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Home Entertainment Guide: March 2023

10 NEW TO HBO MAX

"All the Beauty and the Bloodshed"
"Creed"
"Dog Day Afternoon"
"The Departed"
"Eyes Wide Shut"
"The Fugitive"
"GoodFellas"
"Michael Clayton"
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
"Point Break"

10 NEW TO NETFLIX

"Carol"
"The Dark Knight"
"Dragged Across Concrete"
"Easy A"
"Galaxy Quest"
"The Hunger Games"
"National Lampoon's Animal House"
"Pitch Black"
"Sleepless in Seattle"
"World War Z"

8 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD

"All Quiet on the Western Front"

It's been interesting to watch streaming giant Netflix release some of their most acclaimed films on physical media, but most of them have been through a deal with Criterion that led releases for "Roma," "The Power of the Dog," and more. So this one is even more of an oddity: a standalone release for the recent Oscar darling, winner of four Academy Awards, including Best International Feature Film and Best Cinematography. Of course, Netflix has to be different, and so the release comes in a larger case that resembles a book (and will stand above the others on your shelf in a way that could annoy collectors). It's packaged with an attached booklet about the making of the film, but the real draws are the audio commentary from the director and the tech specs, which do look a bit better than the 4K version on the streaming service itself. Will Netflix continue to release its most acclaimed films in special editions? I hope so.  

Buy it here

Special Features
4K BLU-RAY/BLU-RAY MEDIABOOK COLLECTOR'S EDITION
DOLBY VISION/HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK
Audio Commentary from director Edward Berger
Making of Featurette
Trailer
Teaser
24-page booklet featuring " Sharing the German Perspective" - A Conversation With Edward Berger and "A Machine Of Death Unlike Any Experienced Before" - An Interview With Historian And Professor Daniel Schönpflug


"Babylon"

What a quick burnout and fade away it felt like Damien Chazelle's "Babylon" had. In December, it was one of the most controversial and divisive films of the year. Three months later, I don't feel like anyone is talking about it. However, this kind of quick burst of adoration, along with a complete Oscar snubbing, can often be good for the legacy of a film because it helps build its unloved status among the people who truly adore it. They will admire the new steelbook edition of the Hollywood epic, but this feels like a placeholder for those who love "Babylon" given its relatively thin slate of special features. Sure, there are a few interesting featurettes, but this is a film that, despite my reservations about it overall, produced some of the best critical writing of the last few months. There should be more analysis and more of a deep dive into its production, and I bet there will be in an eventual special edition.

Buy it here 

Special Features
A Panoramic Canvas Called Babylon — The cast and crew discuss the inspiration and motivation behind the original story and development of this epic, 15 years in the making.
The Costumes of Babylon — Discover how costume design was fundamental to character development and the challenges that went into creating over 7,000 costumes for the film.
Scoring Babylon — Take a peek into Justin Hurwitz's musical process to understand the artistry behind composing an iconic score that further elevates the film.
Deleted & Extended Scenes


"Dragonslayer"

The list of films that have never been released on Blu-ray is a fascinating one, and Matthew Robbins' "Dragonslayer" was on it until just last week. Now available in a restored 4K edition, this is a loaded physical release for a movie with a devoted fan base that includes Guillermo del Toro, who took time from his busy schedule to record a commentary track with the director. If that's not enough, Robbins returns in special features, accompanied by the legendary Phil Tippett and others who brought this ambitious fantasy film to life. A significant bomb when it was released, "Dragonslayer" built an audience on VHS, and they're the ones who should be drawn to this impressive catalog release, one that doesn't just finally put a lost film on a new format but treats it like a classic.

Buy it here 

Special Features
NEW 4K RESTORATION OF THE FILM APPROVED BY DIRECTOR MATTHEW ROBBINS
DOLBY VISION/HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
NEW Commentary by Director Matthew Robbins & Guillermo del Toro
NEW The Slayer of All Dragons - Step back in time with director/co-writer Matthew Robbins, dragon supervisor Phil Tippett, and ILM's visual effects master Dennis Muren as they revisit DRAGONSLAYER. Their stories and memories take viewers deep into the dragon's fiery lair as they recount the challenging journey from concept to screen.
NEW Welcome to Cragganmore - A look back at the impact of Star Wars and its visual effects on Hollywood, the origin of DRAGONSLAYER and its screenplay, and the film's casting.
NEW A Long Way to Urland - Pre-production begins in England as the film takes shape. The young filmmakers seek gritty medieval realism through the production design, cinematography, and costumes.
NEW Vermithrax Pejorative - The filmmakers take on the daunting task of bringing a dragon to life like never before, utilizing every ounce of movie magic available including Phil Tippett's breakthrough go-motion animation, cutting-edge practical animatronics, visual effects, and compositing.
NEW Into the Lake of Fire - Production woes at every turn, horrific baby dragons, and the challenge of creating Vermithrax's iconic lair plague the filmmakers. Phil Tippett offers a mini-masterclass on crafting powerful creature performance through detailed animation.
NEW The Final Battle - The team faces the unique challenges of the film's stage-bound climax, filmed entirely against a blue screen. Director Matthew Robbins looks back on the incredible work done in the final stages of film editing, the beautifully dense sound design, and Alex North's amazing score, which utilized pieces from his legendary unused 2001: A Space Odyssey score.
NEW Screen Tests
Original Theatrical Trailer


"Inland Empire" (Criterion)

It's hard to believe that David Lynch's last feature film is now 17 years old. The semi-retired auteur delivered "Twin Peaks: The Return" since then, but a lot of his fans, including yours truly, wish he would write and direct another "Inland Empire," one of his most daring and unusual films, now available in a stunning 4K edition from Criterion. The movie itself remains riveting (and you should read this excellent piece on this restoration from its theatrical release by our very own Peter Sobczynski). But it's the special features that should draw Lynch fans here, including two shorts by the makers of "David Lynch: The Art Life," a new discussion between Laura Dern & Kyle MacLachlan, and a stunning 75 minutes of extra scenes.

Buy it here 

Special Features
New HD digital master, made from the 4K restoration supervised by director David Lynch, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio and uncompressed stereo soundtracks, newly remastered by Lynch and original rerecording mixers Dean Hurley and Ron Eng
Two films from 2007, LYNCH (one) and LYNCH2, by blackANDwhite, the makers of David Lynch: The Art Life
New conversation between actors Laura Dern and Kyle MacLachlan
More Things That Happened, seventy-five minutes of extra scenes
Ballerina, a 2007 short film by Lynch
Reading by Lynch of excerpts from Room to Dream, his 2018 book with critic Kristine McKenna
Trailer
New English subtitle translation and English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: Excerpts from Richard A. Barney’s book David Lynch: Interviews


"M3GAN"

I wish I could see what everyone else does in this early 2023 hit, a film that made a STUNNING $175 million on a budget less than ten percent of that figure. It's already had a sequel announced, and I would expect this to be a franchise for years (Blumhouse doesn't exactly shy away from new installments. See "The Purge" and "Paranormal Activity."). A pretty blunt commentary on A.I. and, even more so, using screens to raise kids, "M3GAN" isn't as fun as I expected after all the memes and buzz. It's a fine rental, but it seems to do the bare minimum with its concept and lacks the surreal wit of the Chucky films. Still, I always like it when low-budget horror strikes a chord with audiences. I just hope "M3GAN 2" (or "M2GAN"?) is better.

Buy it here 

Special Features
UNRATED AND THEATRICAL VERSIONS OF THE FILM
A New Vision of Horror – Filmmakers and cast break down how the world of M3GAN was created, including the initial idea, through production under the leadership of director Gerard Johnstone
Bringing Life to M3GAN – See how animatronics, puppets, and actor Amie Donald helped make M3GAN as real as possible
Getting Hacked – A behind-the-scenes look at how cast and crew accomplished some of the film's complex stunts and gory deaths


"Mildred Pierce" (Criterion)

Criterion has upgraded their release of the 1945 version of the James M. Cain novel with a striking 4K edition. This is one of my favorite films of its era and one I still think is pretty deeply underrated when people write about mid-'40s cinema. Director Michael Curtiz leans into the film's noir underpinnings, stylishly telling this tale of class and murder and giving Joan Crawford one of the best characters of her career. Yes, it's melodramatic at times, but Crawford sells the emotional swings in a film that won her an Oscar for Best Actress. The Criterion edition brings in some heavy-hitting historians, including Molly Haskell and Imogen Sara Smith, who pens an excellent essay, to make its case.

Buy it here 

Special Features
4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in HDR and one Blu-ray with the film and special features
Conversation with critics Molly Haskell and Robert Polito
Excerpt from a 1970 episode of The David Frost Show featuring actor Joan Crawford
Joan Craw­ford: The Ultimate Movie Star, a 2002 feature-length documentary
Q&A with actor Ann Blyth from 2006, presented by filmmaker Marc Huestis and conducted by film historian Eddie Muller
Segment from a 1969 episode of the Today show featuring Mildred Pierce novelist James M. Cain
Trailer
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by critic Imogen Sara Smith


"Puss in Boots: The Last Wish"

Who would have guessed that one of the most beloved family films of the 2020s so far would be a sequel to a "Shrek" spin-off that most people have forgotten exists? Using a style clearly inspired by the creative vision of "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse," the writers of "The Last Wish" found a new journey for their title character, who has reached the end of his nine lives. Antonio Banderas does fantastic voice work, reunited with Salma Hayek in a story that incorporates fables like Goldilocks and Jack Horner in a consistently clever manner. This is easily the best "Puss in Boots" movie and arguably one of the best "Shrek" movies. While it feels like a final act for Puss, making almost $500 million worldwide could make that "Last" part of the title ironic soon. An odd note: This is on Peacock until the Summer and will then move to Netflix for almost a year before coming back to Peacock for four months. Streaming deals are weird. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
NEW The Trident - short film
Deleted scenes
A Cast of Characters - Featurette
Original trailer
AND MORE...


"Women Talking"

Sarah Polley has an Oscar! Sadly, the winner for Best Adapted Screenplay doesn't have a decent Blu-ray release yet. This bare-bones edition includes zero special features (unless you count a quote by yours truly on the back as special, like my family does) and a pretty average transfer. Honestly, you might be better off just renting it digitally or even buying it in that format until a better physical release is commissioned. The movie deserves one. Polley adapts the novel of the same name by Miriam Toews into a cinematic conversation about gender, violence, and power. One of my favorite films of 2022, it also contains an ensemble that deserved far more attention, including performances by Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Judith Ivey, and Ben Whishaw, that stand among the best of their careers.

Buy it here 

Special Features: None

Brian Tallerico

Brian Tallerico is the Managing 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 GQ, and the President of the Chicago Film Critics Association.

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