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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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New Physical Media Releases: 1/5/2021

By Casey Lee Clark 

Welcome to 2021 and a new year of physical media releases! 2021 is already looking to be a fantastic year for Blu-rays, special editions, and 4Ks, so let’s get started!


The biggest release this week is none other than a new Criterion Collection Blu-ray box set! The premiere boutique Blu-ray label will be putting out “Three Films by Luis Buñuel,” which will include three of the absurdist-auteur’s 1970s films (“The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie,” “The Phantom of Liberty”, and “That Obscure Object of Desire”). The set includes new restorations and English translations for all of the films, as well as a plethora of supplemental features, including interviews, documentaries, and essays. The artwork is a quirky but straightforward design incorporating a black-and-white with pastels color palette and coordinating illustrated symbols to represent each film that are reminiscent of their original marketing campaigns.

​For 2020 releases coming to Blu-ray, first, we have “Love and Monsters” directed by Michael Matthews and starring Dylan O’Brien, Michael Rooker, Jessica Henwick, Ellen Hollman, and Melanie Zanetti. The film received a small theatrical and VOD release back in October 2020 following delays. This release will be available on both Blu-ray and 4K formats and will also include deleted scenes and featurettes. 

We also have the release of “Yellow Rose,” directed by Diane Paragas, which is about a young Filipina woman who dreams of leaving her small Texas town to become a country singer. The film stars two Broadway actresses known primarily for their respective Tony-nominated productions of “Miss Saigon” and that is Eva Noblezada (in her feature film debut) and Lea Salonga. 

Magnolia Pictures has a new release this week with the horror comedy film “12 Hour Shift.” The film stars Angela Bettis as a nurse, who is also an addict, as she works a double shift at a hospital while also collecting organs on the side for the black market. The film also stars David Arquette, Chloe Farnworth, Mick Foley, Kit Williamson, and Tara Perry.

​There are a couple of releases from Kino Lorber coming out this week that I wanted to highlight. First, we have 1964’s “The Train,” directed by John Frankenheimer and starring Burt Lanchester, Paul Scofield, and Jeanne Moreau. They are also putting out “Captain Newman, M.D.,” a 1963 film from director David Miller and starring Gregory Peck, Tony Curtis, Angie Dickinson, and an Oscar-nominated Bobby Darin. Though perhaps more forgotten today, the film received three Academy Award nominations when released back in 1963.  Warner Archive is also releasing a new Blu-ray of the 1975 film “The Man Who Would Be King,” directed by John Huston and starring Sean Connery, Michael Caine, and Christopher Plummer. This could be an excellent way to remember the late Connery if you’ve run through his Bond films and other more famous works. 


What better way to ring in the New Year than by recommending not only my favorite movie of all time but also my favorite Blu-ray that I own and that is the Criterion Collection release of “The Silence of the Lambs.” I know I recommend Criterions a lot and that can be a bit cliched, but they do take up the bulk of my personal collection and also put out such quality releases that it is hard not to. I still have several titles in my collection from other labels or standard releases to dive into that I can hopefully recommend in the coming year, but for now, I am what I am.

Obviously, I don’t need to tell you what this film is about or why it is so iconic. It was a hit in 1991. It won the big 5 Oscars. It stands as one of the top Best Picture winners of all time and remains a staple of its genre, etc. There is probably also a standard Blu-ray release of this film that you could get much cheaper. However, I genuinely believe this is the film’s definitive release and warrants the Criterion treatment and price tag.

For starters, it is an excellent digipak release with two discs and a thick, detailed booklet. I especially appreciate the release going against the iconic but typical marketing for the film and using a different (but fitting) color palette with the black, white, and blood-red to create the moth design and throughout the packaging. The film’s new 4K restoration looks flawless, approved by director of photography Tak Fujimoto and showcasing his eye-catching cinematography. The two discs information should inform you that this is a stacked release when it comes to special features and is honestly one of the strongest I’ve ever seen. The commentary track from 1994 from the film’s previous Criterion releases on LaserDisc and DVD is next-level, featuring director Jonathan Demme, actors Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, screenwriter Ted Tally, and former FBI agent John Douglas. There are four documentaries on the making of the film and the film’s lore, as well as interviews, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes, storyboards, and archival programs. It is honestly a perfect release and my recommended starting point for anyone getting into collecting Criterions. One should only be so lucky to have such a high quality and detailed release of their favorite film, and I am very fortunate and happy that I get that for mine.

​So, 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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