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 May 23rd, 2023! This week’s home video selection includes the beautiful Warm Water Under a Red Bridge, Crank in 4K, and more. Check out our picks below.
Pick of the Week
Warm Water Under a Red Bridge
What is it? A lonely man finds love down by the water.
Why see it? The late Shohei Imamura’s last film finally lands on Blu-ray, and it remains a beautiful tale of longing and love with a taste for the magical. A middle-aged, divorced man heads to a small village hoping to find purpose and a treasure. What he finds instead is a woman with a peculiar condition — water wells up inside her, and it’s best released through orgasm. It’s a sweet, sexy romance for adults who see themselves as patient dreamers, an affecting nod towards the importance of caretaking the environment, and a funny time as the pair get close and answer each other’s needs. Just a beautiful film.
[Extras: Video essay, booklet]
Petite Maman [Criterion Collection]
What is it? One of the best films of 2021/2022.
Why see it? Celine Sciamma made a splash with Portrait of a Lady on Fire, but while her follow-up didn’t garner near the same degree of heat (pun intended), Petite Maman is every bit the masterpiece. The story follows a young girl whose grandmother has just recently passed away. She heads, with her parents, to the house where he mother grew up and meets another child while playing in the woods — and that girl is her own mother as a child. The film uses this premise to explore grief in such beautiful ways with a real understanding and honesty around its child leads. It’s an incredibly sweet and affecting watch (and under 75 minutes!), and you really owe it to yourself to give it a spin.
[Extras: New 4K master, interview]
Crank [4K UHD steelbook]
What is it? A hitman is poisoned and must stay excited to stay alive.
Why see it? This was a miss for me back on release in 2006, and my first rewatch leaves me feeling the same. Jason Statham is having a blast with the ridiculous premise, and a supporting cast including Dwight Yoakam, Glenn Howerton, and Amy Smart is game, and a handful of absurd beats earn a laugh — but good gravy is this an ugly film. The filmmaking duo of Neveldine/Taylor are an acquired taste, but it’s one I’ve never shared. Here especially their camera choices, visual style, and course humor (our hero gets a cab driver attacked by a mob, gets his friend killed, and rapes his girlfriend while a crowd watches…) keep things from ever feeling truly fun. Yes, I know I’m in the minority here, and that’s okay.
Fist of the Condor
What is it? A man defends a sacred text from baddies.
Why see it? There’s no denying Marko Zaror’s ability as a martial artist and athlete, but he hasn’t had the best luck when it comes to picking features. As a supporting player, sure, but as a lead? It’s been a bumpy ride. His latest earns points for its earnest approach to the philosophical side of martial arts — the why behind those who fight, etc — but the film as a whole is something of a stinker. From the excessive voiceover to an unnecessarily jumbled narrative structure, to an inconsistency when it comes to the quality of the fights, it’s all a bit of a drag. (I will not be returning my #actiontwitter membership card over this opinion, sorry.)
My Man Godfrey [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A socialite has fun with a bum.
Why see it? While not up to par with the 1936 original starring William Powell and Carole Lombard, this remake from two decades later still finds moments of sweet humor. David Niven and June Allyson headline this romantic comedy about a wealthy young woman who hires a bum as the family butler only to fall in love. It has fun with character and class, and both leads are charming. The script finds its fair share of wit ensuring an entertaining time
[Extras: New 2K scan, commentary]
What is it? Five tales of horror caught on VHS.
Why see it? The V/H/S franchise, like nearly every horror anthology, has been a real mixed bag. The latest entry is the least successful since 2014’s V/H/S: Viral as the bulk of the tales stumble and fumble their way with either missteps or obvious turns. One segment works, though, and it’s from the creators of last year’s excellent Deadstream. It’s maybe a bit too reminiscent of that feature, but it’s still good fun. The others can’t claim the same, and the film’s lack of connective tissue holding the segments together leaves it fairly underwhelming.
[Extras: Featurettes, commentary, music video, deleted scenes, bloopers]
Also out this week:
Brotherhood of the Wolf [4K UHD], Consecration, Creed III, Last Sentinel, The Running Man [4K UHD], Shazam! Fury of the Gods
Related Topics: Home Video