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 August 16th, 2022! This week’s home video selection includes Electra Glide in Blue, Baby Assassins, and more. Check out our picks below.
Pick of the Week
Electra Glide in Blue [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A motorcycle cop finds career advancement and adversity in the same week.
Why see it? Viewed as fascist by festival audiences out of Cannes, this counterbalance to the counterculture cinema of Easy Rider offers up a beautiful, sincere, and sad look at the inability to connect between generations. It’s a bit silly early on before becoming a murder mystery of sorts, but the pieces come together in its back half as something truly special and affecting. It’s based in part on a real incident, and there’s power in the story of a man trying to be better and more understanding. Robert Blake stars, and while he went on to become something terrible in real life, this early 70s feature reveals intensely good acting chops in a four-foot package. The new interviews included here are fascinating in their own right.
[Extras: New 4K master, commentaries, interviews, introduction]
What is it? A pair of teenage assassins try to be roommates.
Why see it? Writer/director Hugo Sakamoto delivers something special here with his tale two slackers who happen to also be assassins. The company they work for rooms them together resulting in a clash of personalities as a friendship grows. It’s a slacker comedy bookended between two fantastic action set-pieces. There’s no arguing the quality of the action with Saori Izawa in particular standing out with some spectacularly feisty fight skills in addition to plenty of gun play. The bulk of the film is the comedy antics in between, though, and while it’s entertaining your mileage may vary.
The Black Phone
What is it? A killer abducts a boy, but the child is helped by past victims.
Why see it? Director Scott Derrickson and writer C. Robert Cargill previously delivered the still terrific slice of horror that is Sinister, and their latest has once again struck a chord with audiences. Ethan Hawke is the sadistic madman who abducts then kills children, but his latest target is both determined to live and aided by some unlikely help. His sister has visions, and past victims are able to talk to the boy offering advice and assistance. There are some fun genre beats here, but the story (from Joe Hill) never really comes together in a satisfying way as the supernatural elements feel underdeveloped. Hawke is good here, and the main kids are terrific, but it’s ultimately a YA gateway horror film at best… and that’s okay!
[Extras: Deleted scenes, featurettes, commentary, short film]
Daddy Longlegs [Criterion Collection]
What is it? A bad dad spends two weeks with his kids.
Why see it? Josh and Benny Safdie are in the big leagues now thanks to the success of Good Times and Uncut Gems, but they got their start with some very independent indie movies. Their feature debut is something of a meandering hangout with a man whose parenting skills are minimal at best, and the film walks a line between his epic irresponsibility and the clear bond he shows with his two sons. It’s a raw, erratic film moving viewers through the streets of New York City, and it finds some heightened tension along the way.
[Extras: New 4K transfer, interviews, documentary, interviews, short film, deleted scenes]
Don’t Tell Her It’s Me [Code Red]
What is it? A man changes his appearance to land a lady.
Why see it? Remember when Steve Guttenberg was big? Hard to imagine after watching this flat romantic comedy that casts Guttenberg as a bald, bloated sad sack recovering from cancer who falls for Jami Gertz and then woos her after a makeover. Shelley Long, Kyle MacLachlan, and Madchen Amick co-star, but they can’t help an unromantic, unfunny rom-com.
[Extras: New 2K master]
Jurassic World: Dominion
What is it? Another dinosaur flick.
Why see it? My full review goes into more detail, obviously, but the bottom line with the Jurassic World trilogy capper is that it’s the expected disappointment. To be fair, fans of the first two will probably enjoy the wrap-up and the legacy crossover, and the supporting cast of newcomers are fun additions, but the rest is fairly meh. Big budget CG can’t hide the film’s insistence on delivering too much human drama and not enough dinosaur antics. The dino beats we do get are arguably fine, but the thrill has been gone for some time.
[Extras: Theatrical and extended cuts, short film, featurettes]
Kill a Dragon [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? An American is pulled into a battle between villagers and a gang.
Why see it? Jack Palance has a pretty extensive filmography, but his leading man roles were few and far between. This late 60s action/adventure flick is one of those few, and it’s that factor that becomes its biggest strength. He’s a fun lead, capable with the action and entertaining in his antics as a ladies man and soldier of fortune. The other plus here is the sights and sounds of Hong Kong, but those highs aside the film itself is something of a dull ride. The pacing feels off
Samson and the 7 Miracles of the World [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A muscled man fights to save a princess and her people.
Why see it? An Italian adventure set ostensibly in China, this is a swords and sandals picture (of sorts) that finds some fun in the action beats even if its entirety is something of a mess. Our hero is tasked with defeating mongol warriors and wooing a Chinese princess, and the basic elements of an action/adventure are in place. The execution is just lacking in a lot of ways leaving the film a piece of minor entertainment. The bigger draw here, though, is Kino’s inclusion of two cuts — the original Italian and the US cut that’s twenty minutes shorter.
[Extras: Original and AIP cuts, commentary]
Sniper: Rogue Mission
What is it? An eclectic team tries to take down a group of sex traffickers.
Why see it? The premise is pretty heavy, but the film quickly leans into some lighter, almost comedic touches with its otherwise standard DTV action antics. CG blood/gunfire and competent fights are the order of the day. The clear (and non-sarcastic) MVP here, though, is composer Oliver Thompson. The dude is having a blast, and he’s single handedly driving almost all of the film’s momentum, energy, and fun with his go for broke tunes.
They Went That-a-Way & That-a-Way [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? Two goofy cops go undercover in a prison.
Why see it? The premise may have been ripped off by Tango & Cash a decade later (not knocking, I love Tango & Cash), this Tim Conway.Chuck McCann joint is still a fun time as it ups the silliness in pursuit of entertainment. Only one man knows they’re actually cops, but when he dies the pair are forced to find their own way out of the jail sentence. Conway wrote the script too, and it plays directly into his comedic strengths. If you don’t like “dumb” comedy bits and sights gags then this won’t work for you, but the rest of us can enjoy its goofy innocence and 70s style action finale.
Also out this week:
Child’s Play 2 [4K UHD, Child’s Play 3 [4K UHD], Frank & Penelope, Johnny Mnemonic in Black & White, South Park – The Complete 24th Season,