January 7, 2020: This Week on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD
It’s the Clown Prince of Crime versus a Dark Knight to be as both Joker and The Lighthouse arrive on Blu-ray (and, in the case of Joker, 4K Ultra HD as well). Joaquin Phoenix headlines Todd Phillips’s DC Comics adaptation, offering a grim and gritty origin story for the iconic villain. Robert Pattinson stars opposite Willem Dafoe in Robert Eggers’s eerie black and white tale of nautical madness.
Their third big screen collaboration (released on the heels of Howard Hawks’s Bringing Up Baby earlier that same year) Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn star in George Cukor’s 1938 romantic comedy, Holiday, which, this week, joins the Criterion Collection. Grant plays Johnny Case, a freewheeling young fellow whose outlook on life clashes with that of the family of his wealthy fiancée.
Holiday marks the second Cukor film in the Criterion Collection, who previously released the subsequent Grant and Hepburn teamup, 1940’s The Philadelphia Story. Offering a 4K digital restoration, Holiday’s blu-ray debut also includes, as a bonus feature, the complete 1930 version of Holiday, directed by Edward H. Griffith and starring Robert Ames and Ann Harding in the leading roles.
Shout Factory’s Scream Factory label has several titles arriving today, including a rerelease of their out of print Deathstalkers/Deathstalkers II double feature (available directly through Shout! Factory). Released in 1983 and 1987, the Argentine-American fantasy adventures have become certified cult classics. Both arrive in the same set, backed by audio commentary tracks on both films.
In 1973, writer and director Robert Fuest followed helming The Abominable Dr. Phibes and its sequel, Dr. Phibes Rises Again, with a big screen adaptation of Michael Moorcock’s 1965 science fiction novel The Final Programme. Released in the US as The Last Days Of Man On Earth, the story follows a group of scientists in a post apocalyptic future who are hoping to save mankind by creating a new breed of self-replicating human.
Through Scream Factory’s participation with IFC Midnight, the week also brings two horror tiles that were released last year. Look for Larry Fessenden’s contemporary take on Frankenstein with Depraved as well as director Orson Oblowitz’s home invasion thriller, Trespassers.
It’s a busy week for Kino Lorber, with six new additions to their Studio Classics line. First up is the debut feature of Knives Out writer and director Rian Johnson with Brick. The clever high school detective tale makes its HD debut along with a host of special features, including deleted scenes and an audio commentary track.
Equal parts Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Apocalypse Now, Ernest B. Schoedsack’s Doctor Cyclops makes its Blu-ray debut with a new 4K transfer. Released less than a decade after his iconic King Kong, Schoedsack’s technicolor sci-fi thriller follow a group of scientists who are lured into the jungle by the titular mad scientist. There, he uses a device to shrink them down to the size of dolls and holds them captive.
Doctor Cyclops also makes for a perfect double feature with 1944’s Cobra Woman, which also gets special edition treatment from Kino this week. Released in 1944 and directed by Robert Siodmak, the technicolor adventure follows Maria Montez as a woman who is abducted and taken away to the tropical Cobra Island, forced to fulfill her destiny as their jungle queen.
Kino then rounds out the week with a trio of spaghetti westerns: 1967’s The Hellbenders, 1968’s Kill Them All and Come Back Alone and 1969’s The Specialists. Hellbenders and Specialists hail from the legendary Sergio Corbucci who, in the fictional history of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood cast Rick Dalton in the faux film Nebraska Jim.
When it comes to the small screen, the second season of HBO’s all star ensemble drama Big Little Lies is the sole major release this week. The set includes all seven episodes from the most recent season of the show as well as a behind the scenes featurette. Also hitting store shelves this week (on DVD only) is a combined season one and two box set, which includes every episode to date.