Roger Ebert Home

Home Entertainment Guide: June 2021

10 NEW TO NETFLIX

"Bad Teacher"
"The Big Lebowski"
"Chinatown"
"Hot Rod"
"Million Dollar Baby"
"Nacho Libre"
"The Ring"
"Road to Perdition"
"Stand by Me"
"The Terminal"

10 NEW TO HBO MAX

"Clueless"
"The Conjuring 2"
"Doctor Sleep"
"Eyes Wide Shut"
"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"
"Kajillionaire"
"The Nun"
"The Shawshank Redemption"
"Shazam!"
"War Horse"

10 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD

"12 Monkeys" (Arrow)

Arrow Home Video, one of the best companies out there for collectors, really likes Terry Gilliam's "12 Monkeys," but can you blame them? They already released a stellar edition of Gilliam's Oscar-nominated film in 2018, but they've returned to it this year with a limited edition steelbook release of the Bruce Willis & Brad Pitt hit. If you have the 2018 edition, there's not much reason to upgrade (and it seems like a missed opportunity to release this in 4K, doesn't it?). But if you don't yet own the film and collect steelbooks, it's a beauty. There's also definitely something to the timing of a film about the end of the world that just hits a bit differently in 2021 compared to 2018. As for the film itself, it's held up very well, getting better each time I watch it. 

Buy it here

Special Features
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Optional DTS 5.1 Master Audio and 2.0 stereo soundtracks
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Audio commentary by Terry Gilliam and producer Charles Roven
The Hamster Factor and Other Tales of Twelve Monkeys, feature-length making-of documentary by Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe (Lost in La Mancha)
The Film Exchange with Terry Gilliam, a 1996 interview with Gilliam and film critic Jonathan Romney, recorded at the London Film Festival
Appreciation by Ian Christie, author of Gilliam on Gilliam
The Twelve Monkeys Archives
Theatrical trailer
Limited edition Steelbook featuring newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin
Limited edition booklet featuring writing on the film by Rabin, and an excerpt of Gilliam on Gilliam by Ian Christie


"Anything for Jackson"

I love the fact that RLJ Entertainment and Shudder are releasing the streaming company's original films on Blu-ray and DVD, both to bring the work to people who don't subscribe to streamers and collectors of physical media. And "Anything for Jackson," the clever story of a pair of grandparents who basically unleash Hell trying to resurrect their dead grandson, is one of the best Shudder originals yet. But I question why these releases are so bare-bones. Fans of films like this one, "Blood Quantum," or "The Mortuary Collection" who have watched them on Shudder would likely buy them too if they came with anything additional like a commentary, deleted scenes, featurette, or even just a really good essay. Maybe that will happen in the future, but for now all horror fans should make the effort to see "Anything for Jackson," on Shudder or on DVD.

Buy it here 

Special Features
None


"Django" (Arrow)

No, not the Quentin Tarantino film, and nothing to do with Mr. Reinhardt. This lavish 4K release from Arrow is of the 1966 Sergio Corbucci Spaghetti Western that feels like it's only grown in popularity in the 5+ decades since its release. Franco Nero stars as the title character, a Union soldier who ends up entangled in a feud between Confederates and Mexican revolutionaries. Arrow goes ALL out for the cult classic, releasing it in a gorgeous 4K restoration with such extensive special features that an entire second film ends up included, Ferdinando Baldi's "Texas, Adios" from 1966. Referred to as "Django 2" in some countries pretty much just because it starred Franco Nero, it's a clever footnote to the legacy of this great film. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
4K BLU-RAY DISC: DJANGO
DOLBY VISION/HDR PRESENTATION OF DJANGO
Audio commentary by film critic, historian and theorist Stephen Prince
Django Never Dies, an interview with star Franco Nero
Cannibal of the Wild West, an interview with assistant director Ruggero Deodato
Sergio, My Husband, an interview with Sergio Corbucci's wife Nori Corbucci
That's My Life: Part 1, an archival interview with co-writer Franco Rossetti
A Rock 'n' Roll Scriptwriter, an archival interview with co-writer Piero Vivarelli
A Punch in the Face, an archival interview with stuntman and actor Gilberto Galimberti
Discovering Django, an appreciation by spaghetti westerns scholar Austin Fisher
An Introduction to Django by Alex Cox, an archival featurette with the acclaimed director
Gallery of original promotional images from the Mike Siegel archive
Original trailers
REGION-FREE
BLU-RAY DISC: TEXAS, ADIOS
2K RESTORATION OF THE FILM
Audio commentary by spaghetti western experts C. Courtney Joyner and Henry C. Parke
The Sheriff is in Town, an interview with star Franco Nero
Jump into the West, an interview with co-star Alberto Dell'Acqua
That's My Life: Part 2, an archival interview with co-writer Franco Rossetti
Hello Texas!, an appreciation by spaghetti western scholar Austin Fisher
Gallery of original promotional images from the Mike Siegel archive
Original trailers


"Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (Criterion)

There's a false assumption that the Criterion Collection exclusively includes what could be called high-brow classic films from around the world. The truth is that the company has always included populist fare ("Armageddon" and "Robocop" were early inclusions), and they've never given up on that aspect of their catalog. Their release of "Dazed and Confused" is one of my faves, and they controversially released "The Breakfast Club" not long ago. All of this is prelude to praise their decision to include Amy Heckerling's beloved and influential coming-of-age classic from 1982. With a sharp screenplay by Cameron Crowe and a star-making performance from Sean Penn, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" almost feels more popular now than it did four decades ago. The release also includes a TV version with alternate scenes, a new conversation between Heckerling and Crowe, and a fantastic essay by the wonderful Dana Stevens

Buy it here 

Special Features
New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by director Amy Heckerling, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Audio commentary from 1999 featuring Heckerling and screenwriter Cameron Crowe
Television version of the film from the eighties, featuring deleted and alternate scenes
New conversation with Heckerling and Crowe, moderated by filmmaker Olivia Wilde
Reliving Our “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” a 1999 documentary featuring interviews with cast and crew
Audio discussion from 1982 with Heckerling at the American Film Institute
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by film critic Dana Stevens and, for the Blu-ray edition, a new introduction by Crowe


"The Father"

The disastrous final hour of this year's Academy Awards not only diminished the historic wins for "Nomadland" but really led to a lack of consideration regarding who won Best Actor. More people wrote about the fact that Chadwick Boseman didn't win than praised the man who did, Sir Anthony Hopkins, giving one of the best performances of his career in this incredibly moving and harrowing piece of work. He captures the erosion of dementia in a way that we've never really seen in a film before, and he's ably supported by a great supporting cast and some of the tightest editing of the year (it should have won that award too). I feel like "The Father" is one of the least seen major films of 2020 (it's hard to dig into a film this serious in any year, but especially following a pandemic). The Blu-ray and DVD release should start to change that. You can't miss this one. It's essential. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
Deleted Scenes
Homecoming: Making THE FATHER
Perception Check: Portrait of THE FATHER


"Minari"

I loved watching the trajectory of Lee Isaac Chung's deeply personal and moving drama from its premiere at Sundance 2020 to its Oscar win over a year later. A24 really nurtured and supported this fan favorite from the very beginning, building buzz and word of mouth in ways that only they can. I still remember seeing its world premiere and feeling what can only be described as warmth in that big theater in Park City, where people met a family with which they fell in love. People who aren't often represented in major films see themselves in "Minari," and that kind of reflection can't be undervalued. It's a major film and now it's available for everyone on Blu-ray, DVD, and streaming services. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
Deleted Scenes
Sowing Seeds: Making Minari
Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Lee Isaac Chung and Actress Yuh-jung Youn


"The Nest"

While this month's guide includes films that rose the mountain of national attention all the way Oscars, it also includes this film, which might be my pick for the most underrated of 2020. It made our top ten list of the year for a reason. A searing look at a disintegrating marriage between Jude Law and Carrie Coon, this is a fantastic performance showcase for both actors, doing some of the best work of their individual careers. It's a challenging, fascinating drama that I worry will be forgotten by history because of its very limited release. Catch up with it now that it's more widely available. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
The Nest "Scene Anatomy" Featurette
Audio Descriptive Track
Trailer


"Nightmare Alley" (Criterion)

Here's a secret: Every critic has their holes in the canon. Until recently, "Nightmare Alley" was one of mine. The Criterion release came along just in time to catch up with it before the release of Guillermo del Toro's remake (starring Bradley Cooper and Rooney Mara) later this year. As much as I love GdT, he's stepping into some BIG shoes because the original is a stunner. Tyrone Power purposefully plays against type as a carnival worker who keeps figuring out new ways to use the people around him in this incredibly cynical and riveting noir. It's the best performance of his career that I've seen, and the movie around him matches his incredible work. It may have come out generations ago, but it's one of the best films I'll see for the first time in 2021. And I can't wait to watch it again. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Audio commentary from 2005 featuring film historians James Ursini and Alain Silver
New interview with critic Imogen Sara Smith
New interview with performer and historian Todd Robbins
Interview from 2007 with actor Coleen Gray
Audio excerpt from a 1971 interview with Henry King in which the filmmaker discusses actor Tyrone Power
Trailer
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by film writer and screenwriter Kim Morgan


"Saw" (4K)

Released in conjunction with the theatrical launch of the dismal "Spiral: From the Book of Saw," this 4K update of James Wan's wildly influential 2004 original film was designed to build on the momentum of that new blockbuster. I made the mistake of watching the first "Saw" in the same week that I saw "Spiral," and the difference between the film is stark. Wan simply knows where to place a camera and build tension in a completely different way than Darren Lynn Bousman. Some people still criticize "Saw" for being such a cynical, dark experience, but it's interesting to consider now how much this film led into a wave of what would be called "torture porn" and how it really revived the "twist ending" aspect of the horror genre as well. It's one of the most influential horror films of the modern era, for better or worse. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
DOLBY VISION PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK
Game Changer: The Legacy of SAW
Audio Commentary by Director James Wan, Writer-Actor Leigh Whannell, and Actor Cary Elwes
Audio Commentary by Producers Mark Burg, Gregg Hoffman, and Oren Koules
SAW: The Original Short Film
Hacking Away at SAW
Alternate Storyboard Sequence
Theatrical Trailer


"Weird Wisconsin: The Bill Rebane Collection" (Arrow)

I'll admit to never having seen a Bill Rebane film before this Arrow collection of six of his works and a new documentary about the cult director's career, "Who is Bill Rebane?" Based out of Wisconsin, Rebane recalls the early work of George A. Romero or John Waters, filmmakers who often worked on the fly, solving problems (and maybe even writing their movies) as they arose. Rebane's films are INSANE and the documentary about them playfully pokes at their memorable flaws in a very enjoyable, loving manner (a bit about his bizarre establishing shots in the doc is fantastic). His films don't hold up logically, but there's an undeniable passion to his DIY approach that's infectious. He got the job done, even if it was often a different job when production ended compared to when it began. Rebane is a memorable character in the history of independent filmmaking, and I'm happy to have finally gotten a chance to meet him. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
Six Bill Rebane films, all newly restored from the best surviving film elements: Monster A Go-Go (1965), Invasion from Inner Earth (1974), The Alpha Incident (1978), The Demons Of Ludlow (1983), The Game (1984), Twister's Revenge (1988)
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations on 4 Blu-ray discs
Original uncompressed mono audio for all films
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Straight Shooter, a multi-part interview with director Bill Rebane about the making and release of each film in the set
Who is Bill Rebane? A definitive brand new feature length documentary by historian and critic David Cairns, featuring contributions from filmmakers, fans, historians, critics, and the cast and crew who worked with Bill Rebane [LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE]
Fully illustrated 60-page collector's booklet featuring extensive new writing by historian and critic Stephen
Thrower, author of Nightmare USA: The Untold Story of Exploitation Independents [LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE]
Reversible poster featuring newly commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil [LIMITED EDITION EXCLUSIVE]
Reversible sleeves featuring newly commissioned artwork for each of the films by The Twins of Evil

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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