Streaming might be the future, but physical media is still the present. It’s also awesome, depending on the title, the label, and the release, so each week we take a look at the new Blu-rays and DVDs making their way into the world. Welcome to this week in Home Video for March 21st! This week’s home video selection includes the woefully underloved Babylon, Dragonslayer in 4K, and more. Check out our picks below.
Pick of the Week
Babylon [4K UHD]
What is it? Hollywood’s golden age sees ups, downs, and glorious excess.
Why see it? Damien Chazelle’s latest was much maligned during its theatrical release — it bombed! — but I’m hoping its arrival to home video will yield better responses. The film is a beautifully scattershot look at the movers and shakers of early Hollywood following the fall of big stars, the rise of new talents, and the common theme of pure movie magic. It’s fast-moving, electrified fun with quick dialogue, R-rated shenanigans, and a surprising body count. Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, and Diego Calva headline, each bringing a different character perspective to the dreamland that is Hollywood, and the result is a funny, affecting look at the place and the people who power it. The film’s ending has been wildly divisive, but it works perfectly as a final coda on the film’s themes. Chazelle also ensures the movie looks great throughout, and the new 4K UHD highlights that with crisp visuals that pull you into the action.
[Extras: Featurettes, deleted scenes]
Dragonslayer [4K UHD]
What is it? A young man sets out to slay a deadly dragon.
Why see it? This early 80s adventure was a collaboration between Paramount and Disney, and it remains a fantastical snapshot of an age gone by. Practical effects, surprising nudity, and Peter MacNicol as a lead? Yeah, it’s the 80s, baby. There’s action and spectacle, entertaining visuals, and a dragon named Vermithrax Pejorative, so you know you’re in for a good time. This new 4K UHD breathes new life into the film as colors and details pop like never before, and the newly recorded commentary track with Guillermo del Toro just makes it that much more of a must-own.
[Extras: Commentary, featurettes]
Bloody Mary Returns
What is it? A travesty.
Why see it? Cinema is filled with low budget horror films that deliver thrills, chills, and unforgettable imagery, but for every low priced masterpiece there’s also a dozen or more crimes against humanity. Bloody Mary is a familiar enough genre character in the Candyman mold, but even on a budget there are ways to make it work. Unfortunately, these filmmakers went a different way delivering a “monster” who looks like she applied her own makeup from a $5 Halloween kit. It’s ludicrous, and the filmmaking doesn’t help as Mary is never shot like the nightmare she’s supposed to be — instead she’s just standing around, snarling, stabbing, and not feeling the least bit frightening. Skip it before you end up in the madhouse like the film’s survivors.
Legend of Gatotkaca
What is it? A young man discovers he might just be a hero.
Why see it? Indonesia has been home to a few absolute action bangers over the years including The Raid and The Raid 2, but it’s also churned out its share of mediocrities. This supernaturally infused romp leans closer to the latter despite the supporting presence of some Raid fighters. Gods, myths, and super powers bestowed by legend see the film escalate from street fights to super powered brawls, but the backstory is a bit much and the fighters are never really given the chance to shine.
What is it? Parents of a newborn are haunted by the legendary Lilith.
Why see it? No, this isn’t a horror-themed spin-off of Cheers, it’s a supernatural horror from the director of Annabelle. A new couple struggling with a fussy newborn finds solace in an ancient lullaby, but while it calms the child it also calls forth an ancient demon. Oona Chaplin and Ramon Rodriguez do good work as the couple, and director John Leonetti finds some creepy beats, but it relies too heavily on jumps and other familiar sequences. It’s perfectly fine.
What is it? A robotic “toy” scratches a murderous itch.
Why see it? You’re not going to get a bad movie from producer James Wan (Insidious), director Gerard Johnstone (Housebound), and writer Akela Cooper (Malignant). You are going to get a fun time, though, and Megan fits the bill on that count. It’s more tech gone amok than horror, but after a mild setup powered by a terrific Allison Williams, the film’s back half kicks into gear with shenanigans, kills, and a pretty stellar dance number. Like I said, it’s a fun time.
[Extras: Unrated and theatrical versions, featurettes]
What is it? A Dolly impersonator learns to be herself.
Why see it? Australian comedies are often a bit odd, in a good way, as their quirks make for a nice change of pace from the usual. This one kicks off in a similar fashion with an endearing Krew Baylan giving life to a woman searching for her niche. Its themes and story eventually sputter out some, but the message remains about being yourself no matter what others think. A highlight here is Rose Byrne as an Elvis impersonator.
Also out this week:
The Belle Starr Story, Crazy People, Inland Empire [Criterion Collection], Red Eye [4K UHD], Sorry Wrong Number
Related Topics: Home Video