Sunday, May 26, 2024

New Physical Media Releases: 12/8/2020

By Casey Lee Clark 

​​Hello and welcome to what will now be a weekly segment here on the site where I do a quick overview of some of the films being released on physical media this week for Blu-ray, 4K, special editions, or boutique labels! I am a big proponent of physical media and preserving film history, on top of building my own Blu-ray collection this past year, so this will be a treat. Let’s get started!


​Perhaps the most significant release on Blu-ray this week is “The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone,” previously known as “The Godfather Part III.” This is director Francis Ford Coppola’s re-edit of the 1990 film that had a limited theatrical release earlier this year. The film is also being released digitally to rent or purchase. This Blu-ray release does not contain any special features besides an introduction by Coppola and does not include the film’s original cut. However, the new cover art for this release utilizes portraits of several key characters with Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) in the center and the incorporation of a bloody-red overlay.

On the 4K front, one of the big releases this week is the new 4K edition of Paul Verhoeven’s “Total Recall.” This release will also include a standard Blu-ray disc and digital download code, along with a cool new cover design fitting of Mars. There will also be a Best Buy Exclusive Steelbook released with brand new cover art as well. In addition to the new 4K remaster, this release also includes tons of supplements, including an audio commentary track with Verhoeven and star Arnold Schwarzenegger and various making-of documentaries and featurettes.

​Also on 4K this week is Michael Mann’s 2004 film “Collateral” starring Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise. With no new supplements and a carryover of all the special features from the 2010 Blu-ray release, this disc primarily acts as a 4K upgrade to the film’s previous releases.

As for new 2020 releases, we have the release of “Possessor” directed by Brandon Cronenberg. The Uncut version of the film will be available on both 4K and standard Blu-ray, as well as a Blu-ray release of the R-rated cut but we all know Uncut is where it’s at!

​Arrow Academy is putting out a 4K release of “Cinema Paradiso.” This is a 4K upgrade to their previous 2017 Blu-ray release of the 1988 Giuseppe Tornatore film. Arrow has been dabbling in 4K releases recently, whether they are new titles or upgrades of films already in their catalog. This new release does include a new sepia-tone cover design.

​As for the Criterion Collection, this week, they have Blu-ray upgrades for two films previously only available on DVD: Robert Bresson’s “Mouchette” and “Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Two Takes by William Greaves.”


In addition to discussing new releases each week, I also wanted to take the time and recommend a disc from my own personal collection in case any of you are looking for recommendations for holiday gifts or the next time there’s a particular sale! This week I wanted to recommend the Criterion Collection release of “True Stories,” directed by David Byrne. I am a big fan of Talking Heads’ music and David Byrne in general, and this film, as Byrne’s only directorial effort, is a must-own for fans of the artist. This 1986 film follows Byrne’s unnamed narrator as he travels around the fictional town of Virgil, Texas, as the town prepares for its 150th Anniversary and “Celebration of Specialness.” Throughout the film, he interacts with various quirky characters, including a bachelor looking for love (John Goodman), a rich woman who doesn’t leave her bed (Swoosie Kurtz), and a prominent married couple who do not speak to each other (Spalding Gray & Annie McEnroe). It is a very quirky and silly film that nonetheless has a big heart and is overall a great time. The film feels like a combination of Wes Anderson and David Lynch, with its small-town charm, quirky characters, and bright colors.

​In addition to being an excellent film, the release by Criterion is next-level. The 4K transfer allows Ed Lachman’s cinematography to leap off the screen in all its vibrant glory. There are quite a variety of special features and interviews on the making of the film by everyone involved. However, perhaps the highlight of this release is the packaging. Beyond the iconic cover of John Goodman’s upside-down head, you get a pulpy newspaper-style pamphlet containing several essays and photos of the cast and a CD of the film’s soundtrack of songs performed by Talking Heads and the cast. Not only has this become one of my favorite films, but the entire release from Criterion contains everything you would want for a special Blu-ray release and what makes collecting so special. So, the next time there’s a Criterion sale on their website or Barnes & Noble, or if you wanted to add something to your holiday wishlist and are a fan of quirky musical-comedies, I would highly recommend checking this one out!

So, will you be picking up any of these releases? I personally will probably be purchasing those 4K releases of “Total Recall” and “Collateral.” What upcoming Blu-ray releases are you looking forward to? Are there any special releases that you asked for for the holidays? 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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