961), about life in post-war Germany. It features characters struggling to survive and taking to the black market. The disc includes the uncensored version that played at its premiere and the re-editing cut that was eventually distributed.

It also comes with a film historian commentary.

Britannia Hospital (1982) is a dark comedy and satire about a reporter who arrives to make a documentary on the opening of a new wing at the title location. The movie satirizes British Society and features an all-star cast including Malcolm McDowell, Mark Hamill, Joan Plowright and many others. The Blu-ray includes a high-definition remaster of the title, a critic commentary and a trailer.


I’m very excited about this upcoming release which is making its Blu-ray debut in North America. Clockwise (1986) is a fantastic comedy starring John Cleese as a stuffy headmaster who runs a tight, organized and regimented life scheduled down to the minute. When he’s asked to give a hugely important speech, everything starts going wrong and his entire career and sanity begin to fall to pieces. It’s a brilliantly funny movie that wasn’t a big hit during its original release and deserves to be seen by more British comedy fans.

This Blu-ray includes a new 4K remaster of the film courtesy of StudioCanal, as well as an interview with John Cleese, a feature on the score, an entertainment journalist audio commentary and a trailer. I’ll be picking this one up as soon as possible.

Finally, Warner Bros. is releasing a series of older titles with new and sharp 4K transfers for those who have TV and players capable of the up-conversion. This week, the releases include Beetlejuice (1988), The Goonies (1985), Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011). I’m not entirely certain, but more than likely all of the other extras and bonuses previously released should be included on these discs.


Here are some new discs that may please kids.

Blue’s Clues & You! (Nickelodeon)

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Volume 1

Looney Tunes: Holiday Triple Feature DVD

Sesame Street: Monster Hits - Rock & Rhyme with Elmo

Sonic Boom: Robot Uprising!


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

Easy Yoga for Everything with Peggy Cappy (PBS)

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Volume 1

Hallmark 2-Movie Collec­­tion: Nature of Love and Pearl in Paradise

Prehistoric Road Trip (PBS)

SeaChange: Paradise Reclaimed (new 2020 season of Australian series from the late ‘90s)

Young Sheldon: Season 3


By Glenn Kay
For the Sun