Wednesday, July 17, 2024

New Physical Media Releases: 5/4/2021

By Casey Lee Clark 

It’s a big week for Blu-ray releases this week! From 2020 award winners and nominees to 4K upgrades to smaller independent gems coming to boutique labels, there’s lots to discuss!

Click below to see this week’s newest releases.


The release on everyone’s radar this week is one of the big winners at this year’s Oscars, “Judas and the Black Messiah.” Nominated for six awards, including Best Picture, the film received two Oscars in the form of Best Supporting Actor for Daniel Kaluuya and Best Original Song for “Fight for You” by H.E.R.. Directed by Shaka King, the film stars Kaluuya alongside Lakeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons, and Dominique Fishback. The Blu-ray includes two featurettes on the real-life figures in the film and features interviews with the cast and crew.

Another major new release coming to Blu-ray is the early 2021 crime thriller “The Little Things.” Directed by John Lee Hancock, the film stars Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, and Jared Leto. Leto received Supporting Actor nominations for this film from the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards. The Blu-ray includes two featurettes on the film.

Finally, of the new release films, we have the 2021 thriller “The Virtuoso.” This film is directed by Nick Stagliano and stars Anthony Hopkins, Abbie Cornish, and Anson Mount.

There are a couple of big 4K upgrades this week. The first is the 1994 action film “Speed,” directed by Jan de Bont and starring Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Dennis Hopper, and Jeff Daniels. Newly remastered, this features both a 4K UHD and a Blu-ray disc. It also includes 90 minutes of archival video extras and two audio commentary tracks from the previous Blu-ray release. There is also a Best Buy Exclusive Steelbook.

The other major 4K release this week is Tim Burton’s 2003 film “Big Fish,” starring Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, and Helena Bonham Carter. This is newly remastered in 4K from the original camera negative, included on both the 4K and Blu-ray discs. There are multiple featurettes and other archival video extras that were omitted from the previous Blu-ray release.

​I wanted to highlight a couple of Kino Lorber’s many releases this week. The biggest is the 1990 film “The Hot Spot,” directed by Dennis Hopper and starring Don Johnson, Virginia Madsen, Jennifer Connelly, Charles Martin Smith, and William Sadler. This is sourced from a new 2K master color-graded and approved by cinematographer Ueli Steiger. It also includes a new audio commentary track with entertainment journalist and author Bryan Reesman and new interviews with Madsen and Sadler. 

The other Kino Lorber title I wanted to highlight is the 1971 documentary “F.T.A,” which is about a political performance troupe in the early 70s featuring Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland. Highly controversial at the time for its anti-war messaging regarding the Vietnam war, this is the film’s Blu-ray debut following a repertory showing at virtual cinemas this past year.

Arrow Video is releasing a Blu-ray of the 2020 low-budget ghostly love story “A Ghost Waits.” Directed by Adam Stovall, this stars MacLeod Andrews and Natalie Walker. The disc includes multiple commentary tracks, interviews, outtakes, and a video essay on the film’s themes. 

Finally, we have one new release from the Criterion Collection this week: the 1981 Moroccan documentary “Trances,” directed by Ahmed El Maanouni. This film was previously released as part of the “Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project” Box Set from Criterion and is now getting its own individual release. This one features a 2K digital restoration and an introduction by Scorsese, interviews, and an essay in the booklet.


This past week, I finally watched a film that had long been on my watchlist and that I simply adored: Todd Haynes’ 2002 homage to Douglas Sirk and 1950s melodrama “Far from Heaven.” The film stars Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid, Dennis Haysbert, Patricia Clarkson, and Viola Davis. It has a gorgeous Blu-ray from Kino Lorber that I would highly recommend. One of the most accurate recreations of old Hollywood movies I have ever seen, Edward Lachman’s colorful cinematography shines. At the same time, Sandy Powell’s costume design is sheer perfection, both evoking the time and place magically and showcased beautifully on this disc.

The Blu-ray also has quite a number of special features. There is an audio commentary track with Haynes, a making-of featurette with interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, and several other interviews with the cast and crew. Kino Lorber can be hit or miss when it comes to supplemental features, so it’s wonderful that this terrific film not only looks beautiful but also has some supplements for viewers to dive into. Not enough people discuss this film as much lately, nor might they be aware of this Blu-ray, so I hope people check out the film and this disc because it really is special.

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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