The Best New Movies on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Released in February 2024

From “McCabe and Mrs. Miller” to “Wonka”

contagion-matt-damon
Matt Damon in "Contagion" (Warner Bros.)

Home video is having a moment.

Even with Best Buy eliminating its physical media section, titles like “Oppenheimer” and “Clue” (yes, “Clue”) have been selling out across digital retailers, with an added emphasis on boutique labels and the preservation and presentation of classic older films. (Nolan joked that owning a film on physical media means that you ““put it on a shelf so no evil streaming service can come steal it from you.” He’s not wrong!)

It’s with this physical media-first approach that we highlight the very best home video releases for February 2024.

“McCabe and Mrs. Miller” 4K (Criterion, out now)

Mccabe and Mrs Miller
Warner Bros.

One of the greatest westerns of all time (and one of the very best from prolific director Robert Altman), “McCabe and Mrs. Miller” stars Warren Beatty (as McCabe) and Julie Christie (as Mrs. Miller). He’s a mysterious gambler who sets up a brothel, co-run by Mrs. Miller, in a small town, that gets both of them in serious trouble. The movie, which nabbed Christie an Oscar nomination, was beautifully shot by the legendary Vilmos Zsigmond and while Criterion’s previous Blu-ray was a winner, this presentation puts it to shame (it is a new 4K restoration and it looks stunning). The second disc has the movie on a Blu-ray and is home to the voluminous special features, including a 2002 commentary track featuring Altman and producer David Foster, a making-of documentary, and vintage materials from its original 1971 release. Even if you already own it, it demands an upgrade.

“Funeral Home” (Scream Factory, out now)

Funeral Home
Scream Factory

Have you even ever heard of “Funeral Home,” a marginal 1980 Canadian exploitation film also known as “Cries in the Night?” Neither had we, until we watched the movie. And this is the genius of Scream Factory and everything they do. Reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” the movie follows a teenager who, while visiting her grandparents (who live in a former funeral home), begins to suspect something sinister. It’s honestly pretty entertaining, maybe not the masterpiece that fellow Canadian exploitation movie “My Bloody Valentine” would prove to be (around the same time no less), but still a ton of fun. And while the presentation of the movie is top notch, the special features are what are really, um, special – between the three commentary tracks, the interview with legendary cinematographer Mark Irwin (who has shot a bunch of Cronenberg movies), and a tour of the filming locations – this is one of the best collections of extras around. It’s a scream.

“Footloose” 4K (Paramount, out now)

Footloose
Paramount

In 2011 “Footloose” came out on Blu-ray and the transfer for the film, about a wayward city kid who teaches a backwater town how to dance, was legendarily bad. Now, it comes to 4K Ultra HD and things are much, much better. For one, the transfer is a noticeable improvement (the Blu-ray suffered from all sorts of artificial smoothing, thanks to an over-use of DNR) and while the audio is technically more rudimentary (going form a DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 lossless soundtrack to a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio), you can’t tell. It sounds really, really great. Plus, all of the previous special features, including a Kevin Bacon commentary and several special features and archival materials, are accounted for on the Blu-ray disc. Plus, there’s a fun steel book version with even cooler artwork. Let’s hear it for the boy!

Universal Monsters Classics Collection 4K (Universal, out now)

dracula-bela-lugosi
Universal Pictures

This is it. Delayed from a release this past summer, the Universal Monsters Classic Collection is a stunning collection, featuring 4K discs for “Dracula,” “Frankenstein,” “The Invisible Man,” “The Mummy,” “The Bride of Frankenstein,” “The Wolf Man,” “Creature from the Black Lagoon” and “Phantom of the Opera,” in a mind-blowing package. The box is huge, with cover art that comes from art that graces the actual Universal Studios Hollywood backlot (the original home to the monsters!) and an over-sized 38-page book that details each of the films, embellished with production stills and publicity photos. The movies themselves are all classics; if you don’t have them yet, then this is the perfect package for you. Every monster fan needs this set.

“Darkman” 4K (Shout Factory, Feb. 20)

darkman-liam-neeson
Universal Pictures

One of the best movies of the 1990’s gets a 4K overhaul and the results are stunning. Not only does the movie look outstanding, with a 4K restoration approved by director Sam Raimi and cinematographer Bill Pope, but there are actually new special features on this release. That’s right – you get a new commentary track with “Darkman” superfan Josh Ruben but you also get newly discovered deleted scenes, which are always a little more special when they are coming from a movie that is this old. If you’ve never seen the movie, it stars Liam Neeson as a mad scientist who is horribly disfigured and concocts a way to look like himself – and many others. It’s so much fun and served as Raimi’s test run to, many years later, direct giant superhero movies like “Spider-Man” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”

“Heroic Trio” / “Executioners” (Criterion, Feb. 20)

Heroic Trio
Criterion

A few years after “Darkman” hit theaters, Hong Kong cinema gave us two films featuring a trio of ass-kicking heroes – Thief Catcher (Maggie Cheung), Wonder Woman (Anita Mui), and Invisible Girl (Michelle Yeoh). The first film, from director Johnnie To, put action movies, fantasy epics, martial arts spectacles and horror freakshows into a delirious, genre-defying blender. It’s a baby-saving blast. The sequel, released the same year and co-directed by action choreographer Ching Siu-tung, gives the action a more postapocalyptic setting and decidedly darker tone, but it’s just as crazy and fun as the first film. This three-disc set from Criterion, featuring 4K restorations of the movies with uncompressed monaural soundtracks (and alternate English dubbed and Cantonese language soundtracks), features a new interview with actor Anthony Wong, a new documentary and archival marketing materials.

“Beverly Hills Cop” Trilogy (Paramount, Feb. 20)

eddie-murphy-beverly-hills-cop-4
Paramount Pictures

True, “Beverly Hills Cop” and its even-bigger sequel “Beverly Hills Cop II” have already been released. And yes, you could just pick up “Beverly Hills Cop III” on its own (it’s also out today). But you really want this three-pack, don’t you? We knew it. The Eddie Murphy vehicles, which are being released in the lead-up to the fourth film, coming this summer from Netflix, are a ton of fun (yes, even the third one) and they’ve never looked or sounded better here. Plus these discs have all of the special features that you’ve come to know and love, from newer commentary tracks and documentaries to archival materials from the time of the film’s release. This was the role Eddie Murphy was born to play. And he plays it so well.

“Paprika” 4K (Sony, Feb. 20)

Paprika
Sony

Satoshi Kon’s dreamy masterpiece, which inspired Christopher Nolan’s “Inception,” finally arrives on 4K. And what a release it is – the 4K disc features a new Dolby Vision/HDR presentation of the film, with a new Japanese Dolby Atmos audio track (along with Japanese and English DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio options), plus a documentary about the restoration process. On the accompanying Blu-ray disc, there is a filmmaker commentary track, a making-of documentary and featurettes that go into the movie’s dream world, its usage of traditional animation and CG, plus storyboards and marketing materials. This is one of the best animated films ever. And it is finally getting the release it deserves. Do “Millennium Actress” next.

“Southern Comfort” 4K (Vinegar Syndrome, Feb. 27)

Southern Comfort
20th Century Fox

People always compare this deep south thriller to “Deliverance” but (whispers) “Southern Comfort” is better. It follows a bunch of Louisiana National Guardsmen who, while involving in training maneuvers in the swamp, are ambushed by some Cajun nutbags. What starts out as wargames becomes an actual fight for survival. And, yes, it’s just as cool and gnarly as it sounds. The transfer, newly restored from its 35mm interpositive, looks tremendous and the 2.0 DTS-HD has some good oomph. There are a ton of special features, too, to really make you appreciate the movie, including a commentary with critic Walter Chaw (who has written a book on Hill), a new interview with Hill, an extended interview with the costumers and editors, plus a lengthy making of and a discussion between Hill and film historian Wayne Byrne about the importance of “Southern Comfort.” What a film! What a release!

“The Roaring Twenties” 4K (Criterion, Feb. 27)

Roaring Twenties
Warner Bros.

Largely considered one of the greatest gangster movies ever, “The Roaring Twenties” was made by Raoul Walsh (who directed the similarly Criterion canonized “High Sierra” among many, many others) for Warner Bros., who almost singlehandedly established the crime saga. James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart play war buddies who meet again in Manhattan’s criminal underworld. In “The Roaring Twenties” real-life tragedy and operatic melodrama clash in transfixing ways. And this new edition, featuring a jaw-dropping new 4K digital restoration (with an uncompressed monaural soundtrack) and archival materials (like an audio commentary with film historian Lincoln Hurst about the importance of the film) and new materials like an interview with critic Gary Giddins. There’s even a 1973 interview with Walsh and the movie’s original trailer.

“Contagion” 4K (Warner Bros., Feb. 27)

Contagion
Warner Bros.

Is Steven Soderbergh’s humanist horror epic, which combines elements of Irwin Allen disaster movie with the multilayered character dramas of Robert Altman, as much fun after we’ve lived through our own global pandemic. Only time will tell. But “Contagion” remains one of the filmmaker’s best, most effective works – a deeply scary, deeply emotional look at all the ways that we could react to a threat on this scale. In the early days of the pandemic, the movie was endlessly rented and streamed. Maybe we were looking for a way of processing all of this trauma. Or maybe we were, as the film provides, searching for a happy ending. With the fluctuating rise in COVID-19 cases, we didn’t get the resolution that the movie provides but something far grimmer: acceptance. “Contagion” comes equipped with a new 4K restoration of the film, along with featurettes from earlier releases. Masks aren’t required but encouraged.

“Wonka” (Warner Bros., Feb. 27)

wonka-timothee-chalamet-hugh-grant
Warner Bros.

Well wouldn’t you know it, Warner Bros.’ lavish musical prequel to “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” is a totally delight. Directed and co-written by Paul King, who brings a similar sense of synchronicity to the classic Roald Dahl tale, with Timothée Chalamet stepping into the chocolate-splattered shows of Gene Wilder (and, to a lesser degree, Johnny Depp). The film is beautiful and stirring and the technical specs of this home video release should replicate the theatrical experience quite nicely, especially with a Dolby Atmos audio track. Plus, there are a ton of extras, with featurettes devoted to the music, direction, production design, costume design and actual chocolate. It’s good enough to eat!

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