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 November 30th, 2021!
This week’s home video selection includes a giallo box-set, a Marvel blockbuster, and more. Check out our picks below.
Pick of the Week
Keep an Eye Out
What is it? An interrogation leads to weirdness.
Why see it? Quentin Dupieux seems incapable of topping Rubber — the dark, meta comedy about a sentient tire with a taste for murder — but his latest comes closest of all with its witty and fun tale of an interrogation gone sideways. A wily detective is taking down details from a man who discovered a dead body, but not everything adds up quite right. As the interrogation continues, new revelations and unexpected events turn a normal conversation into a world of absurdity. This is fun stuff with a sharp script and two pitch perfect lead performances.
[Extras: Commentary, booklet]
Heaven Can Wait
What is it? A quarterback dies and returns in a millionaire’s body.
Why see it? Warren Beatty headlines this comedy favorite that he co-wrote with Elaine May and co-directed with Buck Henry. Those two are comedy royalty and help turn Beatty into a very entertaining lead thanks to sharp writing and smart direction. This is one of a few adaptations of the original play, and it’s arguably the best of them thanks to laughs that land and a supporting cast that includes James Mason, Julie Christie, Charles Grodin, Dyan Cannon, and Jack Warden. It’s a funny romantic comedy and recommended.
I Dream of Jeannie – The Complete Series
What is it? All 139 episodes of the comedy series.
Why see it? There are no extras here, unfortunately, but fans of the series will want to pick up this box set bringing the show to Blu-ray and hi-definition for the first time. The set includes the first season which aired in black & white as well as all that followed once the show returned in vibrant color. It’s a funny series with the expected sitcom gags and such, like a less warm but more entertaining riff on Bewitched. If that sounds appealing, this is for you.
Jet Pilot [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? An American pilot falls in love with his Russian counterpart.
Why see it? The plot sounds saucy when you consider John Wayne plays the American, but it simmers down some once you realize the Russian pilot is a female. She’s played by a stellar Janet Leigh ensuring some sex appeal still sneaks in, while director Josef von Sternberg delivers some smart aerial action. The script is fast-moving and fun too making for a solidly comedic tale of politics and romance. Wayne is at his most amiable here which goes a long way toward ensuring the film is good and casual entertainment.
What is it? A woman “sees” murders only to discover they’re real.
Why see it? James Wan’s latest is a banger, full stop. Part action/horror, part giallo, part 90s gonzo genre effort, Malignant is the kind of brilliance we get when a talented director is given carte blanche after delivering some of the biggest blockbusters going. It’s a highly entertaining movie, one of the year’s best horror films, and a ton of fun. Try not to smile when the reveal hits. Try not to cheer when the action kicks into overdrive. This movie is gold, people.
What is it? A journalist finds love against the Bolshevik revolution.
Why see it? More power to Warren Beatty for delivering a big studio film about romance, journalism, and war, and giving it a sympathetic stance towards communism and socialism. It’s big and dialogue heavy, but the cast and sincerity carry things through to a memorably emotional ending that still packs a punch. Beatty is joined by Diane Keaton, Edward Herrmann, Jerzy Kosinski, Maureen Stapleton, and (a terrific) Jack Nicholson. It was a surprising production back in 1981, and it’s one that wouldn’t find funding today.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
What is it? The first MCU entry with an Asian lead.
Why see it? Shang-Chi may stumble a bit in its third act — that’s pretty much modus operandi for MCU movies — but getting there is a lot of fun thanks to a fun cast and some action set-pieces crafted by the late Brad Allan. The bus fight kicks things off beautifully, but we also get some additional brawls later one including a fun sequence on high-rise scaffolding. It’s a Marvel film and all that entails, but it’s also an engaging and entertaining watch. All that plus the great Tony Leung!
[Extras: Deleted scenes, gag reel, featurettes, commentary]
Blood-a-Rama Triple Frightmare [AGFA]
What is it? A triple feature of no-budget nightmares from the 70s.
Why see it? Three films are collected here by the folks at American Genre Film Archive, and while none of them are hidden gems there’s some regional fun to be found within. A mad scientist abuses women in Help Me… I’m Possessed, race and serial murder share the screen with Mickey Dolenz in Night of the Strangler, and a twisted killer stalks the fairground in Carnival of Blood. Of the three, it’s the second film that delivers best as borderline genre entertainment with its mysterious killer and minor social commentary.
[Extras: 2K presentations, commentary]
Freud [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A biopic on a famed psychoanalyst.
Why see it? Montgomery Clift stars as Sigmund Freud in this fairly traditional drama from director John Huston, and it’s best recommended for fans of one or more of those three men. This early 60s feature never courts controversy with Freud’s story and instead keeps things pretty traditional. It’s perfectly competent, but don’t expect to walk away from it any wiser.
[Extras: New 2K master, commentary]
Giallo Essentials [Arrow Video]
What is it? A box-set of three not quite essential giallos.
Why see it? A man searches for a missing woman in the true crime inspired The Possessed, a reporter finds himself to be the prime suspect in a series of murders in The Fifth Cord, and a mysterious corpse attracts all manner of attention in The Pyjama Girl Case. The Australian set third film is the highlight here, and like the first it’s based on a real-life case. There’s a creepiness to the imagery, and while Ray Milland is sleepwalking through it it remains a chilling watch. Arrow’s new box set collects three previously released titles, so if you already have them individually you’re good to go.
[Extras: 2K restorations, commentaries, interviews]
To Hell and Back [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? Audie Murphy is… Audie Murphy.
Why see it? It’s exceedingly rare for someone to star as themself in their own biopic — there’s Audie Murphy, Howard Stern, and… ? — but this World War II hero does just that in this adaptation of his bestselling memoir. Murphy was the most decorated American soldier in the war, but his heroism came at the cost of seeing fellow soldiers die. It’s a solid film, but it’s clearly one meant to canonize this living saint even more than society already had.
Also out this week:
The Fabulous Dorseys [Film Detective], Party Girl [Warner Archive], Saint Maud, Sister Krampus
Related Topics: Home Video