Sunday, March 3, 2024

New Physical Media Releases: 1/12/2021

By Casey Lee Clark 

This week, there are quite a few new and exciting releases coming out to add to the 2021 slate from various labels, genres, and time periods. And all Blu-ray debuts, so let’s get started!


This week’s biggest release (certainly as far as length) is the long-awaited Blu-ray remaster of the Hungarian epic “Sátántango.” This 1994 film directed by Béla Tarr clocks in at over 7 hours, but is considered one of the most essential art house films of the 20th century. This release contains a new 4K restoration from the original 35mm camera negative, allowing its ominous black-and-white cinematography to shine properly. The disc includes several special features, namely a video essay, an archival interview with Tarr, and a new interview with composer and star Mihály Vig.

​From the Criterion Collection this week, we have the Blu-ray debut of the Oscar-nominated documentary “Minding the Gap,” directed by Bing Liu. One of the most critically-acclaimed films of 2018, this release also includes a new audio commentary with Liu, various interviews, and one of Liu’s earlier short films. This is also an exciting release because it marks the first collaboration between the Criterion Collection and Hulu.

​For 2020 films, we have the Blu-ray release of “Ammonite.” Francis Lee’s follow-up to “God’s Own Country” stars Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan in this period romance set on the English coast. The disc also includes a making-of featurette. You can also check out our podcast review for the film here.

​Shout Factory is releasing a new Blu-ray and Steelbook for the 2019 anime “Lupin III: The First.” Directed by Takashi Yamazaki, this is the latest film to feature the iconic Japanese character. In addition to interviews with the creative team and voice cast, the release also includes both the original Japanese version with English subtitles as well as a new English dub.

​Kino Lorber has a couple of releases this week marking their Blu-ray debuts. First is “Buried Alive,” the 1990 television thriller directed by Frank Darabont. The film stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Matheson, William Atherton, Hoyt Axton, and Jay Gerber. The Blu-ray features a new 2K master along with a recent interview and audio commentary track. They are also putting out the 2014 comedy thriller “Stretch.” This film is directed by Joe Carnahan and stars Patrick Wilson, Chris Pine, Jessica Alba, Norman Reedus, Brooklyn Decker, and Ed Helms. This release also includes two new audio commentaries.


This week, I wanted to recommend a standard release Blu-ray rather than that of a boutique label like I typically do. I switched over to Blu-ray from DVD kind of late in the game, but even still, I became wary of “bargain” Blu-rays, standard discs costing under $10 because I feared they wouldn’t be nearly as good as your typical Criterion or Shout Factory release. However, a few months back, I purchased the Director’s Definitive Edition Blu-ray of “Heat” for my boyfriend as it is one of his favorite films (and has become one of mine as well) for roughly $5 on Amazon and was pleasantly surprised at how great a release it is for such a low cost. For starters, it looks incredible. I could go on about how this is Michael Mann’s masterpiece, but it really showcases his visual style for looks alone. The deliberate framing, crisp blues, and LA scenery look flawless. It is also an impressive release in regards to special features, containing a second disc exclusively for supplements. Not only is there an audio commentary with Michael Mann, but it also includes a number of panel interviews (including one moderated by Christopher Nolan), an hour-long making-of featurette, deleted scenes, and features on both the locations and the iconic coffee shop conversation between De Niro and Pacino.

It wouldn’t shock me if a 4K release of this film came out in the coming years, so if you are waiting for that to purchase the movie, I understand. However, I do still highly recommend this release as not only a tremendous transfer of a beautiful film but also for its hours of special features to sink your teeth into. It currently retails for under $8 on Amazon but goes on sale at times to be marked down even less, and it is worth every penny.

Will you be picking up any of these releases? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Twitter account.

You can follow Casey and hear more of her thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @CaseyLeeClark

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