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You are here: Community Film Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for March 11, 2022

Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for March 11, 2022

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Welcome to another look at highlights arriving on Blu-ray and DVD. It’s another great week, jam-packed with all kinds of entertainment in a wide variety of genres. 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!


AGNES: A disaffected priest is assigned by superiors to investigate a claim of demonic possession at a religious convent.

After arriving with a pupil, the two look into the matter and the nun who many feel is being controlled by a sinister force. They discover plenty of strange things occurring on site and ultimately find themselves dealing with a crisis of faith after being confronted by temptation.

This independent horror flick has received more positive notices than negative ones. About one third of reviewers called it poorly structured, silly and said they didn’t think it delivered the necessary shocks. Still, the majority thought it was an interesting and compelling exorcism movie that blended genres effectively and stood out as a unique effort.

The cast includes Molly C. Quinn, Jake Horowitz, Sean Gunn, Chris Browning and Hayley McFarland.

AMERICAN SIEGE: This direct-to-disc action picture (that is also available on streaming platforms) involves an aging sheriff in a Georgia small town catering to the upper classes.

Three outlaws suddenly appear and take a prominent member of the community hostage. The mayor calls the protagonist and hassles him to find and eliminate the criminals before the FBI arrives. Beginning to suspect that his superiors are equally crooked, the hero must square off against bad guys from all sides.

This effort was universally panned by critics. The best reviews stated that the movie was bland, but that the star of the picture had been in worse films this year. Others wrote that the lead actor deserved much better and described the script and filmmaking as embarrassing.

Bruce Willis, Rob Gough, Timothy V. Murphy, Johann Urb, Anna Hindman and Trevor Gretzky headline the picture.


COMING 2 AMERICA: The 1988 Eddie Murphy comedy “Coming to America was a box office hit during its original run and remains a popular film. More than 30 years later, Murphy has returned for this follow-up.

In the time since the original, the protagonist has fathered three daughters and is now a king in Africa. A sinister general from a nearby nation plots to murder him and take the throne. When the lead learns that he has an illegitimate son from his previous trip to America, he sets out to find his heir.

This feature wasn’t as well received as the first picture and split the press. Almost half wrote that it was a charming, entertaining and well-intentioned sequel that would please fans of the original.

But just as many complained that the movie was simply cashing in on nostalgia. And while they said that Murphy was still charming, they noted that he was pushed to the sidelines in this tale. It also stars Arsenio Hall, Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, KiKi Layne, Shari Headley, Wesley Snipes, James Earl Jones and John Amos.


A JOURNAL FOR JORDAN: Based on a true story, this drama follows a soldier who is deployed to war-torn Iraq. He is killed in battle, but it is revealed that he had written a journal of love and advice for his infant son in case of his death.

The soldier’s wife, a senior New York Times editor, revisits the pages and remembers moments of her relationship with her true love.

This picture was directed by Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington, but it didn’t make a winning impression with reviewers. A little more than a third of them thought that the quieter moments between the characters did resonate and complimented it as a sincere examination of love and grief.

Unfortunately, the majority wrote that the movie was too understated and dramatically flat, failing to generate a strong emotional reaction. It features Michael B. Jordan, Chanté Adams, Jalon Christian and Robert Wisdom.

THE LAST VICTIM: This independent thriller begins with a violent gang committing a grisly murder. The killers attempt to get rid of the body in a nearby wildlife sanctuary, but end up crossing paths with a couple visiting the site. The terrified pair are hunted down until one of them decides to fight back.

In the meantime, a sheriff and his inexperienced deputy arrive at the crime scene. They attempt to figure out what happened and find the responsible party.

There aren’t any reviews available in this part of the world for this movie just yet, but it was screened abroad and received an audience award nomination for Best Picture at the Oldenburg Film Festival in Germany. The cast includes Ron Perlman, Ali Larter, Ralph Ineson, Tahmoh Penikett, Kyle Schmid and Tom Stevens.

THE LEGEND OF LA LLORONA: A family decides to go to Mexico on a vacation at an isolated hacienda. As such trips turn out in most horror movies, this journey turns out to be a terrible idea.

They discover that numerous children in the town have gone missing and locals feel that it is the result of an evil spirit of a distraught mother named La Llorona. Suddenly, the youngest family member is taken. To get the child back, the family must do battle in a frightening supernatural realm.

This chiller, which has nothing to do with other La Llorona flicks in recent years, was panned by reviewers. One person was very amused by the over-the-top tone and appreciated the work of one of the co-stars. Everyone else thought the movie was badly written, repetitive and wouldn’t muster anything but unintentional laughs from viewers.

It stars Autumn Reeser, Antonio Cupo, Danny Trejo, Zamia Fandiño and Josh Zaharia.


THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS: The fourth movie in this action/science-fiction franchise arrives 18 years after the last feature. Long after the events of the previous chapter, the lead character finds himself again existing in a seemingly normal but slightly strange world.

The protagonist begins following the steps he used long ago to find out if his reality is a physical or mental construct. And as one might have guessed, he discovers himself in the Matrix, which has grown even more powerful since his previous adventure.

Notices for this picture were slightly more positive than negative. About a third of write-ups found it exposition-heavy and focused on creating a new series of films without delivering the thrills and originality that made the first title so beloved. Still, the rest liked seeing the charismatic leads return and were impressed by the visuals and action, calling it an enjoyable outing.

The cast includes Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jonathan Groff, Jessica Henwick, Neil Patrick Harris, Jada Pinkett Smith, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Christina Ricci.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONS: Based on a play of the same name, this drama deals with a group of college athletes who decide to go on strike hours before a championship game.

They begin a movement to be paid fair compensation for their work on the field, which is earning their university millions of dollars. With only hours until kickoff, the head coach and others race to try and reach an agreement with the players.

The press was generally upbeat about this picture. About one third commented that it had too many unnecessary subplots and also criticized it as being a safe and predictable feature that left them unmoved. Regardless, the remaining two-thirds of reviewers thought that the subject was interesting, the performances were engaging and that enough of the material worked to earn it a recommendation.

Stephan James, J.K. Simmons, Alexander Ludwig, Lil Rel Howery, Tim Blake Nelson, Russell Wilson, King Bach, Jeffrey Donovan, David Koechner, Kristin Chenoweth and Timothy Olyphant headline the picture.

THE NOWHERE INN: This comedy stars popular musician Annie Clark aka St. Vincent. She plays herself, setting out to make a documentary about her concert tour and her personal life behind-the-scenes.

After hiring fellow performer and close friend Carrie Brownstein (also playing herself) to helm the project, a problem arises. The director doesn’t find the low-key Annie interesting at all, insisting that she behave like St. Vincent all the time. Friction between the two soon threatens to destroy the project.

Critics generally liked this movie. A smaller portion did have issues, suggesting that it was all a bit self-indulgent and that its message on stardom was ultimately lost. Still, the majority liked the concert footage and were amused by the comedic work of the two stars, saying that it was interesting and did manage to make a few points about being a celebrity.

The picture also features Dakota Johnson and Ezra Buzzington.


REDEEMING LOVE: Set in 1850 during the California Gold Rush, this romance follows a young woman who was sold into prostitution as a child.

Despite suffering from self-loathing, she befriends a man searching for gold. He doesn’t care about the woman’s past and proposes to her. While the lead doesn’t believe the marriage will work, she agrees and begins to find a purpose in life with her new love.

This is a faith-based film based on the 1991 novel by Francine Rivers. A small contingent of reviewers wrote that it was well-shot, followed the source material accurately and would appeal to its target audience.

However, the consensus was that this adaptation didn’t work. They stated that the story was out-of-date and melodramatic, the characters weren’t well developed and that the filmmakers couldn’t help but overplay the religious message.

The cast includes Abigail Cowen, Tom Lewis, Logan Marshall-Green, Famke Janssen, Eric Dane and Nina Dobrev.

SHOW ME THE FATHER: Speaking of faith-based pictures, this documentary arrives from the creators of “Fireproof” and “Courageous Legacywhich are religious pictures. It includes a series of deeply personal stories told by people about their dads and the impact that these people had on their lives.

The movie claims to be an inspiring feature that delivers a fresh perspective on the roles of “earthly” fathers in today’s society and how this all relates to God.

There haven’t been many notices for the picture just yet. Among those that have popped up, a couple suggest that this film contains some nice and inspiring stories, although much of the film feels more like a bunch of reenactments than an authentic documentary. One negative review thought that while the tales were nice, the movie ultimately sermonizes in a way that won’t win over casual viewers.

SILENT NIGHT: This unsettling feature from the UK follows a couple and their kids during the holiday season. They decide to invite close friends and family to join them for a Christmas dinner.

As the evening progresses, it becomes clear that something isn’t right in the world. In fact, it appears that a catastrophic event is about to occur and that this may be their last night together.

Response was generally more positive than negative for this effort.  There was a contingent who didn’t think that dark humor and drama based around an imminent apocalypse worked well together. However, the majority stated that while the film was incredibly bleak and wouldn’t appeal to everyone, it was unique, very well performed and would leave a lasting impression.

It stars Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Roman Griffin Davis, Annabelle Wallis, Lily-Rose Depp and Sope Dirisu.

A WRITER’S ODYSSEY: A writer creates a vivid series about a young man in a faraway land who fights a villainous tyrant. His books are a massive hit, but strange events begin to occur in the real world that blur the lines of fantasy and reality.

The antagonist from the novels decides to take a step into our universe and sends his henchmen to kill the author. Naturally, the writer has to fight back and teach himself how to become a hero.

The press was amused by this foreign-language fantasy flick from China. One or two complained that the movie was slickly produced but didn’t engage them on an emotional level. Everyone else thought it was a blast, commenting that it looked great and provided fantastic action with a likable and relatable protagonist.

The cast includes Jiayin Lei, Mi Yang, Zijian Dong, Shengdi Wang and Jingfei Guo.

BLASTS FROM THE PAST!


Arrow Video are getting things off to a nice start with the recent horror picture, “The Stylist (2020), about an unhinged hairdresser who collects scalps. The distributor released a “Limited Edition” Blu-ray of the picture last year that came with a CD soundtrack. They are now putting out a “Special Edition” that doesn’t contain the CD, but comes with all of the previously released bonuses.


Kino are presenting a new 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray set of the classic, “The Apartment (1960). This movie stars Jack Lemmon as an insurance worker who hopes for a promotion after he begins lending his downtown apartment to his bosses for their extramarital affairs. When he falls for his employer’s girlfriend (Shirley MacLaine), he decides to risk career advancement and protect the woman he loves.

Besides the impressive picture quality, the set comes with a new film historian audio commentary, another critic audio track, a documentary on the movie, a featurette on Jack Lemmon and a trailer.

You can also pick up a 4K restoration of “Hester Street (1975) from The Cohen Media Group. It’s a drama about a Russian Jew who emigrates to the US to make a new start in life. He quickly adapts to his new surroundings, but there is trouble when his wife and son arrive from abroad and she doesn’t take to the country as easily as hoped for.

This Blu-ray arrives with two new interviews with the movie’s director, an archival commentary track with the filmmaker, interviews with the cast and crew, as well as the original opening titles sequence, outtakes and a trailer.

Criterion are delivering the Hungarian drama “Adoption (1975) on Blu-ray. It’s about a single factory woman who desperately wants a child. Her married boyfriend doesn’t approve of the idea and she becomes interested in adopting a baby.

The disc features a 4K restoration of the movie, a video essay on the feature, an interview with the director and a short film by the individual, as well as a documentary on the moviemaker and a trailer.

B-movie enthusiasts can pick up “Monster from Green Hell (1957) on Blu-ray from The Film Detective. It’s a monster movie about giant mutant wasps and is considered by many to be one of those “so-bad-it’s-good” experiences.

It has received a 4K restoration so every effect looks extra cheesy and is presented in two different aspect ratios. Additionally, there is a career retrospective on the star of the movie, Jim Davis. Additionally, noted comic artist Stephen R. Bissette provides a commentary track on the picture, and there is a full-color booklet included with an essay about the flick.

Full Moon Pictures are also known for their genre releases. They have a Blu-ray of the Italian monster schlock-fest “The Island of the Fishmen (1979). It involves a group of criminals and a doctor who wash ashore on a mysterious island. One by one, they are attacked by the title creatures.

The movie is being presented for the first time in its completely uncut original form, remastered from the original 35mm negative.

Mansion of the Doomed (1976) is about a crazed ophthalmologist obsessed with restoring the eyesight of his daughter. To do so, he begins deranged experimenting and starts searching for and kidnapping unwilling donors.

The cast includes Richard Basehart, Gloria Grahame, Lance Henriksen and Vic Tayback. Like their previous release, this Blu-ray presents a fully uncut version of the film along with some trailers.


Paramount are focusing on animated family films this week. They are rereleasing the Nickelodeon feature “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” (2001) on Blu-ray, as well as the “Rugrats 3-Movie Collection” which contains three movies based on the popular children’s cartoon. The titles included in this set are “The Rugrats Movie” (1998), “Rugrats in Paris” (2000) and “Rugrats Go Wild” (2003).

In order to celebrate the film’s 10th Anniversary, Sony are putting out a Blu-ray and DVD set of the religious drama, “Courageous Legacy” (2011). There is currently no word on whether there are extra features included.

For those who have a 4K UHD set-up, Synapse are presenting a Limited Edition of the wild and crazy Italian horror flick “Phenomena” (1985) from Dario Argento (“Deep Red,” “Suspiria”). It stars a very young Jennifer Connelly as a boarding school student with the ability to communicate with insects. She uses her abilities to help stop a maniacal killer.

This release includes 4K restorations of three different versions of the movie, as well as multiple film historian audio commentaries, a 2017 feature-length making-of documentary, archival interviews, trailers, a music video, a featurette on the different versions of the movie and much, much more. Sounds like a lot of fun for genre movie fans.

They also have a regular Blu-ray of “Thriller: A Cruel Picture (1973). This is a Swedish grindhouse revenge movie about a woman training in martial arts and getting even with the men who violently assaulted her. The movie is presented uncut and includes the original language track and English dub, outtakes, an alternate fight sequence, multiple still galleries and publicity materials, to name but a few of the bonuses.

Universal have a 4K UHD and Blu-ray upgrade of “Downton Abbey (2019), the recent film and follow-up to the hugely popular British period television series.

And to tie in with this week’s release of “The Matrix Resurrections” Warner Brothers are presenting a box set called “The Matrix: Déjà vu Edition” that contains all four movies. It includes the groundbreaking action classic “The Matrix” (1999), as well as “The Matrix Reloaded” (2003), “The Matrix Revolutions” (2003) and the newest chapter in 4K Ultra HD and on Blu-ray. One expects that all of the previously released extras will also be included (at least, on the Blu-ray discs).

YOU KNOW, FOR KIDS!

There is plenty for kids to choose from this week. Here are some of the options available.

“Adventure Time: Distant Lands” (2020 – 2021 mini-series) Blu-ray

“Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures: Go Team Roberts!” DVD

“Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” (2001) (Nickelodeon/Paramount) Blu-ray

“Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years” Season 1, Volume 1 (Nickelodeon) DVD

“Rugrats 3-Movie Collection” (1998 – 2003) Paramount Blu-ray

“Sonic Boom” The Complete Series Blu-ray

“Space Raiders” Season 1 Blu-ray

“Space Raiders” Season 2 Blu-ray

“Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go - Race for The Sodor Cup” DVD

ON THE TUBE!

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

“Adventure Time: Distant Lands” (2020 – 2021 mini-series) Blu-ray

“All Creatures Great and Small” Season 2 (PBS) Blu-ray

“Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures: Go Team Roberts!” DVD

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” The Complete Series (8 Seasons, individual seasons are available separately) Blu-ray

“Dalgliesh” Season 1 (Acorn) DVD

“Earth Emergency” (PBS) DVD

“Journey of My Heart” (Hallmark Channel) DVD

“Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years” Season 1, Volume 1 (Nickelodeon) DVD

“Sonic Boom” The Complete Series Blu-ray

“Space Raiders” Season 1 Blu-ray

“Space Raiders” Season 2 Blu-ray

“Supergirl” The Complete Series Blu-ray

“Supergirl” The 5th and Final Season Blu-ray

“The Walking Dead: World Beyond” Season 2 Blu-ray

“Yellowstone” Season 4 Blu-ray