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!
Pick of the Week
One Cut of the Dead [steelbook]
What is it? Real zombies overrun a crew making a zombie movie.
Why see it? This Japanese effort is an absolute joy that delivers laughs, zombie action, and some truly memorable story turns. It opens like any number of low-budget zombie films, but stick with it and you’ll be rewarded with guts, brains, and heart. The film works as a comedy, a zombie horror movie, and a beautiful nod to indie filmmakers who embrace the struggle to get their vision out there. It’s currently available to watch on Shudder, but this is the only US home video release and while worth picking up. Do it!
[Extras: Outtakes, Go-Pro version]
Harley Quinn – The Complete First Season
What is it? The R-rated animated series you’ve been waiting for.
Why see it? I’m not a comics guy, so my only real exposure to Harley Quinn had previously been through her theatrical adventures. Birds of Prey shows her as a far more interesting character than those earlier incarnations in that it allows her to be her own person, and this animated series continues that trend in glorious fashion. She breaks free of the Joker and discovers her own value as an ass-kicking villain, but while the violence and gore is plentiful and entertaining there’s even more to love here — the show is ridiculously funny too.
Jaws [4K UltraHD]
What is it? A perfect movie.
Why see it? Steven Spielberg’s 1975 feature began the concept of summer blockbusters, and it holds up insanely well. Not even glimpses of the fake-looking shark can hurt its reputation as the film is just pure perfection from the cast to the pacing, score, cinematography, script, characters, energy, and beyond. The film is immensely entertaining even on a double-digit re-watch, and now it’s available in 4K. This new release includes all the expected extras, but it’s the film itself that continues to shine — and that now shines with even more clarity and sharpness.
[Extras: New 4K UltraHD presentation, featurettes, deleted scenes]
What is it? An alternate history where heroes are real and not seen as super.
Why see it? The Watchmen graphic novel is a literary classic, and Zack Snyder’s film adaptation is pretty great regardless of where you land on the comic, so a new adaptation — one that’s actually a sequel — seemed like a bad idea to almost everyone. Well, surprise! It’s actually pretty damn fantastic. In addition to developing known characters further it branches out with new ones and explores the world through a racially aware lens. Its reveal of the real-world Tulsa massacre was the first time many viewers had even heard of the horrific event, and that combination of excitement, history, commentary, and character makes for a stellar limited series.
What is it? Two women connect in the shadow of World War II.
Why see it? World War II is a common setting for action/dramas, but the vast majority we see come out of the US, Europe, or Japan. Russia was obviously a huge player in that global conflict, and they’ve also produced movies centered on the troubles. This film focuses on the months after the war comes to an end as people try to rebuild lives and deal with the trauma of the war. It’s an atmospheric film with a clear directorial eye and two strong performances at its heart, but the emotional payoff isn’t quite there.
Creepshow – Season 1
What is it? Twelve episodes of Shudder’s anthology series adaptation.
Why see it? The original Creepshow film sees George Romero and Stephen King capture the EC Comics vibe beautifully meshing horror and dark comedy to near perfection. The sequel was a mixed bag, and the less said about the third film the better, and now we have this new series endeavor bringing together various directors, writers, and actors for the equivalent of Creepshow 2. It’s not ideal as only a two of the episodes are legit great, a few are okay, and the rest are clear missed opportunities, but there’s still promise in the format and gathering of talents. Hopefully season two raises the bar on storytellers.
[Extras: Interviews, featurettes, commentaries]
Star Trek: Short Treks
What is it? Nine short films set in the Star Trek universe.
Why see it? Few franchises are as ubiquitous and widespread as Star Trek over the years, and while everyone knows the films and television shows there are other endeavors that might be worth seeking out for fans. These shorts are professionally made with solid effects work and tight little tales set against Starfleet and beyond. Some feature familiar faces, too. They’re not necessarily as engaging as the more popular fare, but fans should give them a spin as they offer small glimpses into the Star Trek universe.
[Extras: Featurettes, interviews, commentaries]
What is it? Three homeless friends find an infant in the garbage.
Why see it? Satoshi Kon’s early 2000s animated feature finds warmth and humor in its wacky tale, and while it can’t match the power or beauty of the likes of Perfect Blue or Paprika there’s charm all the same. It’s abrasive at times in its personality, and damn is it loud, but there’s an undeniable warmth in its tale. The characters grow softer in the back half making them more relatable and human, and it’s a heartfelt adventure.
[Extras: New 4K transfer, short film, featurettes]
What is it? A small town man discovers slightly bigger town bars.
Why see it? John Travolta found success bringing disco dancing and big hair to the screen, so in 1980 it was decided he could do the same for fake bull riding and cowboy hats. The resulting film is a tough one, though, as its both dated and lacking in likable characters. Debra Winger is a highlight as the girl he likes — and occasionally hits but it’s okay because the bad guy (Scott Glenn) hits her harder? — but the film is unable to wring any interest or excitement out of the bar action or romantic drama. This is the film’s Blu-ray debut, and fans will be pleased with the look of the film and the handful of extras.
[Extras: Featurette, deleted scenes, outtakes]
Also out this week:
1BR, Glengarry Glen Ross [Shout Select], Parasite [4K UltraHD], Robert the Bruce, Tesnota (Closeness)