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Home Entertainment Guide: May 2023

10 NEW TO NETFLIX

"American Gangster"
"The Cable Guy"
"Captain Phillips"
"Dawn of the Dead"
"The Departed"
"Flight"
"Heat"
"A Man Called Otto"
"Starship Troopers"
"Traffic"

10 NEW TO MAX

"American Honey"
"Black Mass"
"Blue Valentine"
"Calvary"
"The Conjuring"
"Deep Cover"
"Orphan"
"The Right Stuff"
"Some Like It Hot"
"Unbreakable"

13 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD

"80 for Brady"

There's something dispiriting about watching such talented actresses work so hard to elevate mediocre fan service like this commercial for the legacy of Tom Brady (and, weirdly, Guy Fieri). And yet it feels like fans of the brilliant performers at this comedy's center might want to take a look just to spend more time with actresses they love. As much as I detest this film's manipulative, silly script, it reminded me of the living legend status of its four stars. Whenever I thought something like, "Oh, Sally Field is my favorite," someone like Jane Fonda would make another smart acting choice. Add in Lily Tomlin and Rita Moreno, and you could do worse for a weekend rental. (Although you could do a lot better too.)

Buy it here 

Special Features
The Game Plan: Making 80 For Brady—Get a sneak peek at the making of the hilarious film as the cast dish on their characters and much more!
The GOATs: Jane, Lily, Rita & Sally—Experience a heartwarming ode to aging, the power of female friendship, and how wisdom surpasses youth.
The Visiting Team: Meet the Supporting Cast—Get ready for a star-studded supporting cast! Join Sara Gilbert, Billy Porter, Jimmy O. Yang, Harry Hamlin, Guy Fieri, and Patton Oswalt for behind-the-scenes interviews.
The Largest Comeback in Super Bowl History—Tom Brady and his teammates relive their epic comeback. Hear their stories in this thrilling featurette!
Extended & Deleted Scenes
80 For Brady: Play-By-Play—Join the cast for a hilarious roundtable play-by-play with host Billy Porter.
"Gonna Be You" Music Video—Dance along to this video featuring Dolly Parton, Belinda Carlisle, Cyndi Lauper, Gloria Estefan, and Debbie Harry for the song written by Diane Warren.


"Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania"

Loyal readers of this column know that it focuses primarily on highlights. I ignore the films that aren't worth your time to champion a few physical releases that deserve your attention. This is the opposite of that. I'm switching it up to offer a warning: Don't waste your time with "Quantumania." It's the worst MCU film in years, arguably ever, a pathetically rendered and inept piece of filmmaking that does almost nothing right. Sure, Paul Rudd is never not-charming, and Jonathan Majors is an effective villain. But this third installment in the "Ant-Man" trilogy offers so little in the way of interesting storytelling and competent filmmaking. Much was made of the impact of the pandemic on CGI by rushing projects like this to completion, and history is going to be vicious to this movie, which already looks horrible. Having said that, Marvel does their thing with the physical release, giving it an excellent array of special features, including a commentary and a gag reel. It's for the collectors only because even MCU diehards are unlikely to be watching this one again.

Buy it here 

Special Features
Gag Reel - Take a look at some of the fun outtakes on set with the cast and crew of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
Audio Commentary - Watch the film with audio commentary by director Peyton Reed and writer Jeff Loveness.
Featurettes
All in the Family – Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly and Michelle Pfeiffer discuss the complex layers and secrets – yet incredibly strong bond of this heroic family.
Formidable Foes – Discover how Jonathan Majors, Bill Murray and Corey Stoll bring gravitas to the villains of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Learn more about how Kang brings a Thanos-level threat to this adventure and the larger MCU.
Deleted Scenes
Drink The Ooze – Upon entering the Quantum Realm, Scott Lang nervously drinks the ooze.
I Have Holes – Veb expresses great excitement when he discovers he finally has holes.


"Branded to Kill" (Criterion)

Seijun Suzuki's 1967 hitman flick was such a disaster that it basically led to his exile from filmmaking for a decade. How ironic that it's become one of the most influential movies of its era, with John Woo, Quentin Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch, Park Chan-wook, and others singing its praises. Now available in a Criterion 4K edition, "Branded to Kill" is a stunner that eschews traditional plotting, even the B-movie kind, for a surreal cavalcade of images that filmmakers would try and mimic for generations. It's a phenomenal picture, and the 4K restoration allows its sharp black-and-white cinematography to look like it could be made today. If only there were more filmmakers out there as daring as Suzuki.

Buy it here 

Special Features
New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
One 4K UHD disc of the film and one Blu-ray with the film and special features
Interviews with director Seijun Suzuki and assistant director Masami Kuzuu
Interview with Suzuki from 1997
Interview with actor Joe Shishido
Trailer
PLUS: An essay by critic and historian Tony Rayns


"Champions"

At its best, the latest Woody Harrelson comedy has a shaggy dog sports movie vibe meant to replicate "Bad News Bears." And the Oscar nominee sells his role as a Walter Matthau-esque life loser well, especially when he's working opposite the excellent Kaitlin Olsen. The problem is that director Bobby Farrelly can't walk the tightrope of making a movie that preaches representation and empowerment between scenes in which it mocks most of its cast. The bigger problem is one of pacing. There's no reason for this underdog story to be over two hours long. Ultimately, it's not a complete disaster because of the sense of admirable intention by everyone involved, but that doesn't make it entertaining.

Buy it here 

Special Features
Feature Commentary with Director Bobby Farrelly
12 Deleted Scenes
Keeping it Friendly – Director Bobby Farrelly, Woody Harrelson, and the rest of the cast share how they became involved in CHAMPIONS, as well as the importance of representation in the film.
Woody and the Team – Every team needs a good leader – here we explore how Woody Harrelson filled that role on and off screen.
Casting the Friends


"Cocaine Bear"

What a weird movie this February 2023 theatrical release ended up being. The fact that a cast this talented with a director as well-known as Elizabeth Banks got together to tell the tale of a bear hopped up on nose candy feels like a dare no one was willing to walk away from. Keri Russell, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Alden Ehrenreich, Margo Martindale, and Ray Liotta are just a few of the familiar faces in this goofy gore comedy in which a bear goes violently crazy after ingesting a large amount of cocaine. It's got kind of a "Snakes on a Plane" energy, and that film's problem wherein it's mostly one idea in search of a story, but it mostly gets its job done. If you have low expectations for a brazenly dumb movie called "Cocaine Bear," then you'll probably have a reasonably good time.

Buy it here 

Special Features
Alternate Ending
Deleted & Extended Scenes
Gag Reel


"Creed III"

Michael B. Jordan is a remarkable performer. Since he burst onto the scene in "The Wire" and "Friday Night Lights," there was just something about his screen presence, which has been maximized in the "Creed" franchise. He's also very smart, as evidenced by the decision to make "Creed III" his directorial debut. He knows this character and his world so well that he can flex his muscle, not so much copying Ryan Coogler but displaying lessons learned from him. Jordan also ridiculously good in this film, conveying the athleticism of a man who has to fight his way through one of the demons of his past. The alleged behavior of star Jonathan Majors will sadly diminish the movie's legacy, but I feel Jordan's directorial career will be distinguished enough that this will be merely the first step on an impressive journey.

Buy it here 

Special Features
DOLBY VISION/HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
DOLBY ATMOS AUDIO TRACK
Michael B. Jordan: In the Ring/Behind the Camera – featurette
There's No Enemy Like the Past: Donnie and Dame – featurette
Deleted Scenes


"A Knock at the Cabin"

Paul G. Tremblay's excellent novel The Cabin at the End of the World is about ambiguity, doubt, and fear. M. Night Shyamalan's twist on that source material changes the ending in such a radical way that it becomes largely a different project altogether. I don't love the shifted conclusion, but I do admire Shyamalan's increasingly confident craftsmanship. The claustrophobic close-ups, the unexpected framing, and the work with performers (especially a never-better Dave Bautista)—all are phenomenal. It's interesting that Shyamalan has become known as the King of Twists because it's his formal work that has been far more impressive, especially recently. The Blu-ray here is pretty packed, including deleted scenes and featurettes about the making of the film.

Buy it here 

Special Features
Deleted Scenes
They Need Some Time
Going to Church
Enjoying the Sun
Leonard Explains
Chowblaster Infomercial – Enjoy an extended cut of the TV informercial from the film that features an appearance by M. Night Shyamalan himself.
Choosing Wisely: Behind the Scenes of KNOCK AT THE CABIN – Examine what drew M. Night Shyamalan to adapt this terrifying story, and how the relationships between characters were unlike any this ensemble cast had ever played before.
Tools of the Apocalypse – Explore the creation of some of the film's most terrifying props and learn why they play such an important role in the story.
Drawing a Picture – See how M. Night Shyamalan envisions his shots in advance of ever turning on the camera, through his extensive use of storyboards.
Kristen Cui Shines a Light – Take a closer look at actress Kristen Cui's dynamic performance as Wen in her film debut.


"The People Under the Stairs"

The most underrated film of Wes Craven's career gets the full Scream Factory treatment this month with a 4K release that's a must-own for all horror fans. Admittedly, the special features, including three audio commentaries, have been available before. Those who already own Craven's 1991 stunner might want to think twice about upgrading. But the 4K transfer of this gritty nightmare is a draw. More than just the story of people breaking into the very wrong house, "The People Under the Stairs" is a startling dissection of the structures that make up American capitalist society. It's witty, wicked, and even better now than when it was released.

Buy it here 

Special Features
DISC ONE - 4K BLU-RAY
NEW 4K RESTORATION FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
DOLBY VISION/HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
Audio Commentary with director Wes Craven
Audio Commentary with actors Brandon Adams, A.J. Langer, Sean Whalen and Yan Birch
Audio Commentary with actor Brandon Adams, moderated by Calum Waddell
Fear, Freud & Class Warfare – an interview with Wes Craven
Behind Closed Doors – an interview with actress A.J. Langer
Silent But Deadly – an interview with actor Sean Whalen
Underneath the Floorboards – filmmaker Jeffrey Reddick recalls the lasting impact of the film
Theatrical Trailer
Audio:
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Optional English subtitles for the main feature
DISC TWO - BLU-RAY
NEW 4K RESTORATION FROM THE ORIGINAL CAMERA NEGATIVE
Audio Commentary with director Wes Craven
Audio Commentary with actors Brandon Adams, A.J. Langer, Sean Whalen and Yan Birch
Audio Commentary with actor Brandon Adams, moderated by Calum Waddell
House Mother – an interview with actress Wendy Robie
What Lies Beneath: The Effects of THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS
House of Horrors – an interview with cinematographer Sandi Sissel
Settling the Score – an interview with composer Don Peake
Behind-the-Scenes footage
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots
Vintage Making-of Featurette
Original Storyboards
Still Gallery
Audio:
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Optional English subtitles for the main feature


"Petite Maman" (Criterion)

Much was written about the remarkably high placement of Céline Sciamma's "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" in the 2022 Sight & Sound list. I prefer her follow-up, one of the best films of 2021, a masterpiece about when you realize your parents were children once too. It's the magical tale of a young girl dealing with her grandmother's death when she finds a girl in the woods who happens to be her own age. A blend of magical realism and touching melodrama, "Petite Maman" is a beautiful little film, running only 72 minutes. I love that Criterion has embraced Sciamma's work, even including a stop-motion animated film on this release from 2016 by the artist, titled "My Life as a Zucchini."

Buy it here 

Special Features
2K digital master, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
New conversation between director Céline Sciamma and filmmaker Joachim Trier
My Life as a Zucchini (2016), an Oscar-nominated stop-motion animated film directed by Claude Barras and cowritten by Sciamma
Trailers
PLUS: An essay by author So Mayer


"Shazam: Fury of the Gods"

The implosion of the DC Cinematic Universe has been sad to watch. I was rooting for Shazam to find its way out from the rubble and survive the James Gunn-led reconstruction of the money-making machine. Until I saw the second one. And now I think it's probably best if Zachary Levi hangs up his tights too. "Fury of the Gods" isn't horrendous, but it does sabotage so much of what worked about the first movie to tell a routine man-in-tights hero movie with some pretty dull villains and cheesy CGI. It's possible they could have righted the ship and returned to the more playful and clever tone of the first movie in a third chapter, but we'll likely never know.

Buy it here 

Special Features
Director's Audio Commentary with David F. Sandberg
SHAZAM! Let's Make a Sequel – featurette
The Rock of Eternity: Decked Out – featurette
The Shazamily Reunion – featurette
The Zac Effect – featurette
The Sisterhood of the Daughters of Atlas – featurette
Pay By Play: Scene Breakdown – featurettes
Ben Franklin bridge collapse
Rooftop battle of the gods
Unicorn ride in Philadelphia
Epic showdown at the baseball stadium
The Mythology of Shazam! – featurette
Deleted Scenes, Alternate & Extended Scenes


"Targets" (Criterion)

What a mesmerizing confluence of events that was needed for this to be the feature debut of the great Peter Bogdanovich. Half of it is inspired by the infamous Texas tower shooting, which brought the concept of a mass shooting into living rooms for the first time for many people. Against that backdrop of real-life horror, Bogdanovich imagined the story of an average guy who goes on a rampage, killing his family before randomly assassinating people on a nearby freeway. Almost as if Bogdanovich is suggesting that real horror will put an end to the cinematic kind, he tells a parallel story of an aging icon who wants to retire. The story goes that Roger Corman had Boris Karloff under contract and gave Bogdanovich the money to make "Targets" if he would use the legend for two days of shooting. The two halves don't necessarily gel, but this film is never less than fascinating, a brutal punch of a movie about a changing era that still feels relevant in today's gun-obsessed culture.

Buy it here 

Special Features
New 4K digital master, supervised by director Peter Bogdanovich, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
Audio commentary from 2003 featuring Bogdanovich
New interview with filmmaker Richard Linklater
Introduction to the film from 2003 by Bogdanovich
Audio excerpts from a 1983 interview with production designer Polly Platt at the American Film Institute
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by critic Adam Nayman and excerpts from an interview with Bogdanovich from Eric Sherman and Martin Rubin’s 1969 book The Director’s Event: Interviews with Five American Film-Makers


"Thelma & Louise" (Criterion)

It's hard to believe it's been over three decades since Ridley Scott's "Thelma & Louise" took the world by storm. This massive movie earned Callie Khouri a much-deserved Oscar and launched thousands of conversations about vigilante justice. Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis do some of the best work of their careers, and they join Scott and Khouri in a fantastic commentary that has been transferred to this 4K Criterion release. The real draw is the 4K restoration supervised by Scott himself. The film's subject matter allowed critics to overlook that it's also one of Scott's best directorial works. His framing and tight editing of the project pop in 4K. The hefty release also includes new interviews with Scott and the legend's first short film, "Boy and a Bicycle," from way back in 1965. It's an incredible gift that he's still making movies almost six decades later. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Ridley Scott, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and two Blu-rays with the film and special features
Two audio commentaries, featuring Scott, screenwriter Callie Khouri, and actors Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon
New interviews with Scott and Khouri
Documentary featuring Davis; Khouri; Sarandon; Scott; actors Michael Madsen, Christopher McDonald, and Brad Pitt; and other members of the cast and crew
Boy and Bicycle (1965), Scott’s first short film, and one of his early commercials
Original theatrical featurette
Storyboards and deleted and extended scenes, including an extended ending with director’s commentary
Music video for Glenn Frey’s “Part of Me, Part of You,” from the film’s soundtrack
Trailers
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: Essays by critics Jessica Kiang and Rachel Syme and journalist Rebecca Traister


"Wings of Desire" (Criterion)

I was lucky enough to see one of my favorite films of all time on the big screen at Ebertfest last month. It felt like a first viewing because of the stunning quality of the 2019 restoration, which sharpened the black-and-white portions and fixed some of the grading on the color ones. How lovely to already be able to own that restoration in a 4K Criterion edition overseen by Wim Wenders himself. This release also includes previously available material like an audio commentary with Wenders and Peter Falk and a great documentary about the film called "The Angels Among Us." On my last viewing, I was struck again by how much this film defines Roger's belief about empathy in storytelling. It's a tale of empathy being so powerful that it can makes angels want to be human again just to walk in our shoes.

Buy it here 

Special Features
4K restoration, supervised and approved by director Wim Wenders, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
One 4K UHD disc of the film and one Blu-ray with the film and special features
Audio commentary featuring Wenders and actor Peter Falk
The Angels Among Us (2003), a documentary featuring interviews with Wenders, Falk, actors Bruno Ganz and Otto Sander, writer Peter Handke, and composer Jürgen Knieper
Episode of Cinéma cinémas from 1987, featuring on-set footage
Interview with director of photography Henri Alekan
Deleted scenes and outtakes
Excerpts from the film Alekan la lumière (1985) and from Ganz and Sander’s 1982 film about actor Curt Bois
Notes and photos by art directors Heidi and Toni Lüdi
Trailers
PLUS: An essay by critic Michael Atkinson and writings by Handke and Wenders

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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