Features and Columns · Movies

‘Shame’ Takes a Kick to the Sack in Our Pick of the Week

Plus 15 new releases to watch at home this week on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD!
By  · Published on June 27th, 2023

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 June 27th, 2023! This week’s home video selection includes Shame, The White Buffalo, and more. Check out our picks below.

Pick of the Week

ShameShame [Umbrella Entertainment]

What is it? A female lawyer finds a reason to stay in a remote Australian town.

Why see it? Rape/revenge films are typically built on the exploitative nature of both the assault and the violent vengeance that follows, but this fantastic Australian gem takes a more sincere, but every it as thrilling, approach. Deborra-Lee Furness stars as a motorcycle-riding lawyer who stops over in a small rural town for bike repairs and discovers a community in distress. Groups of young men have been assaulting women, and the both sides have chosen to keep it quiet thinking it’s merely the norm. She says no to that, and what follows is a thrilling, suspenseful, devastating journey. Director Steve Jordell wisely avoids showing any of the assaults, and that adds to its power as a compelling drama.

[Extras: Interviews, commentary, featurette]

The Best

At Dawn They SleepAt Dawn They Sleep

What is it? Drug dealers turned vampires unleash a turf war.

Why see it? Shot on video movies are more miss than hit for me, but this wild blend of action and horror delivers oodles of R-rated fun on a tiny budget. Vampires, Hong Kong style gun fights, gratuitous sex antics, and gore. The budget may be low, but the creativity and ambition are sky high making for a fun time for fans of genre fare. Ambitious is the key here as the filmmakers aim high and cast a wide net. Not everything works, but there’s more than enough going on here from the action to the horror to the fleshy bits that viewers will find it hard to be bored.

[Extras: Commentaries, featurettes, outtakes, bonus film]

The BountyThe Bounty [Imprint]

What is it? A first mate leads a mutiny against his lieutenant.

Why see it? Roger Donaldson directs this lush, thrilling, and well-acted tale of adventure, and he has solid leads in Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson. The latter plays the first mate who begins to lose faith in the man in charge. The story has come to film previously, but Donaldson finds the adventure and friendship, all of which begins to sour when things don’t go as planned. Both actors do great work and earn distinct loyalties from viewers, and that split affection adds to the drama. Imprint’s new release comes in an attractive hardbox and features loads of extras on a second disc, and the film itself is presented from a 4K scan of the original negative. The extras offer details on production, and the documentaries in particular offer interesting insights into very specific elements.

[Extras: Commentaries, featurettes, visual essay, documentaries, interviews]

Effects UhdEffects [4K UHD, AGFA]

What is it? FIlmmakers find their new horror film plagued by terrors.

Why see it? This low budget wonder remains a great watch thanks to the various talents involved including Tom Savini, John Harrison, Joe Pilato, and more. A group of friends making a fake snuff movie see their efforts hindered by real “accidents” and deaths leading to a truth erupting from the bloody remains. It’s a smart little thriller from its script to its indie execution, and while 4K UHD can’t do a lot for a 16mm-shot film there’s still enough of a difference in clarity to make this a worthwhile upgrade.

[Extras: $K restoration, commentary, Q&A, documentary, short films, booklet]

Not One LessNot One Less [Imprint]

What is it? A teenager becomes a substitute teacher.

Why see it? Zhang Yimou’s 1999 drama follows a thirteen-year-old girl who finds herself teaching in a small rural town. Poverty is the norm, and it’s a real struggle, but the challenge grows when one of her kids runs away to the city. The film balances sad truths with bright spots made of hope and optimism, and the end result is a sweet tale designed to touch your heart. The cinematography is simple but effective in capturing the competing worlds of rural and urban life, and the performances are as affecting as they need be.

[Extras: None]

Prague NightsPrague Nights [Deaf Crocodile Films]

What is it? An anthology of three horror tales.

Why see it? Anthology horror films are fairly common, or at least they used to be, and this late 60s feature fits right into the mold despite having been so little seen since its release. Three tales unfold here as a man is told stories in a graveyard by an attractive woman he just picked up, and each carries its own distinct feel and narrative with tales of golems, murder, and grim justice. The restoration looks fantastic, and the extras here give context and more to the film’s creation and value.

[Extras: New restoration, interviews, commentary, short films]

Waterworld UhdWaterworld [4K UHD, Arrow Video]

What is it? An epic ahead of its time.

Why see it? While it was viewed as a disaster on release — the production was a nightmare, and critics were unkind — Kevin Reynold’s epic adventure at sea remains a lot of beautifully shot fun. Kevin Costner headlines as The Mariner, a dude who’s adapted to life on a flooded planet by developing gills, and he’s having a great time delivering swashbuckling thrills above and below the water. The action cuts big starting with a thrilling chase and some acrobatic stunts aboard our hero’s big trimaran, and while things get slightly cheesy at times it never diminishes the fun. Dennis Hopper goes overboard as the big bad, and the film does great work building out its world to feel like Mad Max on the open ocean. Arrow’s new 4K UHD of the theatrical cut may not be a huge update, but the movie looks great all the same. This release also includes the two longer cuts (mostly the same) on Blu-ray discs along with a lot of extras detailing the film’s production.

[Extras: Three cuts, documentary, featurettes]

The White BuffaloThe White Buffalo [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? Wild Bill Hickok faces his own white whale.

Why see it? Charles Bronson in the 70s was unbeatable, and while this John Barry-directed historical thriller isn’t particularly beloved it remains a favorite of mine. Bronson plays Hickox, a man secured in history who’s now having dreams of facing a large, white, rampaging buffalo. So he finally finds it with the help of Crazy Horse. It’s occasionally silly, and the buffalo effects run the gamut from cool to clearly a mechanical lump on a rail, but Bronson grounds it well as a serious man on a scary mission. Jack Warden is along for the ride as comic relief. The film teases horror as the beast leaves a trail of carnage in its wake, and in that sense it feels akin to something like Orca.

[Extras: New 2K scan, commentary]

The Rest

The Adam Rifkin Film Festival

What is it? Twenty-two short films from a child filmmaker.

Why see it? Adam Rifkin found some success with cult hits like The Dark Backward and Detroit Rock City, and this release celebrates his earliest work — short films he made as a kid. Serious fans of the filmmaker will be interested and maybe even entertained, but this isn’t like looking back at Steven Spielberg’s childhood shorts foreshadowing camera tricks, themes, and more from a future career. Still, Rifkin completists will be thrilled.

[Extras: Interviews, episode of Donahue, booklet]

The Goat (aka La Chevre) [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? It takes a clumsy oaf to find a clumsy broad.

Why see it? Gerard Depardieu headlines as a private eye searching for a millionaire’s missing daughter, and he’s joined by Pierre Richard. The latter is a ridiculously clumsy fellow, and he’s sent in the hopes of leading the PI to the equally clumsy daughter. An odd plan, but that’s the French for you. This is a fun time for fans of physical comedy as much of the laughs comes from prat falls and other antics while the rest comes from the clashing relationship between the two men and their “fish out of water” presence in Mexico.

[Extras: New 2K restoration, commentary]

How to Be Loved [Yellow Veil Pictures]

What is it? A woman reflects on her life during and after World War II.

Why see it? Wojciech J. Has films often dip heavily into a surreal state in both their imagery and their narrative, but this early 60s effort feels a bit more straightforward. That’s not to suggest that its implications and ideas are all surface level, but the story being told is a human one that leans more on character and drama than visual splendor. It’s an interesting watch, interesting enough, but a deeper knowledge of Poland’s experience during the war is recommended.

[Extras: Introduction, featurette, interviews, essays]

Malena [Imprint]

What is it? A young widow becomes a target for jealous neighbors.

Why see it? Monica Bellucci is rightfully celebrated for her beauty and vivaciousness, but she’s also an extremely talented actor. Both come into play here, and while the film relies on our desire to ogle her — just as the neighbors do — it also shows the hardships that follow. The result is a film that shifts from sexy to bleak and cruel as she’s abused by gossiping tools in a small Italian town. The locales are beautiful, and the core theme that unfolds as we watch through a young man’s eyes is a good one, but the cruelty is more than a little oppressive without any kind of catharsis. A good film, but one you probably won’t rush to rewatch.

[Extras: Documentary, featurettes, interviews]

The Queen of Hollywood Blvd

What is it? An aging strip club owner hits a run of bad luck.

Why see it? Noirs and neo noirs can be made great no matter the budget, but there needs to be an abundance of talent to bridge that gap. The filmmakers here don’t quite reach that level, and the result is a film that feels cheap and forced in its attempts at danger and style. The characters and story both fail to engage even as the film throws violence, T&A, and attitude your way. Eh.

[Extras: Commentary, outtakes, deleted scenes]

Spacked Out

What is it? Young teen girls rally around one in need.

Why see it? Girls’ stories are often nudged to the side in favor of the boys, but their coming of age narratives are arguably all the more interesting. This effort from Hong Kong finds a universal truth in the journey taken by young girls the world over. It’s sweet, amusing, cruel, and devastating at various times, and the execution finds a natural feel making us more like flies on the wall  throughout. Pimped by some for its Cat III rating, it’s best to ignore that as it’s more for tonal reasons than anything the rating typically suggests.

[Extras: New 2K restoration, interviews, booklet]

Therapy Dogs

What is it? Two friends spend their senior year tempting fate on video.

Why see it? The senior year of high school is the last bash for some teens as college, careers, and life awaits, but these two decide to go out with a bang. They don’t have a death wish despite the riskiness of some of their stunts, and the result is a coming of age tale infused with the spirit of something like Jackass. It’s far from deep, but there’s a truth to the friendship and the way they approach the impending unknown.

[Extras: Featurettes, Q&A, commentary]

Will Penny [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A hard man finds his softer side.

Why see it? Charlton Heston may have been something of a douche in real life, but he carries himself well onscreen and is well suited for something like this. He plays the title role in his own favorite film of his, and while the story hits those familiar western beats the heart, character, and action make it a compelling enough ride.

[Extras: New 4K scan, commentary, featurettes]

Also out this week:

Alien from the Abyss [Severin], Altered Innocence Vol. 2, The ComDads [KL Studio Classics], The Complete Comic Strip Presents [Severin], Creepshow [4K UHD], Duet for One [KL Studio Classics], Evil Dead Rise, Extra Terrestrial Visitors: The Second Coming [Severin], Funny Ha Ha, Graveyard Alive: A Zombie Nurse in Love, Mallrats [4K UHD], Mickey & Friends: Volume 2, Millennium Mambo, Old Man and the Sea [Warner Archive], The Tank

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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.