Welcome to this week in home video!
Pick of the Week
The Prince of Tides [Criterion Collection]
What is it? A man struggles with memories of his and his sister’s childhood.
Why see it? Barbara Streisand’s second feature as director is a heavy, emotionally rich drama about coming to terms with our past. The specific tale, an adaptation of Pat Conroy’s bestselling novel, deals with adult siblings and the memories of the horrors they faced as children, and while one attempts suicide the other enters into therapy. It’s a film filled with humanity and a message about healing, and both Nick Nolte and Streisand do terrific work pulling you into these lives and relationships. Criterion’s new release is packed with appealing and informative extras starting with a commentary track — from 1991 but updated last year — and featuring plenty of behind the scenes looks at this Academy Award nominated feature.
[Extras: New 4K restoration, commentary by Barbara Streisand, featurette, interviews, rehearsal footage, deleted scenes, gag reel]
Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A woman makes trouble for her troubling new husband.
Why see it? All Ernst Lubitsch movies are worth a watch, and several are worth re-watches. This 1938 gem is one of the latter as it delivers big laughs, witty dialogue, and a touch of naughtiness. Claudette Colbert and Gary Cooper headline as the couple at the heart of the romance, but it’s a prickly relationship laced with some terrifically written and delivered dialogue. Kat Ellinger’s commentary is also a must listen for fans.
Their Finest Hour: 5 British WWII Classics
What is it? Five newly restored classic films set during WWII.
Why see it? The five films collected here are Went the Day Well? (1942), The Colditz Story (1955), The Dam Busters (1955), Dunkirk (1958), and Ice Cold in Alex (1958), and all five feature sharp restorations. Most come with extras too with the thrilling The Dam Busters featuring some dense, informative documentaries about the film and its topic. The collection also ranges in tone and sub-genre with one being a near gleeful thriller about villagers killing Nazis, another being a big action blockbuster, and still another being a tale more focused on character and suspense. This is a fantastic set and a must-own for fans of the genre or of this period of history as each of the films offers a differing glimpse into England’s view and response to the war.
[Extras: Documentaries, interviews, archival footage]
What is it? A passenger jet’s cockpit window shatters mid flight.
Why see it? Think Sully but with far more melodrama, and you’ll be in the ball park for this Chinese disaster picture. The film milks scenes to find action and suspense, and if you’re in the right spirit its adrenaline will take hold. It’s almost over the top enough, but as it stands the film takes itself just a tad too seriously making for a film that wants to be Speed but feels more like… well, Sully.
Indiscretion of an American Wife [KL Studio Classics]
What is it? A woman struggles to leave a fling to return home to her family.
Why see it? Speaking of melodrama, this fractured romance saw trouble during production resulting in two versions of a film — and neither of them really work. Jennifer Jones and Montgomery Clift play lovers about to be separated as she heads home, but they instead meet and drag their feet. It’s an odd one as neither feels all that empathetic or interesting, and worse, their chemistry isn’t great. Still, fans will enjoy having both cuts restored and looking sharp.
[Extras: New 4K restoration, 2K restoration of 89-minute version, prologue song numbers]
Munster, Go Home! [Scream Factory]
What is it? The Munsters inherit a European estate.
Why see it? The Munsters in color is a sight to see, and the entire clan (minus their creepy looking niece) return for this 1966 TV movie that sends the family to Europe (by way of the Universal Studio lot). Fans of the series will find more of the usual hijinks here, so if that’s your comedy bag then this will be good fun. The inclusion of a second TV movie is a solid bonus, but the highlight is a commentary track featuring Rob Zombie.
[Extras: New 2K scan, bonus film The Munsters’ Revnege, commentary with Butch Patrick and Rob Zombie]
Standing Up, Falling Down
What is it? A failed stand up comic finds inspiration in a new friend.
Why see it? Ben Schwartz plays the struggling comedian and Billy Crystal plays the older man with his own regrets, and their combined charms are what make this film worth seeking out. They’re funny people, and while the film takes some minor dramatic turns it’s that personality and wit that carries things through.
[Extras: Commentary, making of]
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
What is it? The most beloved Star Wars film of all time.
Why see it? Look, Episode IX has some bumps and stumbles, but its heart remains pure Star Wars, for better or worse. It’s fun and visually thrilling at times, clunky with its narrative at others, and a perfectly fine sendoff for this long-running franchise. We get some attractive action, corny character beats, and a firm finale, and it all looks sharp as hell in 4K too.
[Extras: Documentary, featurettes]
Also out this week:
Bones [Scream Factory], The Current War, Show Boat [Criterion Collection], VFW