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You are here: Community Film Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for January 13th, 2023

Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for January 13th, 2023

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Welcome to another look at highlights arriving on Blu-ray and DVD. Now that the holiday season is over, things are getting busier once again with a variety of new releases in various genres. So, if you can’t make it out to the movies this week or need to stay indoors, be sure to give one of these titles a try!

THE FRIENDSHIP GAME: A group of teenagers attend a garage sale and purchase a strange object that is said to be a strange game. They are instructed to gather around the item and share their innermost desires with each other. If they can stay friends and get through the ordeal that follows, they win. It doesn’t sound like a fun time, but the kids decide to play anyway and experience horrors beyond anything they could have imagined.

Notices were very poor for this chiller. It looked like one reviewer appreciated the work of the young cast and gave it a recommendation based on their performances. Everyone else commented that the screenplay was completely nonsensical and the meaning of the film was lost in all of the preposterous story turns. It features Peyton List, Brendan Meyer, Kelcey Mawema, Jennifer Copping and Miriam Smith.

GERRY ANDERSON – A LIFE UNCHARTED: For those unfamiliar with British producer Gerry Anderson, this figure was responsible for some iconic children’s programs, most notably the Thunderbirds series starring a cast of puppets. But behind the scenes, the man endured personal tragedy and his blunt personality made his work-life tumultuous – the man created just as many enemies as friends in the business.

His son uses archival clips with the man and those who worked with him to try and get a clearer picture of the individual. This independent production hasn’t been seen by many in this part of the world, but online notices from abroad were positive. They thought it was an interesting, bittersweet and very candid account of the life of a man responsible for an iconic series. For the time being, this is a DVD-only release.

I’M TOTALLY FINE: This independent comedy/drama involves a woman attempting to deal with the sudden death of her best friend and business partner. The protagonist ventures out of town to try and regroup, but ends up receiving a shock when an extraterrestrial appears and takes the form of her deceased bestie. The strange situation allows the lead to deal with her trauma, while the alien tries to learn the strange ways of human behavior.

Write-ups for the movie were more positive than negative. About one third of critics called it one-note and didn’t think it addressed any of the themes it raised in a meaningful or even amusing way. But the majority believed that while odd, the leads were likable and that the eccentric film was original and delivered plenty of chuckles.

Jillian Bell, Natalie Morales, Blake Anderson and Harvey Guillén headline the feature. This title is a DVD-only release.

PIGGY: While on summer holiday, an awkward teenage girl is tormented by other youths who make fun of her weight. One day, she witnesses one of those abusers being kidnapped and chooses to do nothing about it. More of the nasty bullies vanish, and the teen and killer continue to keep quiet about the crimes. Feeling guilty for doing nothing and realizing that she is now an accessory to the psychopath, the lead tries to figure out what to do next.

The Spanish, foreign-language chiller earned raves from the press. A tiny contingent argued that while nuanced, it was still an exploitation flick that didn’t delve deeply enough into the lead character’s psyche. Everyone else wrote that the movie was an impressive homage to 70s horror. They complimented it for dealing with complex teenage emotions in new (and disturbing) ways and were also impressed by the lead performance.

The film stars Laura Galán and Carmen Machi.

POKER FACE: A tech billionaire and gambler prides himself on his ability to read competitors and get the better of them. He decides to host a high-stakes poker game between himself and friends. As the evening progresses, it becomes clear that the host is plotting something strange. Things get even more complicated when armed thieves appear and threaten the lives of all the attendees.

This picture stars and was directed by Russell Crowe. Unfortunately, it didn’t get much love from critics. A handful said the cast was fine and that it was better than many recent action B-movies. However, the consensus was that there were fewer surprises from the script than hoped for and that the final product was unmemorable.

The cast also includes Liam Hemsworth, RZA, Elsa Pataky, Brooke Satchwell and Aden Young.

THE RETURN OF TANYA TUCKER: FEATURING BRANDI CARLILE: Country music fans may appreciate this documentary featuring two popular artists from different eras coming together and collaborating. After music star Brandi Carlile expresses her love of Tucker’s music and realizes that her idol hasn’t recorded any new material in 15 years, she sets out to find the star and convince her to record another album. Viewers learn the reasons that Tucker stepped away from the spotlight and watch the pair work together on new material.

Response was upbeat towards the feature. A small number didn’t think they weren’t getting enough details about Tucker and wrote that it all felt like a commercial for the two artists. Still, most found it fascinating to watch the pair of icons work together and found the experience interesting and engaging.

SHE SAID: This biopic tells the story of New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, who broke the story about the horrible acts committed by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. After receiving and investigating reports of sexual harassment committed by the powerful figure, the two conduct interviews and discover a shocking series of wrongdoings. They compel the victims to stand together and contend with legal threats from Weinstein.

Reviews were very good for this picture. A small number noted that while the story being told was important, this depiction was dramatically flat and thought it fawned over the New York Times too much. Still, the majority stated that the lead performances were excellent and that the movie effectively depicted the importance of investigative journalism and the diligence of those who uncovered the truth.

It stars Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan, Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, Jennifer Elhe, Samantha Morton, Angela Yeoh and Ashley Judd.

VESPER: Set in the future, this science-fiction effort takes place after the collapse of Earth’s ecosystem. As most plants and humans die out, an oppressive oligarchy takes over. In the meantime, a clever teenager and her father try to eke out a new life in the wild.

When a government ship crashes near them, the girl discovers a survivor. Using her bio-hacking ability, she attempts to create plant life and save the planet.

This English-language European production was well-received. A few thought that the movie looked great but that the story didn’t involve them in the plight of the main character. Yet the general consensus was that the film was not only moody, original and visually stunning, but also thrilling in its depiction of characters trying to salvage something out of an apocalypse.

The cast includes Raffiella Chapman, Eddie Marsan, Rosy McEwen and Richard Blake.

VOODOO MACBETH: This drama tells the story of director Orson Welles. Before he shot to fame directing the 1941 classic Citizen Kane, the aspiring 20-year-old filmmaker was hired to direct the first all-Black cast stage production of Macbeth by William Shakespeare. The story follows the filmmaker as he changes the setting of the play to 19th century Haiti, adds voodoo elements and unites a cast to perform a new adaptation.

This independent feature was a USC student project made by students and it was generally well-received. Nearly one-third of critics found the film admirable, but asserted that with so many figures behind the camera, it was clumsily made. Still, most were impressed by the work of those involved and thought the movie was an interestingly dramatized and important story.

Inger Tudor, Jewell Wilson Bridges. June Schreiner and Jeremy Tardy headline the film.


If you enjoy older pictures, you have plenty to choose from this week.


If you enjoy older pictures, you have plenty to choose from this week.

88 Films is delivering the fantastic Hong Kong action picture Dragons Forever (1988) starring Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung. It is arriving in a 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray package. The story follows a pair of lawyers who are hired by a chemical company. When they realize what their employers are doing, they fight back.

You’ll get three different versions of the movie with remastered picture, a film expert commentary, outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes, shorts and archival programs about how the movie was made and the careers of its stars, tons of publicity materials and much more.

Arrow Video is presenting The Dunwich Horror (1970) on Blu-ray. This is a well-received H.P. Lovecraft adaptation deals with students using a copy of the Necronomicon to potentially release some sinister forces.

The camera negative was given a 4K scan for this release, meaning that the picture quality has been improved dramatically. You’ll also get a film historian commentary, a conversation with critics discussing Lovecraft, a featurette on the movie as well as the score, a trailer and an image gallery.

Sonny Chiba is a well-known figure to movie fans. Arrow is also releasing The Executioner Collection, which contains The Executioner (1974) and Executioner II: Karate Inferno (1974). They look like two fun, action-packed Japanese efforts. Bonuses include a film historian commentary, a featurette on Chiba’s career, trailers, image galleries and more.

Imitation of Life (1934) is arriving on Blu-ray from Criterion. It’s a melodrama detailing the lives of two struggling mothers. The movie has been given a 4K restoration for this release. Extras include featurettes with critics discussing the picture, a trailer and an essay on the movie.

Kino is delivering a new HD master of the David Janssen crime picture, Warning Shot (1967). The story follows a sergeant who shoots an armed suspect that turns out to be a respected doctor. After being charged with manslaughter, he attempts to prove his innocence. The disc features a film expert commentary track and trailers.

Paramount has slowly been rereleasing Friday the 13th titles in Steelbook packaging. This week, it’s Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) arriving in a sleek, hard case. Obviously, it wasn’t the last installment, but this fourth episode is one of the better sequels in the series (thanks to some over-the-top make-up effects from Tom Savini) and should please genre fans.

Shout! Factory is giving the horror picture Ouija (2014) a 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray release. In addition to the upgraded picture quality, all of the previously featured extras will be included.

The highlight of the week might be a 30th Anniversary Edition of Groundhog Day (1993) from Sony Pictures. The comedy is arriving in a 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray set, meaning it’ll look better than it ever has before (and perhaps even sharper than it did when it played on the big screen).

The comedy stars Bill Murray as a crabby weatherman covering a holiday event in a small town. He is soon forced by powers beyond his understanding to relive the same day over and over again. It’s a hilarious classic with great performances and plenty of amusing situations as the exasperated lead deals with an unusual dilemma.


It’s a slow edition for kid-friendly titles, but rest assured that more are coming soon.


Here are all the week’s TV-themed releases.

Crossword Mysteries: 2-Movie Collection – Terminal Descent & Riddle Me Dead (Hallmark) DVD

Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 (Lionsgate) Blu-ray

Good Girls The Complete Series (Universal) Blu-ray

The Man Who Fell to Earth Season 1 (Paramount) Blu-ray

NATURE: Woodpeckers – The Hole Story (PBS) DVD

NOVA: Can Psychedelics Cure? (PBS) DVD

Season Of Love Double Feature – Harmony from the Heart & An Autumn Romance (Shout!) DVD