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You are here: Community Film Bluray/DVD Roundup for January 26, 2024

Bluray/DVD Roundup for January 26, 2024

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Welcome to another look at highlights arriving on Blu-ray and DVD. This edition includes some animated fare, a war film and a thriller too, as well as plenty of exciting reissues. So, if you can’t make it out to the movies this week or need to stay indoors for a few days, be sure to check one of these titles out!

BIG NEW RELEASES!

JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS – PART 1: DC superhero enthusiasts can now watch the first part in this animated three-movie series. It begins with a character known as the Monitor (who oversees the DC Multiverse) sending a message out to heroes in numerous universes saying he needs their help. A sinister figure is destroying various worlds, seeking to wipe most of the Multiverse. Various versions of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Superwoman, The Flash and others team up to save their remaining worlds before they are obliterated.

There haven’t been many reviews for this title yet, but those that have appeared online have been positive. Many have said that the extended running time allows for more character development and that the film is a very strong beginning to a potentially exciting story. It is available on either 4K Ultra HD or on Blu-ray.

The voice cast includes Alexandra Daddario, Jensen Ackles, Matt Bomer, Stana Katic, Aldis Hodge, Harry Shum Jr. and Zachary Quinto.

TROLLS BAND TOGETHER: This picture was actually released on disc last week with little notice given to the press. The third installment of the popular animated family film series features lead Poppy discovering that her partner Branch used to be a part of a “boy band” with his brothers. When one of his siblings is kidnapped, Poppy heads out with Branch to save him and reunite with extended family members.

Critics were slightly more positive than negative about the final product. Close to half complained that while the music was good, the story wasn’t exciting or dynamic and that the entire product felt overly familiar. Slightly more suggested that the film was well animated. They also wrote that the song numbers were fun to watch and that young kids would have a great time singing and dancing to the music.

Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Camila Cabello, Eric Andre, Amy Schumer, Andrew Rannells, Troye Sivan, Daveed Diggs, Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi, Zooey Deschanel, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Ru Paul and Kunal Nayyar provide the voices for the film.

WOLF PACK: This foreign-language war film from China focuses on a skilled medic/brain surgeon who is kidnapped by an elite international squad of “warriors” and taken to their hideout. Apparently, he is told that the group has a connection to his late father. The lead is then asked to join the outfit on a secret desert mission to save a pipeline from being destroyed by a group of evil conspirators.

There aren’t a lot of notices for the picture in this part of the world and the online reviews that are available have been mixed-negative. These reviewers were disappointed that the movie was more of a war picture than a martial arts action epic. They called the plot hammy and found it difficult to take seriously, noting that even the battle scenes weren’t particularly memorable.

Max Zhang Jin, Aarif Lee, Jiang Luxia, Mark Luu, Ye Liu, Chang Yi and Tang Guozhong headline the picture.

YOUR LUCKY DAY: A troubled young man enters a corner store at the same time that another figure discovers his lottery ticket has just earned him $156 million dollars. The winning individual makes the mistake of celebrating openly and the down-on-his-luck kid decides to take the paper slip. Little do they know that a policeman is using the washroom. The officer walks out firing and after a body falls to the ground, the survivors try to make a deal so they can all walk out millionaires.

The independent thriller earned mostly positive write-ups from critics. A small number thought that the concept was excellent but that the execution was clumsy and that it had difficulty making its points. However, the vast majority thought it was a very strong debut feature. They wrote that it had good performances, a fast pace, strong message, as well as plenty of story twists.

It stars Angus Cloud, Elliot Knight, Jessica Garza, Sterling Beaumon, Mousa Hussein Kraish and Jason Wiles.

BLASTS FROM THE PAST!

Anyone looking to venture into cinema’s past also has options.

This week, Cohen Media Group is releasing The Sea Shall Not Have Them & Albert R.N.: Two British Wartime Classics Directed by Lewis Gilbert on Blu-ray. As you might have already guessed, the well-regarded films The Sea Shall Not Have Them (1954) and Albert R.N. (1953) aka Break to Freedom are included. The first is about RAF pilots who crash into the sea and must avoid getting caught by German U-boats. The other involves a group of British POWs who suspect that there is a spy living with them in their cells. Director Gilbert has quite a resume that includes Sink the Bismarck!, Alfie, You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine among many others.

Criterion is delivering the Blu-ray box set Chantal Akerman Masterpieces containing nine titles from the Belgian filmmaker. The movies are Saute Ma Ville (1968), L'enfant Aimé, ou Je Joue à être une Femme Mariée (1971), La Chambre (1972), Hotel Monterey (1972), Le 15/8 (1973), Je Tu Il Elle (1974), Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975), News from Home (1977) and Les Rendez-Vous D’Anna (1978). All of the titles have been given 4K restorations. The set also contains an unfinished film from 1973, a program on Akerman, a visual essay on the moviemaker, a documentary on the 1975 picture in the set, interviews with Arkerman, as well as various cast and crew members, an appreciation by filmmaker Ira Sachs and more.

Carlotta Films is putting out Jeanne Moreau, Filmmaker: Lumiere (1976) / The Adolescent (1979) / Lillian Gish (1984)” on Blu-ray. The set contains 4K restorations of the first two titles. They are French dramas, while the third (which has been given an HD restoration) is a documentary tribute to American actress Gish, looking back on her life and career.

Kino is giving the hit Arnold Schwarzeneggar comedy Kindergarten Cop (1990) a 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray upgrade. For those who haven’t seen it, this film from Ivan Reitman (Meatballs, Stripes, Ghostbusters, Twins) has the star playing an undercover cop who, in order to track down a dangerous criminal, must pose as a kindergarten teacher and gently question the young students. He, of course, quickly finds himself exasperated, particularly when one child insists that a headache might actually be a brain tumor. Besides the picture upgrade, it comes with two film historian commentary tracks, and a trailer.

Australian label Powerhouse Films is putting out a Blu-ray of the John Frankenheimer drama Impossible Object (1973). The movie arrives on disc with a 4K restoration of the French theatrical cut and shorter British edition, a film expert commentary, an archived interview with Frankenheimer, a comparison of the two different versions, tons of publicity materials, and a limited 36-page booklet with essays and images on the movie.

The distributor is also presenting a Blu-ray of Jinnah (1998) with Christopher Lee. He co-stars with Shashi Kapoor in this biopic about Pakistan’s founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. It arrives on disc with a new picture remaster, a 37-minute documentary on the production, a trailer, an image gallery and a 40-page booklet on the movie with information about the troubled shoot and an overview of contemporary critical responses.

Here’s an unusual one. Karate Kids USA (1979) aka The Little Dragons is a family action/comedy arriving on Blu-ray from Shoreline Entertainment. It follows a grandfather who takes his grandsons on a camping trip (that, for some reason, also involves a karate tournament). While there, they discover a kidnapping plot and try to save the day. This was an early effort from award-winning director Curtis Harrington, who would go on to direct The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, L.A. Confidential, 8 Mile and other critical and commercial hits.

Sony is rereleasing the French/Belgian/Canadian/British animated effort The Triplets of Belleville (2003) on Blu-ray. This visually arresting, absolutely wonderful movie doesn’t feature much dialogue, but makes a big impression.

It follows an elderly woman who sets out to save her grandson after he is kidnapped while racing in the Tour de France. She and her oversized dog encounter and travel with a trio of ex-stage performers in order to find the lost relative. It’s a visual delight with some wild musical numbers and a memorable climax. It is highly recommended to fans of animated films with a darker but still very humorous edge. The only downside is that the movie isn’t arriving in 4K Ultra HD.

And Shout! Factory is making a couple of titles available on Blu-ray as well. Jennifer 8 (1992) is getting the “Special Edition” treatment. Andy Garcia plays a homicide detective hunting down a serial killer. He finds a witness in a blind woman played by Uma Thurman and tries to prevent her from becoming another victim. The Blu-ray presents a new 4K restoration of two cuts of the picture (one features a never-before-seen alternate ending). There’s also a look back at the movie with Garcia, the writer/director and co-star Lance Henriksen, as well as the alternate ending on its own and a trailer.

Thinner (1996) is a Stephen King adaptation about a lawyer who is cursed by a Romani woman wanting payback after the lead defends her daughter’s killer. The protagonist begins losing weight at a rapid rate and desperately does whatever he can to avoid wasting away.

This reviewer always found the movie a bit silly, but it seems to have found a following over the years and is now arriving in a Collector’s Edition package. The disc includes a movie critic commentary track, a second commentary with the producer and co-star Joe Mantegna, an interview with the director, as well as cast member Lucinda Jenney. Additionally, there’s a discussion with the make-up effects artist, an archived commentary with the director and Mantegna, a vintage featurette on the make-up and publicity materials.

YOU KNOW, FOR KIDS!

As mentioned, the big family friendly animated release right now appears to be the title listed below.

Trolls Band Together (Universal) 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray or Standalone Blu-ray

ON THE TUBE!

And the week’s TV-themed release is listed below.

Lawman: Bass Reeves (Mini-series) (Paramount) Blu-ray

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