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 November 14th, 2023! This week’s home video selection includes new 4K UHD releases of Terms of Endearment, The Equalizer 3, and more. Check out our picks below.
Pick of the Week
Terms of Endearment [4K UHD]
What is it? A mother and her daughter, through the good times and the bad.
Why see it? My favorite film of all time is James L. Brooks’ Broadcast News, but his most successful one is arguably Terms of Endearment. Shirley MacLaine stars as a woman whose relationship with her daughter (Debra Winger) is continually at odds and on edge, except when it’s perfectly fine. The film is funny, honest, and absolutely heartbreaking with stellar performances across the board. Jack Nicholson is brilliant as MacLaine’s off-kilter love interest, and Jeff Daniels is fantastic as the man who breaks Winger’s heart. A terrific film, top to bottom, and one guaranteed to drain your eyes while it fills your heart.
[Extras: New remaster, featurette, commentary]
2 Days in the Valley [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? One of the better crime ensembles inspired by the success of Pulp Fiction.
Why see it? Quentin Tarantino’s first big hit inspired a legion of copycats, and while most aren’t worth the time, John Herzfeld’s 1996 effort remains a fun time for fans of twisted criminal hijinks. The ensemble features loads of talent including Charlize Theron, Keith Carradine, Jeff Daniels, James Spader, Eric Stoltz, and more. It’s darkly comic, suitably violent, and more than a little sexy, and it’s clear the cast is having a good time being bad. The new scan doesn’t make a huge difference, but it undoubtedly looks good with sharp details and colors. Surprisingly, both for a film this entertaining and for one this loaded with name talent, this is actually the Blu-ray debut here in the U.S.
[Extras: New 4K scan, commentary, interview, Q&A, featurette]
The Equalizer 3 [4K UHD]
What is it? The latest entry in Denzel Washington’s only franchise.
Why see it? Another rewatch or two might be required, but it’s reasonable to suggest that this third entry in a strong franchise might just be the best yet. Denzel Washington and director Antoine Fuqua head to Southern Italy this time and deliver a wildly entertaining tale of justice and catharsis set against a beautiful location. There’s a serenity to the town and Washington’s performance as a man trying to move past the things he’s done and witnessed, but all bets are off once the gangsters piss him off. The action beats are fantastic as well making for one of the year’s best action/genre efforts.
[Extras: Deleted scenes, featurettes, music video]
The Nun II [4K UHD]
What is it? Two nuns enter, one nun leaves.
Why see it? A return to form for the franchise that ups the ante on its predecessor in every way. Characters both good and evil are memorable, the lore is plentiful, and the scares find new life through some entertaining set-pieces that move well beyond spooky jumpscares. It does take its time getting to the truly good stuff as the first half feels a bit too generic, but the film clicks into place once Varek turns up the heat. Slow start aside, it’s a fun and spooky ride pitting two strong female leads against each other in a fight that allows only one to walk away victorious. Creepy atmosphere, entertaining jumpscares, and compelling characters make for one of the franchise’s best. Here’s my full review.
Blue Steel [Vestron]
What is it? A rookie cop forms a dangerous bond with a killer.
Why see it? Kathryn Bigelow is more than capable of delivering greatness (Near Dark, Strange Days), but this early effort falls short of the mark due to script issues. Jamie Lee Curtis is the rookie who interrupts a robbery only to lose her gun in the skuffle. A psycho in waiting — the creepy Ron Silver — snags the pistol and begins a murder spree, and it leaves her struggling with both his affections and her superiors’ scolding. All good so far, but Curtis’ cop is just an endless stream of incredibly poor choices and idiotic actions. She makes it impossible to root for her.
[Extras: New remaster, commentary, interviews, video essay]
Dr. Caligari [4K UHD, Mondo Macabro]
What is it? A woman is sent to a wildly inappropriate asylum.
Why see it? Director Stephen Sayadian offers something of a unique take on the familiar Caligari tale, but while no one can fault its originality it’s hard to find the value elsewhere. Yes, Sayadian’s set design is creative and visually engaging, but the performances and writing carry a subdued, stage-like feel in the service of a tale that never grabs hold. The perversion of it all paired with the college-level production makes for a curiosity that some will find appealing even if the rest of us just find ourselves bored.
[Extras: New 4K transfer, commentary, interviews]
The Medallion [88 Films]
What is it? A cop is resurrected by a boy and his medallion.
Why see it? There are good Jackie Chan movies and bad Jackie Chan movies, and this stinker lands squarely in the latter camp. Script and performances are all lacking, with an especially egregious turn by Lee Evans who’s playing things so broad you’d think he was actually in a Pink Panther film. It’s painful. The romance between Chan and Claire Forlani is dead on arrival, the action lacks thrills and goes heavy on some weak wire work, and the comedy is as omnipresent as it is unsuccessful. 88 Films does their usual good work bringing it to disc, but sharp packaging and some solid extras can’t overcome the movie’s numerous faults.
[Extras: Commentary, deleted scenes]
Neon City [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A post-apocalyptic western, of sorts.
Why see it? Monte Markham is a character actor who hopped behind the camera for this sci-fi action film, and while it’s no lost classic the film is a fun enough diversion for B-movie genre fans. Michael Ironside takes lead as a tough guy transporting a prisoner (Vanity) on an armored bus carrying passengers through the wasteland — think Stagecoach — but villains, freaks, and deadly weather cause trouble along the way. The vehicular action is pretty solid for this kind of low budget fare, so it’s worth a watch.
[Extras: New 2K scan, commentary, interview]
Rudy [4K UHD, steelbook]
What is it? The “true” story of a kid who dreams about playing football for Notre Dame.
Why see it? This will be blasphemy to some, but after finally watching this underdog sports tale I gotta say it’s a bit of a dud. In addition to Rudy being something of a pushy jerk, the end of his journey is wildly underwhelming. It’s executed poorly (editing and pacing), Jerry Goldsmith’s score is doing all the heavy lifting, and what the hell is up with that slow clap? Worst and least sincere in film history. Sean Astin is fine in the role, but I’ll take Lucas over this dull tale any day of the week.
[Extras: Director’s cut and theatrical, commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes]
Also out this week:
The Aviator’s Wife, The Blind, Computer Chess, Desperation Road, Duel [4K UHD], For All Mankind – Season One, Full Body Massage, The Last Picture Show [4K UHD, Criterion], Malum [4K UHD, Terrorvision], Muzzle, Shadow of Death [Mondo Macabro], The Sinister Dr. Orloff [Mondo Macabro], The Sonny Chiba Collection – Volume Two [Shout Factory], Spin – The Complete Series