March 31, 2020: This Week on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD
After nearly half a century, the Skywalker saga comes to an end. Following its big screen release in December, J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker comes home today on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD. The release brings with it a host of special features, including a feature length behind the scenes documentary that takes a look at what went into bringing the epic adventure to life.
Also available today as a Best Buy exclusive is a special 4K Ultra HD set that includes all nine Skywalker saga films (Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker) with the best possible picture and sound. Including both Blu-ray and 4K versions of each film (the “Special Editions” in the case of the original trilogy), the set includes dozens of hours of bonus features, spread across 27 discs. Of course, if you’d rather pick and choose, each of the nine films are available in 4K individuallu.
Other recent big screen releases coming home this week include Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s The Current War: Director’s Cut. The story of the battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse comes home with deleted scenes and a commentary track by Gomez-Rejon.
Equal parts spy thriller and romantic drama, Spy Intervention is available today on DVD. Moviebill recently sat down with the film’s director, so please click here to check out our conversation with Drew Mylrea.
Billy Crystal and Ben Schwartz make for a memorable pair in director Matt Ratner’s comedy drama Standing Up, Falling Down, which explores the relationship between an aging dermatologist (Crystal) and an unsuccessful stand up comedian (Schwartz). Shout! Factory, which distributed the film theatrically, now brings it to blu-ray with a three-part behind the scenes featurette and a commentary track featuring Ratner, Crystal and Schwartz.
Rounding out the week’s new releases is director Joe Begos’ VFW, a violent action thriller that stars Stephen Lang, William Sadler, Martin Kove, David Patrick Kelly, Tom Williamson and more as a group of war veterans who must suddenly protect their VFW when it comes under attack. Produced by Fangoria, the film hits DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD with a pair of audio commentary tracks and a trio of behind the scenes featurettes.
The Criterion Collection adds two new titles this week, beginning with Barbara Streisand’s 1991 adaptation of Pat Conroy’s bestselling novel, The Prince of Tides. Also starring and produced by Streisand, Prince of Tides marks the entertainer’s second directorial effort, now featuring a 4k digital restoration and a host of supplemental content, including a commentary track with Streisand.
Also arriving from Criterion this week is 1936’s Show Boat, directed by the legendary James Whale and starring the equally legendary Paul Robeson. A big screen musical adaptation of the Edna Ferber novel, the film has also received a 4K digital restoration. It makes its HD debut with some great archival material and a commentary track with American-musical historian Miles Kreuger.
A pair of new titles are also joining the lineup of Shout! Factory’s horror themed Scream Factory label this week. First up is The Munsters feature film, Munster, Go Home!, which originally hit theaters in 1966, shortly after the family’s TV show had concluded its two-season run. The special features include an audio commentary track with fan Rob Zombie alongside Eddie Munster himself, Butch Patrick. That’s in addition to a whole other Munsters movie, the 1981 telefilm The Munsters’ Revenge!
Of course, Rob Zombie isn’t the only musician who loves horror. Also arriving this week is Snoop Dogg’s 2001 supernatural thriller, Bones. The artist headlines the tale of a man who, killed in the late 70s, has his spirit reawakened two decades later. Boasting a 4K scan from the negative, Bones comes to Blu-ray with a ton of bonus content, including an audio commentary track featuring Snoop Dogg alongside director Ernest Dickerson and screenwriter Adam Simon.
In celebration of the film’s 40th anniversary, The Film Detective brings to blu-ray 1980’s Fist of Fear, Touch of Death. Following the tragic death of Bruce Lee in 1973 came an era of “Brucesploitation” films. Some would feature imitators, but Fist of Fear, Touch of Death actually “stars” Lee himself. That is, the story features archival footage of the martial arts legend with new dubbing and some strategic editing, all done in a documentary style that serves as a (largely fabricated) Bruce Lee biopic.
Naturally a cult classic, Fist of Fear, Touch of Death comes to Blu-ray with 4K restoration, newly produced interviews with stars Fred Williamson and Ron Van Clief and a new 30 minute behind the scenes documentary, ‘That’s Brucesploitation’.
UPDATE: The Film Detective has reached out to let us know that they are experiencing some distribution issues for this title. Preorders are still being accepted, however, and copies will ship as soon as possible.
The Kino Lorber Studio Classics label continues this week with four new additions. You can catch Marlene Dietrich in both Rouben Mamoulian’s 1933 romance The Song of Songs and Rene Clair’s 1941 comedy adventure The Flame of New Orleans. The week also brings to Blu-ray Ernst Lubitsch’s 1938 comedy Bluebeard’s 8th Wife and Vittorio De Sica’s Academy Award nominated 1953 drama Indiscretion of an American Wife.
Film Movement turns back the clock this week with a celebration of British World War II classics. A five disc, Their Finest Hour brings to blu-ray Went the Day Well (1942), The Colditz Story (1955), The Dam Busters (1955), Dunkirk (1958) and Ice Cold in Alex (1958). Each film also includes its own special features alongside the set’s 24-page booklet that features an essay by film writer and curator Cullen Gallagher.
Arriving on DVD only, meanwhile, is The Purge: Season Two, offering all ten episodes from the second season of the Blumhouse film franchise spinoff series. At the moment, the show has not officially been renewed for a third season, but a fifth and film entry is in the works from creator James DeMonaco.
Finally, Shout! Factory brings back an old classic that is more than meets the eye. Out of print for some time, Transformers: The Complete Original Series returns! Including all 98 episodes from the 80s cartoon that helped to define a generation, the 15 disc set also includes bonus features like vintage PSAs, original toy commercials and behind the scenes featurettes.
Due to the current coronavirus crisis, a number of films are coming to digital early. Now available, look for Downhill, a dark comedy drama starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell, directed by the The Way, Way Back pair of Nat Faxon and Jim Rash.
Harrison Ford then headlines the recent Jack London adaptation The Call of the Wild, which brings to life the arctic adventure as a live action/CGI hybrid.
Currently the top grossing film of 2020 (and likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future), the franchise action sequel Bad Boys For Life catches audiences up with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s Detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett 25 years after the Michael Bay original. Now available digitally, the film hits DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD beginning April 21.
Rounding out the week is the Paramount Pictures’ hit video game adaptation Sonic the Hedgehog. The blue speedster makes an appropriately rapid move from the big screen. Look for the film to be available on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD beginning May 19.