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WHAT’S NEW ON DVD/BLU-RAY/4K IN JANUARY

The following article was written by my friend and colleague Alonso Duralde. You can learn more about him HERE.



What’s New on DVD/Blu-ray/4K in January: Eileen, Coffin Joe, Chantal Akerman, and More!



NEW RELEASE WALL



Eileen (Decal Neon): In director William Oldroyd’s follow-up to the acclaimed Lady Macbeth, Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie perform a complicated dance of possession and obsession as two very different employees of a grim 1960s juvenile facility: McKenzie’s mousy, put-upon worker is dazzled by Hathaway, all Marilyn Monroe–hair and cigarettes and sophistication as a mysterious new therapist at the hospital. The characters drag each other to dark places, but there’s no taking your eyes off the two leads.

Also available:


Butcher’s Crossing (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): Nicolas Cage leads a party of buffalo hunters through nightmarish terrain in this Western.

Journey to Bethlehem (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): It’s the Nativity story, it’s a musical, it’s got Antonio Banderas.

Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part One (DC/WB): One of DC Comics’ legendary story arcs makes it to the much-loved series of DC Animation movies, with a stellar voice cast that includes Darren Criss, Jensen Ackles, Stana Katic, Matt Bomer, Jimmi Simpson, and Zachary Quinto.

The Marsh King’s Daughter (Lionsgate): Daisy Ridley and Ben Mendelsohn star as a daughter and father brought to an inexorable clash with dad escaps from prison.

Mudbound (The Criterion Collection): Dee Rees’ acclaimed, Oscar-nominated saga of the post-WWII South gets the full Criterion treatment.

Thanksgiving (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): Sixteen years after teasing this turkey-day terror in Grindhouse, director Eli Roth finally delivers the scary, funny goods; the leftovers are yummy all year round.

Trolls Band Together (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment): Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake are back for this tuneful, animated threequel, and they’ve brought the rest of NSYNC with them.


NEW INDIE


Queen of Earth (IFC Films): Before Her Smell, Elisabeth Moss and writer-director Alex Ross Perry collaborated on this chilling indie about a reunion of two old friends (played by Moss and Katherine Waterston) that descends into bitterness, recrimination, and madness. This Blu-ray release features a new commentary track with Perry, cinematographer Sean Price Williams (whose solo feature debut, The Sweet East, hits US theaters this month) and Hari Nef (Barbie).


Also available:

Ladyworld (Yellow Veil Pictures): A party for eight teen girls goes from bad (earthquake) to worse (Lord of the Flies–style jockeying for power) to even worse (the potential arrival of a male prowler).

Your Lucky Day (Well Go USA Entertainment): A dispute over a winning lottery ticket leads to a hostage situation in which witnesses must decide whether or not their humanity outweighs a cut of the prize money.


NEW INTERNATIONAL


Fireworks (Cinephobia Releasing): In 1982 Sicily, shy teenager Gianni (Samuele Segreto) falls in love with mechanic Nino (Gabriele Pizzurro). As the close-minded citizens of their small village register their disapproval In mountingly serious ways, these two young men are faced with the choice of following their hearts or caving in to pressure in Giuseppe Fiorello’s lyrical love story.

Also available:

Millie Lies Low (Film Movement): A young New Zealander has a panic attack when she’s supposed to fly to New York for a prestigious internship, but she tries to fake it on her social media (while still hiding out in Wellington) in this hilarious comedy of discomfort.

My Sailor, My Love (Music Box Films): A widowed sailor finds love with his elderly caregiver, and that relationship prompts him to mend fences with his estranged daughter.

The Quintessential Quintuplets Movie (Crunchyroll): The popular anime series about the five Nakano sisters wraps up with this feature film.

Sisters (IndiePix Films): Two Latvian orphans are about to be adopted by a wealthy American couple, but the older sister still holds out hope for a reunion with their biological mother, newly released from prison.


NEW DOCUMENTARY


Smoke Sauna Sisterhood (Greenwich Entertainment): One of the best of a strong crop of 2023 documentaries, director Anna Hints allows viewers to share the intimate conversations of a group of women sharing secrets and life experiences in a South Estonia smoke sauna. It’s fly-on-the-wall filmmaking at its best, as this community welcomes Hints and her camera and hold back nothing from their hilarious, heartbreaking, deeply felt encounters.


Also available:

Ever Deadly (Kino Lorber): Legendary Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq co-directs this documentary and takes center stage in this exploration of her career and activism.

Four Daughters (Kino Lorber): This Cannes winner for Best Documentary melds fact and re-creation in its look at the titular siblings, the elder two of which eventually became radicalized by Islamic terrorists.

Pianoforte (Greenwich Entertainment): Go behind the scenes at the fiercely competitive International Chopin Piano Competition, where the world’s greatest young pianists assemble once every five years in Warsaw seeking glory.

Rookies (Icarus Films): A prestigious Paris high school opens its doors to students of various nationalities and economic backgrounds when it establishes a hip-hop dance squad.


NEW GRINDHOUSE


Inside the Mind of Coffin Joe (Arrow Video): This box set features 4K restorations of all six of the “Coffin Joe” films from cult Brazilian filmmaker José Mojica Marins. This is a horror director whose films live up to their legendarily lurid titles: At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul, This Night I’ll Possess Your Corpse (aka The Strange World of Coffin Joe), The Awakening of the Beast (aka The End of Man), When the Gods Fall Asleep (aka The Strange Hostel of Naked Pleasures), Hellish Flesh (aka Hallucinations of a Deranged Mind), and Embodiment of Evil. Extras include a collectible book featuring new essays, as well as double-sided Blu-ray artwork and art cards.


Also available:

The Boogens (KL Studio Classics): This 4K release of the legendary 1981 creature-feature features a trove of extras, including a new audio commentary.

The Childe (Well Go USA Entertainment): To save his mother’s life, an amateur boxer travels from the Philippines to Korea in search of his estranged father, only to discover he’s being followed by a dangerous killer.

Conan the Barbarian / Conan the Destroyer (both Arrow Video): Arnold Schwarzenegger took on the sword and loincloth of Robert E. Howard’s legendary hero in these two 1980s cult faves, available for the first time in 4K.

The Devil’s Partner/Creature from the Haunted Sea (Film Masters): This double-bill from Roger Corman’s The Filmgroup company pairs an early Satanic thriller (starring Edgar Buchanan of Petticoat Junction, no less) and a sea-monster saga co-starring a young Robert Towne (billed as “Edward Wain”), both in 4K.

The Flying Swordsman (Well Go USA Entertainment): Eight assassins emerge to take possession of a legendary treasure map in this wuxia action tale.

Loaded Guns (Raro Video): Ursula Andress stars as a stewardess who gets caught up in a Naples gang war in this wild action-comedy from director Fernando Di Leo.

S&M Hunter Begins (Redemption): This 1985 prequel to the sleazy Japanese cult classic shows how an everyday salaryman picked up a whip and became the titular BDSM superhero.

Skateboard (Factory 25): Leif Garrett, Allen Garfield, and skateboard legends Tony Alva and Ellen O’Neal co-star in this 1978 exploitation classic, the first movie to capitalize on the then-new skateboarding craze.

Sons of Steel (Umbrella Entertainment): The distributor calls this “The nuttiest, wildest, most utterly insane science-fiction-time-travelling-rock-opera-eco-terrorist-action film Australia has ever produced,” and who are we to disagree?

Thinner (Scream Factory): Stephen King’s tale of a wasting curse gets a sweet new collector’s edition Blu-ray, with new commentaries, interviews, and a behind-the-scenes documentary about the effects makeup that took Robert John Burke from hefty to gaunt.

Underworld (Kino Cult): This Clive Barker adaptation, making its 4K debut, stars Denholm Elliott, Steven Berkoff, Miranda Richardson, and cult icon Ingrid Pitt.

Vile 21 (VHShitfest): This gory, low-budget regional obscurity comes to disc for the first time, with commentaries, deleted scenes, and more.

Wolf Pack (Well Go USA Entertainment): An investigation into his father’s death leads a physician to join up with a group of mercenaries, only to uncover a dangerous international conspiracy.

NEW CLASSIC

Chantal Akerman Masterpieces, 1968-78 (The Criterion Collection): It’s a tragedy that Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman didn’t live to see herself become the first woman director to top the Sight & Sound list, which she did in 2022 with her landmark film Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai des commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. But posthumous respect is better than no respect at all, and the celebration of her life and work continues with this new Criterion box set, examining the first decade of Akerman’s extraordinary career, including her debut film Saute ma ville (made when the director was just 18 years old), her sexually daring international breakthrough Je tu il elle, and of course Jeanne Dielman. The extras-packed set includes a celebratory essay from director Ira Sachs, new 4K remasters of all the titles, an unfinished film, a new film essay featuring B. Ruby Rich, new interviews, and much more. An essential set, documenting the work of an essential artist.


Also available:

The Apu Trilogy (The Criterion Collection): Satyajit Ray’s immortal coming-of-age saga, in 4K for the first time.

Blood Simple (The Criterion Collection): A new 4K release of the film that rewrote the rules of neo-noir and put the Coen brothers on the map.

Coming Home (KL Studio Classics): Hal Ashby’s searing look at the effects of the Vietnam War on a sheltered military wife, her combat-weary husband, and the injured veteran she grows to love earned Oscars for Jane Fonda and Jon Voight as well as for its powerful screenplay.

The Devil’s Brigade (KL Studio Classics): William Holden and Cliff Robertson lead an all-star cast in Andrew V. McLaglen’s WWII action yarn.

The Dog Who Stopped the War (Canadian International Pictures): Over Christmas break, kids in a small French-Canadian town decide to have a war, choosing sides and mounting ever-growing armies, and it’s up to four-legged Cléo to keep the peace in this film that launched the “Stories for All” series from Canadian production entity Les Productions la Fête.

Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema XVI (KL Studio Classics): More cigarettes and shadows in this ongoing series; the latest entry includes The Mystery of Marie Roget, Chicago Deadline, and Iron Man (and no, not that one).

Has Anybody Seen My Gal (KL Studio Classics): While Rock Hudson and director Douglas Sirk are best-known for collaborating on sumptuous melodramas like Written on the Wind and Magnificent Obsession, they also teamed up for this 1920s-set musical romance. Keep an eye peeled for Hudson’s future Giant co-star James Dean as a soda-fountain patron.

He Walked by Night (KL Studio Classics): The noir film that inspired co-star Jack Webb to start Dragnet, this one’s also taken from the LAPD case files, with the cops out to capture an elusive thief and cop-killer played by Richard Basehart.

The Hell with Heroes (KL Studio Classics): Fighter pilots get mixed up with smugglers in the immediate aftermath of WWII in this Rod Taylor vehicle.

Kindergarten Cop (KL Studio Classics): It’s still not a tumah, but it is in 4K.

Lone Star (The Criterion Collection): John Sayles’ acclaimed tale of corruption and long-buried (literally) secrets makes its 4K debut, with new interviews included.

Lords of Dogtown (Mill Creek Entertainment): This Blu-ray steelbook of Catherine Hardwicke’s docudrama about the rise of SoCal skateboarding is currently a Wal-mart exclusive.

Murphy’s War (Arrow Video): When a U-boat sinks a British merchant ship during the waning days of WWII, sole survivor Murphy (Peter O’Toole) seeks revenge for his fallen comrades and launches an obsessive one-man effort to sink the German vessel.

The Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians (Deaf Crocodile): This elaborate, absurdist Czech comedy – featuring stop-motion steampunk devices created by legendary animator Jan Svankmajer – starts off as a Jules Verne adaptation (The Carpathian Castle) before launching into cloud-cuckooland.

Odds Against Tomorrow (KL Studio Classics): Robert Wise’s tense drama mixes heist suspense with social commentary, as racist ex-con Robert Ryan has second thoughts about getting in on a bank job because one of the thieves is Harry Belafonte.

The Outside Man (KL Studio Classics): This international hit-man thriller features a cast of heavy hitters (Jean-Louis Trintignant, Ann-Margret, Roy Scheider, John Hillerman, Alex Rocco, Talia Shire, a young Jackie Earle Haley) and a score by Michel Legrand; this new Blu-ray edition includes the French and US versions.

Please, Not Now! (Kino Classics): The Blu-ray debut of one of many Roger Vadim comedies that made Brigitte Bardot an international sex symbol.

The Road to Hong Kong (KL Studio Classics): It’s 1962, and Hope and Crosby were still on the road to any exotic locale that could be recreated on the Universal backlot. (The “negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures” disclaimer applies.)

Run Silent, Run Deep (KL Studio Classics): Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster star in this classic about a WWII submarine commander driven by revenge and facing what might be his last battle.

The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (KL Studio Classics): When Soviet commander Alan Arkin accidentally grounds his sub on the American coastline, a small New England town loses its mind at the thought of an imminent Communist invasion in Norman Jewison’s charming comedy.

Scarlet Street (KL Studio Classics): One of the highlights of Fritz Lang’s American career makes its 4K debut; mousy Edward G. Robinson gets pushed further and further down the stony end by the conniving Joan Bennett and her sleazy “manager” Dan Duryea.

The Sea Shall Not Have Them/Albert R.N. (Cohen Film Collection): Two WWII dramas from director Lewis Gilbert, who would go on to helm such 007 classics as The Spy Who Loved Me.

Split Image (KL Studio Classics): All-American teen Michael O’Keefe gets embroiled in a cult run by the charismatic Peter Fonda, and only renegade deprogrammer James Woods can save him. (So when are we getting a Blu-ray of the similarly-themed Canadian fave Ticket to Heaven?)

Stielke, Heinz, Fifteen (Altered Innocence): A devoted member of Hitler Youth spirals out of control as he discovers that he’s actually Jewish in this acclaimed 1987 drama, long unavailable but now restored in HD.

Trainspotting (The Criterion Collection): Danny Boyle’s international breakthrough gets its first 4K release, loaded up with extras from earlier Criterion versions.

Varsity Blues (Paramount Home Entertainment): It has somehow been 25 years since James Van Der Beek wore football pads (and Ali Larter sprayed on a whipped-cream bikini), and that silver anniversary gets celebrated with a new 4K.

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (Mill Creek Entertainment): You do want a part of this – the two-disc “Hard as Steel” steelbook edition, available exclusively from Wal-mart.


NEW TV


Billions: The Final Season (Paramount Home Entertainment): We’ve seen a lot of shows about rich guys and lawyers over the course of television history, but this Showtime drama dug deep, hit hard, and offered juicy moments to a supremely talented ensemble, including Paul Giamatti, Damien Lewis, Corey Stoll, Asia Kate Dillon, Maggie Siff, and Kelly AuCoin. Farewell, Billions. (P.S. tax the billionaires)


Also available:

Bocchi the Rock! – The Complete Season (Crunchyroll): This anime hit follows the coming-of-age of a lonely high-school outsider whose life changes when she’s invited to join a rock band.

Magnum P.I.: The Final Season (Paramount Home Entertainment): After five seasons in the shadow of Tom Selleck, Jay Hernandez gets to hang up his Hawaiian shirt.

Monk: The Complete Third Season (KL Studio Classics): Tony Shalhoub returns as the private detective who makes his OCD a feature and not a bug.

Ultraman Battle Kaiju Series 02: Ultraman vs. Alien Baltan (Mill Creek Entertainment): More kaiju greatness in this ongoing series of Ultraman releases.

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