April 14, 2020: This Week on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD
Two recent big screen movies kick off the week. First up is Destin Daniel Cretton’s Just Mercy, a powerful true story that investigates the American legal system and an unfortunate individual who fell through the cracks. Michael B. Jordan stars as Bryan Stevenson, a civil rights defense attorney who fights for the rights of Jamie Foxx’s Walter McMillian, a death row inmate facing a steadily ticking clock. Just Mercy marks the third feature from Cretton, following the acclaimed Short Term 12 and The Glass Castle. Next up, he’s heading to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with 2022’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings!
The week also brings the 20th Century Studios sci-fi thriller Underwater, starring Kristen Stewart as a woman working at an underwater drilling site that comes under attack from strange deep sea creatures unlike anything the world has ever seen. The release offers multiple featurettes, extended and deleted scenes, an alternate ending and an audio commentary track with director William Eubank.
From Shout! Factory’s Scream Factory, the week brings a Hammer Horror classic with Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter. Directed by Brian Clemens, the 1974 adventure stars Horst Janson in the title role, an expert in dealing with the undead, who comes to a small English town to investigate a series of strange murders. The release offers two different audio commentary tracks, one with Clemens, alongside star Caroline Munro and Hammer Films historian Jonathan Sothcot, and another from critic Bruce G. Hallenbeck.
Then, joining the Shout Select label is director Michael Seresin’s 1988 boxing drama Homeboy, written by and starring Mickey Rourke. When Rourke’s Johnny Walker finds that a brain injury may prevent him from ever again stepping into the ring, he falls in with a shady promoter (Christopher Walken) who tries to steer him towards a life of crime.
From Warner Archive this week comes another interesting pair of titles. Directed by Terence Young, 1957’s Action of the Tiger offers a cold war adventure starring Van Johnson, Martine Carol, Herbert Lom and, in one of his first big screen roles, Sean Connery. Connery would reteam with Young a few years later for the very first James Bond film, Dr. No.
Then, flash forward a few decades for writer and director Ron Shelton’s Tin Cup. Reteaming with his Bull Durham lead, Kevin Costner, Shelton delivers another romantic sports comedy. This one sets the actor as a professional golfer on the verge of success whose life is thrown upside down when he falls for a married woman (Rene Russo) and decides to prove himself by winning the US Open.
Marlene Dietrich and James Stewart headline George Marshall’s 1939 western comedy, Destry Rides Again, which this week joins the Criterion Collection. Not only has the film been painstakingly restored, the disc arrives packed with special features, including a full 1945 Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the story, which featured Stewart reprising his title role.
Two very different releases arrive from Arrow Video this week, beginning with John Hughes’ debut, the coming of age comedy classic, Sixteen Candles. Boasting a 4K restoration from the film’s original negative, the new release is packed with special features and includes both the theatrical version of the film as well as an extended cut.
Also from Arrow this week comes 1986’s The Wind, which is surprisingly well-timed, given its plot. The film follows a woman, played by Meg Foster, who finds herself trapped inside her house because of a deadly hurricane, only to be stalked by a vicious killer. With participation from writer and director Nico Mastorakis, the film has also received a 4K restoration and has never looked better.
One of the classic works of German expressionist horror, Carl Boese and Paul Wegener’s 1920 silent The Golem arrives on Blu-ray this week from Kino Classics. The new edition offers a 4K restoration of the German release version, the complete US release version and a commentary track with film historian Tim Lucas.
There are also five new additions to the Kino Lorber Studio Classics line. This week brings the HD debuts of the 1957 Korean War military drama Time Limit, the 1970 romantic drama Jenny, the 1970 Edvard Grieg biopic Song of Norway, and two western comedies, 1981’s Cattle Annie & Little Britches and 1986’s Uphill All the Way.
Before the feature film The Naked Gun, Leslie Nielsen made a small screen debut as Detective Frank Drebin as part of David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker’s short lived Police Squad! Although the show only lasted six episodes, it still has significantly more laughs than the average comedy series. Now, Police Squad! gets the HD treatment in a new Blu-ray set that also offers a number of bonus features, including a gag reel, archival footage and commentaries on three of the episodes.
Nearly forty years ago, NBC made television history with V, a three-hour miniseries that detailed how subtly fascism can rise with the story of an alien invasion by man-eating lizard people disguised with smiling human faces. Late last year, Warner Archive restored the original V for Blu-ray and the results were astonishing. Now, the 1984 sequel miniseries, V: The Final Battle gets the same treatment. Will the Earth survive the Visitors? Find out right here!
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