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You are here: Community Film Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for Jan. 14, 2022

Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for Jan. 14, 2022

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Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for January 14, 2022

By Glenn Kay

For the Sun

It’s time for another look at the latest highlights arriving on Blu-ray and DVD. This is a great edition with big features and awards contenders in a wide variety of genres. So, if you can’t, or shouldn’t be heading out to the cinemas right now, be sure to give one of these titles a try!

BIG NEW RELEASES!

DOUBLE WALKER: A young woman is murdered and returns from the dead as a ghost in this independent horror picture. It seems that this new and angry spirit is angry about her untimely end and tries to piece together what happened from scattered memories. She begins haunting and killing men whom she believes may be responsible for her death. One night while on the hunt, the ghost is interrupted by a kind theater usher who can see her.

A friendship develops, but her lingering need to find the person responsible starts to cause trouble. Reaction was upbeat toward this little feature. A small percentage thought that the story didn’t make a lot of sense or add up to much. However, most were intrigued and thought it was a quirky and well-acted little picture with some memorable moments.

It stars Sylvie Mix, Justin Rose, Quinn Armstrong and Jacob Rice.

DUNE: Frank Herbert’s science-fiction novel gets a makeover in this new adaptation. The emperor of a faraway galaxy assigns noble family control of an inhospitable desert plant. They are asked to produce a valuable spice that is needed for space travel. The family soon learns that other kingdoms may be planning an invasion and the son discovers that he has a strange and unexpected connection to his new home.

The original story has been split and the film only covers the first half of the book, but critics were still very positive about it. A small number did complain that it was all setup and found themselves frustrated at not getting the entire tale. However, the vast majority thought it was a gorgeously shot epic with strong performances that expertly delivered both the required story information and thrills. The cast includes Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, Stellan Skarsgård, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Chang Chen and Dave Bautista.

EMA: A dancer decides to separate from her husband and give back her adopted child in this Chilean drama. She immediately goes on an unusual personal journey, seeking out love affairs to seemingly overcome feelings of guilt. However, as it turns out it may all be part of an elaborate secret plan to both get out of her marriage and regain custody of the child. The press seemed to generally like this foreign-language feature.

A small number couldn’t relate to the lead character and didn’t buy into the unusual method used to accomplish her goal. Still, far more thought the lead performance was fantastic and that it was an interesting character study. They also commented that the film kept their attention throughout as it moved from one bizarre situation to the next. Mariana Di Girólamo, Gael García Bernal and Santiago Cabrera.

HALLOWEEN KILLS: The latest chapter in the popular, long-running horror franchise finds psychotic masked killer Michael Myers still on the loose after another battle with protagonist Laurie Strode. While Strode recovers in a hospital, the maniac wreaks more havoc and targets the recovering woman’s daughter and granddaughter. In the meantime, members of an angry mob decide to take the law into their own hands and dole out their own justice.

Reviewers weren’t as taken by this follow-up as they were by the previous sequel from 2018. Almost half of them admired the creative murder sequences and fast pacing, stating it was enough to earn a recommendation. However, the majority complained that the film felt like an awkward middle chapter of the new trilogy and there were some confusing messages that dampened their enjoyment. It stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Anthony Michael Hall, Andi Matichak, Will Patton, Thomas Mann and Kyle Richards.

HEART OF CHAMPIONS: This sports-themed drama follows a dysfunctional and disorganized Ivy League college rowing team. Needing help, the school hires an army veteran to get the program back on track. They initially butt heads with their new mentor, but he soon has them working like a team and inspiring them to a kind of greatness that can’t be taught in the classroom. Notices were quite poor for this effort.

A few did say that the cast was charismatic and that it delivered everything you would expect and hope for in a sports flick. However, the general consensus was that the feature was corny, melodramatic, and overlong. They noted that instead of being moved by the characters, more viewers would be rolling their eyes at the heavy-handed speeches. The cast includes Michael Shannon, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Alex MacNicoll and Michael Tacconi.

I GOT FIVE ON IT 3: The original “I Got Five on It” was a 2005 made-for-video comedy about two friends finding themselves in a series of misadventures while trying to get to a party. It was successful enough for a sequel to be released in 2009. In this follow-up, the protagonists are now running a marijuana dispensary. One of them decides to go to seminary school while the other tries to keep the business going.

Things soon get out of hand when some old enemies return for payback against the protagonists. This title has been available on a few streaming services and is now being released to disc, but there are currently no reviews available for it. If you happen to be a fan of the previous chapters it may be of interest, but newcomers should look into seeing the older films before committing to this effort. It features Chris Angelo, Karl J. Arana, Camilo Bravo Jr., Jimmy Bridges and Todd Bridges.

I, PORTRAIT: A newly married couple is unexpectedly visited by an old friend in this independent Australian thriller. While things start off well enough, it becomes very awkward as the visitor starts to intentionally cause friction with the hosts. It eventually is revealed that the troublemaker has a grudge against the two and is trying to dissolve their union. Currently, it is hard to find any write-ups for this very small title, but it did earn some award nominations at a few small film festivals.

Critics online seemed to have difficulty in determining if the movie is over-the-top and melodramatic on purpose, or if it is a case of a feature being so off-kilter that it is unintentionally hilarious. Those curious about the film will have to find out for themselves. Natalie Heslop, Sienna Stass and Nathan Hill headline the picture.

I’M YOUR MAN: A scientist is asked to evaluate a very new kind of technology in this comedy/drama. Apparently, a company has developed the ability to create the perfect android life partner for any human. She is asked to spend three weeks with a robot tailored to please her in every way. The closed-off scientist initially hates her new helper, but finds her early views challenged after spending more time with the android.

The press gave this German picture very high marks and it has won some awards in its homeland. A very small number of North American critics didn’t find it funny or thought the themes were not well-addressed. Everyone else called it a sweet and clever little film that deviated from the typical romantic-comedy formula. They noted that it delivered laughs and even asked the audience deeper questions about artificial life and what it means to be human.

The cast includes Maren Eggert, Dan Stevens, and Sandra Hüller.

MASS: In this drama, two couples come together and meet to discuss a violent tragedy at school involving their children. All of the individuals share their thoughts and feelings about what occurred. Their discussion leads to conflict as they continue and hope to come to some kind of reconciliation or closure on this horrifying chapter in their lives. Critics adored this sad and distressing tale.

There were a few who thought that while the movie’s intentions and passion were admirable, it didn’t make for a compelling cinematic experience and eventually lost its power through repetition. The majority stated that the cast was incredible and deserved award-consideration, also calling the film a powerful examination on dealing with loss, grief, and guilt. It stars Jason Isaacs, Martha Plimpton, Ann Dowd and Reed Birney.

MLK/FBI: Back in the 1950s and ‘60s, American Baptist minister Martin Luther King Jr. became a leader of the civil rights movement and one of its most visible figures. This documentary uses newly discovered and declassified FBI documents to display how the U.S. government used surveillance and other nefarious means like harassment to target the activist and stop him from achieving his goals. This feature was released last year at this time and generated a great deal of awards buzz. It even took home some prizes.

Now, it is arriving on Blu-ray. Naturally, reaction toward the picture was almost unanimously positive. Those who watched it wrote that it painted a detailed portrait of King as a person and showed the disturbing espionage and monitoring actions taken by those in office.

MULTIVERSE: Four university students working on an incredible breakthrough in quantum physics experience personal tragedy when one member of the group dies in a car accident. Five months later, the remaining three are still recovering from the loss. Sadness turns to shock when the deceased friend shows up alive, unaware of what occurred to her. Not long after, the others are visited by doppelgangers.

Could it have something to do with their unfinished project? This independent science-fiction flick hasn’t received many reviews so far and those that have appeared aren’t particularly strong. These write-ups claim that the movie has an interesting concept, but instead focuses on melodrama between the characters and seems geared primarily to a teenage audience. It features Munro Chambers, Sandra Mae Frank, Paloma Kwiatkowski, Robert Naylor and Marlee Matlin.

SPENCER: Princess Diana Spencer is the subject of this biopic. It focuses on the woman during her Christmas holidays with the royal family. Cooped up and dealing with mental health issues, she thinks about her relationship with husband Prince Charles and the Windsor family. The protagonist struggles as she considers whether or not she should end her decade-long marriage, taking into consideration the ripples it would create personally and publicly.

Most reviews were upbeat about this drama. About a fifth of the notices protested that the movie seemed to be a complete work of fiction that took many liberties and didn’t feel convincing. Still, the consensus was that the lead performance was excellent and the movie effectively conveyed the feelings of isolation and distress Spencer must have experienced. The cast includes Kristen Stewart, Sally Hawkins and Timothy Spall.

BLASTS FROM THE PAST!

There are plenty of older titles receiving high-definition upgrades as well. And if you like thrillers from the early 1990s, then you’re going to be very happy.

Shout! Factory is presenting the Blu-ray debut of “The Temp” (1993). This picture involves a businessman with a history of paranoia who hires a temp worker to help him on the job. She turns out to be a psychopath, initially dealing with other executives on his behalf before turning on him. It stars Timothy Hutton and Lara Flynn Boyle.

The disc includes an interview with director Tom Holland (“Fright Night,” “Child’s Play”), as well as discussions with co-star Lin Shaye, special effects artist Steve Johnson and the film’s editor. A trailer is also included.

You can also pick up “Whispers in the Dark” (1992) for the first time in high definition. Annabella Sciorra plays a Manhattan psychiatrist who begins a passionate affair with a mysterious new man. When her patients start dying, she begins to suspect that he might be behind it all.

Kino, as always, has plenty of Blu-rays coming your way. “The 7th Dawn” (1964) is an action/thriller with William Holden set in what is now Malaysia. The movie has been given a 2K restoration and comes with a trailer. “Breaking In” (1989) is a great comedy from director Bill Forsythe (“Gregory’s Girl,” “Local Hero”) about an aging cat burglar who takes on a young apprentice. Burt Reynolds and Casey Siemaszko headline the title.

The disc includes a 2K transfer of the movie, a commentary with the filmmaker and screenwriter John Sayles, as well as a trailer. Speaking of burglars, you can also pick up a Blu-ray of “Gambit” (1966) with Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine as a pair trying to pull off a big heist. You’ll get improved image quality with a 2K master, a film critic commentary, an interview with cast member Don Stroud, and a trailer.

The distributor is also presenting a new 4K edition of “The Great Escape” (1963). This Steve McQueen classic is about a group of prisoners in a German POW camp trying to break free. The edition also comes with a regular Blu-ray of the movie with tons of featurettes on the production and a trailer. However, those with a 4K set-up are the ones who really get all the benefits.

Besides the new restoration, they receive a new film historian commentary, as well as an archived audio track featuring director Preston Sturges and actors James Garner, James Coburn, Donald Pleasence, David McCallum, Jud Taylor and many other crew members. Sounds like a great set.

Kino is also presenting the Burt Reynolds thriller “Impasse” (1969) on Blu-ray with a 2K restoration. It also comes with a trailer. “Journey to Shiloh” (1968) is a western with James Caan that is being given the same treatment. It also comes with a film critic commentary, an interview with co-star Don Stroud, and a trailer.

“The Pink Jungle” (1968) features James Garner as a treasure hunter looking for a diamond mine in South America. The Blu-ray also includes a trailer.

Code Red is presenting a Blu-ray of the drama “Maria’s Lovers” (1984) with Nastassja Kinski, Robert Mitchum, and Keith Carradine. The disc contains interviews with co-stars John Savage and Vincent Spano, along with a trailer.

The Danish feature “The Celebration” (1998) is arriving on Blu-ray from Criterion. It details a family birthday celebration that turns into bedlam. You’ll get a 2K restoration of the film, a director commentary, two early shorts from the filmmaker, a 2002 documentary about the dogma movement (which this film is a part of), a program with the director about what inspired the story, a documentary about the production, a profile of the cinematographer, deleted scenes with commentary, and a trailer.

Finally, Paramount is presenting a 4K “Limited Edition” Steelbook of “Juice” (1992) in celebration of the movie’s 30th anniversary. This title features the acting debut of Tupac Shakur and also stars Omar Epps. This set does not include a Blu-ray of the film, so make sure you can watch it in 4K UHD before picking it up.

YOU KNOW, FOR KIDS!

There’s a lot to choose from this week for kids.

“Magic School Bus Rides Again” Season 2 DVD

“Pokemon Journeys: The Series: Season 23 - The Journey Starts Today!” DVD

“Rainbow Rangers: Help is a Rainbow Away” DVD

“Ren & Stimpy: The Almost Complete Collection” DVD

ON THE TUBE!

TV-themed releases are listed below.

“Billions” Season 5

“Cobra Kai” Season 3

“Great Performances: Now Hear This - Beethoven’s Ghost” (PBS) DVD

“Hallmark 2-Movie Collection: Two for the Win & A Winter Getaway” (Hallmark) DVD

“Magic School Bus Rides Again” Season 2

“NATURE: The Elephant and the Termite” (PBS) DVD

“NATURE: Season of the Osprey” (PBS) DVD

“NOVA: Unknown Particles” (PBS) DVD

“Pokemon Journeys: The Series: Season 23 - The Journey Starts Today!” DVD

“Ren & Stimpy: The Almost Complete Collection”

“Silent Witness” Season 24

VISIT: WWW.CINEMASTANCE.COM