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Home Entertainment Guide: July 2021

10 NEW TO NETFLIX

"Air Force One"
"The American"
"Boogie Nights"
"The Game"
"Karate Kid"
"The Queen"
"Snowpiercer"
"Star Trek"
"The Strangers"
"Terminator 2: Judgment Day"

10 NEW TO HBO MAX

"8 Mile"
"American History X"
"Beautiful Girls"
"Blackhat"
"Let Him Go"
"Lucky"
"Observe and Report"
"Pleasantville"
"Reservoir Dogs"
"Shiva Baby"

10 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD

"Bringing Up Baby" (Criterion)

Movies don't get much more delightful and joyous than "Bringing Up Baby," a film that honestly shaped my youth. Raised on classic musicals, my mother also loved classic comedies, and comedies don't get more classic than this 1938 screwball masterpiece from Howard Hawks. Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant star in a film that was reportedly so much fun to make that the production had to regularly stop for laugh breaks. This is one of those movies that was a bomb on release (Hepburn was even labeled "box office poison") but it gained an audience in the 1950s when it was shown on TV, at a point when Hepburn was anything but unpopular. It's a razor sharp, hysterical movie that continues to impact comedy almost a century later. Special note: Our very own Sheila O'Malley wrote the essay for this excellent Criterion release.

Buy it here 

Special Features
New, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Audio commentary from 2005 featuring filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich
New video essay on actor Cary Grant by author Scott Eyman
New interview about cinematographer Russell Metty with cinematographer John Bailey
New interview with film scholar Craig Barron on special-effects pioneer Linwood Dunn
New selected-scene commentary about costume designer Howard Greer featuring costume historian Shelly Foote
Howard Hawks: A Hell of a Good Life, a 1977 documentary by Hans-Christoph Blumenberg featuring the director’s last filmed interview
Audio interview from 1969 with Grant
Audio excerpts from a 1972 conversation between Hawks and Bogdanovich
Trailer
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by critic Sheila O’Malley and, for the Blu-ray, the 1937 short story by Hagar Wilde on which the film is based


"Deep Cover" (Criterion)

Criterion has made some unexpected choices regarding their collection in the last few years and the announcement that Bill Duke's 1992 thriller would be inducted was a wonderful surprise. Putting a film like this in the Criterion Collection elevates its historical importance, and it's a work that more than deserves such a pedestal. Laurence Fishburne gives one of his best performances as an officer who tries to bring down a Los Angeles drug cartel from within. And the Criterion release has some great supplemental material including a new interview with Duke, and new conversations about the quality and impact of the film. This is a morally complex movie in a genre that was consistently black and white when it was released. I love how much Roger got it: "Among the many unexpected aspects of this movie is the way its characters constantly ask themselves what the right course is—and if they can afford to take it."

Buy it here 

Special Features
New 4K digital restoration, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New interview with director Bill Duke
AFI Conservatory seminar from 2018 featuring Duke and actor Laurence Fishburne, moderated by film critic Elvis Mitchell
New conversation between film scholars Racquel J. Gates and Michael B. Gillespie about Deep Cover’s place within both the Black film boom of the early 1990s and the noir genre
New conversation between scholar Claudrena N. Harold and professor, DJ, and podcaster Oliver Wang about the film’s title track and its importance to the history of hip-hop
Trailer
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by Gillespie


"Godzilla vs. Kong"

One of the best blockbusters of the last few years, Adam Wingard's B-movie with an A-budget completely understands what it needs to be: a ludicrous action flick that bounces legendary creatures off one another. Delightfully unpretentious, it delivers the goods almost immediately, pitting the title characters against each other in a fantastic sequence aboard a series of freighters. Some laughed at the insanity of this goofy movie, but I wonder what they expect from a flick called "Godzilla vs. Kong," a purely enjoyable blockbuster in an era when so many big-budget films forget to be entertaining. When it ended, my youngest son loudly proclaimed it his favorite movie. Might be the same for yours too. Oh, and it should be noted that the 4K WB version is a beauty, with better HD quality and audio than it had on HBO Max and some excellent special features about the making of the movie. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
Audio Commentary by Director, Adam Wingard
Kong Discovers Hollow Earth
Kong Leaves Home
Behold Kong's Temple
The Evolution of Kong, Eighth Wonder of the World
Godzilla Attacks
The Phenomenon of GŌJIRA, King of the Monsters
Round One: Battle at Sea
Round Two: One Will Fall
Titan Tag Team: The God and the King
The Rise of MechaGodzilla


"Indiana Jones Collection"

Finally. The four films in the saga of Indiana Jones are finally available in one 4K set, loaded with special features but most essentially upgraded to a picture quality they have never been before. Some have complained that the new films look overly polished—these movies should have a grainy quality to them like the serials that inspired them—but I don't really see that (4K complaints are often the product of mis-calibrated televisions and players). Perhaps "Raiders" could have a bit more fuzz to it, but I think where it's improved visually far outweighs any negatives. It's also worth noting that the audio mixes in this set sound more robust than the standard Blu-ray set. I'm not sure it's completely worth upgrading if you already own all four films but this is another case where this is the essential one to own if you somehow don't already. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
On Set with Raiders of the Lost Ark
From Jungle to Desert
From Adventure to Legend
Making the Films
The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981 documentary)
The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark
The Making of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
The Making of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
The Making of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (HD)
Behind the Scenes
The Stunts of Indiana Jones
The Sound of Indiana Jones
The Music of Indiana Jones
The Light and Magic of Indiana Jones
Raiders: The Melting Face!
Indiana Jones and the Creepy Crawlies (with optional pop-ups)
Travel with Indiana Jones: Locations (with optional pop-ups)
Indy's Women: The American Film Institute Tribute
Indy's Friends and Enemies
Iconic Props (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) (HD)
The Effects of Indy (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) (HD)
Adventures in Post Production (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) (HD)


"Last Train from Gun Hill"

It's been fun to watch people catch up with this movie in the last week or so since it was released under the increasingly interesting "Paramount Presents" banner. The 18th release of a catalog Paramount title, this is one of the least known in the collection so far, but I think that's why it's gotten more buzz than, say, "Ghost." People have been catching up with this 62-year-old movie and discovering a genre gem, a taut flick from the great John Sturges. Anthony Quinn plays a devious cattle baron whose old friend Matt Morgan (Kirk Douglas) has become U.S. Marshal in a nearby town. The film opens with a brutal scene in which Belden's son (Earl Holliman) rapes and murders Morgan's wife, sending the two central characters to an inevitable showdown. Kind of buried between 1957's "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" and 1960's "The Magnificent Seven," it feels a bit like history forgot this one. It's nice to see it remembered. (Also, props to Paramount for starting to include digital copies with their Presents releases.)

Buy it here 

Special Features
BRAND NEW 6K RESTORATION OF THE FILM FROM THE ORIGINAL VISTAVISION NEGATIVE
NEW Filmmaker Focus: Leonard Maltin on Last Train From Gun Hill
Original trailers
Collectible packaging featuring a foldout image of the film's theatrical poster and an interior spread with key movie moments


"Mirror" (Criterion)

The fifth film in the Criterion Collection from Russian master Andrei Tarkovsky (after "Ivan's Childhood," "Stalker," "Andrei Rublev," and "Solaris") is his fascinating visual poem from 1975. Autobiographical in ways and commenting on the entire history of Russia in others, "Mirror" is an unconventional piece of work, even for Tarkovsky, weaving poetry, music, voiceover, and imagery in ways that can sometimes feel alienating but has a remarkable cumulative effect. I've mostly come to Tarkovsky late in life, finding less to hold onto as a young critic in his work than I do now. And the Criterion Collection releases are the main reason for that increased appreciation. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Andrei Tarkovsky: A Cinema Prayer, a 2019 documentary about the director by his son Andrei A. Tarkovsky
The Dream in the Mirror, a new documentary by Louise Milne and Seán Martin
New interview with composer Eduard Artemyev
Islands: Georgy Rerberg, a 2007 documentary about the cinematographer
Archival interviews with Tarkovsky and screenwriter Alexander Misharin
New English subtitle translation
PLUS: An essay by critic Carmen Gray and, for the Blu-ray, the 1968 film proposal and literary script by Tarkovsky and Misharin that they ultimately developed into Mirror


"Nobody"

When Ilya Naishuller's "Nobody" ended, I instantly hoped that enough people would see it to justify a sequel. It feels like a universe that could be even more fun with the confidence of a sophomore season. Bob Odenkirk plays a man with a very special set of skills, a retired assassin who gets called back into action after a home invasion sends him on a path to a bus fracas that brings him the attention of a Russian mobster. With fight choreography that echoes the tautness of something like "John Wick," "Nobody" is a fantastically fun film, the kind of thing that usually finds an audience at home. At under $60 million worldwide, it seems like a sequel is unlikely (although there are reports that one is already being written even though it doesn't have the green light). So rent or buy this one to make my dreams come true. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
Feature Audio Commentary with Actor/Producer Bob Odenkirk and Director Ilya Naishuller
Breaking Down The Action - Featurette
Just A Nobody - Featurette
Hutch hits Hard
Deleted Scene


"Pariah" (Criterion)

Here's a somewhat shameful bit of trivia: It took until 2021 for the Criterion Collection to include a film by a Black American woman. Here's another less shameful but interesting one: They originally approached director Dee Rees to help with supplemental material for a release that would be a part of their deal with Netflix of her highly acclaimed "Mudbound," and she's the one who encouraged them to consider "Pariah" instead. It was a great call. While "Mudbound" is an excellent film, it's widely available to anyone with Netflix, while the also-great "Pariah" has been seen by far fewer people. Rees' debut made a splash when it premiered at Sundance in 2011 as it was one of the first films to address what it's like for young Black people to come out of the closet and express their sexuality. It's a smart, tender film that inspired a generation of filmmakers and announced a major new talent. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
2K digital transfer, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New conversation between director Dee Rees and filmmaker and professor Michelle Parkerson
New cast reunion featuring Rees and actors Adepero Oduye, Pernell Walker, Kim Wayans, Charles Parnell, and Aasha Davis, moderated by film scholar Jacqueline Stewart
New program on the making of the film, featuring Rees, cinematographer Bradford Young, production designer Inbal Weinberg, producer Nekisa Cooper, and editor Mako Kamitsuna, moderated by Stewart
New interview with film scholar Kara Keeling, author of Queer Times, Black Futures
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by critic Cassie da Costa


"Pickup on South Street" (Criterion)

Samuel Fuller has become a bigger and bigger part of the Criterion Collection over the years as the company has released "Forty Guns," "The Naked Kiss," White Dog," and more. Their latest inclusion from the influential director is his 1953 noir starring Richard Widmark, Jean Peter, and Thelma Ritter, which initially premiered at the Venice Film Festival and was a commercial success on its release but received a mixed response from critics. They have come around over the years (as often happened with Fuller films) and the new edition from Criterion includes one of the best experts on noir explaining why, Imogen Sara Smith. There are also essays, including one by Martin Scorsese, and even a printed chapter from Fuller's autobiography. 

Buy it here

Special Features
New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
High-definition digital transfer, with restored image and sound
New interview with critic Imogen Sara Smith, author of In Lonely Places: Film Noir Beyond the City (Blu-ray only)
Interview from 1989 with director Samuel Fuller, conducted by film critic Richard Schickel
Cinéma cinémas: Fuller, a 1982 French television program in which the director discusses the making of the film
On-screen biographical essay on Fuller, poster filmography, and publicity stills (DVD only)
Trailers
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: Essays by author and critic Luc Sante and filmmaker Martin Scorsese, and, for the Blu-ray edition, a chapter from Fuller’s posthumously published 2002 autobiography, A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting, and Filmmaking


"Rose Plays Julie"

Ann Skelly plays the title character in Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy's taut drama about a young woman digging into her past and finding a monster. Having been adopted as a baby, Rose tracks down her birth mother (Orla Brady), who tells her that she was the product of a rape by a man named Peter (Aidan Gillen). Always having told herself that she was loved by her birth parents, perhaps given up because they were too young, Rose spirals at the discovery that her existence is a product of violence, and she sets out to get some revenge. At times, it can be a bit too self-aware in its bleakness, but Skelly is phenomenal (she's also the best thing about HBO's "The Nevers") and Molloy & Lawlor's script is undeniably powerful. The DVD also includes a 2004 short film from the pair, a duo from whom I can't wait to see another project. Note: This one is only available on DVD, sadly. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
Bonus Short Film - "Who Killed Brown Owl"

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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