Our Pick of the Week Sings a ‘Rebel’ Yell

Plus 21 more new releases to watch at home this week on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD!
Rebel

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 26th, 2024! This week’s home video selection includes Rebel, Amelie, The Iron Claw, and more. Check out our picks below.


Pick of the Week

Rebel [Yellow Veil]

What is it? Two brothers find themselves drawn towards extremism.

Why see it? The core story here is a familiar enough one exploring why young men are pulled into extremism and fundamentalism, and the performances are rock solid across the board. The defining element, though, and one that shouldn’t surprise anyone given the filmmakers’ (Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah) past with music videos, are the breaks in action as the film morphs into a music video-like set-pieces. The songs and dances move the narrative and emotional degrees forward, but they also serve as reminders of humanity left on the battlefield. It’s an engrossing and captivating film that hits home in its final minutes with real power.

[Extras: Commentary, featurettes, Q&A]


The Best

Amelie

What is it? Pure movie magic.

Why see it? There are a handful of transcendent film experiences in everyone’s life (hopefully), and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amelie is one of mine. The film is an immensely creative tale of one lonely woman powered by imagination who finds her way to love. From the bright, colorful, and endlessly wild cinematography to the playful but beautiful score, from the warmth and wit to Audrey Tautou’s unforgettable performance, the film is a masterpiece so pure in its convictions that you come away smiling with a joyful exuberance that lasts for a long, long time. Sony’s new release features the same transfer as previously available, but the disc does add a new interview with Jeunet.

[Extras: Interview, commentary, featurettes]

Animation Night in Canada Vol. 1

What is it? A collection of Oscar-nominated short films from Canada.

Why see it? Canadian International Pictures has established itself as a fantastic label breathing new life into Canadian feature films from decades past. My personal favorites have leaned towards crime and thrills with a Great North flair, but this collection of shorts — a format I typically avoid out of laziness (which is ironic given that they’re, you know, so short) — finds skill, style, and entertainment in a variety of genres. The fourteen main shorts here were all nominated for Academy Awards in the twenty year stretch between 1965 and 1985, and the disc also includes several additional short films from the same filmmakers. It’s a terrific release celebrating and archiving the kind of efforts that often serve as calling cards for future feature directors.

[Extras: New restorations, eight additional short films, interview, documentary]

Burial Ground [4K UHD, Severin]

What is it? Fucking weird, man, fucking weird.

Why see it? Zombie movies come in all shapes and sizes, but it’s the Italian entries that typically stand out — less for their quality than their absolute weirdness and commitment to going for the gold. Lucio Fulci is king of that particular mountain, but Andrea Bianchi manages something special with his sole zombie entry. Special in the sense that it makes zero sense, has minimal plot, throws in some salacious perversions and a creepy mother/son relationship, and still fills its short running time with goofy, gory fun. Severin’s new 4K UHD release brings new detail and bright color to the carnage and is worth the upgrade for fans.

[Extras: New 4K scan, commentaries, featurette, interviews, Q&A, deleted scenes]

Green Ice [Imprint]

What is it? A pleasant little heist film from the early 80s!

Why see it? Well, first off, just about all heist films are worth a watch as the premise typically offers up some fun in both the planning stage and execution. Ernest Day’s 1981 feature fits the bill, with the added bonus that you’ve probably never seen it (or even heard of it before). Ryan O’Neal and Anne Archer headline a story that weaves romance, light-hearted comedy, and mild action into a fun little romp set against the continuously attractive visuals of Mexico and Colombia. Sketchy soldiers, greedy gem hoarders, personal hot air balloons — seriously, they look terrifying but add an exciting element to the third act — add to the antics, and through it all we get the charismatic pairing of Archer and O’Neal. It won’t blow your hair back, but Green Ice is an entertaining time from a century gone by. Imprint brings the film to disc for its debut (it’s otherwise unavailable here in the U.S.) with a region-free Blu-ray, and the presentation offers up a bright, colorful, and clear image making the exotic locales pop even more.

[Extras: Theatrical and extended cuts, commentary, interview]

Huesera

What is it? A pregnant woman is cursed.

Why see it? Babies aren’t for everyone, and sometimes, in some cases, that includes the mother herself. Director Michelle-Garza Cervera crafts an emotionally charged horror film here about a woman who doesn’t want a child, winds up pregnant, and then finds herself struggling against influences both personal and supernatural to deal with it all. There are some spooky beats here, and the film embraces its unlikable protagonist with the knowledge that “bad” people can be every bit as interesting as the “good.” It’s a solid tale, one using horror tropes to explore very real feelings of disinterest, detachment, and post-partum depression.

[Extras: Commentary, featurette, deleted scenes]

The Iron Claw

What is it? A true-ish story about wrestling, obsession, and family values.

Why see it? This film deserved a better push from A24 leading into the awards season, but they dropped the ball meaning people are discovering it on their own and realizing that it should have been a contender. The true story follows a family of professional wrestlers whose dedication to the sport and to each other leads to tragedy. And more tragedy. And more tragedy. It would be hard to believe if it was fiction. The cast is aces with stellar turns by Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, and Holt McCallany, and it’s a tale that stays with you as the dangers of religion, loyalty, and bad parenting make themselves known.

[Extras: Featurette, Q&A]

North Dallas Forty [4K UHD, KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A story about football.

Why see it? Most sports movies lean into tales of underdogs with an eye towards pleasing everyone, but we used to get movies like Slap Shot and this one, films that revel in the sloppy, sweaty, frequently inappropriate antics of professional athletes. Nick Nolte headlines here as a player who grows a bit tired, not of the game itself, but of the toxic atmosphere, aggressive masculinity, and people running the show. It makes some serious observations on the sport while still finding humor and humanity as well as some terrific action on the field. Dabney Coleman co-stars, always a welcome presence, and Kino’s new 4K sees the game popping on your screen.

[Extras: New 4K scan, commentary, interview, featurette]

Paint Your Wagon [4K UHD, KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A western comedy starring serious legends.

Why see it? Clint Eastwood is a legend when it comes to the western genre, and Lee Marvin is no slouch either, but both come together for this goofy comedy using western tropes to deliver mild laughs, milder romance, and one earth-shaking finale. The laughs lean big, and while they don’t always land — most don’t, but comedy is subjective, so your mileage may vary — the atmosphere is fun and light making for an entertaining enough watch, The highlight here is a finale that sees the ground literally crumble as a town falls apart, and it’s a genuinely impressive set piece.

[Extras: New 4K scan, commentary]

Saint Omer [Criterion]

What is it? A novelist sits in witness to the trial of a mother accused of killing her own toddler.

Why see it? Alice Diop’s 2022 film is a courtroom crime drama at its core as a young mother is tried over the death of her daughter, but woven throughout the criminal element sits incredibly smart and emotionally tender observations on race, social empathy, mother/daughter relationships, and more. It’s a fascinating concoction, a slow burn to be sure, but one that holds you in its grip as lives are decided before our eyes and ears. It’s at times devastating, particularly to parents — specifically mothers — of daughters we’re preparing for a world that undervalues and mistreats them.

[Extras: New 2K master, interviews]


The Rest

Another Body

What is it? A woman explores the truth after discovering “deepfake” pornography of herself online.

Why see it? It’s clear to anyone paying attention that humanity, as a whole, is pretty fucked. The reasons are numerous, but one of them is the advances in technological manipulation including deepfake photos/videos that make anything with anyone possible. This documentary looks into the idea, both the big ideas and the introspective ones that creep in after falling victim to the practice, and it’s an interesting watch. The filmmakers use deepfake tech themselves to tell the story, an intriguing choice, and the result is a thought-provoking time.

[Extras: Commentary, interview, Q&A, panel)

Bloodmoon [Severin]

What is it? A killer stalks a wooded lover’s lane in sun-dappled Australia.

Why see it? While slashers are generally considered an American institution, other countries picked up the reins before the 80s ended delivering plenty of examples with their own local flair. This Australian slasher is a perfectly okay time hitting the subgenre’s checklist — bloody kills, T&A, a morally twisted killer — in good enough fashion to warrant a watch. The film makes its US disc debut here and includes a version with the “fright break challenge” intact which adds some additional fun. It’s straightforward enough, but the killer being an equal opportunity murderer taking out both the gals and the guys is a refreshing change of pace.

[Extras: New 4K scan, interviews]

Born to Fly

What is it? China’s response to the success of Top Gun: Maverick.

Why see it? There may or may not be truth to that idea, that studios in China quickly threw this film together after Tom Cruise’s massive blockbuster succeeded despite being banned for including a shot recognizing Taiwan’s existence and independence, but the result speaks for itself. Minor scenes feel like a copy, but it’s still an acceptable adventure complete with melodrama and shoddy visual effects. Action beats are fun enough, and it’s arguably no more jingoistic than the Top Gun films themselves.

[Extras: None]

Brain Donors [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A comedy, Dennis Dugan style.

Why see it? Director Dennis Dugan is best known for his numerous Adam Sandler films — eight at last count — but he also made dumb comedies without the box-office star. This was his sophomore effort after the success of Problem Child, and it is… something. John Turturro stars as one of the three leads, and that’s really the only plus here, as neither Bob Nelson nor Mel Smith can match his charisma. That said, he’s still not enough to make the laughs land with any degree of certainty here as the physical gags, word play, and basic shenanigans all feel too dumb to be funny. Your mileage may vary, obviously.

[Extras: New 4K scan, commentaries]

Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein [Severin]

What is it? A Jess Franco joint.

Why see it? I’m admittedly not the biggest Jess Franco fan — I like maybe one or two out of his extensive filmography — and this early 70s horror entry falls sadly among the majority. The concept is fine as we get antics with Dracula, Frankenstein and his monster, the wolfman, and more, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Minimal dialogue, low atmosphere, and an overall feeling of cheap, cheap, cheap just pervades it all. That said, fans will love this new release from Severin as it presents the film in its longest available cut. It reportedly looks better than ever, but that’s still not saying much in my opinion, an issue related to the film itself and not the restoration.

[Extras: New 4K scan, interview, deleted scene]

Herencia Diabolica

What is it? People find a clown doll and don’t immediately burn it to ashes.

Why see it? A Mexican horror romp from the early 90s, the comparisons to Child’s Play are inevitable, but the film lacks both the wit and polish of Tom Holland’s hit. We do get a little guy killing folks, so that’s something, but there’s also a lot of down time. The translated title is Diabolical Inheritance, and that sums up the plot nicely as the family settles into their dead relative’s house only to find that damn doll turning their lives into a nightmare. You already know if this one is for you.

[Extras: New restoration, commentary, interview]

The Last Slumber Party [AGFA]

What is it? A teen slumber party becomes a nightmare.

Why see it? Slumber party horror films are common enough that the beats and notes are familiar to everyone by now — a group of friends, lots of bitching about boys, a desperate fight for survival once a killer crashes the party — and this no-budget flick from the late 80s doesn’t stretch things. Its no-frills approach is evident, but there’s still a grimy appeal to the antics for fans of lo-fi horror. Kills are mostly limited in their scope, and characters can be a bit rough, but AGFA does good work with the restoration from its 16mm negative making this a recommended pick up for fans.

[Extras: New restoration, commentary, Q&A, outtakes]

Night of the Blood Monster [4K UHD, Blue Underground]

What is it? A witch hunt!

Why see it? Again with the Jess Franco! There’s no doubt that he has his fans, but his films are rarely less than ugly, amateurish, and fixated on naked women. Am I generalizing? Perhaps, and to be fair, this 1970s shocker has some interesting visuals, but the movie still plays like the work of a man ill-suited for filmmaking. Christopher Lee can’t even save it from itself, and Franco’s obsession with naked women being brutalized isn’t otherwise enough to warrant interest. Blue Underground’s new 4K UHD release offers up the film in its best form yet, so if you do count yourself a fan of either the film or the filmmaker it’s a pickup you’ll want to make.

[Extras: New 4K master, commentaries, interviews, deleted scenes]

Polar Rescue

What is it? A father searches for his missing son on an icy mountain.

Why see it? Donnie Yen headlines this tale of survival and rescue, but sadly, he at no point delivers a beatdown against the winter weather or the mountain itself. Instead we get a pretty standard tale, albeit one beset with script issues, CG flare-ups, and a lack of a real emotional execution. you can watch it for Yen as he’s a capable actor in general, but even he can’t sell the emotion asked by this melodrama.

[Extras: None]

Scalper

What is it? A killer kills.

Why see it? Slashers are a dime a dozen, so standing out from the crowd requires some mix of cool kills, smart script, fun set-pieces, and engaging actors. This 2022 feature manages none of those things. It comes closest with the kills, though, as it delivers a handful of gore beats that show competence missing elsewhere.

[Extras: Commentary, featurette, deleted scenes]

Severe Injuries

What is it? It’s a slumber party massacre!

Why see it? The formula here is obviously well-tread, but in addition to being a rare slasher made by a woman, this is also a mildly fun time. The incredibly short running time is a big part of that to be sure, but the script and performances are charming enough to make for a fun enough time despite the budget limitations and familiarity.

[Extras: Commentaries, documentary, interviews, deleted scenes, short films]

Time of Moulting

What is it? A coming of age tale, of sorts.

Why see it? This slow burn chiller unfolds in the tight confines of a child’s house. We see the girl grow up, but it’s with the limitations put upon her by parents uninterested or unable to provide the kind of warmth and humanity needed to thrive. Bleak, occasionally beautiful, frequently depressing, it’s a film that knows stagnant growth is no growth at all.

[Extras: Interviews, deleted scenes]


Also out this week:

3 Godfathers [Warner Archive], The Book of Clarence, Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema XVIII [KL Studio Classics], The Inspector Wears Skirts 2 [88 Films], Jobe’z World, The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun + Le Franc, Out of Darkness, Paris Police 1905, Primal Fear [4K UHD, Paramount Presents], Signature Move, To Die For [4K UHD, Criterion], The United States of Insanity, The Wind of Ayahuasca, World War III

Rob Hunter: 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.