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Home Entertainment Guide: December 2022

10 NEW ON NETFLIX

"21 Jump Street"
"Air Force One"
"Bullet Train"
"Cake"
"Emily the Criminal"
"Frances Ha"
"Prisoners"
"Shutter Island"
"Side Effects"
"Troy"

10 NEW ON HBO MAX

"Amsterdam"
"The Banshees of Inisherin"
"Black Adam"
"Burn After Reading"
"Demolition Man"
"Green Room"
"Hook"
"Insidious"
"Signs"
"A Star is Born"

9 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD

"The Banshees of Inisherin"

The RogerEbert.com collective choice for the best film of 2022 is already out on Blu-ray and DVD, as well as streaming on HBO Max. This kind of quick turnaround from fall festivals to theaters to the home market is becoming increasingly prevalent but my concern is that the physical media part of it will soon disappear if studios don't put more love and care into the releases. This release has barely any supplemental material and doesn't offer a transfer that's better than the streaming one, so only hardcore collectors will pick it up. My hope is that studios like Fox Searchlight will take the physical media market more seriously with more common 4K releases and ones that include all the bells and whistles in terms of bonus features. For now, fans of this excellent Martin McDonagh film will have to suffice with just a featurette and deleted scenes, but this feels like a project that could get a more lavish special edition down the road.

Buy it here 

Special Features
Creating The Banshees of Inisherin - Featurette
Deleted Scenes


"Cooley High" (Criterion)

My friend Sergio Mims, a regular contributor to this site and a legend in the Chicago film scene, LOVED this movie. It makes me a little sad he wasn't able to get his hands on this excellent Criterion release of it before he passed earlier this year. He would have adored the 4K transfer that makes this influential coming-of-age comedy from 1975 look brand new. A major hit at the box office on a minimal budget, it is undeniably one of the most important films of its era, a work that Spike Lee, John Singleton, and many others cited as formative for their careers. In 2021, it was included in the National Film Registry, a choice that I know made Sergio happy.

Buy it here 

Special Features
New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Michael Schultz, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
New conversation between Schultz and film scholar Racquel J. Gates
Program on the making of the film
Panel discussion from the 2019 tribute to Cooley High at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, featuring Schultz, actor-filmmaker Robert Townsend, casting director Gloria Schultz, and actors Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs and Garrett Morris
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by critic Craigh Barboza


"House of the Dragon" Season One

The HBO prequel to "Game of Thrones" doesn't seem to be sparking the same cultural passion as its predecessor, but it's still a MASSIVE hit for the cable and streaming company. And it's interesting to see Warner Bros. recognize that fans of these shows are often collectors too. I remember the early DVD releases of "Game of Thrones" being some of the absolute best in the history of TV on DVD, loaded with commentaries, special features, and details about the hit shows. Sadly, the first season of "House of the Dragon" doesn't get quite that "loaded" treatment - just an hour of featurettes feels kind of slight given the legacy that this show is now a part of - but it does come home with a snazzy steelbook edition and 4K transfers of the episodes themselves, which isn't happening for most new programs in the 2020s.

Buy it here 

Special Features
DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK
Over one hour of bonus content, including two exclusive featurettes:
Return to the Seventh Kingdom
Welcome to Westeros


"Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile"

An adaptation of the popular children's novel of the same name, the Will Speck and Josh Gordon take on the family classic is an odd duck, a movie that feels like it owes a great deal to "Paddington" (lovable, shy creature becomes basically adopted by a family) but it also has the spirit of an old-fashioned musical (songs written by the team behind "The Greatest Showman"). Javier Bardem, Constance Wu, and Scoot McNairy are all in on a film that didn't quite work for me (the music is generally horrible and the comedy inconsistent), but I'm always happy when family films get a little weird. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
DOLBY VISION/HDE PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
Croc and Roll - Lyle on Set - Featurette
Take a Look at Us - The Cast - Featurette
Two Music Videos


"Michael Haneke Trilogy" (Criterion)

The masterful Austrian director of "Funny Games," "Cache," and "The White Ribbon" is given an excellent early career mini-boxset from Criterion this month, collecting his first three films, in which one can very clearly see him developing his voice as a filmmaker. "The Seventh Continent," "Benny's Video," and "71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance" (released from 1989 to 1994) reveal a talented young director who is playing with form, character, and audience expectations. It must hav ebeen fascinating for Haneke himself to sit down and supervise these digital masters. Knowing that this is a release aimed more at hardcore collectors than casual fans, Criterion treats them well with a documentary about Haneke's career, and two new interviews about these early films. It's a wonderful little surprise at the end of the year for collectors.

Buy it here 

Special Features
High-definition digital masters, supervised by director Michael Haneke, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks
New interview with actor Arno Frisch
New interview with film historian Alexander Horwath
Interviews from 2005 with Haneke
Documentary about Haneke’s career featuring interviews with Haneke and actors Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Huppert, and Jean-Louis Trintignant
Deleted scenes from Benny’s Video
Trailers
New English subtitle translations
PLUS: An essay by novelist John Wray


"Smile"

While several genres seem to be disappearing from the theatrical marketplace (sorry, rom-com fans), the horror film is going strong. Perhaps the biggest horror story of the year was "Smile," a Paramount film that was brilliantly marketed and timed, originally scheduled for a Paramount+ drop but ending up a massive success, making over $200 million worldwide on a budget under 10% of that. With horror, it's often the simplicity of the concept that provides the hook, and the creepy smiles in the posters and trailers sold this story of a therapist (Sosie Bacon) who seems haunted after the death of a patient. Parker Finn adapted his short "Laura Hasn't Slept" into something that tapped into common fears around the world. That kind of bone-chilling trick will never get old.

Buy it here 

Special Features
DOLBY VISION/HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK
Audio Commentary by director Parker Finn
Laura Hasn't Slept — The original short film that inspired SMILE with introduction by director Parker Finn
Something's Wrong with Rose: Making Smile - Featurette
Flies on the Wall: Inside the Score - Featurette
Deleted Scenes — With optional commentary by director Parker Finn


"Ticket to Paradise"

I was pumped for a return of rom-com stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts in an old-fashioned comedy like this one but found Ol Parker's flick to be remarkably flat and dry. Clooney and Roberts still have incredible screen presence, and there's joy in just seeing them turn on the charm again, but the script here is so inert as to be nearly lifeless. All that there is to enjoy about this tale of a divorced couple who conspire to derail their daughter's nuptials is in the casting, and that's not quite enough for me. But maybe it will be for you on a snowy winter night? No one would blame you.

Buy it here 

Special Features
Return of the Dynamic Duo – Back together at last! In this fun-loving featurette, celebrate the big screen return of two of the world's most beloved stars, Julia Roberts and George Clooney.
Destination Wedding – It's a beautiful day for a wedding in paradise- and you're invited! Take a deep dive into all the details of Lily's magical day.
Production in Paradise – From Balinese marriage customs, to filming in the Whitsundays, discover how filmmakers were able to bring a slice of paradise to audiences around the world in this making-of.
Keep a Straight Face – It's hard to keep a straight face with a best friend by your side. Spend a day on set with real life pals Kaitlyn Dever and Billie Lourd as they try not to distract each other too much.


"The Velvet Underground" (Criterion)

This excellent music doc by Todd Haynes came and went too quickly. It feels like the shifting theatrical market and the pandemic has really sped up the cultural cycle, allowing even well-liked movies to slip through the crowd without enough attention. So props to Criterion for grabbing it and giving it a strong physical release to end 2022. Not only does the film feature a new 4K master but an excellent audio commentary by Haynes and his editors about how this daring feature was assembled. There are also tons of outtakes, conversations, and even complete versions of some of the films that were excerpted in "The Velvet Underground." This would make a good companion to this year's "Moonage Daydream," another case of a filmmaker rising to the creative challenge of his subject.

Buy it here 

Special Features
4K digital master, approved by director Todd Haynes and cinematographer Ed Lachman, with Dolby Atmos soundtrack
Alternate stereo soundtrack
Audio commentary featuring Haynes and editors Affonso Gonçalves and Adam Kurnitz
Outtakes of interviews shot for the film with musician Jonathan Richman, filmmaker Jonas Mekas, and actor Mary Woronov
Haynes and musicians John Cale and Maureen Tucker in conversation with writer Jenn Pelly in 2021
Complete versions of some of the avant-garde films excerpted in the movie
Teaser
Optional annotations identifying the avant-garde films seen in the movie
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: A 2021 essay by critic Greil Marcus


"The Woman King"

Gina Prince-Bythewood's historical action epic was one of the films that really set Toronto buzzing this year when it premiered at the fest. After its premiere, I expressed concern about how audiences would respond to an action film that's not based on a known IP, and I feel like this strong flick has underperformed, bringing in less than $100 million worldwide so far (it should be at four times that). So that means that there are a lot of folks out there who haven't seen it, and can now correct that oversight on the home market. This movie rocks, anchored by incredibly strong performances from Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, and Lashana Lynch. Everyone in the cast here recognizes that grounding their characters in emotion is just as important as nailing the action choreography. If only more blockbusters understod that.

Buy it here

Special Features
DOLBY VISION/HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK
A Caterpillar's Destruction: Viola Davis On Set
Representation Matters (Featurette)
Woman/Warrior (Featurette)
Storytellers (Featurette)
Thuso Mbedu Auditions
Filmmakers' Commentary

Brian Tallerico

Brian Tallerico is the Editor of RogerEbert.com, and also covers television, film, Blu-ray, and video games. He is also a writer for Vulture, The Playlist, The New York Times, and Rolling Stone, and the President of the Chicago Film Critics Association.

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