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 1st and 8th, 2022!
This week’s home video selection includes Silent Night, The Matrix: Resurrections, and more. Check out our picks below.
Pick of the Week
What is it? A Christmas gathering at the end of the world encounters some complications.
Why see it? It may not have garnered universal acclaim like other films that made the cut on my best of the year list, but my affection for it remains. Keira Knightley and Matthew Goode headline this blackest of black comedies that sees family and friends celebrating the holiday knowing it will be their last. Questions and morality all come into play with different characters having differing takes on what’s coming, and the journey manages laughs, doubts, and some thought-provoking exchanges. I for one adore the ending, but your mileage may vary.
[Extras: Deleted scenes]
What is it? A young boy grows up in late 60s Ireland.
Why see it? Kenneth Branagh’s directorial career began with indies before shifting into studio pictures, but he’s back to basics with one of the most acclaimed films of his career. The semi-autobiographical tale focused on a boy named Buddy and the people he calls family, friends, and neighbors. His Catholic neighbors face violence which opens the door to leaving home, and the film captures the pull of those who love us and those we love. The film is black & white with brief beats of color and works well to evoke nostalgic feelings, and while it’s ultimately lightweight the feelings are real. It was wise to cut the alternate ending, but it’s an interesting sequence showing an adult Buddy (Branagh himself) return home for the first time.
[Extras: Alternate ending, deleted scenes, featurettes, commentary]
What is it? An immigrant arrives in NYC three years after her husband.
Why see it? Joan Micklin Silver’s debut feature is a black & white period piece set in the late 19th century, and it’s a story about the balanced war between change, stagnation, and assimilation. Carol Kane gives a memorable performance as the wife who arrives only to discover her husband has settled into the American lifestyle all too well. She’s as powerful as she is wounded, and it’s a touching, affecting performance. The film deserves to be better known and more widely seen, and Silver held in higher regard, and hopefully this new restoration and release helps accomplish just that.
[Extras: New 4K restoration, interviews, commentary]
The Matrix: Resurrections [4K UHD]
What is it? WB wanted a sequel, what are you gonna do?
Why see it? Lana Wachowski returns for a solo Matrix adventure, and the result is the best of the franchise’s sequels. We get the expected action and sci-fi elements, but the even bigger draw here is the meta narrative that sees Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss playing people aware of the “films,” the studio pressuring for a follow-up, and more. It’s a constantly engaging and surprising film, and while the action thrills and plot provokes, its ultimate reveal as a romantic comedy is delightful.
What is it? A deaf woman is stalked by a serial killer.
Why see it? South Korean thrillers are typically unafraid to get mean, and that trend continues with this terrifically tense and suspenseful tale. A young deaf woman, her deaf mother, and a sadistic killer cross paths, and the result is a movie that twists the knife slowly throughout delivering some nerve-jangling suspense as the threat feels imminent at all times. Jin Ki-joo delivers as empathetic and cheer-worthy a hero as you’d hope for, and her fight to survive — against the killer and will a frustrating (by design) lack of support from society and authorities — will leave you on edge in thrilling fashion. [This is a region B release from the UK.]
[Extras: Commentary, featurette]
Coming 2 America
What is it? A sequel to the immensely popular 80s comedy.
Why see it? While John Landis’ original remains a solid fish out of water/romantic comedy, this follow-up arrives with pretty forgettable results. My review expands on this, but the humor is all pretty meh in its combination of toothless laughs and heavily recycled jokes. It also feels a bit disloyal to Murphy’s original character — a minor thing to some, perhaps, but the ideas he and his love fought for there are completely disregarded here — even as it tries to apply them elsewhere. All of that said, Wesley Snipes *steals* the movie with his too-little screen time.
[Extras: Commentary, featurette]
Heavy Metal [Umbrella Entertainment]
What is it? An animated anthology from the pages of a once-popular magazine.
Why see it? The halcyon days of Heavy Metal magazine have long since passed, but the appeal of vibrantly animated tales of sci-fi/fantasy remain. The expected T&A is present, but it’s the adventures and action that hold the attention most. A rocking soundtrack excites the ears, and a handful of extras offers a peek into the film’s production and legacy. Its stories may be set in the future, but it’s very much a time capsule of the late 70s/early 80s.
[Extras: Rough cut and theatrical versions, commentary, documentary, deleted scenes]
Monster from Green Hell
What is it? Man-made weapons lead to havoc in Africa.
Why see it? Movies about giant, killer insects are fun times because come on, giant killer insects. They’re not always enough to carry a film, though, and that’s unfortunately the case with this sci-fi/adventure yarn. The moments we get with the creature are entertaining enough, but too much of the film is dull chatter with uninteresting characters, both heroes and meals. That said, fans will want to pick up this new Blu-ray for the restoration and extras.
[Extras: Featurettes, commentary]
What is it? A Russian pilot and his gunner crash land behind enemy lines in World War II.
Why see it? The timing of this release (set well before the current geopolitical conflict) might hurt its prospects, but that would be a shame as the film is a solid tale of survival. The real highlight here are the aerial combat sequences which use a combination of live-action and cg to create some truly thrilling action beats. Air combat and chases exhilarate, and while the on-the-ground adventure can’t quite compete it’s still an engaging watch. The film is ultimately one of redemption and honor with real-life Russian heroes of WWII celebrated before the credits roll.
Also out this week:
23rd Century Giants, Adoption [Criterion Collection], Adventure Time: Distant Lands, American Gods – Complete Series, American Siege, The Batman – The Complete Series, Brooklyn Nine-Nine – The Complete Series, Flee, James Bond – The Daniel Craig 5-Film Collection [4K UHD], The Nowhere Inn, Phenomena [4K UHD], Starflight: The Plane That Couldn’t Land [Code Red], Stoker Hills, Supergirl – Season 6, Yellowstone – Season 4
Related Topics: Home Video