Welcome to this week in home video!
Pick of the Week
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
What is it? The adaptation the character deserves.
Why see it? Cathy Yan’s pop-colored explosion is every bit a girl-power extravaganza, but it’s also just an absolute blast of fun characters and entertaining action beats. Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosie Perez, and Jurnee Smollett-Bell make one hell of a team, and together they deliver ass-kickings and verbal smackdowns galore. Add in a brilliantly vile Ewan McGregor and you have a terrific piece of entertainment.
[Extras: Featurettes, gag reel]
Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema II [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? Thunder on the Hill, The Price of Fear, and The Female Animal
Why see it? Noir is an often misunderstood sub-genre, but that’s mostly because it covers a lot of ground. This new set, part of a welcome series from Kino Lorber, brings together three lesser known examples, and each of them is a winner. Douglas Sirk directs one, actors including Merle Oberon, Claudette Colbert, and Hedy Lamarr headline, and all three deliver twisty plots captured with sharp black & white photography.
The Mystery of the Wax Museum [Warner Archive]
What is it? A madman gives his wax figures a human touch.
Why see it? This 1933 effort predates more well-known wax museum horror tales, and while it lacks the larger than life Vincent Price or big, graphic set-pieces, the film manages more than a few thrills of its own. Fay Wray stars as a possible victim, but the film’s actually at its strongest when focused on Glenda Farrell as a fast-talking newspaper reporter. Genre beats rear their head in satisfying ways, and the restoration used to recover the film results in a sharp-looking movie.
[Extras: Documentary, commentaries, featurette]
Barbara Stanwyck Collection [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? Internes Can’t Take Money, The Great Man’s Lady, and The Bride Wore Boots
Why see it? The great Barbara Stanwyck had a varied career over her long life, and this new set collects three of her slightly lesser known titles together. All three are solid and feature Stanwyck in lead roles, but while the two dramas work well enough it’s the comedy (The Bride Wore Boots, 1946) that shines with its smart, fast-moving script and sharp performances. Extras are light, but two of the films include commentaries that shed some light on the productions and offer insight into Stanwyck’s career choices.
What is it? A sad feature adaptation of a TV show with a fun premise.
Why see it? Jeff Wadlow isn’t the guy you want shepherding your horror film, but he keeps getting work anyway so what do I know. This slice of Blumhouse terror should have offered up a fun anthology of entertaining horrors, but the effort to tie them together with a subversive take on the island and its host just goes belly up. Never scary, engaging, creative, thrilling, funny, or interesting, the film is a dud from top to bottom.
[Extras: Theatrical and unrated versions, deleted scenes, commentary]
Inside Daisy Clover [Warner Archive]
What is it? The rise and fall of a young actor.
Why see it? Robert Mulligan’s mid 60s romantic drama is worth a watch for the talent alone from producer Alan J. Pakula to performers including Natalie Wood, Christopher Plummer, Robert Redford, Ruth Gordon, and Roddy McDowall. The story itself finds some engaging beats as Wood’s young starlet hits bumps in her short-lived career, and Wood delivers as the compelling and understandably frustrated lead.
Lucifer – The Complete Fourth Season
What is it? The devil returns.
Why see it? Fox’s riff on the devil in the modern day world has become a quiet favorite for many, and it’s not hard to see why. Like Angel and Supernatural before it, the show blends traditional genre beats with mythical beings and biblical references resulting in some entertaining television. Stand alone episodes work as procedurals while the over-arching story lines see characters old and new popping in to create drama. It’s a fun diversion from the real hell on earth we’re all living.
[Extras: Deleted scenes]
Also out this week:
Blood Tide [Arrow Video], The Call of the Wild, The Dallas Connection, Enemy Gold, The Great Escape [Criterion Collection], Idle Hands [ Scream Factory], The Photograph, Terrifier, They’re Inside, The Traitor, Vivarium