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Home Entertainment Guide: August 22, 2019

10 NEW TO AMAZON PRIME

"12 Angry Men"
"12 Monkeys"
"300"
"American Gigolo"
"Battle Royale"
"The Brothers Bloom"
"Die Another Day"
"Dumb and Dumber"
"High Tension"
"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"

3 NEW TO HULU

"The Beach Bum"
"Dogman"
"The Pianist"

1 NEW TO NETFLIX

"Gangs of New York"

4 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD

"Amazing Grace"

It took decades for one of the most infamous concert films of all time to finally be available on the home market, but its arrival comes with a bit of disappointment. The Opening Night film of this year's Ebertfest, and the second highest-grossing documentary of 2019 so far (after "Pavarotti") is barely getting a release at all on the home market. There's no Blu-ray release, and the DVD that is being issued is completely barren of special features. The story behind the long journey to get "Amazing Grace" to any kind of screen would make for a fascinating documentary or commentary track. Perhaps the continued bad blood around this film - Franklin herself notoriously said she didn't want it released - led the studio to avoid bonus material altogether but this feels like a missed opportunity to reclaim the legacy of a great film. As for the movie itself, it belongs on the top tier of concert films, a movie that captures the raw emotion and immediacy of one of the best performers of all time. 

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Special Features
None

"Avengers: Endgame"

Maybe you've heard of it? Is anyone else fascinated by the turnaround on even the biggest movies of all time nowadays? For films like "Titanic" and "Avatar," it took months of theatrical play to get to the top, which delayed their DVD releases substantially when compared to their release date. Here's the biggest movie of all time on the home market only four months after it was in theaters. Everyone likely already has an opinion about "Endgame" already, but you may be wondering if it still plays well at home away from all the spectacle. The good news is that it does. This is still one of the stronger MCU movies, especially coming on the heels of the disappointing "Infinity War," and the home release is simply loaded with special features, including deleted scenes and a commentary. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
Remembering Stan Lee 
Setting The Tone: Casting Robert Downey Jr. 
A Man Out of Time: Creating Captain America 
Black Widow: Whatever It Takes 
The Russo Brothers: Journey to Endgame 
The Women of the MCU 
Bro Thor 
Six Deleted Scenes 
Gag Reel 
Visionary Intro 
Audio Commentary

"Magnificent Obsession" (Criterion)

While the main draw here is the sumptuous 1954 version of Lloyd C. Douglas novel starring Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson, the first thing you should know is that Criterion also includes the entire 1935 adaptation of the same novel, the one starring Irene Dunne and Robert Taylor. The Sirk version is superior, but it's a testament to Criterion's craft that an entire film can be called a special feature. As for the movie, Wyman was Oscar-nominated for her work as a woman caught in a very Sirkian cycle of fate involving a rich playboy, played by Hudson. Both performers are marvelous, but it's the way Sirk embraces the melodrama of the piece that makes it sing. It may not be on his top tier ("All That Heaven Allows," one of my favorite films of all time would reunite Sirk, Wyman, and Hudson just the next year), but it's still a marvelous soap opera, and it's been lovingly restored in a way that doesn't make it look overly polished. Also cool are interviews from when Criterion released this on DVD with filmmakers Allison Anders and Kathryn Bigelow about how much they love Sirk. Who doesn't, really?

Buy it here 

Special Features
High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Audio commentary from 2008 featuring film scholar Thomas Doherty
Magnificent Obsession, John M. Stahl’s 1935 adaptation of the same novel, newly restored
From UFA to Hollywood: Douglas Sirk Remembers (1991), a documentary by Eckhart Schmidt
Interview from 2009 with screenwriter Robert Blees
Interviews from 2008 with filmmakers Allison Anders and Kathryn Bigelow, in which they pay tribute to director Douglas Sirk
Trailer
PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien

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"Shadow"

Zhang Yimou has had a fascinating career. For a time in the '90s, he was an arthouse darling with films like "Raise the Red Lantern" and "To Live." He unexpectedly became a director of blockbusters in the '00s with his wildly acclaimed and beloved "House of Flying Daggers" and "Hero," which made over $175 million worldwide. The '10s have been more unpredictable, with the Matt Damon vehicle "The Great Wall" being critically derided but making over $330 million worldwide. What's so fascinating about "Shadow" is how much one can see all of these Zhang Yimou visions embedded in just one film. There are elements of dark character drama like his early works but also some of the most stunning action choreography of his entire career. It's such a confidently made piece of work, a film that starts a little slowly but builds to something that feels as dramatic as Shakespeare. Call it "Bard Fu." Yeah, you know you want to see that. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
Original Mandarin and English audio tracks
The Making of Shadow - Featurette
Behind the Scenes of Shadow - Featurette
Original Trailers

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