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Incredibles 2 Blu-ray Review: An Incredible Sequel

Writer/director Brad Bird and his talented cast and crew bring back beloved characters, expand their world, and tell the story in a visually engaging way.
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Picking up where The Incredibles left off, Incredibles 2 sees the Parr family take on the Under Miner, but the damage caused in the melee is so costly, the government shuts down the superhero program and makes their work illegal. Into their lives comes, wealthy tech industrialist Winston Dever (Bob Odenkirk), who along with his sister Evelyn (Christine Keener), wants to help re-establish the perception of superheros. In a blow to Bob (Craig T. Nelson)/Mr. Incredible's ego, Elasti-girl (Helen Hunt) is chosen to begin the rehabilitation of their image with the public. The Parrs move into Winston's state-of-the-art luxury home

Shampoo Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: Head and Shoulders Above the Rest

Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn relive the swinging '60s in the mid-'70s.
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Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this film is Warren Beatty’s glorious hair. Playing a Beverly Hills hairdresser/lothario named George, Beatty wields long locks styled to such excess that they’re seemingly a special effect. Thankfully, the rest of the film is worthy of the majestic mane, delivering a sharply humorous exploration of sexual politics against a backdrop of real politics set during the timeframe of Nixon’s 1968 election. George is a talented hairdresser who dreams of opening his own shop, but lacks the means to make it happen. He has a girlfriend named Jill (Goldie Hawn), but also engages in

The Big Lebowski (20th Anniversary) Limited Edition Gift Set Review: The Dude and This Set Abide

For this anniversary, Universal Studios has released the Coen Brothers' comedy in glorious 4K.
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In the late 1990s, during my college years, I went to the movies every weekend. I saw pretty much every movie that came to my town that looked remotely interesting and even a few that didn’t. In the spring of 1998, I saw Fargo. It was a blind watch, I’d never heard of it before I entered the theater. I knew of the Coen Brothers, or at least I’d seen Raising Arizona before. Think I even had a copy of it on VHS which I bought on the cheap. But it wasn’t yet a favorite. Fargo was just another movie

Torso (1973) Blu-ray Review: Sleazy Suspenseful Giallo Goodness

Director Sergio Martino crafts a precursor to modern slasher movies that combines sexploitation with stabbings. And gougings.
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One of the things that make giallo movies arresting is setting. Giallo movies are Italian, and, unsurprisingly enough, tend to be shot in Italy. And it turns out Italy has a lot of picturesque, attractive, and downright beautiful settings for murder and mayhem to take place. Torso, shot in Perugia in 1973, has breath-taking hillside vistas and incredible, ancient-looking city-scapes and plazas which are a decided contrast to the rather transparent exploitative boobs and blood strategy of the film. If nothing else, there's always something worth looking at on screen, whether it be architecture or arched-back Italian beauties in the

Dragnet (1987) Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review: A Lackluster Satire

The sporadically funny spoof of the classic TV show gets released to Blu-ray for the first time.
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There’s this feeling that lingers throughout Tom Mankiewicz’s satirical approach to the hit television series, Dragnet. The feeling is that there should be more laughs. With Dan Aykroyd playing a straight-edged police officer unable to fit into the modern society, and Tom Hanks as his hip, loose-living partner, this has the capability to be comedic dynamite. But the end result comes up way short of being great. There are some laughs, but they are few and far between. The bright spot of this rather dull comedy is Aykroyd’s performance as Sergeant Joe Friday, the nephew of the original show’s character.

Sorry to Bother You Blu-ray Review: Better Bother to Watch This Film

Writer/director Boots Riley crafts a thoroughly engrossing debut feature film.
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Writer/director Boots Riley has pulled off an amazing feat with his fresh, fearless debut feature film. Arriving in the film world seemingly out of nowhere, he has managed to craft a film that matters, that thoroughly entertains, and that is utterly unforgettable. His darkly humorous project skewers capitalism, class, and race injustice, and even throws in some dystopian sci-fi without feeling preachy or pretentious, shining a light on an alternate universe version of Oakland that is frighteningly close to reality. The film’s racially charged, surreal subject matter draws some obvious comparisons to last year’s Get Out, especially due to the

Get Shorty: Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review: One of the Great '90s Mobster Comedies

Barry Sonnenfeld's satire on Hollywood and the mob gets the 4K treatment from Shout! Factory.
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Back in 1977, Saturday Night Fever became a box-office sensation, garnering $237 million worldwide and putting its star, John Travolta, on the map. This role led to an Oscar nomination for Travolta, who then would continue showing off his dancing skills and musical talent in 1978’s Grease. With back-to-back hits, Travolta became one of the most talked about actors of that decade, and with those two films, he was, in addition, also recognized for his talented dancing skills and singing voice. After a decline in the '80s, Travolta found himself with another Oscar nomination for 1994’s Pulp Fiction, in which

Twilight (2008) Blu-ray Review: Young Love Can Be Scary

Twilight delivers what one expects from a young-adult romance, but that's a low bar for some.
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For the tenth anniversary of the first film in the franchise based on Stephenie Meyer's young adult book series, Twilight has been released on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and Digital) and all five of The Twilight Saga films have been released on Blu-ray Combo Pack (2 Blu-rays, 1 DVD, plus Digital) and Digital 4K Ultra HD. The Blu-ray in the 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack contains the theatrical version. The extended cut, which is five minutes longer, is available digitally. As the movie opens, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), a 17-year-old girl, leaves her mother's home in sunny

Blood and Black Lace Blu-ray Review: The Origins of Giallo

Mario Bava's horror masterpiece is a feast for the eyes and the begining of a whole new genre.
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Having put Italian horror on the map with Black Sunday, Mario Bava continued to redefine the genre and essentially invented giallo which became the de facto horror genre in Italy for most of the '70s and '80s and ultimately inspired the slasher genre that was so popular in the United States in that same era. Bava’s 1963 film The Girl Who Knew Too Much is often credited as the first ever giallo film, but it was filmed in black and white not in the garish colors the genre is so recognized for. A year later he made Blood and Black

Distant Voices, Still Lives Blu-ray Review: Accurately Captures the Battle of the Sexes

A minimalist, but masterful portrait of harrowing family dynamics.
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Stories about troubled families doesn't hit cinema too often, but when they're done well, such as in Rachel Getting Married, Ordinary People, Hannah and Her Sisters, and A Family Thing, they can hit hard. Such a case is director Terrence Davies' 1988 breaktrough masterpiece, Distant Voices, Still Lives, which brilliantly tells an all-too-real harrowing story, but with music, humor, and unsentimental truth. Loosely based on Davies's own upbringing, the film is told in two parts of the lives of a family in 1940s/'50s Liverpool, where siblings Tony (Dean Williams) and Maisie (Lorriane Ashbourne), along with their mother (Freida Dowie), gather

Schlock Blu-ray Review: Could Have Also Been Called Shoddy, Shabby, or Sucky

A movie so bad we reviewed it three times.
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Made in 1971 on a minuscule budget, John Landis’ first film as a director, Schlock, is broad comedic satire of sorts about a prehistoric ape wreaking havoc in a Los Angeles suburb. It is a bad movie. I cannot recommend a single thing about it. Everything, from the writing, directing, and acting to the music and even the comedy, is bad, poorly executed, and difficult to watch. Its only distinction is that it was directed by Landis who later went on to make such comedy classics as Animal House, The Blues Brothers, and Amazon Women on the Moon and features

City Slickers (1991) Blu-ray Review: Yee-haw, It's a Blast

The comedy classic gets a 4K upgrade from Shout! Factory.
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During my youth, City Slickers had been a film that I watched with my parents only a few times. It was never something we watched annually or every few years. In fact, it had been so long since I last watched it that, during the recent re-watching, I couldn’t remember a single line or moment in it. Oddly enough, I remember one particular scene in its sequel, The Legend of Curly’s Gold, more than I did almost anything in the original. Save for the cartoonish opening credits, which I did remember, watching the original City Slickers recently felt like I

Valley Girl: Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review: True Love Finds a Common Ground

Thirty-five years later, this teen comedy still totally hits the spot.
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For the 35th Anniversary of Valley Girl, Shout! Factory has released a totally tubular version of a film on Blu-ray. Now that I've written my contractually required Valley-speak joke, you'll be spared the rest of this article. The film was released originally in 1983 and quickly got lumped in with the other "teen films" of the era. The film, fairly or unfairly part of that group, has tended to disappear from popular culture from that era. It's a footnote to a much larger career by Nicolas Cage and stars the never-became-bigger stars like Elizabeth Daily and Deborah Foreman. The film

The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Volume 3 (1968-1969) Blu-ray Review

The laughs provided by these cartoons will leave you in the pink.
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As mentioned in my review of Volume 1, Friz Freleng was an instrumental figure in animation history because of his work on Warner Brothers' Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes. He and producer David H. DePatie went on to form DePatie-Freleng Enterprises. Kino Lorber Animation has been releasing that company's work on Blu-ray. The latest The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection is Volume 3, continuing with the character's next 23 theatrical shorts before the The Pink Panther Show premiered on September 6, 1969 on NBC. The cartoons generate laughs as the Panther continues to be either a chaotic force or on the

Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot Blu-ray Review: Don't Worry, You Didn't Miss Anything

Gus Van Sant assembles an impressive cast for a lackluster biopic.
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Gus Van Sant’s latest project barely made a ripple at the box office during its brief theatrical release this summer, and that trend isn’t likely to change now that the film is available for home viewing. While arthouse dramas have fallen on hard times in our blockbuster-obsessed theatrical climate, there’s little chance this particular film would have made an impact even if Gus Van Sant had made it in the 1990s with his original choice for star, Robin Williams. That’s because the source material simply isn’t all that special or particularly moving. Although Van Sant’s film is made with impeccable

Ant-Man and the Wasp Blu-ray Review: A Delightful Addition to the MCU

After the serious, universe-altering Avengers: Infinity War, this light-hearted comedy is a welcome follow-up.
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Ant-Man and the Wasp is the second Ant-Man movie and 20th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After the serious, universe-altering Avengers: Infinity War, this light-hearted comedy is a welcome follow-up, although the stakes for some of the characters are just as dire. Years ago while on an assignment with Ant-Man/Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), the Wasp/Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfieffer) shrank so small she ended up trapped in what is known as the Quantum Realm, In the previous film, Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) went there and returned, inspiring Hank to try and retrieve his wife. Two years following the events

Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge Blu-ray Review: The Magazine of Record and Records

An entertaining trip down memory lane even if it can't help but mythologize.
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Originally a two-part documentary on HBO, broken down into six episodes across two Blu-ray discs for this Shout Factory! release, Alex Gibney and Blair Foster's Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge tells the story of the famed magazine, and that of the United States during its run, by highlighting its major articles. The documentary opens with the early days of the magazine when Jann Wenner, his wife Jane, and Ralph Gleason founded the magazine in San Francisco in 1967. It wasn't just about the music that young people were into but a look at the culture also, both of which

Cabin Boy (1994) Blu-ray Review: Still Floating After All These Years

Kino Lorber bravely launches a Special Edition release for one of the most hated films of the mid '90s.
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Though I never saw the film in its entirety until much later in life, I was nevertheless present when Adam Resnick's Cabin Boy briefly flickered onto silver screens near and far in 1994. I was also there when word began to spread (and quickly, at that) regarding just how popular of a title it was at the time. But my personal favorite Cabin Boy story hailed from a secondhand account, wherein a former acquaintance of mine enjoyed the movie's many, many flaws so much, that he exited the cineplex in tears, resulting in one very confused usher walking up to

A Star Is Born (1954) Blu-ray Book Review: Judy Garland is at the Top of Her Game

An absolute treasure for fans of the film and is well worth checking out for fans of Hollywood musicals.
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After being unceremoniously dismissed from MGM in 1950 due to erratic behavior as a result of psychological problems and addiction, Judy Garland made a triumphant return to the silver screen in a musical remake of A Star Is Born, one of many films that counter the argument against Hollywood remakes. Garland plays Esther Blodgett, a young singer whose talent is noticed by Norman Maine (James Mason), an actor whose career is collapsing due to his alcoholism. He strongly believes in her and suggests she give up singing with the band she's with to take a screen test. She becomes a

Gotti (2018) Blu-ray Review: Sleeping with the Fishes

It rightfully deserved the whacking it received from critics.
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Despite the colossal amount of negative press it received during its theatrical run, I half-expected Gotti to at least have some entertainment value in how terrible it is. At certain parts of the movie, there is this feeling of glee when something so outrageously, horribly executed appears on the screen. It starts right at the beginning of the film when an establishing shot shows John Gotti (John Travolta) looking up to the stars and then turns to the camera and breaks the fourth wall as he begins to explain his story. He starts off by spouting generic, gangster lines such

Gold (1974) Blu-ray Review: Always Believe in Your Soul

Kino Lorber digs up this strange British mish-mash of just about every genre under the ground starring Roger Moore, Susannah York, Ray Milland, and Bradford Dillman.
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For years, finding a copy of Gold in its original unaltered form was about as rare as the eponymous mineral itself. Thankfully for a wide array of vintage offbeat film enthusiasts, Peter Hunt's unsung mashup has been refined for a new High-Definition release from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. And boy, oh boy, what a strange little "dig" this one makes for! Set (and mostly filmed) in South Africa during its infamous apartheid regime, Gold stars the late great Sir Roger Moore (who had only inherited the role of James Bond from Sean Connery the year before) as the very manly

A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die (1968) Blu-ray Review: And Nearly Two Hours to Snooze

Kino Lorber unholsters one of the most boring, cynical, shallow, and violent attempts to cash-in on the Spaghetti Western craze.
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If you had the good fortune to grow up in or around video rental stores during the '80s and '90s, then there's a darn good chance you saw a very generic-looking videocassette cover for A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die (Un minuto per pregare, un istante per morire) on the shelf at one point or another. I know I certainly did, and I was always a little put off by the lack of its "enticing" artwork. Nevertheless, when teenaged me beget his Spaghetti Western phase and I had burned through all of the more popular-looking titles, Franco Giardi's

The Baby Blu-ray Review: Could Have Been a Cult Classic

Ted Post's odd ball 70s horror film has all the trappings of a camp classic but the execution left me bored out of my skull.
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The 1970s must have been an amazing time to make movies. The studio system was breaking down, allowing more independent cinema to get made. The censorship inherent within the Hays Code was destroyed, allowing for more freedom of expression. Money was pouring in from all corners. Grindhouse cinemas were willing to play any kind of movie at all hours of the day and night with willing patrons flowing through their doors. This allowed all sorts of imaginative, wonderful, and terrible films to be made and find an audience. Made in 1973, The Baby is a film so bizarre it defies

My Man Godfrey Criterion Collection Blu-ray Review: My Man Powell Strikes Gold

Screwball comedy masks an insightful examination of the class divide in the wake of the Great Depression
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At a glance, My Man Godfrey appears to be a typical formulaic production from Hollywood’s golden age. Headlined by two huge stars and fellow Oscar nominees for this film, William Powell and Carole Lombard, the film focuses on an upper-crust family in New York City, with all their trappings of success and opulent parties on full display. However, this is far from a standard wealthy family, and that’s where the film proves its originality. Based on his novel and featuring a screenplay co-written by Eric Hatch, the film is a comedic social critique examining the class divide between the homeless

Exorcist II: The Heretic Blu-ray Review: Terrible Sequel, Great Movie

John Boorman's sequel to one of the scariest movies of all time is a psychedelic, visually stunning, totally camp, incomprehensible mess, and also kind of awesome.
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Based upon the best-selling novel by William Peter Blatty, The Exorcist was a huge success. It earned over $66 million when it was released in 1973 and went on to become one of the biggest horror movies ever made. Adjusted for inflation, it is the top-grossing R-rated film of all time. Of course, there was going to be a sequel. But man, is it a hard movie to make a sequel from. I mean what can you do? The easiest thing would be to let poor little Regan get possessed again, but that seems boring. You could follow another possession

The Man Who Cheated Himself Blu-ray Review: You Can't Trust Anyone

Don't cheat yourself, film noir fans. Pick up a copy.
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Produced by the Film Noir Foundation, restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, and presented by Flicker Factory, The Man Who Cheated Himself is much more interesting than its generic title implies since many a film noir lead character cheats himself in some form or another. The film opens with Howard (Harlan Warde) and Lois (Jane Wyatt) Frazer heading towards a divorce after three years of marriage, and both having people on the side. When Lois (Jane Wyatt) finds a receipt for a gun sale Howard made recently, she calls her paramour, homicide detective Lt. Ed Cullen (Lee J.

The Pyjama Girl Case Blu-ray Review: Fact Is More Interesting Than Fiction

Put your PJs on, this giallo will put you to sleep.
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In 1934, the corpse of a woman clad in exotic silk pajamas was found lying in a culvert in New South Wales, Australia. She had been beaten, shot, and partially burned, leaving her identity a mystery. Police were perplexed. The media made it a sensation and the crime enthralled the country. Especially after the body became a public spectacle when she was laid in a formaldehyde bath for display in Sydney. In 1977, Flavio Mogherini turned the story into a movie. It is an odd, often-salacious, rather-dull police procedural that for some reason gets lumped into the giallo genre (Arrow

Horrors of Malformed Men Blu-ray Review: Complete Malformed Japanese Madness

Teruo Ishii's strangest film of murder, doppelgangers, and the titular malformed men finally makes it to Blu-ray.
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Escaped asylum inmates, mistaken identity, resurrection from the grave, bizarre biological experiments, murder, incest, and a plot for world domination via freaks - the barest bones of a plot outline makes Horrors of Malformed Men, directed by Teruo Ishii, sound itself malformed - overstuffed with ingredients that can’t cohere. Surprisingly, the film maintains an integrity to its own oddity and perversity, never pausing for a moment to let a hint of self-awareness turn the proceedings into farce. We meet our protagonist, Hirosuke Hitomi, in a woman’s cell of an insane asylum, where half-naked women dance around him and try to

Tucker: The Man and His Dream (30th Anniversary) Blu-ray Review: This One Still Deserves Attention

Francis Ford Coppola weaves an interesting story of a car, a man, and a Dream.
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Under the hands of a lesser director, the story of a man obsessed with bringing out the car of his dreams in the 1940s, could have been quite a sel- absorbed mess. With Francis Ford Coppola at the helm, Tucker: The Man and His Dream turned into an inspiring and fascinating bio-pic. The 1988 movie has a 30th Anniversary release from Liongate on Blu-ray that brings the oft-forgotten film back for deserved recognition. The year 1988 was not great for film releases. The comedy was broad and the drama and action often revolved around war like Rambo III or Die

Tag Blu-ray Review: Chase This Down

Although Tag seemed to get overlooked in this summer’s box office competition, it’s well worth chasing down on Blu-ray this fall.
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Tag is based on the remarkably true story of a group of men who have kept their same childhood game of tag going for decades, risking their safety and careers in pursuit of pulling one over on their friends. It’s a ridiculous concept for a feature film that could have resulted in a real dud, but thanks to some solid casting and a hilarious script, it works so well that it’s easily my favorite comedy of the year. Each year for a month, the men play tag wherever they are, resorting to costumes and tomfoolery to track down their targets

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