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 April 18th, 2023! This week’s home video selection includes The Haunting of Julia and 12 Angry Men on 4K UHDs, the incompetent fun that is Cocaine Bear, and more. Check out our picks below.
Pick of the Week
The Haunting of Julia [4K UHD, Scream Factory]
What is it? A woman in mourning is either going mad or seeing a ghost.
Why see it? While not as scary as the likes of The Changeling or Legend of Hell House, this 70s gem absolutely deserves to be a part of the conversation when it comes to the decade’s best haunted chillers. Mia Farrow is pitch perfect as a woman still reeling from the death of her daughter who moves into an old house hoping to start anew. She instead finds minor disturbances that grow to include a mystery and a body count. It’s an attractive, atmospheric film with a fantastic score and an ending (and final shot) that lands one final gut punch. Scream Factory’s new 4K UHD deepens the shadows and sharpens the detail without losing the film’s soft, dreamy feel. Add in some extras new and old that add to the film’s appreciation, and you have a must-own release for genre fans.
[Extras: New 4K scan, commentary, featurettes, interviews]
12 Angry Men [4K UHD, KL Studio Classics]
What is it? One man refuses a life or death rush to judgment.
Why see it? Closing arguments end, and the twelve-man jury heads in to deliberate and decide the fate of an eighteen-year-old charged with murder. What follows remains one of the finest, self-contained dramas of the 20th century. High praise, I know, but it’s no less true for it. What starts with one man standing by his morals, ideals, and integrity grows as characters debate, argue, and find their own beliefs challenged in extraordinary ways. The young man’s guilt or innocence isn’t of interest to the filmmakers, and instead its focus is on the real weight of reasonable doubt in a justice system built on the backs of railroaded suspects. Henry Fonda headlines a brilliant ensemble that also includes Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, E.G. Marshall, Jack Warden, Jack Klugman, and more. Tensions and doubts rise, empathy and awareness dawn, and it’s endlessly engrossing from start to finish. Kino’s new 4K UHD release looks quite good, and the extra features on the Blu-ray include William Friedkin’s 1997 reboot.
[Extras: New 4K scan with HDR, commentaries, William Friedkin’s 12 Angry Men (1997), featurettes]
Lady in a Jam [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A young high society woman at risk of losing it all has her sanity and worthiness tested with unexpected results.
Why see it? Screwball comedies from the 40s and 50s are some of the best salves for what ails you, and no one can tell me any different. Lady in a Jam isn’t quite in the top tier of the genre, but it delivers the goods all the same with plenty of laughs and a fun romance. The dialogue and banter come fast and furious as the big city folks head to a ranch where Ralph Bellamy gives a terrific supporting turn. It’s a fun, lightweight movie that will leave you smiling as a result of its fast, funny script and playful performances.
Serpico [4K UHD, KL Studio Classics]
What is it? #acab
Why see it? This is the story of why all cops are bad — because the good ones are either corrupted or run out of the job. Al Pacino and director Sidney Lumet take on the true story of a New York City cop whose ideals simply don’t align with the boys in blue. He refuses to join in on the grift, and the others simply can’t trust him. It’s a tragedy of sorts well-regarded for both its performances and gritty truths, but it can feel a bit slight at times as it moves quickly through Serpico’s career. Our time at various stages feels abrupt allowing time only for the specific beats while leaving out the depth of character and experience. Still, it’s a harrowing and upsetting watch at times with masters at the controls. Kino’s new 4K UHD captures the 70s visuals well with detail and color. The extras add a lot of background to the production and real-life story.
[Extras: New 4K scan, commentary, featurettes]
What is it? A bear eats some coke and acts like a Florida man.
Why see it? Here’s the deal. This is not a well-made film — edits and camera choices are often poor, the comedic dialogue is rarely funny, and there are more than a few missed opportunities — but there is legit fun to be had whenever the bear is onscreen terrorizing, mauling, and killing cast members. To be clear, there’s not enough of that, but it’s entertaining when it happens. The cast is strong, Elizabeth Banks is clearly having a good time (and remembering better days with Wet Hot American Summer), and it’s all dumb as dirt.
[Extras: Deleted scenes, gag reel, commentary]
High, Wide, and Handsome [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A young romance unfolds against corporate antics in the heartland.
Why see it? Irene Dunne is a reliable talent, and she does good work here in a musical that can’t quite keep up with her. The romance and general storyline feel a bit flat, and the songs never grab the attention the way a musical should. We’re left with Dunne, Dorothy Lamour, and Randolph Scott carrying the weight of it all.
[Extras: New 4K scan, commentary]
Rio [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? Poor choices lead to one man’s ruin.
Why see it? Basil Rathbone stars as a well-to-do businessman who loses it all and heads to jail, but things only get worse after an escape plan is put into motion. More dramatic thriller than suspense thriller, this late 30s film is engaging enough as Rathbone takes a turn for the villainous, and as with High, Wide, and Handsome above, it’s a movie that ultimately succeeds on the back of its cast.
[Extras: New 2K master, commentary]
What is it? A widower fights to save his son.
Why see it? Those of you intentionally seeking this film out are probably doing so for Sam Worthington. I can’t pretend to understand it, but if that’s you then you’ll be happy here as he gives a solid enough performance. The film itself is less memorable, though, as it leans hard into drama with small bursts of violence teasing a more electric narrative.
Also out this week:
The Haunting of Julia [4K UHD, Scream Factory], Kids vs Aliens, Living With Chucky, Magic Mike: Last Dance, Marlowe, Maybe I Do, Oh Doctor! / Poker Face, Rebel Without a Cause [4K UHD], Righteous Thieves, The Seventh Seal [4K UHD, Criterion Collection], You and Me [KL Studio Classics]
Related Topics: Home Video