New DVD and Blu-ray releases for October 10, 2017
(KUTV) This week features classic films old and new from directors Edgar Wright, Sofia Coppola, Bill Condon, Orson Welles and Mario Bava.
Over the years director Edgar Wright has established himself as favorite among critics and cinephiles for his approach to various genre pictures like "Shaun of the Dead," "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" and "The World's End." With "Baby Driver" Wright offers his take on a heist film packed with car chases, music and an eclectic assortment of characters. If you missed "Baby Driver" in theaters, now is the time to catch up.
Since her debut feature "The Virgin Suicides" in 1999, Sofia Coppola has put her unique stamp on filmmaking . With "The Beguiled," Coppola tackles Thomas Cullinan's tale of the impact that a wounded Union soldier's presence has on the remaining students and staff of a girl's school deep in the South. Unlike the Clint Eastwood film, this version is told from the women's point of view. Features the collective talents of Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning and Colin Farrell.
Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler star in "The House," a rather laughless comedy about two parents who start an illegal casino in hopes of raising enough money to pay for their daughter's college tuition.
Murdoch Mysteries: Once Upon a Murdoch Christmas
The snowless streets of Tronto are filled with mystery as a murder, missing presents and a few 'Humbug' attitudes from Station House No. 4 threaten to interupt the joyous season.
Joey King stars in this lifeless horror about a magic box that grants a teenage girl's wishes at a deadly price. The unrated director's cut features a bit of gore that was cut from the PG-13 theatrical release, but the blood doesn't cover up the script's inability to produce scares.
This week's 4K releases are limited to "Baby Driver" and the deluxe re-issue of the "Peanuts Holiday Collection." I haven't had a chance to view the "Baby Driver" 4K release, but all reports have it looking considerably better than the serviceable image of the Blu-ray release. I have, however, had a chance to look at the 4K "Peanuts Holiday Collection: Deluxe Edition" and I have to say that I was impressed by the results. Despite featuring minimalistic animation, "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" and "A Charlie Brown Christmas" look remarkably better than they did on Blu-ray. Richer color, darker blacks and heightened detail that gives the image a sense of depth that wasn't as apparent before. Just do me, and yourself, a favor and avoid the "widescreen" presentations. They're poorly cropped versions of the original programs that needn't exist.
Moving on to catalog releases we have "Amores Perros" and "Dreamgirls: Director's Extended Edition." In 2002, before Alejandro González Iñárritu made a name for himself with "Birdman" and "The Revenant," the director made "Amores Perros," a film about three lives connected by a car accident. The film starred a young actor known as Gael García Bernal who may or may not have gone on to make a name for himself.
Director Bill Condon's adaptation of Tom Eyen's Broadway musical "Dreamgirls" earned Jennifer Hudson an Academy Award for her performance and Golden Globes for Hudson, Eddie Murphy and Beyoncé Knowles. The film tells the story of 1960s girlgroup (Hudson, Knowles and Anika Noni Rose) who tried to make it big under the watchful eye of James "Thunder" Early (Murphy) . This new edition of the film includes the theatrical version as well as a new cut of the film that includes an additional ten minutes of footage as well as a wealth of newly produced bonus features including Hudson's auditions and screen test.
This week's Criterion releases are "The Lure" and Orson Welles' "Othello."
"The Lure" was one of the more unusual films that I saw at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016. I described it as "a quintessential Sundance experience" in that it is an utterly unusual Polish mermaid musical that takes on the darker aspect of siren lore (they eat their prey) with a kitschy '80s influence. I liked the bizarre coming-of-age aspects of the film and the crazy musical numbers.
The history of Orson Welles' "Othello" is rather complicated and there are numerous versions of the film that have been shown in theaters and released in various home video formats over the years. This Criterion release features new 4K scans of the 1952 and 1955 versions of the film (the 1992 restored version with alternate music was given a 2K release in France, but the 1952 version is considered by most to be the preferred cut). The film, which was made on the cheap over a period of time, lacks the polish of Welles' studio releases, but it is a curiosity that is worth watching for Micheal MacLiammoi's performance as Iago. Welles as the title character is problematic and not just because the actor has put on blackface for the role. The structure of the narrative is also a bit strange as it opens with a scene from the end of the story before going back in time to tell the tale. The 1952 version of the film shows less wear and tear than the 1955 cut. Neither look flawless, but I suspect that neither will ever look much better than they do here.
This week's noteable horror catalog releases are Arrow Film's stand-alone "Blood Feast," the film credited with starting the splatter genre in 1963 and the first of Herschell Gordon Lewis' string of similar films, and Mario Bava's "Kill, Baby... Kill!"
"Blood Feast" was initially available in Arrow's massive "The Herschell Gordon Lewis Feast" collection, tells the story of a demented caterer who kills women to serve them as part of his meals as tribute to an Egyptian goddess. It's not exactly high art, but it does have a particular historical value for horror buffs.
"Kill, Baby... Kill!" is a far better film as it takes the audience to a small villiage that is being tormented by the murderous ghost of a young girl. I haven't had a chance to see Kino's release of the film, but seeing as the Arrow Film UK release is Region B locked, this is probably the best domestic option you have.