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Howard Hawks and a Leopard Headline Our Pick of the Week

Plus 12 more new releases to watch at home this week on Blu-ray/DVD!
Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby
RKO Radio Pictures
By  · Published on July 6th, 2021

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 6th, 2021!

This week’s home video selection includes a Howard Hawks classic, a forgotten gem from the early 80s, and more. Check out our picks below.


Pick of the Week

Bringing Up BabyBringing Up Baby [Criterion Collection]

What is it? A paleontologist and an heiress hit it off.

Why see it? Howard Hawks was a master of both westerns and comedies, and this example of the latter is one of his finest hours. Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn headline, and the pair are utterly delightful in their banter. The script moves fast, the dialogue moves faster, and the laughs maintain their own heady pace. Misunderstandings and misadventures combine into a memorable comedy, and you’ll be surprised all over again by both its brilliance and the ridiculous realization that this is the film’s debut on Blu-ray. Crazy! Criterion’s new remaster delivers a sharp-looking black & white wonder, and it’s this week’s must-own.

[Extras: New 4K transfer, commentary, essay, interviews, documentary]


The Best

Hrs48 Hours [Paramount Presents]

What is it? A cop and an ex-con team up to bring down bad guys.

Why see it? Walter Hill’s action/comedy classic remains a hard-hitting good time, and while Richard Donner’s Lethal Weapon (1987) arguably perfected the subgenre it probably wouldn’t exist without this earlier gem. Nick Nolte is gruff brilliance, Eddie Murphy is hilariously loose, and bad boy James Remar feels like a legitimate villain. The tight plot allows plenty of time for laughs and action set-pieces with the two leads showing some charismatic friction. A 4K release would have been ideal, but this new remaster still looks fantastic.

[Extras: New 4K transfer, featurette]

The Black MarbleThe Black Marble [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? Bad luck is the name of the game.

Why see it? Harold Becker’s blackly comic thriller from 1980 feels every bit like it just missed its home in the 70s. It’s a tale about rough around the edges cops, nervous criminals, and the sad truth that some people are guaranteed to never catch a break. Robert Foxworth plays against type as a sad sack cop drinking himself into oblivion and faced with two possible redemptions — one involves a possible romance, and the other involves catching a dognapper. Harry Dean Stanton plays the pooch abductor, and he’s the saddest sack of them all. It’s a funny, bleak, gut punch of a movie.

[Extras: New 4K restoration, commentary by director Harold Becker]

The House On Sorority RowThe House on Sorority Row

What is it? Sorority girls find themselves stalked by a killer.

Why see it? This early 80s slasher received a pretty solid remake a few years back, but the original remains superior even with it being a bit rougher around the edges. The mystery setup works well, the set-pieces are well-crafted, and the suspense plays things out nicely as each sister meets her fate. The new Blu-ray from MVD and Scorpion is packed with some informative extras as well.

[Extras Commentaries, interviews]

The Road To SalinaThe Road to Salina [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? Mistaken identity, grief, and lust combine.

Why see it? Mimsy Farmer, Rita Hayworth, and Robert Walker headline this beautifully shot noir (of sorts) about a man who stumbles into a beautiful beachside town destined for trouble. An older woman recognizes him as her missing son, and her daughter confirms it, but is he? And if not, what happened to the missing man? It’s a sexy, sad, twisting tale about loss and the things we convince ourselves to believe when faced with dark alternatives. It’s a good one.

[Extras: New 4K restoration, commentary]


The Rest

Another 48 Hours [Paramount Presents]

What is it? The boys are back in town, as they say.

Why see it? Eight years after their initial good time, Nick Nolte’s eternally angry detective once again recruits Eddie Murphy’s conniving con for a dangerous case. There are laughs and action beats, but neither land with the impact of the original. The laughs are smaller, and the action is bigger but somehow less interesting, but the chemistry remains. Murphy is more comfortable as an actor rather than merely a performer, and Nolte is, well he’s still Nolte. It’s a solid enough sequel.

[Extras: New 4K transfer, featurette]

Close Range / Savage Dog

What is it? Two movies with Scott Adkins!

Why see it? As double features go, there’s barely a full plot spread between Close Range and Savage Dog. Both have the slightest of narratives, and the latter takes a bit too long to get moving, but both redeem themselves when it comes to the action. Adkins continues to be a powerhouse fighter when it comes to brawls and beatdowns, and he’s a joy to watch as he chews through bad guys with abandon. On their own neither film is necessarily worth picking up, but as a double feature? Adkins fans unite!

[Extras: Featurettes]

Icy Breasts [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A writer falls in with a mysterious woman.

Why see it? Movies about psychotic killers don’t really come much sadder than this French entry, and that’s sadder as in depressing. The film manages suspense and mystery, but it’s the character work that takes precedence early on as an awkward writer falls for a stranger and opens the door to trouble. Alain Delon co-stars as the woman’s brother, and as bodies start hitting the floor it’s anyone’s guess who’ll be standing at the end. The film looks fantastic, and it lands with more weight than you’re expecting.

[Extras: New 4K restoration, commentary]

Mortuary

What is it? Someone’s killing, and you know who it is.

Why see it? The cast is the big appeal here as Christopher George, Lynda Day George, and Bill Paxton headline the supporting roster, and they exhibit more charisma and character than the leads (through no fault of their own). We get some bloodletting and some uncomfortable nudity, but the script leaves quite a bit to be desired as the killer’s obvious and the set-pieces fail to thrill. Still, any film with Paxton is a film worth watching at least once.

[Extras: Interview]

Silat Warriors: Deed of Death

What is it? A family fights after one of their own causes trouble.

Why see it? Thugs mess with the wrong family when they come calling to collect on a debt, and while one son causes trouble his brother and sister are there to kick ass and clean up his mess. It’s a familiar enough tale kicked up a notch with the addition of a female fighter, but unfortunately the actual fight scenes fail to impress. Most are over-edited and/or don’t convince, and while the third act steps things up a few notches it’s not a lot of fun getting there.

[Extras: None]

Space Jam [4K UltraHD]

What is it? Aliens abduct Looney Tunes characters and Michael Jordan.

Why see it? Look, those of you who saw this live-action/animated hybrid upon its release as kids probably still love it, and who am I to say you’re wrong. It is, however, not a good movie. Sure, basketball fans will enjoy seeing their faves and cartoon lovers will have fun seeing characters interact, but this is no Who Framed Roger Rabbit? It’s also oddly lacking in laughs for a feature length Looney Toons cartoon. Anyway, if you’re a fan you’ll want to pick up its new 4K incarnation.

[Extras: Commentary, featurette, music videos]

Threshold [Arrow Video]

What is it? A brother and sister face off against the past.

Why see it? Nothing but respect for anyone who makes a movie, and that’s especially true for someone who makes a film on an iPhone. This feature sits among the latter and follows two characters on a road trip towards the truth regarding a possible cult on their horizon. It’s an impressive feat, but it’s also a slow burn that may or may not succeed in its feature length engagement. The extras included here offer a wealth of information for budding filmmakers, though, making it an interesting watch and package for those hoping to get into the business.

[Extras: Commentaries, documentary, featurettes]

The Widow Couderc [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A young man arrives in a small town, but others are soon looking for him.

Why see it? Alain Delon headlines as a man clearly on the run who finds respite in the home of an older woman. She takes him in and falls for him, but jealousy rises when he catches the eye of the woman’s young niece. The threat of discovery and the imminent arrival of the police throws a wrench into it all. More drama than thriller, the film takes its time with the relationships allowing Delon time to light up the screen with his expected charms. It all builds to the expected conclusion, but it’s an engaging drama getting there.

[Extras: New 4K restoration, commentary]


Also out this week:

15 Things You Didn’t Know About Bigfoot, 42nd Street, Defending Jacob, Dr. Strangelove [4K UltraHD], Howard the Duck [4K UltraHD], Just a Gigolo, The Last Time I Committed Suicide, Mirror [Criterion Collection], Mr. Jealousy, Royal Deceit, Scott Pilgrim vs the World [4K UltraHD], Super Frenchie

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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.