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 March 16th, 2021!
This week’s home video selection includes two of last year’s best movies, an 80s BMX classic, two Marty Feldman comedies, and more. Check out our picks below.
Pick of the Week
What is it? An alien being befriends two young siblings.
Why see it? That synopsis might remind you of a certain Steven Spielberg film from 1982, but don’t go into this gem expecting some sappy tale of friendship — this movie is more interested in delivering the hecking best tale of friendship, exploding children, intergalactic warfare, and gory violence. And it succeeds. The family dynamic is fun, little Mimi is amazing, and the practical effects are an absolute delight. It’s a funny, gory, highly entertaining time, and you owe it to yourself to give it a spin.
[Extras: Commentary, interviews, featurettes, trading cards]
Céline and Julie Go Boating [Criterion Collection]
What is it? Two women cross paths for a dream-like experience.
Why see it? Jacques Rivette’s three-hour blend of comedy, drama, and the inexplicable may not be the easiest film to watch — it can feel like a chore at times depending on your openness to the vague and unexplained — but if you stick with it the film offers an interesting taste of the subconscious. The women find their day becoming intertwined with each other, but there’s also magic, murder, and the enduring mystery of what moves us forward. Mileage will vary regarding whether or not this is a movie you’ll ever watch a second time, but fans should be mighty pleased with Criterion’s new release as it’s packed with informative extras on the film and its meanings.
[Extras: New 2K restoration, commentary, documentary, interviews]
In God We Trust [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A religious man is sent to LA in search of money.
Why see it? Marty Feldman never really seemed like a leading role kind of guy, but as with his earlier directorial effort below, he absolutely delivers in comedies of his own design. Here he plays a man hoping to raise funds for his monastery, but the supporting players (including Peter Boyle and Andy Kaufman) aren’t making it easy. The film’s very funny and fast-moving in its effort to skewer religion both organized and messy, and while not every joke lands there are more than enough of them to satisfy.
The Last Remake of Beau Geste [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? Beau Geste’s “twin” brother has adventures of his own.
Why see it? It’s possible I’m just an absolute sucker for Marty Feldman’s sense of humor, but from the risque opening song onward — seriously, today’s Hollywood wouldn’t touch this material — this is a damn funny spoof. Both of these Feldman films lack the control of Mel Brooks’ early spoof movies, but more than enough laughs tear through alongside an impressively game cast (here including Michael York, Peter Ustinov, Ann-Margaret, and more). Fast dialogue, visual gags, and an abundance of movie references keep things hopping.
[Extras: Commentaries, interview with Michael York]
What is it? A nobody wants to be a somebody on the BMX circuit.
Why see it? Hal Needham was a stuntman turned filmmaker, and while his movies are a mixed bag (Smokey and the Bandit, 1977; Megaforce, 1982) they’re almost always worth a watch for the stunts. This time around he trades in cars and flying motorbikes for BMX bicycles, but he still delivers plenty of action thrills both on and off the course. It’s pretty light as far as family entertainment goes, but the new transfer (courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome) looks slick and the 80s vibe is undeniable. This new Mondo release is a sharp-looking steelbook too.
[Extras: new 4K restoration, Q&A, interviews, featurette]
Runaway Train [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? Escaped convicts go from the frying pan into the fire.
Why see it? This epic adventure is such an odd collaboration of talents starting with a script originally written by the legendary Akira Kurosawa. What?! Add in a pre-asshole Jon Voight and an energetic Eric Roberts alongside some truly spectacular action and suspense, and you have a big thriller that received Oscar nominations for its acting. What?! Kino’s new disc looks and sounds fantastic, and the release really can’t be recommended enough.
[Extras: New 2K master, commentary with Eric Roberts]
Don’t Tell a Soul
What is it? Two brothers leave a man trapped in a hole.
Why see it? The premise here is one touching on both suspense and empathy as the brothers, running from a security guard after committing a crime, discover he’s fallen into a deep pit. The older wants him to rot, but the younger — Jack Dylan Grazer doing the best work of his young career — finds a connection with him in between bouts of being abused by his older brother. Both the family drama and suspense work well, but the film is ultimately let down by its ending.
Positive I.D. [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A traumatic event leads a woman into dark places.
Why see it? As far as rape/revenge films go, this is among the most patient and oddly structured. Released by Universal in the mid 80s, the film opens months after the assault and introduces viewers to a woman still suffering from PTSD. She eventually finds some side hobbies that piece by piece reveal a master plan, but it is a long time getting there only for it to wrap up fairly abruptly. It’s an odd one.
Taffin [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A debt collector finds trouble.
Why see it? Pierce Brosnan’s non-Bond action/suspense roles are an interesting collection of smaller thrillers, and while they don’t all work it’s good fun watching him play a tougher brand of cool. This late 80s effort is one that doesn’t really come together in part due to oddball pacing and a script that’s in no hurry to get to the thrills. The character introduction is off, the story is convoluted, and it just fails to raise the heart rate. Still, Brosnan!
Also out this week:
Damn Yankees [Warner Archive], I am Lisa, The Legend of Korra: The Complete Series, Pinocchio, Promising Young Woman, Running Time, Songbird