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 September 22nd, 2020! Our pick of the week is The Dead Ones but there’s plenty more to check out this week too.
This week’s home video selection includes a Kubrick classic in 4K, the latest season of Rick and Morty, and our pick of the week, The Dead Ones. Check out our picks below!
Pick of the Week
The Dead Ones
What is it? Four troublemaking teens meet their match in a deserted school.
Why see it? There’s a reason I picked The Dead Ones as the best horror film of 2019, and I knew even then it would still be a hard sell for genre fans. It’s an indie effort with the budget to match, and it lacks the star power or glossy sheen of studio horror films. It’s raw and often ugly, but the horror of it — the story, and what the characters endure and discover — is a gut punch of terror grounded in our own sad reality. Horror doesn’t need to be given a pretty face to be effective, and this harrowing and timely movie is exhibit A.
[Extras: Featurettes, commentaries]
The Art of Love [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? An artist fakes his death and frames his best friend.
Why see it? The synopsis sounds super serious, but this is actually a very funny comedy with some dark undertones. The cast alone makes it worth seeing as Dick Van Dyke, James Garner, Angie Dickinson, Elke Summer, and Carl Reiner (who also wrote the script) revel in their chemistry and comedic skills. It’s a romantic comedy of sorts too, with some entertaining banter and pairings along the way. Norman Jewison directs, and while this one lacks the pop culture reverence of some of his other films it’s well worth seeking out and enjoying.
[Extras: New 2K master, commentary]
What is it? A terminally ill teenager starts living her life.
Why see it? One of my personal factors when it comes to evaluating films is its rewatchability. There are fantastic films that I probably won’t revisit for one reason or another, and this sweet tear-jerker is one of them. There are moments of real humanity throughout sharing the screen with a demonstrable love for life itself, and they along with Eliza Scanlen’s performance make for a highly engaging tale of life, death, and the messiness of love. It’s effective in its world, and while I’m not convinced its power translates long after viewing it’s something special all the same
Full Metal Jacket [4K UltraHD]
What is it? A squad of Marines goes from training to hell.
Why see it? Stanley Kubrick’s searing look at the nightmarish reality of war spends nearly half its running time at boot camp, and it’s no less tense or terrifying for it. The experience is never soft-pedaled, and instead viewers are made witness to a system designed to make killing machines. Matthew Modine, Arliss Howard, and others do good work, but it’s Vincent D’Onofrio’s descent into hell that manages to be as heartbreaking as it is horrifying. It’s an attractively shot film about humans at their ugliest, and all of it comes through in stunning fashion in this new 4K release.
[Extras: Commentary, featurette]
Rick and Morty – Season 4
What is it? More adventures with an old pervert and his young protégé!
Why see it? Rick and Morty is one of those shows that’s perfect even though you understand completely when someone else doesn’t jive with it. The humor is often built on violence, rude behavior, and crass punchlines, but there’s a streak of real pathos running through its characters’ interactions with the universe and each other. It’s not quite Bojack Horseman, but it touches similar emotions more than once. Season four delivers more laughs, more callbacks, and more fresh reasons to exclaim “wow” while watching. It’s a good time and an easy marathon.
Whiplash [4K UltraHD]
What is it? A young man finds the price of talent.
Why see it? Damien Chazelle’s big splash came with this intense drama about musical talent, skill, and discipline. It unavoidably stars Miles Teller, but he bounces off of the great JK Simmons well delivering some truly intense and tension-filled sequences. The music doesn’t hurt either as it drives the film and characters forward into, through, and out of some dark places. Dramas don’t always benefit from 4K remasters, but the camerawork here and sound design both feel elevated.
[Extras: Commentary, featurettes, short film]
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – The Complete Fifth Season
What is it? Heroes are made to be born.
Why see it? The number of DC television shows rivals the number of Marvel films (well, almost), and this remains one of the more interesting entries. The superhero team here features a collection of self-described misfits, and while the action is typically what you expect from DC TV the characters and storylines stand apart from the pack. It’s still familiar enough, but the character sneaks through to deliver some entertaining beats.
[Extras: Featurettes, deleted scenes, gag reel]
Lord Love a Duck [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? Cheerio, the kids are all right.
Why see it? Roddy McDowall and Tuesday Weld headline this comedic commentary on Britain’s youth in the wild 60s. What starts as a mild romantic comedy for the youth shifts to reveal a satirical look at the generation’s excesses and behaviors. There are laughs here, but many of them fail to take hold, at least through today’s eyes. Still, the bits that land are sharp fun, and while McDowall feels miscast it’s good fun watching him make the effort.
[Extras: New 2K master]
What is it? A journalist helps an innocent man.
Why see it? Josh Hartnett is a more interesting actor than many give him credit for, and while he never took off like he probably should have he has found some interesting smaller roles to work on. This is an engaging true story of misjustice and cruelty fought with earnest dedication to the truth. It’s far from flashy, but the drama holds the attention well, and Hartnett does good work as a man dedicated to that truth.
Never Steal Anything Small [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A man tries every trick in the book, including song and dance, to win an election.
Why see it? James Cagney’s last screen musical may be light on music, but it’s heavy on Cagney. He plays a smart, fast-talking worker who climbs and dances his way to a top union job while also making time to woo Shirley Jones. Their banter and exchanges offer up some sly fun as do other interactions, but it is fairly light on the musical numbers for some reason. Still, fans of Cagney and Jones won’t be disappointed.
What is it? A boy finds adventure and scares in an old man’s house.
Why see it? You might think this is a new kiddie flick, but nope, it’s nearly two decades old despite no one having ever heard of it. Ben Kingsley stars as a misunderstood magician hiding out in his spooky old house, and yes, it is the presence of children that invigorates him with life again. It’s immensely silly, for better and worse, but kids might enjoy its spooks, scares, and costumes while the older children among us will appreciate Kingsley and an evil Katharine Isabelle.
[Extras: Interviews, music videos]
Also out this week:
Beckman, The Dancing Dogs of Dombrova, I Am a Dancer, The Secret: Dare to Dream