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A fascinating piece of filmmaking that challenges the form in new ways as it recalls themes its director has been interested in his entire career.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Home Entertainment Consumer Guide: November 16, 2017

6 NEW TO NETFLIX

"9"
"Chasing Trane"
"The Dinner"
"The Homesman"
"The Journey"
"Killing Ground"

8 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD

"Atomic Blonde"

Charlize Theron always had a strong, charismatic presence on screen, but her transformation into a true action star in the '10s has been remarkable. Of course, the pinnacle of this part of her career (and perhaps her ENTIRE career) was "Mad Max: Fury Road," but it's fascinating to see how much of an action icon she was even in something like "The Fate of the Furious." So, of course, it's no surprise to see her in a "John Wick"-esque action flick like "Atomic Blonde," a movie that really works when it shuts up. The style and action here is great, but the dialogue and plotting is subpar and disappointing. Still, there's enough here to like the film, especially in the perfectly calibrated, physical performance from Theron.

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Special Features
Deleted/Extended Scenes
Welcome to Berlin 
Blondes Have More Gun
Spymaster 
Anatomy of a Fight Scene 
Story in Motion: Agent Broughton 
Story in Motion: The Chase 
Feature Audio Commentary with Director David Leitch and Editor Elisabet Ronaldsdottir

"Cars 3"

Is something wrong with me? Why do I consider the three "Cars" films to be the worst Pixar has made? At least there's consistency, right? The first "Cars" film is a serviceable mediocrity, entertaining enough for kids into cars (which is basically all kids) but less creative than the best of Pixar. The second "Cars" film, however, is atrocious, and borderline offensive in the way it introduces gunplay into its kid-targeted universe. Which brings us to "Cars 3," a movie with a nice feminist angle but which is just too dull to connect. Disney has released a nice package for the film, and so it's worth mentioning for people who collect Pixar releases. They're always great-looking and extras-packed. But I'll say this for those on the fence - my three boys all lost interest and went to other parts of the house to do other things. That didn't even happen during "The Nut Job 2."

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Special Features
Lou
Commentary
Miss Fritter's Racing Skoool Short Film
Deleted Scenes
Cruz Ramirez: The Yellow Car that Could
Let's. Get. Crazy.
Ready For The Race
Cars To Die(Cast) For
Generations: The Story of Cars 3
My First Car
Legendary
World's Fastest Billboard
Cars D'oeuvres
Trailers
Car Reveals
Set Fly-Throughs

"In This Corner of the World"

Sunao Katabuchi's adaptation of Fumiyo Kono's manga is a lyrical reminder of the landscape-changing impact of war, especially when the nuclear option is chosen. It's about a creative young woman living in a province near Hiroshima, set primarily in 1944 and 1945. Everyone knows how history and mankind was changed forever at that point in history. This is a lovely, heartbreaking film with imagery I haven't forgotten since I reviewed it in August. In fact, I think I was probably too hard on it then. Its flaws have faded in memory and the imagery has stuck in my mind. Let it do the same for you.

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Special Features
A Look at Post-Screening Q&As with director Sunao Katabuchi and producer Taro Maki featurette
A 16-page preview of the graphic novel that inspired the film
Original Theatrical Trailer

"Ingrid Goes West"

While the previous film in this entry has gained in power since I first saw it, this Sundance hit has faded. However, there is one element of it that's unforgettable: the fantastic lead performance from Aubrey Plaza as Ingrid, a woman whose insecurities and mental illness is magnified through the lens of social media. Plaza is such a fascinating, unique actress, and she never quite gets enough credit for her range. Compare her performance here with the broader work she did in another Sundance film this year, "The Little Hours." There aren't many actresses of her generation who can do more than she can, and I feel like there are several great performances from her in the near future. So while I hate that "Ingrid Goes West" is ultimately more toothless than its startling opening scene promises, there is that great performance at its center that makes it worth a rental. Plaza saves awful movies, and this one isn't all that bad, just a bit disappointing.

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Special Features
Optional Feature Commentary by Director/Co-Writer Matt Spicer, Co-Writer David Branson Smith and Aubrey Plaza
Deleted Scenes with Commentary
Trailer

"Le Samourai" (Criterion)

Jean-Pierre Melville's 1967 action-drama is one of the most influential films of its era, and now gets the HD upgrade treatment from Criterion, having already been released on Criterion standard DVD. It's an unforgettable film, and even if you haven't seen it, you've seen films inspired by it, including "Drive," "The American," "The Killer," and virtually every film that features a solitary, quiet assassin. It's a film that's admired even more greatly in Europe. Empire Magazine named it the #39 film of all time in their list of the Best Films of World Cinema in 2013. It looks fantastic on Blu-ray and feels as essential in 2017 as it was a half-century ago. Catch up with it if you've never seen it. 

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Special Features
New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Interviews from 2005 with Rui Nogueira, editor of Melville on Melville, and Ginette Vincendeau, author of Jean-Pierre Melville: An American in Paris
Archival interviews with Melville and actors Alain Delon, François Périer, Nathalie Delon, and Cathy Rosier
Melville-Delon: D’honneur et de nuit (2011), a short documentary exploring the friendship between the director and the actor and their iconic collaboration on this film
Trailer
PLUS: An essay by film scholar David Thomson, an appreciation by filmmaker John Woo, and excerpts from Melville on Melville

"The Philadelphia Story" (Criterion)

When George Cukor's comedy masterpiece showed up, I held it up to my wife, who has never seen it, and said, "Do you want to watch a perfect movie?" It's not often one can say that about anything in this world, but this truly is a perfect movie, a film that features three icons at the peak of their God-given charisma. In many ways, Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and James Stewart were never as charming as they were here, in this film that really changed all of their careers (Hepburn was coming off a string of flops when it was released in 1940.) Donald Ogden Stewart's script is so witty and funny, and Stewart won the Oscar for Best Actor for the film. It's just about as good as this kind of comedy gets and became a template for so many movies to follow. Criterion releases are often masterpieces, but it's nice to see something this light on its feet next to more "serious" movies in the collection. It's the kind of movie I can watch any time, any day. It's perfect.

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Special Features
New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Audio commentary from 2005 featuring film scholar Jeanine Basinger
In Search of Tracy Lord, a new documentary about the origin of the character and her social milieu
New piece about actor Katharine Hepburn’s role in the development of the film
Two full episodes of The Dick Cavett Show from 1973, featuring rare interviews with Hepburn, plus an excerpt of a 1978 interview from that show with director George Cukor
Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the film from 1943, featuring an introduction by filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille
Restoration demonstration
Trailer
PLUS: An essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme

"Wind River"

There was a time not that long ago when Oscar pundits were considering if Jeremy Renner or Taylor Sheridan's screenplay for this film could play in the season, but those hopes were dashed when Harvey Weinstein's monstrosity was revealed. Some have questioned if we should even watch Weinstein Company films. If you fell like you can, this is a solid thriller, the kind of film that used to do very well on DVD due to word of mouth. I suspect people will find this movie even with its awards chances shot, mostly because of how good Renner is in it. I think the film is flawed, but it's Renner's best performance in years. See it for him. Not for Harvey.

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Special Features
Behind-the-Scenes Video Gallery
Deleted Scenes

"Your Name"

This is still my favorite animated film of the year, and there are only a few candidates left that could possibly push it off its high throne ("Coco," "Ferdinand"). "Your Name" is a beautiful sci-fi epic the power of which can't really be expressed in words. It contains some of the most striking imagery of 2017, animated or otherwise, and that alone makes it a perfect release for HD Blu-ray. Just trust me on this one. Turn it on. Turn off the lights. Immerse yourself in the complex, ambitious world of this film. You won't regret it.

Buy it here 

Special Features
Interview with Makoto Shinkai
Makoto Shinkai Filmography
Special TV Program
Trailers

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