Friday, May 17, 2024

New Physical Media Releases: 1/19/2021

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!


​Shout Factory is releasing two 4K upgrades of John Carpenter classics this week. First, we have his 1987 possession horror “Prince of Darkness,” starring Donald Pleasence, Jameson Parker, Victor Wong, Lisa Blount, and Dennis Dun. The haunting cover art featuring the original poster design is an enticing way into the film. The extras on this disc are carried over from the previous Collector’s Edition Blu-ray, including an audio commentary track with Carpenter and actor Peter Jason, interviews, and an alternate opening. It also, like all of Shout Factory’s 4K titles, includes a standard Blu-ray disc as well.

​Second of the Carpenter flicks is the 1988 cult horror-comedy “They Live” featuring Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster, George ‘Buck’ Flower, and Peter Jason. Like “Prince of Darkness,” this includes a standard Blu-ray in addition to the 4K and the supplements carry over from the previous Collector’s Edition Blu-ray. It includes an audio commentary track with Carpenter and Piper, interviews, and a making-of featurette. The cover art features the iconic poster with Piper and the film’s famous glasses.

​Arrow Video is releasing the South Korean film “JSA: Joint Security Area,” directed by the master Park Chan-wook and starring Song Kang-ho, Shin Ha-kyun, Lee Byung-hun, Kim Tae-woo, and Gi Ju-bong. This is the film’s Blu-ray debut in the United States, but it is a very popular film in South Korea, being their highest-grossing film of 2000 during its original release. The disc includes a new audio commentary track with writer and critic Simon Ward, interviews, archival featurettes, and more.

This week, the Criterion Collection is releasing the 2019 Netflix documentary “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese,” depicting Dylan’s 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue tour and, of course, directed by Scorsese. This director-approved Blu-ray features a 4K remaster of the film and, like most of Criterion’s releases, contains a variety of supplemental features, including interviews and restored performance footage. Being a Netflix release, this is the film’s home video debut.

There are a few 2020 releases coming to Blu-ray this week that I wanted to highlight. First, we have the comedic thriller “The Kid Detective,” directed by Evan Morgan. The films stars Adam Brody, Sophie Nélisse, Sarah Sutherland, Jesse Noah Gruman, and Jonathan Whittaker. Kino Lorber is releasing the critically-acclaimed Italian film “Martin Eden.” The film is directed by Pietro Marcello and stars Luca Marinelli, Vincenzo Nemolato, Marco Leonardi, Carlo Cecchi, Lana Vlady, and Aniello Arena. Finally, we have the Blu-ray release of the indie “The Climb,” directed by Michael Angelo Covino and starring Covino, Gayle Rankin, Judith Godrèche, Talia Balsam, and Kyle Marvin. The release also includes an audio commentary track, deleted and alternate scenes, and the original short film.


This week, I wanted to recommend what I think is the best looking film in my collection, the most impressive restoration of an older film that continually takes my breath away, and that is the Criterion Collection edition of “Do the Right Thing.” Of course, this is the 1989 masterpiece directed by Spike Lee and featuring an all-star ensemble including Lee himself, as well as Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito, Bill Nunn, John Turturro, Samuel L. Jackson, Rosie Perez, a young Martin Lawrence, and many more. The film depicts a hot summer day in a Brooklyn neighborhood and the racial tensions that bubble up to the service as the day goes on.

Not only does this edition contain a 4K digital restoration (the best the film has ever looked), it is also an impressive release as a set devoted to the film. The restoration is beautiful, with the film’s warm hues beaming off the screen and the crisp film looking good as new. The edition itself comes in a rather thick digipak with a vibrant red cover and packing devoted to every aspect of the film with its art direction. Being a large set, it is packed with supplements across two Blu-ray discs. It includes an audio commentary, a making-of documentary, interviews, the original Cannes film festival press conference, deleted and extended scenes, and excerpts from Lee’s director’s journal from the making of the film.

There is a 4K release of this film coming out next month, so if that is your preference for physical media, I understand. However, if you only collect Blu-ray or are a fan of the Criterion Collection, this disc is a must-own. Not only is this film a masterpiece that everyone should see, but this is a stacked release for the film that looks incredible on every front and is worth the premium cost. It is honestly what should be expected for every boutique Blu-ray release.

​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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