Our Pick of the Week Will Have You Saying “So Fetch” for Days

Plus 14 more new releases to watch at home this week on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD!
Mean Girls

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 April 30th, 2024! This week’s home video selection includes Madame Web, both Mean Girls films, and more. Check out our picks below.


Pick of the Week

Mean Girls – 20th Anniversary [4K UHD]

What is it? The new girl in school hangs out with the cool kids.

Why see it? This Tina Fey-penned comedy remains the pinnacle of her feature film work, and while its 90s elements and dialogue are now dated the film’s observations, humor, and characters are as timely as ever. A high school comedy about fitting in and finding yourself, Mean Girls finds numerous laughs in relatable situations and interactions that ring memory bells for most of us in one way or the other. And look at this cast! Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Seyfried, Lacey Chabert, Lizzy Caplan, Amy Poehler, and Fey herself all do great work, as does a wickedly good Rachel McAdams as they big bad mean girl herself.

[Extras: Commentary, featurettes, gag reel, deleted scenes]


The Best

Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors [4K UHD, Vinegar Syndrome]

What is it? An Amicus anthology!

Why see it? The folks at Amicus were kings of the horror anthology back in the day with titles like Torture Garden (1967) and Asylum (1972) making memories for genre fans. This effort from 1965 isn’t quite as beloved, but it’s a great time all the same as genre legends lead the way though five stories of varying degrees of fun. Peter Cushing is the mysterious man at the center of it all, and he’s joined by Christopher Lee, Donald Sutherland, and more. I’m most partial to the hand and vampire segments (in addition to the connective tissue), but there’s a good time across the board. Vinegar’s new 4K looks great offering rich detail and color, and the Blu is loaded with extras.

[Extras: New 4K restoration, commentary, featurettes]

Drift

What is it? A refugee finds ups and downs in her new life.

Why see it? Anthony Chen’s feature is a beautifully shot drama celebrating courage and resilience that also weighs heavy on your soul. That’s a good thing, a sign of a well-crafted film, but it’s a lot. The heart of the film is its lead, Cynthia Erivo, who delivers a performance that immediately takes hold. Her story details are kept tight to the chest, but her past suffering is clear. Equally evident is the sunny calm of the Greek island she’s made her new home. It’s a study in contrasts, the outer tranquility and her inner pain, and the result is an affecting experience.

[Extras: Commentary]

Kin-dza-dza! [Deaf Crocodile]

What is it? Two strangers are abducted by aliens and transported to a strangely infuriating world.

Why see it? Comedy is the most subjective of genres, and that’s doubly true when you’re dealing with a Russian sci-fi film from the 80s. This one goes even further by being as dryly comic as they come earning laughs with exchanges and deliveries that hang in the air with hilarity. It won’t be to every taste, but the wit and creativity on display here, not to mention the ingenuity given the film’s small budget, make for a sci-fi adventure sure to please fans of Douglas Adams and Kurt Vonnegut. Visuals entertain, but the dialogue and delivery reign supreme for those willing to go along for the ride.

[Extras: New restoration, interviews, commentary]

Lady Reporter aka The Blonde Fury [Vinegar Syndrome]

What is it? An undercover FBI agent fights baddies in Hong Kong.

Why see it? While Cynthia Rothrock’s American movies leave me mostly cold, her Hong Kong output remains supreme. Of those HK films, Rothrock’s best performance is right here as she gives a fun, playful turn in a similarly aligned movie. The action thrills with plenty of fights and stunts showcasing Rothrock’s mad skills, and the story offers up plenty of good times with its typical silliness. This is her first lead role, and she shows why she was a big deal for action fans in the 80s and early 90s — she arguably should have been even bigger, but we’ll take what we can get.

[Extras: New restoration, theatrical and export versions, commentary, interviews]

True Love [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A story of love and marriage, Italian-American style.

Why see it? Nancy Savoca won big at 1989’s Sundance film festival with this look into a young couple’s ups and downs in the lead up to their wedding. Part drama, part comedy, the film follows their personal tribulations as well as their interactions with friends and family. It’s a universal tale that anyone can relate to, but Savoca sets the film within an Italian-American community giving the characters and events a more specific angle. The community comes to life here, but the heart sits at the center with the great Annabella Sciorra and Ron Eldard playing the couple. Like I said, it’s fun at times, but it never shies away from the struggle that is relationships. Savoca’s most acclaimed film remains 1991’s Dogfight, and she hasn’t made a feature since 2011, but her filmography is one worth exploring.

[Extras: Commentary, interviews]


The Rest

Daniel Isn’t Real

What is it? A young man’s imaginary friend might not be a very good friend after all.

Why see it? There are more than a few films about imaginary friends, but Adam Egypt Mortimer’s film takes a more horrifying tact than most. The unreal Daniel has a secret of her own, and it’s a pretty good reveal. That and the film’s ending are the highpoints here, but too much of the rest walks a fine line between obnoxious misunderstandings — people think Luke is crazy! — and a rough approach to mental health — maybe Luke is crazy! It could work, but the bigger issue here is a lead performance that struggles to earn our empathy.

[Extras: Featurettes, commentaries, deleted scenes]

The Great Land of Small

What is it? A little magical man comes to Earth in search of good people.

Why see it? The fifth entry in the Canadian film series, Tales for All, is a low budget fantasy from the 80s that should still appeal to young kids with patience. It was a different time, and most kids won’t have the stamina, but those who do might just enjoy the silliness of it all. The other audience quadrant will be those who remember the film from their own childhood, but that will have to a strong feeling of nostalgia. Michael J. Anderson plays the little guy, and he remains as enigmatic of a performer as you recall from Twin Peaks.

[Extras: New restoration, commentary, interviews, featurettes, short film, student film]

The House Where Death Lives aka Delusion [Vinegar Syndrome]

What is it? A nurse has a nightmare of a time on a home care gig.

Why see it? A young woman takes a job offering home health care for a rich old man, but his mansion holds secrets that soon lead to murder. Joseph Cotten is the old guy bringing a dash of low-key class to the proceedings, but he’s a minor player in a sea of baddies, weirdos, and the sole innocent. The film is being sold as an early slasher, but the slow pacing and lack of real kill thrills makes for something of a near slog. The film looks good and finds some atmosphere, but it still doesn’t amount to much.

[Extras: New 4K restoration, commentary, interviews]

Madame Web [4K UHD]

What is it? Her mother was studying spiders in the Amazon.

Why see it? Look, there were obviously issues during this film’s production (pre and post included), and the script maybe needed a few more passes, but it is far from the disastrous waste of time that y’all led me to believe. The script is hilarious with some highly quotable lines, and while most of the cast feel only half committed, Dakota Johnson is an absolute joy. Her disbelief of what her character’s saying and going through is good fun and comes through in her performance. It more than makes up for the nonsensical plot and underwhelming action scenes too, because at the end of the day, it’s entertainment and fun we’re after — and Johnson makes sure we get both.

[Extras: Gag reel, featurettes, deleted scene]

Mean Girls [4K UHD]

What is it? A musical remake!

Why see it? There’s an understandable urge to remake the 90s original with updated lingo and character beats, but this go round instead chooses to morph the teen comedy into a musical experience. Well, a partial musical experience? Chunks of it play out like a “regular” movie while others descend into musical set pieces and sequences, and while the songs are occasionally catchy the whole just doesn’t quite jive together. Still, there are some laughs, and Angourie Rice is a charismatic lead with sharp comic timing. Fans should give it a spin knowing full well that the original is still available.

[Extras: Featurettes, gag reel, music video]

Mom n Pop: The Indie Video Store Boom of the 80s/90s!

What is it? A documentary about the video stores that Blockbuster killed.

Why see it? We’ve had more than a few documentaries recently (new ones or newly released to disc) about our collective analog past, and this is one of them. The subject here is the non-chain video stores that used to dot the landscape, stores not beholden to corporate mandates, stores that made discovering new film favorites an exciting social prospect. The doc looks backwards, but we also get spotlights put on some stores still standing, ones that have found their niche and their neighborhood. It’s an interesting watch for physical media fans.

[Extras: Commentary, interviews, music video]

Quantum Cowboys

What is it? Two men, one woman, and a whole lot of science.

Why see it? The film itself an interesting exercise in mixing, matching, and contrasting art and science, but the two biggest draws right off the bat are Lily Gladstone — seriously, just watch everything she’s in — and the film’s creative use of various animation styles. Gladstone speaks for herself, but the animation is its own treat as nearly every style of the art form sees the light here. It’s all in service of a story exploring ideas about time, quantum theory, and the role that art and creativity play in our existence. It’s heady stuff that doesn’t always work in context, but more filmmakers should take big swings like this.

[Extras: Deleted scenes, Q&A]

The Tunnel [Umbrella]

What is it? An old subway tunnel holds a dark secret.

Why see it? I know I’m talking to a brick wall when it comes to these things, but if you’re going to make a found footage/faux doc film — and there are some great ones — you should really try to follow the format you’ve chosen. This Australian effort sets itself up nicely, and the back half features some intense night vision beats, but it shoots itself in the foot tension-wise. Breaks to talking heads undercut the momentum and atmosphere, janky digital glitches scream “post!”, and the camera element is just rarely convincing. Again, a couple nice moments here, but it can’t maintain them.

[Extras: Commentary, documentaries, Q&A, alternate ending]

Witch Story [4K UHD, Vinegar Syndrome]

What is it? A group of friends enjoy a weekend in a house where a witch once lived.

Why see it? The premise and setup here suggest some fun times ahead for fans of films like Demon Wind and Spookies — both legit genre classics — but the actual end result is something far less fun. It’s those movies, but without the cool creature designs, fun practical effects, entertaining characters, or legit comedy. Some bloodletting at the end here almost saves it, almost, but we’re left settling only for Vinegar’s new 4K UHD looking pretty great for the age and obscurity.

[Extras: New 4K restoration, commentary, interviews, documentary]


Also out this week:

Dogfight [Criterion], Hey Folks! It’s the Intermission Time Video Party [AGFA], Mad Props, Misunderstood [Radiance], Ocean’s Trilogy [4K UHD], Ordinary Angels, The Other Dimension and the Films of Fabio Salerno, Out in the Ring, Phantasmagoria, Promised Land, The Shape of Night [Radiance], The Spirit of ’45, The Tin Star [Arrow], What Rhymes With Reason

Rob Hunter: Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.