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Home Entertainment Guide: January 2022

10 NEW TO NETFLIX

"Braveheart"
"Casino Royale"
"Hell or High Water"
"The Neverending Story"
"The Polar Express"
"The Social Network"
"Terminator 2: Judgment Day"
"The Town"
"Troy"
"Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory"

10 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD

"Antlers"

It appears I'm in the minority in terms of positive critical response to a film that I found disarming in its blending of folklore and modern problems. Sure, some of the messages here can be a bit facile, but there's a craft to Scott Cooper's work that I feel was deeply underrated on theatrical release. However, this film kind of always felt like one that would find life at home. It's the perfect rental for a cold night by yourself. Let it get under your skin.

Buy it here 

Special Features
The Evil Within – Co-writer/director Scott Cooper gives us a glimpse of the many complex layers at play in his approach to making Antlers, a horror film about very human concerns, and his most ambitious film to date.
An Exploration of Modern Horror with Guillermo del Toro – Producer Guillermo del Toro traces the lineage of elevated horror in cinema. Employing his encyclopedic knowledge and passion for the horror genre, he discusses the connection between mythology and human behavior.
Artifacts and Totems – The filmmakers discuss how they created this world of a small, tight-knit Northwest community of working-class Americans in bringing Scott Cooper's vision to life.
Gods Walk Among Us – An in-depth exploration of the digital and practical effects used to create the film's primal creatures.
Cry of the Wendigo – Discover the fascinating folklore behind the wendigo from the film's First Nations consultants. Learn about the creature's mythic origins and about its connection to man's betrayal of the land.
Metamorphosis – At the center of Antlers is a transformative performance by Scott Haze. Hear about the actor's preparation for filming, including how he lost some 70 pounds in order to play a deeply tragic character.
Comic-Con @ Home with Scott Cooper and Guillermo del Toro – Steve Weintraub moderates this candid Comic-Con@Home 2020 Panel interview with Guillermo del Toro and Scott Cooper. Hear the filmmakers describe their process, and learn who some of their filmmaking heroes are.


"The Dry"

I'll never understand why Eric Bana didn't become a bigger star. He's got the looks and he's got the acting chops, and this Aussie mystery/thriller is yet another example of the latter. Oddly enough, the dual mystery narratives here reminded me of "Mare of Eastown" in the manner in which that show solved two crimes simultaneously. Bana's character fled his drought-ridden hometown after the death of a classmate cast suspicion on him and a friend. Now, that friend is dead, apparently in a murder-suicide, although the evidence doesn't add up. The final scenes tie up a bit too neatly, but there's a lot to like here in terms of plotting, atmosphere, and another rock-solid Bana performance.

Buy it here 

Special Features
Homecoming (3:30)
Page to Screen (4:20)
Jane Harper's Day on Set (2:28)
Two Timelines (3:26)
Falk and Gretchen (1:52)
Filming in the Wimmera Region (3:03)


"Dune"

Denis Villeneuve's long-awaited adaptation of the Frank Herbert book that almost destroyed David Lynch was finally released in Fall 2021 to nearly universal acclaim and enough box office success to fund "Part Two." I have a feeling that when the second half of this saga is complete we will not only get a better picture of Villeneuve's accomplishment but probably another Blu-ray release. While this one is thick with special features and a high-quality video/audio transfer, it does have a bit of the feel of a placeholder until a more special edition comes along. But what a pretty placeholder.

Buy it here 

Special Features
Featurettes:
The Royal Houses
Filmbooks: House Atreides
Filmbooks: House Harkonnen
Filmbooks: The Spice Melangelnside Dune - The Training Room
Inside Dune: The Space Harvester
Inside Dune: The Sardaukar Battle
Building the Ancient Future
My Desert, My Dune
Constructing the Orniyhropters
Designing the Sandworm
Beware the Baron
Wardrobe From Another World
A New Soundscape


"Ema"

What a year for Pablo Larrain. The director saw "Spencer" win critics awards around the world and some decent reviews for his Apple TV+ series "Lisey's Story." For me, his best release this year was a delayed one for "Ema," which had a brief VOD run in 2020 but finally hit theatrical in 2021 and now Blu-ray in 2022. The long journey is worth it for this daring film that features some of Larrain's most striking imagery and best work with performers. A very cool thing about this release is that it includes a fantastic essay by our very own critic Carlos Aguilar.

Buy it here 

Special Features
Select Scene Audio Commentary by Choreographer José Vidal
Real Music Video
Photo Gallery
Green and Red band Theatrical Trailers
Collector's Booklet - including an interview with Pablo Larrain and a new critical essay by critic Carlos Aguilar


"The Great Escape" (4K)

Action movies don't get much better than this 1963 stone-cold classic, a movie that truly established the still-iconic screen presence of Mr. Steve McQueen. The legend leads John Sturges' loose retelling of an actual escape from a German POW camp in Poland (with a bit more American involvement here than actually happened). McQueen rules but the whole cast is great, including great turns from Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasance, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, James Coburn, and more. Why release it now? Because this is the first time that the film has been available in 4K and it's a beauty, the best video presentation of the film to date. Rich in color and detail, the film practically looks new again.

Buy it here 

Special Features
PREVIOUSLY COMPLETED 4K RESTORATION OF THE FILM (2020)
NEW Audio Commentary by Filmmaker/Historian Steve Mitchell and Combat Films: American Realism Author Steven Jay Rubin
Audio Commentary with Director John Sturges, Actors James Garner, James Coburn, Donald Pleasence, David McCallum, Jud Taylor and Many other Crew Members – Moderated by Steven Jay Rubin
Audio: 5.1 Surround & Original 2.0 Mono
Return to The Great Escape: Making of the Classic with the Cast and Crew (24:09)
The Great Escape: Bringing Fact to Fiction – Narrated by Burt Reynolds (12:21)
The Great Escape: Preparations for Freedom – Narrated by Burt Reynolds (19:50)
The Great Escape: The Flight to Freedom – Narrated by Burt Reynolds (9:22)
The Great Escape: A Standing Ovation – Narrated by Burt Reynolds (5:58)
The Great Escape: A Man Called Jones – Narrated by James Coburn (25:01)
The Great Escape: The Untold Story – Documentary by Steven Clarke (50:47)
The Great Escape: The Untold Story – Additional Interviews (9:35)
Theatrical Trailer (2:42)


"Halloween Kills"

It may have been dropped on Peacock the same day it hit theaters, but Universal still knows that no one collects physical media like horror fans, and so they have given David Gordon Green's second "Halloween" film a truly impressive home treatment, complete with deleted scenes, featurettes, and an audio commentary with the director, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Judy Greer. As if that's not enough, the home release also boasts an extended cut complete with an alternate ending. This cut is about four minutes longer than the theatrical cut and about a minute of that can be found at the end. Sadly, it's not that drastic a difference, basically just continuing for another scene after the abrupt one that greeted audiences in theaters. It's not really "alternate" as much as "additional." 

Buy it here 

Special Features
GAG REEL
DELETED/EXTENDED SCENES
HADDONFIELD'S OPEN WOUNDS - Those who die at the hands of Michael Myers are not his only victims. We look at some of the returning characters, and why their past traumatic encounters with The Shape made them natural candidates to try and defend Haddonfield against him.
THE KILL TEAM - It takes a big team to create a film the scale of HALLOWEEN KILLS, especially when part of the task is raising the bar for Michael's gruesome kills. We hear the people behind the mayhem discuss how they continue to push the franchise to new heights.
STRODE FAMILY VALUES - Filmmakers and cast discuss the three generations of Strode women that have been terrorized by The Shape, and the roles Laurie, Karen and Allyson play in trying to vanquish his evil.
1978 TRANSFORMATIONS - Shooting new footage that matches the feel of the iconic 1978 footage is no easy task, and even takes a little bit of luck. We reveal some of the secrets of how filmmakers achieved these stunning sequences.
THE POWER OF FEAR - The impact of Michael Myers' pure evil extends far beyond his victims. We examine how fear of The Shape changed the psychology of the people of Haddonfield.
KILL COUNT
FEATURE COMMENTARY - Director/co-writer David Gordon Green and stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Judy Greer


"A Hard Day's Night" (Criterion)

It was fun to watch so many people of all demographics drawn to Peter Jackson's "Get Back" at the end of 2021. Everyone who fell in love with The Beatles all over again should pick up the new 4K release of Richard Lester's beloved "A Hard Day's Night," just added to the Criterion Collection. Not only is the restoration, approved by Lester, a beauty, but the audio track is the best I've ever heard for this film, richly mixed in a way that makes it sound new again. And that's just the beginning. Criterion has taken this opportunity to stack the release with rare special features, including archival interviews and documentaries. Check out the list below and get this for the Beatles fan on your list.

Buy it here 

Special Features
New 4K digital restoration, approved by director Richard Lester, with three audio options—a monaural soundtrack as well as stereo and 5.1 surround mixes supervised by sound producer Giles Martin at Abbey Road Studios—presented in uncompressed monaural, uncompressed stereo, and DTS-HD Master Audio on the 4K UHD and Blu-ray
In the 4K UHD edition: One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and one Blu-ray with the film and special features
Audio commentary featuring cast and crew (dual-format and 4K UHD only)
In Their Own Voices, a program featuring 1964 interviews with the Beatles with behind-the-scenes footage and photos
“You Can’t Do That”: The Making of “A Hard Day’s Night,” a 1994 documentary by producer Walter Shenson including an outtake performance by the Beatles
Things They Said Today, a 2002 documentary about the film featuring Lester, music producer George Martin, screenwriter Alun Owen, and cinematographer Gilbert Taylor (dual-format and 4K UHD only)
Picturewise, a program about Lester’s early work, featuring a 2014 audio interview with the director (dual-format and 4K UHD only)
The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film (1960), Lester’s Oscar-nominated short (dual-format and 4K UHD only)
Anatomy of a Style, a 2014 program on Lester’s methods (dual-format and 4K UHD only)
Interview from 2014 with Beatles biographer Mark Lewisohn (dual-format and 4K UHD only)
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by critic Howard Hampton and excerpts from a 1970 interview with Lester (dual-format and 4K UHD only)


"Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness"

Why do I watch all the "Resident Evil" universe material? Why stop now? As someone who has played all the games and seen all the films, I was interested in how this Netflix four-episode series would fit into the history of the show. It turns out that this is a series more for fans of the games than the films, and not just because it kind of looks like a long cut scene. The four episodes fill in some of the story between the amazing "Resident Evil 4" and the series-redefining "Resident Evil 5." To be fair, it is visually richer than a lot of cut scenes, but the storytelling and voice work are mediocre. It's ultimately a footnote for hardcore RE fans only or misguided completists like yours truly.

Buy it here 

Special Features
The Making of RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness (30 min.)
Audio: English, French (PAR), Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1


"Time" (Criterion)

Garrett Bradley's stunning achievement was my personal pick for the best non-fiction film of 2020, and I'm happy to know that Criterion will now help it get to a wider audience than it would with its Amazon-only release. Bradley's film is an amazing accomplishment in editing, weaving years of a true story into the fabric of a feature film. And the Criterion release expands on the subject through a new commentary with the director, new interview with the subjects, and a new conversation between Bradley and a critic. You need to see this film.

Buy it here 

Special Features
New 4K digital master, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New audio commentary featuring director Garrett Bradley
New interview with Time’s subjects, Sibil Fox and Robert Richardson
New conversation between Bradley and critic and author Hilton Als
Alone (2017), a short documentary by Bradley, with optional 2021 commentary by the film’s subject, Aloné Watts
Trailer
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
English descriptive audio
PLUS: An essay by critic Doreen St. Félix


"Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy"

Ryusuke Hamaguchi had an amazing 2021, dropping this triptych at Berlin, where it won the Silver Bear, and then launching "Drive My Car" through Cannes, and watching it end up on nearly every top ten list on its way to winning multiple critics awards for the best film of the year. The director of "Asako I & II" was building a profile for cinephiles but he exploded this year. And there are some people out there who think that this anthology of stories about connection and coincidence is even better than "Drive My Car." See both and pick your favorite.

Buy it here 

Special Features
Interview with director Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Bonus Short Film: The Chicken (Directed by Neo Sora) -- Hiro, a young Japanese immigrant in New York City, faces a complex dilemma when he can't bring himself to butcher the live chicken he bought for dinner.

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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