Saturday, June 15, 2024

New Physical Media Releases: 3/23/2021

By Casey Lee Clark 

Big, big week in the world of physical media this week! From 2020 Oscar contenders, to major 4K upgrades, to a big and beautiful Criterion box set, let’s get started!


​​The first of the 2020 Oscar nominees is Pixar’s “Soul,” directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers and featuring the vocal stylings of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton, Rachel House, Alice Braga, and Richard Ayoade. The film is available on Blu-ray and 4K (including a Best Buy Exclusive Steelbook and a Target Exclusive Gallery Book). This release includes an audio commentary track, deleted scenes, and several featurettes.

​The other big 2020 awards contender coming to Blu-ray this week is Paul Greengrass’s “News of the World,” starring Tom Hanks, Neil Sandilands, Michael Angelo Covino, Chukwudi Iwuji, and Helena Zengel. This is available on both Blu-ray and 4K and includes an audio commentary track with Greengrass, deleted scenes, and featurettes on the making of the film.

​From HBO this week comes the 2020 six-episode limited series “The Undoing.” Written and produced by David E. Kelley and directed by Susanne Bier, this series stars Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Noah Jupe, Lily Rabe, and Édgar Ramírez. This is a two-disc set and includes several short featurettes.

​​There are a couple of releases from Shout Factory this week, specifically from their Scream Factory label. First is the 1997 sci-fi thriller “Event Horizon,” directed by Paul W.S. Anderson and starring Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, and Richard T. Jones. This contains a new 4K scan of the original camera negative and includes an audio commentary track with Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt, tons of new interviews, a making-of documentary, deleted and extended scenes, and even more!

​Also, making its Blu-ray debut is the 2016 French horror film “Raw.” This film is directed by Julia Ducournau and stars Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Rabah Nait Oufella, Laurent Lucas, and Joana Preiss. This Blu-ray includes an audio commentary track with Ducournau and critic Emma Eastwood, interviews, featurettes, and deleted scenes.

​A few major films are receiving 4K upgrades this week. First, we have the 1997 sci-fi film “Gattaca” receiving a 4K Steelbook. Directed by Andrew Niccol, this film stars Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law, Gore Vidal, and Alan Arkin. This is newly remastered from a 4K scan of the original camera negative and carries over the previous Blu-ray release’s special features. 

Another film receiving the 4K treatment this week is Gareth Edwards’s 2014 version of “Godzilla,” featuring an all-star cast including Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, and Bryan Cranston. There is also a Best Buy Exclusive Steelbook available for this 4K release. The extras included are identical to the previous Blu-ray release.

Finally, coming to 4K this week (fittingly) is “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” Ultimate Edition. This is a 4K remaster of director Zack Snyder’s longer 182 minute cut of the 2016 film.

​However, none of these releases compare to what the Criterion Collection is putting out this week. Coming from Criterion, we have the “World of Wong Kar Wai,” a seven-disc box set devoted to the legendary director’s essential works. The films included in this set are “As Tears Go By” (1988), “Days of Being Wild” (1990), “Chungking Express” (1994), “Fallen Angels” (1995), “Happy Together” (1997), “In the Mood for Love” (2000), and “2046” (2004). This set features new 4K digital restorations of all the films, approved by Wong Kar Wai. These restorations have sparked some controversy online due to how different they look in terms of color-grading compared to their previous home video releases; however, they are all director-approved and seemingly reflect the films’ initial visions and releases. The set includes a new program with Wong Kar Wai answering questions provided by authors, filmmakers, cinematographers, and more. It also includes short films, interviews, and deleted scenes. All of this is put together in beautiful deluxe packaging with a bound, French-fold book containing photographs and various writings on the films and the director.


This week, in honor of the recent Best Director Oscar nominations for Chloé Zhao and Emerald Fennell, I wanted to recommend a female director in the Criterion Collection and one that received a Best Picture nomination but was snubbed in Best Director, and that is Barbra Streisand’s “The Prince of Tides” from 1991. Based on Pat Conroy’s novel, the film stars Streisand along with Nick Nolte, Blythe Danner, Kate Nelligan, Jeroen Krabbé, Melinda Dillon, George Carlin, and Jason Gould. It’s not a perfect film; some could argue it’s too melodramatic, and I do prefer her directorial debut “Yentl” as an overall film. However, it has unique story beats and goes to some rather dark places that are unexpected. Additionally, Streisand’s direction is strong, and any faults with the story feel more indicative of the time or the writing rather than her filmmaking.

The release from Criterion is stellar, as per usual. The film’s restoration looks incredible, particularly the flashback sequences in South Carolina and any exterior scenes by the water. It features many supplements, including interviews, archival featurettes on the making of the film and the novel, and an audio commentary with Streisand from 1991 that also features some updates made in 2019.

This film may have received seven Academy Award nominations, but it does not seem to be talked about as much anymore. However, between this release and some recent programming on the Criterion Channel, it is nice to see Streisand’s directorial efforts reevaluated and praised in the modern landscape. I hope this is only a sign to come for wonderful and thorough releases of her other two films. 

Are there any releases you will be picking up this week? 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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