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18 New Movies to Watch at Home This Week on Blu-ray/DVD

By  · Published on April 4th, 2016

Welcome back to This Week In Discs where we check out tomorrow’s new releases today!

Death Walks Twice: Two Films By Luciano Ercoli

What is it? An exotic dancer learns her thief of a father has been murdered and she’s next on the killer’s list in Death on High Heels. A model witnesses a brutal murder while under the influence of a hallucinatory drug in Death Walks at Midnight.

Why buy it? Ercoli’s twin entries feature Nieves Navarro in the lead roles and both surround her with style, a little bit of goofiness, and a black-gloved killer. Both films also serve as visible inspirations for American directors like Brian De Palma as they mix sex, death, and twists of identity into fun, colorful genre romps. Giallo fans will want to jump all over this one as these two Italian thrillers come to Blu-ray in beautiful HD and loaded with special features. Admittedly, I am an absolute sucker for Arrow Video’s box sets — they put equal care into both the film’s presentation and the packaging — so while the individual movies are merely good entries in the giallo genre their collection here makes for a must-own set.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Limited edition box set, 60-page booklet, commentaries, featurettes, interviews, reversible sleeves]

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

What is it? Decades have passed since the Rebel Alliance defeated the Galactic Empire, but the mystical power known as the Force seems destined to eternally come in two flavors — the light and the dark. The Sith gave way to the Empire, and now it’s the First Order who threaten the peace and stability throughout the galaxy. They’re busy blowing up planets with a new weapon that makes the Death Star look like a gallstone, but Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is tasked with the mission of finding Skywalker. A map to his whereabouts has been hidden in a rolling droid named BB-8, but as the dark Jedi scours space the little guy finds a friend in Rey (Daisy Ridley), a young woman on something of a stationary quest of her own.

Why buy it? For better or worse, J.J. Abrams’ opening salvo into a new Star Wars trilogy is everything you’re hoping for. It’s the closest thing to the original 1977 classic since the original 1977 classic, and it’s not just because it matches that film beat for beat at times. The Force Awakens is a high-energy space opera stuffed with dramatic character swings, epic laser battles in the sky and lightsaber duels on the ground, and a tangible line between good and evil designed to leave viewers cheering and worrying in equal measure. The Blu-ray not only looks and sounds great, but it also comes loaded with behind the scenes featurettes exploring all facets of production. (Check out my more in-depth look here.)

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Making of, featurettes, deleted scenes]


What is it? Det. Seo (Hwang Jeong-min) is a fun-loving, hard-ass cop always prepared with a smile and an ass-kicking, and his latest case is going to require a lot of both. A wealthy young man following in his father’s footsteps uses his power and privilege to harass and belittle those beneath him, and when an employee dies in his building Seo suspects it was more than just an accident.

Why buy it? Writer/director Ryoo Seung-wan’s (The Berlin File, The Unjust) latest is a terrific action/comedy with a powerhouse lead performance by Hwang. Imagine Jackie Chan and Dirty Harry had a baby who grew up to tackle corporate overreach, and you’ll have an idea what to expect from Hwang’s Seo as brawls his way through red tape and bad guys in the pursuit of justice. It’s a fun, thrilling movie whether you’re already a fan of South Korean cinema or not.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None?]


What is it? A group of preteen girls gather for a sleepover with plans for gossiping, playing, and maybe a little bit of bullying, but when the latter goes too far the evening takes a deadly turn.

Why rent it? Supposedly based on a true story, this little thriller takes a peek behind the curtain into young lives of wealth and privilege to find the indifference and pain within. The kills and thrills are fine, but the real draw here are the performances from Timothy Hutton and Chloe Sevigny as parents whose own attitudes, insecurities, and insanity fuel the younger generation’s behavior. They’re over the top in the best possible ways and steal the film from its thriller plot.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

Ava’s Possessions

What is it?

We first meet Ava (Louisa Krause) surrounded by her family as a priest finishes up an exorcism and greets the newly freed young woman, but her time with the supernatural is only the beginning of her troubles. She committed numerous crimes while under demonic control — she stole kisses, damaged property, and even slashed a throat or two — and now she has to pay for her misdeeds. The court understands that she was possessed and has no memory of her actions, so in lieu of jail time Ava agrees to attend Spirit Possession Anonymous until she’s fully cured.

Why rent it? The initial setup of Jordan Galland’s pseudo horror/comedy works both as purely comedic and as metaphor for all manner of addictions. This is a world where possessions are not uncommon, where you can walk into a corner store and buy spells and incantations from the shopkeeper (Carol Kane) and where the trust of your friends and family can be regained through a promise to stop puking up pea soup. It’s ripe with potential, but unfortunately Galland lets far too much of it rot before our eyes.

[DVD extras: None?]

Casual: Season One

What is it? Valerie (Michaela Watkins) is recently divorced and mother to a teenager named Laura (Tara Lynne Barr), and slightly lost after the breakup she and her daughter move in with her brother, Alex (Tommy Dewey). He created a successful dating website, but beyond the stability his home offers Valerie hopes to pick up some tips on the art of the casual relationship.

Why rent it? The core of this show is the sibling relationship between Val and Alex, and the honesty and truths they share is as refreshing as it is rare. The actors help make that bond a tangible one that builds both the laughs and the hurt as the season moves forward. The one element that keeps the show from greatness though is the character of Laura — for as real as the rest of the characters and relationships feel she is a terribly-written and utterly false-sounding teen. She drags the rest of them down, and it’s unfortunate when so much of the rest is so damn good.

[DVD extras: Featurette]

Episodes: The Fourth Season

What is it? Sean and Beverly have only just returned home to England after a disastrous year spent in Los Angeles working on their show Pucks!, but before they can even unpack they’re called back when the network un-cancels the series. Their return brings new challenges for them and their lead actor, Matt LeBlanc.

Why rent it? This Showtime series remains my favorite LeBlanc project as he plays a terrifically terrible version of himself. It’s a sharply-written look at Hollywood complete with frequent laughs and the occasional heart tugs, but it’s never afraid to go for the wonderfully mean jabs too. The business shenanigans are sometimes played more ridiculous than reality, but it’s never really that far removed from the real-world madness of television. All that plus a cameo by David Schwimmer!

[DVD extras: None]

The Expanse: Season One

What is it? A young woman has gone missing, and the asteroid belt’s most fashionable detective (Thomas Jane) is tasked with finding her. A galactic ice freighter comes under attack from a Mars-based rebel force. Back on Earth, a terrorist is interrogated. These events aren’t unrelated.

Why rent it? The Syfy Channel still puts out plenty of terrible sky shark-related movies, but they’ve made a lot of progress in the past few years on the series front. The Magicians, Haven, and Childhood’s End are all worth your attention (to varying degrees), and their latest continues that trend. The character mix is good fun — Jane’s noir-touched cop in particular — and the narrative offers engaging depth as it moves to bring the stories together.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes]

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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.