Features and Columns · Movies

Our Home Video Pick of the Week Rides a Narrow Margin

Plus 9 more new releases to watch at home this week on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD!
Narrow Margin
By  · Published on July 2nd, 2024

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 July 2nd, 2024! This week’s home video selection includes 4K UHD updates for Anchorman, Taxi Driver, Narrow Margin, Blown Away, and more. Check out our picks below.

Pick of the Week

Narrow Margin UhdNarrow Margin [4K UHD, KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A witness is hunted on a moving train.

Why see it? This 1990 thriller isn’t talked about all that much — it’s a remake, and most folks seem to think it’s kind of mid — but it really deserves all the love from fans of 90s thrills, practical action, and stellar actors. Anne Archer witnesses a murder, but when Los Angeles D.A. Gene Hackman tries to bring her back to the city by train they find themselves hunted by assassins. It’s a thrilling ride courtesy of director Peter Hyams who delivers fantastic train beats including our two leads atop a moving train. Add in J.T. Walsh, M. Emmet Walsh, and James Sikking, and some lush Canadian landscapes, and you have a film that fires on all cylinders to deliver great personality and entertainment.

[Extras: Commentaries, making of]

The Best

Anchorman UhdAnchorman [4K UHD]

What is it? An epic comedy about… newscasters.

Why see it? There are a lot of great comedies that hold up on repeat viewings, but few offer as many hilarious beats per minute as this Adam McKay gem. (Remember when he made funny movies?) Will Ferrell headlines, but he’s aided and abetted by a murderer’s row of extremely funny people like Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Fred Willard, Christina Applegate, Chris Parnell, Kathryn Hahn, Fred Armisen, Seth Rogen, Paul F. Tompkins, and more. It’s going for laughs nonstop, and even better, it’s hitting its mark more often than not too. The film is nonsense crafted by people who live and breath funny, and they’re giving this simple story of a man in the world’s most distinguished profession their undivided focus. The movie is eminently rewatchable, but the three-disc release also includes two versions of the film, a third film made up of completely different takes, and a ton of behind the scenes stuff that guarantees even more laughs. A 4K UHD upgrade may not be necessary with a comedy, but there’s no denying the detail and color pop, so if you don’t already own this one, this is the one to get.

[Extras: 4K UHD premiere, theatrical and extended versions, commentary, bloopers, deleted scenes, music video, featurettes]

Blown Away UhdBlown Away [4K UHD, KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A war between two unforgettable accents.

Why see it? I kid Jeff Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones, but real talk, their Boston and Irish accents (respectively) are good fun! Director Stephen Hopkins also brings the entertaining energy with his use of drama, slow-motion, and legitimately thrilling explosions. Jones is an angry terrorist, Bridges is the bomb squad guy out to thwart him, and the entire city is the unwitting playground for their war. Kino’s been doing some great work recently with their 4K UHD upgrades, and this continues that trend as Hopkins’ already electric feature is jolted with new visual life. Sure, the film can feel pretty silly at times as things escalate in over the top ways, but the sheer entertainment that comes out of it all is undeniable.

[Extras: New 4K scan, commentaries, making of, music video]

Ruslan And LudmilaRuslan and Ludmila [Deaf Crocodile]

What is it? A man sets out to rescue a kidnapped princess.

Why see it? Aleksandr Ptushko was a Russian filmmaker interested in creating new worlds to enjoy for audiences, and he did so by looking backward to his nation’s folklore and fairy tales. This film, his final and arguably best, takes a simple premise and unleashes pure imagination onto the screen with bold colors, lavish production design and costumes, supernatural creations, and more. It’s not a short watch, but Ptushko keeps all two and a half hours feeling like a dream promising a new visual delight around every corner. Deaf Crocodile has brought a few of the filmmaker’s movies to Blu-ray, and as with those past efforts, this release is once again gorgeous with a beautiful restoration and extras guaranteed to shine a light on the director and his work.

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

Taxi Driver UhdTaxi Driver [4K UHD]

What is it? An American classic, now in 4K.

Why see it? Martin Scorsese’s film previously hit 4K UHD as part of a bigger set, but its standalone debut knocks it out of the park and instantly becomes a must own. Robert De Niro stars as an offbeat man tired of the human filth in New York City, Jodie Foster and Cybill Shepherd are the females he attaches himself to, and Albert Brooks is great as always on the sidelines looking in. The film captures the city pre-clean up, a dirty, energized, lived-in place where anything can happen, but it’s the humans at its core who electrify with obsession, interaction, and needs demanding attention. Part thriller, part drama, occasionally funny, and never less than captivating, Taxi Driver remains an American classic. This 4K release delivers a sharply detailed portrait of a city simultaneously in decline and on the rise, all the grit, sweat, and unbridled optimism that is America, and Sony’s restoration is the definition of perfect as it retains grain while sharpening and heightening the film.

[Extras: Documentary, featurettes, commentaries]

Uhf UhdUHF [4K UHD, Shout Factory]

What is it? A sketch comedy from the warped mind of Weird Al.

Why see it? I’m a kid of the 80s who stayed up late on the weekend to listen to the Dr. Demento radio show, and new songs by Weird Al Yankovic were always a highlight. He parlayed that success into the visual medium with the help of MTV, and one of the outcomes is this cult favorite, a comedy hanging several sketches on the flimsiest of plots. Some hit funnier than others, but the pure love for laughter is infectious meaning you’re guaranteed to find something here that tickles your pickle. From movie spoofs to original characters, the film throws it all at you. It’s again, not exactly the kind of film you typically care to see get the 4K upgrade, but if you do fall into that category then Shout Factory has you covered.

[Extras: New 4K scan, commentary, featurettes, deleted scenes, music video]

The Rest

Angel Has Fallen [4K UHD, steelbook]

What is it? Agent Mike McStabby has to save the president, again.

Why see it? I continue to be a big fan of Gerard Butler’s Olympus Has Fallen films as they deliver good action and lots of fun. Olympus and London Has Fallen are both great, and while Angel can’t quite reach their highs, there’s still plenty to enjoy here. Butler’s Secret Service agent is framed and forced off the grid to clear his name, and in addition to the fights, gun battles, and other assorted action beats, we also get a wonderfully grizzled Nick Nolte as his dad. It’s a terrific pairing that brings its own kind of fun. This 4K UHD release isn’t necessarily a big picture upgrade, but if you don’t already own it, this is the way to go.

[Extras: Featurettes, deleted scenes]

Diary of the Dead [steelbook]

What is it? Romero does found footage!

Why see it? The penultimate film in George Romero’s Dead franchise, this dated stab at something different instead feels like a dated stab at something familiar. Found footage is a tough nut to crack in general, and Romero’s heart just doesn’t seem in it here as the film feels rote and expected at every turn, from the character beats to the camera choices. It doesn’t help that these characters are terribly annoying across the board, and pairing that with some unmemorable horror leaves a lot to be desired.

[Extras: Commentary, documentary, featurettes]

Escape Plan: Triple Feature [steelbook]

What is it? The Stallone franchise that no one remembers.

Why see it? The Escape Plan films are something of a series of diminishing returns, but to be fair, what’s going into them gets smaller each tome too. The end result of this is that the third film feels extremely cheap and limited, and Max Zheng ends up taking over the bulk of the action beats. Thankfully, Zheng is a great action star. The first entry is the theatrical hit pairing Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger for some elaborate hijinks, and it’s a perfectly reliable time. The second title sees the crunch already happening, but director Steven C. Miller is a very capable guy, and as a result we get some good stuff making for another satisfying but forgettable good time. The third film, though, really only works when Zheng gets to do his stuff.

[Extras: Commentaries, featurettes, deleted scenes, interviews]

Kidnapped: The Abduction of Edgardo Mortara

What is it? Surprise, turns out the Catholic church has always been filled with assholes.

Why see it? The core story here is about a young Jewish boy who’s taken from his family by the Catholic church, baptized against their will — and never returned. It’s at the pope’s request, and worse? This is a true story. It’s a late 19th century event, but that doesn’t make it all that dated given the church’s proclivities, and director Marco Bellocchio affords the film a modernized feel with some stylistic touches and an omnipresent score. It’s effective, more often than not.

[Extras: Introduction, interview]

Also out this week:

Dawning [Terror Vision], Family Dinner [Terror Vision], The Guyver [4K UHD], In the Woods [Terror Vision], Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid [Criterion], Psycho Sisters [Terror Vision]

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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.