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You are here: Community Film Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for February 25, 2022

Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for February 25, 2022

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It’s time for another look at some of the highlights that will be arriving on Blu-ray and DVD. Once again, this is a busy week with some notable Hollywood films, independent fare and international curiosities. So, if you can’t or shouldn’t be heading out to the movies this week, be sure to give one of these titles a try!

BIG NEW RELEASES!

THE 355: This thriller involves a female CIA agent working on a case with a fellow spy and close friend. When her partner/pal is killed in the line of duty while trying to recover a top-secret weapon, the lead becomes determined to find out who is responsible. In order to locate and stop the villains from using the stolen creation, she joins forces with other female agents from across the globe.

This picture was largely panned during its theatrical release at the beginning of January. A small group commented that they liked the cast enough to overlook the predictability of the story. However, the majority wrote that even great talent couldn’t salvage this feature. They noted that it was bland and critiqued the screenplay for its underdeveloped characters and corny dramatic elements.

Jessica Chastain, Sebastian Stan, Penelope Cruz, Lupita Nyong’o, Diane Kruger and Fan Bingbing headline the film.

AMERICAN UNDERDOG: Kurt Warner is the subject of this biopic sports drama. It tells his life story and struggles to make his dreams of playing in the National Football League a reality.

After earning accolades in college, Warner fails to impress NFL scouts and doesn’t get drafted. Working as a stock boy in a grocery store, he continues trying out for various teams and eventually lands a backup slot with the St. Louis Rams. With the support of his friends and family, he ends up a Superbowl champion and Hall of Fame quarterback.

Response towards this sports film was generally good. About a quarter of reviewers complained that this was a bland and squeaky-clean biopic that didn’t paint a detailed picture of its subject. Still, the majority commented that the film was an enjoyably old-fashioned and inspirational tale and was helped tremendously by an excellent cast. It stars Zachary Levi, Anna Paquin, Dennis Quaid, Ser’Darius Blain, Hayden Zeller and Bruce McGill.

HARD HIT: In this thriller, a well-to-do bank manager decides to drive his kids to school. After pulling away in his car with the kids, the lead receives a threatening cell phone call.

He is informed that a bomb has been installed under his seat and that it will detonate unless he pays a ransom. As he continues driving, the man tries to control his panic, find a way to collect the needed money and determine who is responsible for the heinous act.

There aren’t a great many reviews in this part of the world for this South Korean, foreign-language title. Notices that have popped up online are split. Nearly half state that it is a dull and routine thriller. Still, others suggest that while it has plot holes it is an entertaining and, at times, exciting effort.

Additionally, the movie received a Best Supporting Actress Buil Film Award nomination (which is the South Korean equivalent of an Oscar). The cast includes Chang-Wook Ji, Woo-jin Jo, Haerry Kim and Jae-in Lee.


HOUSE OF GUCCI: This biopic is Inspired by the true story behind the Italian fashion brand, Gucci, and the family who run it. The story focuses on the arrival of an ambitious and calculating woman who marries a Gucci. She quickly ruffles the feathers of those around her as she rises to prominence within the company.

Her success triggers a fracture within the family, resulting in acts of betrayal, revenge and eventually, murder.

Overall, critics were positive about this drama, although there were a wide variety of passionate and extreme opinions about the end product. Those who panned the movie claimed that while the story offered lots of conflict, it all came across as over-the-top, ineffectual and campy. Still, the consensus was that this was a wild and winning melodrama involving a very memorable group of larger-than-life personalities.

It features Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Jared Leto, Jeremy Irons, Al Pacino, Jack Huston and Salma Hayek.

HYPNOSIS: A teenager troubled by sleepwalking decides to visit a psychotherapist. The charming doctor uses hypnosis to treat the patient and the youth falls under his spell.

Before long, the boy has trouble distinguishing reality from illusion. Things get even worse when a female patient of the doctor dies and the lead begins to suspect the therapist of killing her.

This Russian feature hasn’t been seen by many in this part of the world. However, it received numerous nominations and awards (mostly for its score) at film festivals, a nod at the country’s equivalent of the Oscars and some upbeat critic write-ups. Online reviews from Moscow suggest the movie is cryptic and doesn’t make the most of its interesting concept, but is an intriguing and fascinating effort.

The cast includes Maksim Sukhanov, Sergey Giro, Ekaterina Fedulova and Sergey Medvedev.


THE KING’S MAN: This prequel to the 2014 surprise hit “Kingsman: The Secret Service and its 2017 follow-up, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle is set at the beginning of the 20th century and details the beginnings of the secret guild of heroes.

When a group of tyrants and criminal masterminds decide to orchestrate a series of events to start a war that will result in the death of millions, the protagonists set out to neutralize the threat.

While the first movie in this series received excellent reviews, the press wasn’t nearly as taken by the first sequel or this follow-up. About a third of them thought it was fun enough to recommend and had plenty of sly and clever gags based around the world of spies. Unfortunately, more stated that the movie was a jumble of tones. They also said it wasn’t funny or exciting enough to compare with the original.

It stars Ralph Fiennes, Harris Dickinson, Rhys Ifans, Djimon Hounsou, Gemma Arterton, Matthew Goode, Charles Dance and Stanley Tucci.

EL PLANETA: This picture was announced as arriving on Blu-ray a few weeks back, but was delayed and is now hitting shelves.After experiencing money problems, a mother and daughter from a wealthy family decide to find a way to keep living their lavish lifestyle. They bluff and use grifting techniques to keep themselves going, ultimately bonding over the possibility of losing everything.

Reaction was quite positive for this black and white, foreign-language film from Spain. A tiny contingent criticized the feature for, like its characters, trying to coast by on charm and chuckles without offering any deeper meaning. Still, the consensus was that the two leads were extremely charismatic and that the story was intriguing and funny, also possessing a dark and satirical edge beneath the surface. Ale Ulman, Amalia Ulman, Nacho Vigalondo and Genoveva Garcia Castanon headline the picture.

THE SCARY OF SIXTY-FIRST: This Blu-ray was also scheduled for release a month ago, but was delayed at the last minute and is arriving this week. Two college students think they’ve gotten incredibly lucky after finding an inexpensive duplex for rent on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Unfortunately, their happiness doesn’t last long after moving in.

A mysterious woman arrives and claims that the apartment used to be owned by notorious sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein. The pair decide to investigate her claim and soon become obsessed, with one of them actually becoming preoccupied by sexual mania and even acting possessed.

The press was split on this independent horror picture. Almost half thought it was messy and cluttered, also commenting that it didn’t have much to say about many of the topical issues it was bringing up. Slightly more admitted that while flawed, it still had some darkly humorous and chilling moments and was a compelling genre flick. It stars Madeline Quinn, Betsey Brown and Dasha Nekrasova.


SHATTERED: According to this thriller, it’s tough and lonely being a tech billionaire. A socially awkward genius thinks that he may have found that special someone after encountering a charming and sexy woman. A relationship blooms and grows even stronger after he suffers an accident and she steps in to nurse him back to health.

However, things turn grim when her behavior becomes more threatening and his best friend dies under mysterious circumstances. This feature was not well liked by critics. A small contingent who gave the movie a positive write-up described it as amusing and, at times, side-splittingly enjoyable trash.

Everyone else wrote that it didn’t deliver the necessary passion or chills and called it a cheesy and badly written stinker. The cast includes Cameron Monaghan, Frank Grillo, Lily Krug, Sasha Luss and John Malkovich.

BLASTS FROM THE PAST!

There’s some great older stuff arriving in high definition this week. Arrow Video have discovered the early 80s slasher film “Deadly Games (1982) and are presenting it for the first time ever on Blu-ray.

It’s about a maniac who plays board games to determine his next victims. The movie is noted by genre fans for focusing its attention on the female cast members and not the killer. It has been given a 2K restoration and the disc includes a commentary track with movie experts The Hysteria Continues.

You’ll also get an interview with co-star Jere Rae-Mansfield, who talks about working on the picture. Additionally, there’s a discussion with the special effects and stunt coordinator, an extensive images gallery, a trailer and the original screenplay (which can be accessed as BD-ROM content).

They also have a Blu-ray set of “Lies and Deceit: Five Films by Claude Chabrol which looks very elaborate. Chabrol was a popular and successful member of the French New Wave cinema movement who created numerous classic titles. The films featured in this package are “Cop au Vin (1985), “Inspector Lavardin (1986), “Madame Bovary (1991), “Betty (1992) and “Torment(1994). The set comes jam-packed with critic commentaries, visual essays on the movies and their significance, select scene commentaries on all the movies with Chabrol and much, much more.

Arrow also have Standard Editions of the previously released box set “Cold War Creatures: Four Films from Sam Katzman” on Blu-ray. It includes four low-budget monster movies from the 1950s and plenty of bonus features about the titles. They also have a Standard Blu-ray Edition of the “Yokai Monsters Collection”. This set contains four Japanese monster movies (three made in the late 60s. as well as a 2005 reboot) featuring wild and trippy creatures.


Shout! Factory are presenting “Alligator (1980) in a 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Collector’s Edition. This is an effective B-movie about a reptile that is flushed down the toilet as a baby. It lives in the sewer systems, growing into an enormous killer after feeding on discarded lab animals that have been used for hormone growth experiments. The gator soon gets hungry for larger prey and begins eating people.

This flick stars Robert Forster and has a great sense of dark humor. It comes with both the theatrical version (in 4K and Blu-ray) and the television edit on Blu-ray. There’s an archived commentary with the director and Forster, individual interviews with the filmmaker, the make-up effects artist, co-star Robin Riker, screenwriter John Sayles, and production assistant (and now famous actor/director/producer) Bryan Cranston. You’ll also get the added TV scenes available to view on their own, a ton of trailers, TV commercials, stills and ads for the movie. Sounds fantastic!

They also have the lesser sequel, “Alligator II: The Mutation (1991) on Blu-ray. This tale involves another gator on the loose and stars Joseph Bologna, Steve Railsback and Dee Wallace. The Blu-ray presents a 4K scan of the feature from the original camera negative, interviews with the director, the special effects coordinator, the editor, the second unit director and actor/stuntman Kane Hodder. It also comes with a trailer. So, now you can own this entire series of killer alligator movies if you are so inclined.

Shout! Factory are also producing limited editions of a couple of titles which can only be ordered through their website. “Blood of the Vampire (1958) is a British flick made in the style of a Hammer feature. It’s about a psychotic governor of a prison who conducts experimental research on his inmates. This is a new restoration of the original uncensored version of the film from original vault materials.

They also have a limited run of “Communion (1989), an alien abduction feature starring Christopher Walker as the real-life bestselling author Whitley Strieber (who claims to have been taken and experimented on by otherworldly figures). This Blu-ray contains an extended cut of the movie and comes with two director commentaries, outtakes, behind-the-scenes footage and trailers.

Additionally, the distributor has a Steelbook of the fantastic hockey comedy “Slap Shot (1977). It stars Paul Newman and Michael Ontkean as members of a struggling minor-league team who try to gain fans and publicity using bizarre and brutally hilarious methods. It comes with an audio commentary from co-stars The Hanson Brothers, a puck-talk featurette and some trailers.

The AGFA are presenting a Double Feature Blu-ray of “The Monster of Camp Sunshine (1961) and “Honeymoon of Terror(1964) on Blu-ray. One of these low-budget oddities involves a monster at a nudist colony, while the other follows a honeymooning couple on a deserted island being pursued by a club-footed maniac. These flicks are for those who appreciate bad cinemas and the disc comes with a handful of extra features.

Kino have plenty of great Blu-ray features as well. “The Douglas Sirk Collection Blu-ray contains “The Girl from the Marsh Croft(1935) and “The Final Chord (1935). These are two early films made in Germany by the man who is credited with turning American melodramas into high art.  Both titles include film historian audio commentaries.


Man on the Moon (1999) is a great drama biopic about eccentric comedian and actor Andy Kaufman. It stars Jim Carrey as the legendary performer. This Blu-ray includes a new 2K master of the feature, a commentary from the screenwriters, a conversation with the writers, a making-of featurette, deleted scenes, R.E.M. music videos for the two songs featured in the movie (“Man on the Moon and “The Great Beyond), as well as a trailer.

Village of the Giants (1965) is a fun, cheesy B-movie about some teens (including a young Ron Howard and Beau Bridges) who accidentally grow into giants and then decide to terrorize their hometown. The flick has been given a 4K restoration and comes with a film expert commentary and a trailer.

On a completely different note, the cerebral spy thriller “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) is arriving from Kino in a 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray package. Based on the John le Carre bestseller, it’s a tale of a double agent causing fear and paranoia inside the British Secret Service.

Besides the upgraded and restored picture quality, the discs come with a director commentary, interviews with the cast (including Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Tom Hardy) as well as crew members. And if you don’t have a 4K set-up, you can also purchase a standalone Blu-ray of the movie.

If goofy and campy features are more to your tastes, then “C.H.O.M.P.S. (1979) may be an appropriate choice. It is coming to Blu-ray, courtesy of Code Red. This is a comedy about an electronics genius who creates a robot watchdog with super strength and x-ray vision.

When a competing company hears about the new creation, they try to steal it and shut it down, only to find their target impossible to deal with. The disc has a 2K master of the movie and a commentary with a movie expert, one of the screenwriters and a supporting cast member. It also includes an interview with the male lead and a trailer.


Boat People (1982) is arriving on Blu-ray from Criterion. This acclaimed drama follows a Japanese photojournalist who arrives in Vietnam to document the country’s rebirth after the brutal Vietnam War. He’s horrified by what he witnesses and tries to show the world what the ruling government doesn’t want revealed.

The image quality has been restored and the disc includes conversations with the filmmaker, a documentary on the movie and its subject and press footage from the Cannes Film Festival.

Culture Shock Releasing are putting out a Blu-ray of the comedy, “Girlfriend from Hell (1989). The story follows a young woman who becomes possessed by the Devil, causing trouble for anyone she dates. This disc has a director commentary and features interviews with many members of the cast and crew. There is also audition footage and a music video included.


Disney are presenting an animated classic this week. “The Jungle Book (1967) is arriving in a Blu-ray and DVD set. For those who haven’t seen it, the movie is about a boy who lives in the jungle and is raised by his animal pals. They begin to think it’s for the best if the kid rejoins human society, but have difficulty convincing the youngster. Specs for the title haven’t been listed yet, so interested parties will have to look up the details of this release themselves.

Dancing Pirate (1936) is arriving on Blu-ray from The Film Detective. This is a musical/comedy about a dance teacher who gets tricked into becoming a pirate and must avoid dying on the high seas. The disc has a movie expert commentary and an essay on the movie, as well as talks with other film authorities on the film’s importance and its use of bright, Technicolor photography.

If you’re a fan of dramas, you might want to try the Blu-ray of “Movern Callar (2002) from Fun City. It follows a young Scottish woman who makes some unusual choices after her boyfriend commits suicide. It was written and directed by Lynne Ramsay, who has gone on to make some well-received arthouse features. You’ll get a new 2K scan of the movie, a film historian audio commentary, a video essay on the movie and trailers.

Side Out (1990) is appearing on Blu-ray through discount outlet Mill Creek. This title has been given impressive packaging so that it looks like an old VHS rental tape. The movie is about the beach volleyball scene in Los Angeles and features a young cast including C. Thomas Howell, Peter Horton, Courtney Thorn-Smith and Kathy Ireland.

Paramount are putting out the cult flick and sequel “Escape from L.A. (1996) as an 4K Ultra HD only-release. For those unfamiliar with the series, it’s about a criminal (played by Kurt Russell) who is tasked with retrieving an important figure from behind a walled-in city-turned-prison.

Shout! Factory recently put out an extras-filled Collector’s Edition of the movie. This release simply features a new upgraded picture and doesn’t have much in the way of bonus features. And it doesn’t even come with a Blu-ray version of the transfer, so fans might be wise sticking with the Shout! version for now.

3:15 (1986) aka “3:15 the Moment of Truth is also being released from Ronin Films. Adam Baldwin plays a high school student who has recently left the nasty, drug-dealing gang who rule his school. He decides to take revenge on the remaining members after they rough up his girlfriend.

If memory serves, the leads look way too old to be high school students. But it does add some humor to the experience. This Special Edition Blu-ray features a new and improved 2019 master of the movie, an interview with a co-star and a trailer.


Scorpion have a Special Edition Blu-ray of “Deep Space (1988), a low-budget sci-fi/horror picture about a government satellite that crashes in a small US town. A monster emerges from the wreckage and tries to eat everyone it encounters. A pair of unlucky cops are assigned to track the creature down and shoot it. The disc features a new master of the movie and comes with a director commentary track.

Severin are putting out the B-movie “Black Candles (1982) on Blu-ray. It’s about a young woman and her family being pursued by a satanic cult. “Bloody Pit of Horror (1965) features a group of fashion models being stalked by a killer while on a shoot. “Caligula and Messaline (1981) and “Caligula: The Untold Story (1982) are exploitation flicks based around the seedy legend of the Roman emperor.

Extras on the first two discs include movie enthusiast commentaries and interviews. The third and fourth features includes two different versions of the movie and interviews. The last movie listed also comes with a soundtrack CD.

Vinegar Syndrome are presenting the home invasion picture “Curfew(1989) newly restored in 2K for Blu-ray. The disc also comes with interviews featuring the cast and crew.


The distributor’s big release of the week is the action/horror/comedy “Dead Heat (1988) in a 4k Ultra HD and Blu-ray package. This was an odd buddy picture about two cops who find deceased convicts on a crime spree.

When one of the leads is killed in the line of duty, his partner resurrects him so that they can solve the case. It starred Treat Williams, Joe Piscopo and Vincent Price. Truthfully, the jokes are corny and the movie should have been a lot better than it ultimately was, but the make-up effects work was impressive. Admittedly, it will likely bring back nostalgic memories for those who grew up watching it.

The set comes with an archival director commentary and screenwriter, an interview with the filmmaker and various members of the cast and crew. There are also deleted scenes, a couple of which may have benefitted the story had they been reinserted into the film.

Universal also have some catalog titles being released on Blu-ray at low prices. They include the Neil Armstrong biopic “First Man” (2018) and the modern slasher flick, “Happy Death Day (2017).

The studio is also releasing the enjoyable Jean-Claude Van Damme action film “Hard Target (1993) in 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray set. Apparently, there are two cuts of the film contained in the set, with one version on each disc. Unfortunately, that likely means that the US edition features the 4K Ultra HD material and the longer and better international edition is only presented on Blu-ray. Oh well.

Additionally, the studio is rereleasing “Pitch Perfect 3 (2017) at a lower price.

Warner Bros. have a 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray set coming your way. It is for the Stephen King film adaptation of “The Green Mile(1999), a prison drama about a convict with magical powers. It includes upgraded picture quality and all of the previously released extras from earlier editions.

Finally, Warner Archive are making “Edge of Darkness (1943) available as a made-to-order Blu-ray that can be purchased through Amazon. It’s a drama starring Errol Flynn about a Norwegian village who rise up against their Nazi occupiers during World War II.

YOU KNOW, FOR KIDS!

There are a few kid-friendly titles arriving this week – check them out below.

“Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog” The Complete Series (Discotek) Blu-ray

“Blue’s Clues & You! Blue’s Big Baking Show” DVD

“C.H.O.M.P.S.” (1979) Blu-ray

“Illumination Presents: 4-Movie Collection Despicable Me / Despicable Me 2 / Despicable Me 3 / Minions” DVD

“The Jungle Book” (1967) Disney Blu-ray

ON THE TUBE!

And here are all the TV-themed releases coming your way!

“Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog” The Complete Series (Discotek) Blu-ray

“Family Business” Series 2 DVD

“Gohmorrah” Season 4 Blu-ray

“Gomer Pyle USMC” The Complete Series

“The Mating Game” (Narrated by David Attenborough): Year 1 DVD

“NOVA: Universe Revealed” (PBS) DVD