New Release Wall
“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” (Lionsgate) could very easily have been a one-joke movie, but Nicolas Cage playing a less successful and more venal version of himself is just the launching point for a clever and engaging film about fame, the movies and male bonding. When “Cage” accepts a gig to appear at the birthday of a nefarious Spanish billionaire (a hilarious Pedro Pascal), it’s one surprise after another both for our hero and for the audience.
“Ambulance” (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment): Michael Bay puts the robots away for this heart-thumping caper starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.
“The Bad Guys” (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment): Animated anthropomorphic villains seek some redemption in this Dreamworks comedy.
“The Contractor” (Paramount Home Entertainment): Chris Pine stars as a desperate veteran who gets tied up with an underground paramilitary force.
“Eraser: Reborn” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment): Twenty-six years after Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in “Eraser,” Dominic Sherwood steps in as a federal agent who specializes in making witnesses disappear.
“Father Stu” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): Mark Wahlberg goes faith-based in this adaptation of a true story.
“Fatherhood” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): Widower Kevin Hart faces the task of single-parenthood.
“Firestarter” (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment): Zac Efron and Ryan Kiera Armstrong take another crack at Stephen King’s tale of telekinetic pyromania.
“King Tweety” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment): Looney Tunes’ legendary bird takes the throne and only longtime nemesis Sylvester can save him from a royal coup in this new original feature.
“Morbius” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) You’ve seen the memes (and ignored the theatrical reissue) — now you can get a 4K of Jared Leto vamping it up as a terminally ill scientist turned reluctant hero after an injection of DNA from some bloodsucking bats.
“The Northman” (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment): Director Robert Eggers’ tale of Viking vengeance is one of 2022’s most WTF movies — perfect for repeated at-home viewings.
Kogonada’s gorgeous follow-up to “Columbus,” “After Yang” (Lionsgate), thoughtfully and provocatively employs its sci-fi premise about nearly-human robots to examine a multitude of ideas, from immigration and assimilation to the fragility of human relationships. Colin Farrell and Jodie Turner-Smith star as a couple whose automated manny shuts down, and as Farrell tries to navigate the robot underground (he bought an off-warranty model), the family must explore Yang’s place in the family as the primary caretaker of Farrell and Turner-Smith’s adopted Chinese daughter.
“Gold” (Screen Media): More Zac Efron, this time as a desert drifter who must protect a valuable discovery.
“Inspector Ike” (Factory 25): This parody of 1970s TV movies stars Ikechukwu Ufomadu (“Ziwe”) as New York’s greatest detective.
“The Little Hours” (Gunpowder & Sky): Medieval nuns Aubrey Plaza, Alison Brie and Kate Micucci are sent into a frenzy by the appearance of handyman Dave Franco.
“Potato Dreams of America” (Dark Star/Vinegar Syndrome): In Wes Hurley’s autobiographical comedy, a gay Russian boy hopes for a better life when his mail-order-bride mother takes them to Seattle.
Second-generation Iranian filmmaker Panah Panahi (son of the legendary Jafar Panahi) makes an impressive debut as a writer-director in his right with “Hit the Road” (Kino Lorber). By turns funny and unsettling, this road-trip saga sees two parents taking their older son to the border (in the company of their boisterous younger sun) for reasons that are never spelled out. The performances are sharp, and Panahi the younger already shows great ease behind the camera, whether he’s letting certain sequences go on without interruption or shooting a key scene at a great distance without losing any of the dramatic impact. He’s a filmmaker to watch, and this debut is one of 2022’s best films so far.
“Ahed’s Knee” (Kino Lorber): “Synonyms” director Nadav Lapid returns with a scorching examination of censorship in his native Israel.
“Caged Birds” (Corinth Films): In this adaptation of a true story, a radical lawyer and a serial escapee work to reform Switzerland’s outdated prison system.
“Charlotte” (GDE): In this animated biopic, Keira Knightley provides the voice of acclaimed artist Charlotte Salomon, who had to contend with family issues and the rise of the Third Reich as she came of age as a painter.
“Compartment No. 6” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): In this acclaimed import, a Finnish woman and a Russian miner have a memorable encounter while sharing a cramped sleeper car.
“Farewell Amor” (The Criterion Collection): Ekwa Msangi’s impressive feature debut examines a family reuniting in New York City, 17 years after being separated during Angola’s civil war.
“Fear” (Film Movement): An unemployed widow gives shelter to an African refugee in this Bulgarian Oscar submission.
“Lux Aeterna” (Arrow Video): Charlotte Gainsbourg and Beatrice Dalle star in this provocation Gaspar Noé.
“Mothering Sunday” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): In 1920s England, a young housemaid arranges a tryst with the man she loves, even though he is committed to marry another.
“Passion in the Desert” (Kino Lorber): Ben Daniels (“Benediction”) plays a British soldier who gets up close and personal with the leopard who saves his life in this Balzac adaptation.
“The Rose Maker” (Music Box Films Home Entertainment) An artisanal rose-grower collaborates with three new helpers from a prison rehabilitation program to save her farm from the clutches of Big Flower.
The Time-Bending Mysteries of Shahram Mokri (Deaf Crocodile): This four-disc set celebrates the work of the Iranian provocateur, whose films straddle the line between genre and arthouse.
“Videophobia” (Kani Releasing): In this haunting drama of paranoia and alienation, a young woman in Osaka discovers that video of one of her sexual encounters has been posted online, leading her to an unexpected solution.
“The Worst Person in the World” (The Criterion Collection): Joachim Trier’s Oscar nominee follows a young woman (the luminous Renata Reinsve) through various iterations of her identity (and through a pair of relationships) as she attempts to piece together who she is and what she wants.
If you missed the retail experience during the COVID-19 lockdown, particularly involving your local independently-run businesses, “Hello, Bookstore” (Greenwich Entertainment) spins a lovely yarn about The Bookstore in Lenox, Mass. Struggling, as most brick-and-mortar, non-chain bookstores were even before the pandemic, owner Matt Tannenbaum faced potential closure during the quarantine. Director A.B. Zax captures the beauty of the place, from Tannenbaum’s raconteur stylings to the community rallying together to keep the doors open.
“The Beatles and India” (Abacus Media Rights): Ajoy Bose’s film examines the ongoing cultural impact of the Fab Four’s trek east in search of enlightenment.
“Bix – Ain’t None of Them Play Like Him Yet” (Kino Lorber): The Kurt Cobain of jazz, Bix Beiderbecke died at the age of 28 in 1931 but left, according to this documentary, an indelible mark on the world of music.
“Bleeding Audio” (GDE): The rise and fall of early-2000s Oakland pop-punk band The Matches.
“Buster Keaton Rides Again” / “Helicopter Canada” (Canadian International Pictures): Two essential pieces of Canadiana — one about the comedy legend traveling north to make what would be one of his final silent short films, the other an airborne look at the country as it was about to celebrate its centennial.
“Comedy Confessions” (Omnibus Entertainment): The film documents a trio of struggling, up-and-coming comedians — including Tiffany Haddish, who would eventually rise to the top of the game.
“Horror Noire” (Shudder/RLJE): Shudder’s acclaimed documentary about a century of horror cinema and the essential Black talent on both sides of the camera who helped bring it to life.
“Mau” (Greenwich Entertainment): The power of graphic design to change the world is explored in this portrait of artist Bruce Mau.
“Megadeth: A Night in Buenos Aires” (Cleopatra Entertainment): This 2005 concert, recorded in Argentina, makes its home-video debut.
“Putin’s Witnesses” (Icarus Films): Rare footage of Putin’s early days in power provides an up-close look at the dawning of an authoritarian regime.
“Scarf Face” (IndiePix Films): Belly up to the contentious world of competitive eating in this behind-the-scenes documentary.
“Searching for Mr. Rugoff” (Deutchman Company): Indie icon Ira Deutchman looks back at a forgotten figure who revolutionized art-house movie distribution in the United States.
A must for connoisseurs of cinema — of the cuckoo-bananas variety — is legendary Australian exploitation movie “Stunt Rock” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics). Directed by grindhouse god Brian Trenchard-Smith, the film follows stunt legend Grant Page (as himself) as he goes to Los Angeles, where he befriends a TV actress, falls in love with a journalist who interviews him about his death-defying day job, and gets mixed up with rock band Sorcery, who begin to incorporate Grant’s outrageous stunts into their over-the-top stage act. There has never been a film quite like this, and you kind of have to see it to believe it.
“9 Bullets” (Screen Media): Lena Headey shields a young witness from a hitman (played by Sam Worthington) who happens to be her ex.
“A.K. Tolstoy’s A Taste of Blood” (Cleopatra Entertainment): A family waits to see if their vampire-hunter father has become a bloodsucker himself in this thriller based on material previously adapted by Mario Bava.
“Aliens, Clowns and Geeks” (MVD Entertainment): “Forbidden Zone” director Richard Elfman returns with another outrageous saga, all about the intergalactic conflict between clowns and aliens.
“All About Evil” (Severin Films) Natasha Lyonne stars in this campy tribute to vintage horror and exploitation cinema from director Joshua Grannell (aka drag legend Peaches Christ).
“Assault on Precinct 13” (Mill Creek Entertainment): Ethan Hawke and Laurence Fishburne star in this remake of John Carpenter’s urban-police-under-siege take on “Rio Bravo.”
“The Brain from Planet Arous” (The Film Detective): Co-star Joyce Meadows provides commentary on this new Blu-ray of the 1950s B-movie fave.
“The Cellar” (Shudder/RLJE): Elisha Cuthbert discovers something scarier than mold or termites at the bottom of her house.
“Cyst” (RLJE Films): A nurse fights back when an experimental device turns a patient’s tumor into a horrible creature.
“Edge of Sanity” (Arrow): Anthony Perkins goes big in this adaptation of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”
“Escape the Field” (Lionsgate): Six strangers awake in an unknown location and find themselves playing, ahem, a most dangerous game.
“Hero” (88 Films): Writer-director Corey Yuen gives a new spin to this classic tale of organized crime in Shanghai.
“Hostile Territory” (Well Go USA Entertainment): A Civil War vet fights to be reunited with his children, who have been shipped west as orphans.
“Ip Man: The Awakening” (Well Go USA Entertainment): In this prequel, young Master Ip intervenes in a kidnapping and accidentally sets of a turf war between human traffickers.
“Last Passenger” (Cohen Media Group): A group of passengers fight for control when they realize their train is heading for destruction.
“The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue” (Synapse Films): Hippies and zombies collide in this influential cult classic.
“Love Slaves of the Amazons” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): This 1957 South American adventure is, perhaps, not anthropologically accurate.
“Ninja Badass” (Bayview Entertainment): This festival fave plays around with 1980s tropes, as country-fried drive-in thrills meet martial-arts menace.
“Offseason” (Shudder/RLJE): Joe Swanberg stars in this creepy tale of a young woman who finds herself trapped in the small town where her mother’s grave has been vandalized.
“The Passenger” (Dark Star/Bloody Disgusting): This Spanish thriller takes viewers on a ride-share that goes terribly, terribly wrong.
“Savage Sisters” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): Gloria Hendry (“Live and Let Die”) and Cheri Caffaro are armed to the teeth and they’ve got robbery and revolution on their mind in this exploitation classic.
“Ultrasound” (Magnolia Home Entertainment): What starts as a simple car breakdown spirals into something else entirely in this feature starring Vincent Kartheiser and Breeda Wool.
“Uncle Sam” (Blue Underground): William Lustig’s politically-tinged zombie slasher arrives just in time for July 4th.
“Vampire’s Kiss” (MVD Rewind): Lest you think Nicolas Cage only started giving beautifully unhinged performances late in his career, this 1989 horror-comedy reminds you he’s been at it all along.
“We Need to Do Something” (RLJE Films): A family chooses the wrong house to take shelter from a storm.
“You Are Not My Mother” (Magnet): Writer-director Kate Dolan examines the sorry history of Ireland’s treatment of the mentally ill in this shocker.
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding-fathers musical “1776” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) with this brand-new, fully restored 4K release. (The original theatrical cut trimmed the “Cool, Considerate Men” number at the behest of no less a figure than then-President Richard Nixon, who didn’t appreciate the dig at conservatives.) While this movie lets the founders off the hook in many ways, it also takes figures like John Adams (William Daniels, at his greatest), Ben Franklin (Howard Da Silva), and Thomas Jefferson (Ken Howard) and makes them complex, funny people with a pulse rather than just marble statues or faces on currency.
“5 Centimeters Per Second” / “Children Who Chase Lost Voices” / “The Place Promised in Our Early Days”: GKIDS releases three new Blu-rays of early films by Makoto Shinkai, who in recent years has become of anime’s most prominent directors with his international hits “Your Name” and “Weathering With You.”
“The American” / “Leatherheads” (Mill Creek Entertainment): Whether you like your George Clooney period and rakish or modern and conflicted, this double-feature disc has you covered.
“Beverly Hills Cop II” (Paramount Home Entertainment): Just in time for the “Top Gun” revival comes another Tony Scott hit for Simpson-Bruckheimer-Paramount, now in 4K.
“Boomerang” (Paramount Pictures Home Video): One of the rare moments where “Eddie Murphy vehicle” and “Doris Day-Rock Hudson rom-com” come even close to overlapping on a Venn diagram.
“The Clock” (Warner Archive Collection): Judy Garland got to show her range in this non-musical romantic drama.
“Cross My Heart” / “Pure Luck” (Mill Creek Entertainment): If you need a Martin Short fix before the season-two premiere of “Only Murders in the Building,” this double-feature Blu-ray offers the added bonus of Annette O’Toole and Danny Glover.
“The Fabulous Baker Boys” (MVD Rewind): A career-changer for Michelle Pfeiffer, this musically-tinged rom-com offered a rare joint screen outing for the fabulous Bridges boys (Jeff and Beau).
Film Noir: The Dark Side of Cinema VII (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): The latest installment of this ongoing series includes new Blu-ray releases of “The Fearmakers,” “Chicago Confidential,” and “The Boss.”
The Films of Doris Wishman: The Twilight Years (AGFA/Something Weird): The infamous exploitation auteur is celebrated with a three-disc set that features such cult classics as “Deadly Weapons,” “Double Agent 73,” “The Amazing Transplant,” “Let Me Die a Woman,” “The Immoral Three,” “Keyholes Are For Peeping,” and “Love Toy.”
“Fire in the Sky” (Shout Factory): Along with “The UFO Incident” (see below), this 1993 drama starring D.B. Sweeney is considered one of the most accurate films ever made about a close encounter with alien visitors.
“The First Wives Club” (Paramount Presents): They’re back and better than ever, for the first time in Blu-ray.
“For Me and My Gal” (Warner Archive Collection): Judy Garland and Gene Kelly (the latter a marvelous heel here) endure vaudeville and WWI in their climb to stardom.
“Giant” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment): Sweepingly epic, eminently quotable, and massively queer — James Dean, Rock Hudson, Mercedes McCambridge, and legendary ally Elizabeth Taylor — this 1956 classic makes its long-awaited 4K debut.
“Grease 2” (Paramount Home Entertainment): A flop upon its original release 40 years ago, this energetic musical has gone on to build a cult following and even has defenders who prefer it to its successful predecessor.
“Heart and Souls” (Mill Creek Entertainment): Robert Downey Jr. helps a quartet of ghosts with their unfinished business on Earth in this breezy comedy.
“The Horse Soldiers” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): This John Wayne-John Ford collab about Civil War cavalry riders co-stars William Holden and Constance Towers.
“Ilya Muromets” (Deaf Crocodile): You might know this one as “The Sword and the Dragon” from “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” but this Russian epic gets a little respect with a gorgeous new Blu-ray release.
“Killer’s Kiss” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): Stanley Kubrick’s sophomore feature gets a new Dolby Vision HDR master and a new audio commentary on this new Blu-ray.
“King Ralph” (Mill Creek Entertainment): John Goodman and Peter O’Toole, together at last, in a royal comedy that seems to share at least a little DNA with John Steinbeck’s “The Short Reign of Pippin IV.”
“Kinky Boots” (Paramount Home Entertainment): Drag queen Chiwetel Ejiofor straps on some outrageous footware in this British comedy that inspired the hit Broadway musical.
“The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu” / “The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): File under “outdated cultural representations” — Warner Oland (who also donned yellowface in several Charlie Chan mysteries) portrays the evil genius on this double-feature Blu-ray.
“Out of Sight” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): This Elmore Leonard adaptation, pairing a never-better George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez, just gets better and better with each passing year. And now it’s in 4K.
“Panda! Go Panda!” (GKIDS): Pro tip — I’ve been giving this film (an early collaboration between future Studio Ghibli partners Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki) to parents with young children for years, and it never fails to enchant the under-five crowd (and, quite often, their moms and dads as well).
“Pink Flamingos” (The Criterion Collection): Time cannot wither, nor custom stale, the shock value (and the hilarity) of John Waters’ breakthrough hit.
“Raiders of the Lost Ark” (Paramount Home Entertainment): Finally in 4K, just in time for Father’s Day. Accept no substitutes.
“Rouge” (The Criterion Collection): Hong Kong screen legends Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung star in Stanley Kwan’s haunting love story.
“Shaft” (The Criterion Collection): Damn right, this Gordon Parks game-changer gets the full Criterion treatment, including new and archival supplementary materials as well as the sequel, “Shaft’s Big Score.”
“The Tales of Hoffmann” (The Criterion Collection): Powell and Pressburger take on opera in this visual and auditory feast.
Through the Decades: 2000s and Through the Decades: 2010s (both Mill Creek Entertainment): While these “retrospective” collections are guaranteed to make you feel old, they certainly offer an eclectic mix of mainstream releases. The former features “Nurse Betty,” “One Night at McCool’s,” “Spy Game,” “The Emperor’s Club,” “The Shape of Things,” “21 Grams,” “Baby Mama,” “State of Play,” “The Hitcher,” and “Cry Wolf”; the latter’s got “MacGruber,” “The American,” “The Dilemma,” “The Adjustment Bureau,” “Your Highness,” “The Thing,” “Contraband,” “Safe House,” “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” and “Black Sea.”
“True Romance” (Arrow): Even more Tony Scott in 4K, this one being his collaboration with an up-and-coming young screenwriter named Quentin Tarantino.
“The Untouchables” (Paramount Home Entertainment): Heads up, “Yellowstone”-ers, this contemporary mob classic starring Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, and Robert DeNiro gets a sumptuous 4K SteelBook reissue for its 35th anniversary.
“Vive l’Amour” (Film Movement Classics): Tsai Ming-Liang’s stunning second feature makes its North American Blu-ray debut.
“Ziegfeld Girl” (Warner Archive Collection): Judy Garland, Lana Turner, and Hedy Lamarr glam it up in this MGM musical, co-starring James Stewart.
From books to podcasts, there’s been a resurgence of interest in 1970s TV movies that has led to a wave of DVD and Blu-ray reissues. One of the newest among the latter is “The Initiation of Sarah” (Arrow), starring Kay Lenz as a shy, withdrawn college girl who discovers she possesses telekinetic powers. Between Shelley Winters as a house mother with nefarious intent and supporting performances by Morgan Fairchild and Morgan Brittany as mean-girl sorority sisters, there’s a lot to enjoy in this 1978 small-screen fave.
“The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet”: The Complete Seasons One, Season Two (both MPI Media Group): Their name has become a shorthand for innocuous entertainment, but the Nelson family was a juggernaut of early TV, with one of the most popular sitcoms on the new medium.
“Billions”: Season Six (Showtime/CBS/Paramount): Masters of side-eye Paul Giamatti and Corey Stoll go head to head on the financial drama.
“Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Eleventh Season” (HBO): Larry David can’t stop, won’t stop.
“The Diary of Anne Frank” (Liberation Hall): This 1967 made-for-television production features an impressive ensemble, including Max von Sydow, Viveca Lindfors, Lilli Palmer, Theodore Bikel, and Donald Pleasance.
“History’s Greatest Mysteries”: Seasons One & Two (Lionsgate): Laurence Fishburne is your guide through events that still leave experts puzzled.
“MacGyver”: The Complete Series (Seasons 1-5) (Lionsgate): Collects the complete run of the Lucas Till reboot of the popular series.
“Magnum P.I.”: The Complete Series (Mill Creek Entertainment): This new Blu-ray box set of the hit Tom Selleck series is available as a Wal-Mart exclusive.
“Rocco Schiavone: Ice Cold Murders”: Season Two (Kino Lorber): The cranky Roman detective returns with another chilling case.
“Scooby-Doo! and Guess Who?”: The Complete Second Season (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment): More stars and pop-culture celebs hop into the Mystery Machine to do some sleuthing.
“The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch”: Seasons 1 & 2 (Lionsgate): This doc series digs into a notorious hot-spot for alien encounters.
“The UFO Incident” (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons star as a real-life couple who gave testimony, under hypnosis, about their alien abduction.