Movie Reviews

Home Entertainment Guide: November 2022

10 NEW TO HBO MAX

The Craft
Don't Worry Darling
Fruitvale Station
“The LEGO Movie”
Predator
Raging Bull
Seven
Stargate
Unforgiven
You've Got Mail

10 NEW TO NETFLIX

“The Addams Family”
The Bad Guys
The Boxtrolls
Captain Phillips
The Interview
Moneyball
Notting Hill
Southpaw
Training Day
Where the Crawdads Sing

12 NEW BLU-RAY/DVDS

Bros

Home Entertainment Guide: November 2022

Much was made of the relative box office disappointment of this romantic comedy, a movie meant to provide some much-needed representation in the genre. When it failed to deliver, star/co-writer Billy Eichner spoke out on social media and got some backlash that felt unwarranted. He was disappointed. Anyone would be. But the truth is that this movie didn’t miss its target because of its story but because the genre of adult-driven comedies is simply going the way of streaming. More and more, people are only willing to spend money at the theater for event films like the MCU or other known properties, and I fear we are quickly approaching the day when comedies like this don’t open in theaters. People don’t pay to see them that way. However, they love watching a good comedy at home, and Universal has already brought “Bros” to Blu-ray/DVD and on Peacock on Friday, December 2nd. I haven’t had a chance to see it yet, but this column is more informational than critical, and I felt it only fair for this maligned movie to get a mention.

Buy it here 

Special Features
Deleted Scenes
Alt First Date
Nipple Plumpers
Calling Peter, Paul and Marty
Pride Fight
Steroid Workout
Bro Workout
Senior Center
Gag Reel
Representation Matters – Representation matters, especially in a genre such as romantic comedies which has traditionally been a space for heteronormative on-screen couples. We sit down with our cast and key crew members and ask them to tell us why they think this movie is important, why it’s important to be making it now, what it means to them personally to see representation in this genre, and what scenes or moments from the film spoke to them.
From Start to Finish – Get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the entire process of bringing BROS to life.
Introducing Bobby and Aaron – Director Nick Stoller and actors Billy Eichner and Luke Macfarlane introduce us to their characters, the process of playing them and discuss their on-screen chemistry.
The Cast and the Cameos – This film features an incredible ensemble cast, especially those making up the museum board. Through sit-down interviews and informal stand ups, we hear how they came to be a part of the project, their thoughts when they first read the script, their characters, their favorite scenes, and what the process of filming was like.
The Art of the Rom-Com with Billy and Nick – What makes a good rom-com? Using sit-down interview footage with co-writers Billy and Nick (separately), we dive into what they think makes a good romantic comedy, and all the ways in which they stuck to, or subverted classic rom-com tropes for BROS.
The BROS National LGBTQIA+ History Museum – We learn about where the idea to incorporate the first LGBTQ+ History Museum into the script came from, why Billy and Nick landed on certain exhibits, and how it all came together under the helm of the amazing Production Designer and her team.
The Making of a Deleted Scene
Pride Fight: The Making Of – We do a deep dive into this deleted scene, how it was made and why it ultimately ended up on the cutting room floor.
Working Out: The Making Of – We talk to Nick and Billy about the workout scenes, the inspiration for them, what it was like to make the scenes, and again, the reasons why they didn’t make it into the final cut of the movie.


Home Entertainment Guide: November 2022

“Columbia Classics Collection: Volume 3”

The art of the Blu-ray box set is dying, with so many films already available on streaming media. Sony Pictures Classics released the best box set of the year last week with their anniversary collection for their landmark company, but it was actually preceded by a few weeks by Sony proper, who launched the third volume of an impressive series of 4K remasters for classic films. These have been quiet launches, especially when one considers the quality of the films and the copious special features, many of which are new and exclusive to these sets. This edition includes “It Happened One Night,” “From Here to Eternity,” “To Sir with Love,” “The Last Picture Show” (my fave of the group), “Annie,” and “As Good As It Gets.” Not only are all six films in 4K, but they’re accompanied by an 80-page book and some insanely rare special features, including a 1932 version of “Annie” and the four-hour 1979 mini-series version of “From Here to Eternity.” This would make a phenomenal holiday gift.

Buy it here 

Special Features
Too many to list here


“Don’t Worry Darling”

Home Entertainment Guide: November 2022

Don’t get your hopes up. The “Making of” featurette on this Olivia Wilde thriller doesn’t get into the juicy drama that really defined the release of this flick in theaters. What’s interesting watching it a few months removed from the worst PR campaign of the year is the realization that the movie isn’t all that bad. It feels like something that history could redeem. I expect it to make “underrated” lists in a few years, even if it doesn’t quite work for me. The main problem with the film is its script and an editing process that was likely distracted by drama and couldn’t entirely shape this overlong film into the 95-minute version that would have worked. There’s a lot to like here, including another solid turn from Florence Pugh, but the ideas don’t come together as much as they repeat themselves. Still, you could do worse, darling.

Buy it here 

Special Features
The Making of Don’t Worry Darling
Alice’s Nightmare Deleted Scene


“Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.”

Home Entertainment Guide: November 2022

Writer/director Adamma Ebo’s 2022 Sundance comedy got a quiet release in theaters before dropping on Peacock and landing on Blu-ray. It deserves a bigger audience, if mainly for the fearless performances of the always-great Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown. They play the married leaders of a megachurch trying to reclaim their throne after a scandal and using a documentary crew to help with the PR. Ebo shoots some of the film in mockumentary style while also allowing a look into what’s driving these two fascinating characters. It doesn’t all come together for me, but Brown and Hall are always worth watching.

Buy it here

Special Features
Alternate opening
Deleted scenes
Gag reel


In the Mood for Love” (Criterion)

Home Entertainment Guide: November 2022

Criterion has pulled Wong Kar Wai’s masterpiece from their glorious “The World of Wong Kar Wai” box set and released the 4K version standalone just in time for the holidays. This is the controversial new color correction approved by WKW himself and includes the special features previously available in that set. Now, I think the set is the way to go for any Criterion collector. Still, if this is your absolute favorite WKW and you want it alone, it’s an excellent release, including a documentary, short film, and special archival features. There are some days when I think there hasn’t been a film as masterful as “In the Mood for Love” since it was released, so you know where I stand considering this a must-own. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
4K digital restoration with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, both supervised and approved by director Wong Kar Wai
One 4K UHD disc of the film and one Blu-ray with the film and special features
Documentary from 2001 by Wong, chronicling the making of the film
Hua yang de nian hua (2000), a short film by Wong
Interview and cinema lesson from 2001 featuring Wong
Press conference from the 2000 Toronto International Film Festival with actors Maggie Cheung Man Yuk and Tony Leung Chiu Wai
Interview from 2012 with critic Tony Rayns about the soundtrack
Deleted scenes with optional commentary by Wong
Music video
Trailer
PLUS: A new essay by novelist Charles Yu


“Infernal Affairs Trilogy” (Criterion)

Home Entertainment Guide: November 2022

The reputation of “Infernal Affairs” shifted when Martin Scorsese took the first film and remade it as a little movie called “The Departed.” Criterion has brilliantly chosen to pull some of the focus back to the original with this 4K release that doesn’t just include Andrew Lau and Alan Mak‘s 2002 original but the sequels that followed. The first film is still phenomenal, humming with energy and clever plotting. The sequels are inferior but still worth seeing. Criterion has packed the release with fascinating special features, including several archival interviews and an excellent new essay by one of the best film critics alive, Justin Chang.

Buy it here 

Special Features 
New 4K digital restorations, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks
Audio commentaries for Infernal Affairs and Infernal Affairs II featuring codirectors Andrew Lau Wai-keung and Alan Mak and screenwriter Felix Chong Man-keung
Alternate ending for Infernal Affairs
New interview with Lau and Mak
Archival interviews with Lau, Mak, Chong, and actors Andy Lau Tak-wah, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Anthony Wong Chau-sang, Kelly Chen Wai-lam, Edison Chen Koon-hei, Eric Tsang Chi-wai, and Chapman To Man-chak
Making-of programs
Behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes, and outtakes
Trailers
New English subtitle translations
PLUS: An essay by film critic Justin Chang


Malcolm X” (Criterion)

Home Entertainment Guide: November 2022

It’s hard to believe it’s been three decades since the release of Spike Lee‘s second masterpiece, “Malcolm X.” The filmmaker took the industry power he had achieved after “Do the Right Thing” and crafted his most ambitious film at the time, a complex portrait of a complex man. Biopics typically reduce people to their most notable accomplishments, serving as outlines of a life, but Lee’s film seeks to understand Malcolm X, digging into the personal and political issues that shaped him. With one of Denzel Washington’s best performances at its center (it’s insane he didn’t win the Oscar), “Malcolm X” vibrates in every scene, and its reputation has only improved in the last 30 years. Criterion goes all out with this one, including new interviews with Lee, a feature-length documentary, deleted scenes, and a 4K restoration approved by cinematographer Ernest Dickerson

Buy it here 

Special Features
New 4K digital restoration, supervised by cinematographer Ernest Dickerson, 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
Audio commentary from 2005 featuring director Spike Lee, Dickerson, editor Barry Alexander Brown, and costume designer Ruth E. Carter
New conversation between Lee and journalist and screenwriter Barry Michael Cooper
New interviews with actor Delroy Lindo and composer Terence Blanchard
Program about the making of the film, featuring Lee, Dickerson, Brown, Blanchard, Carter, filmmaker Martin Scorsese, actor Ossie Davis, Reverend Al Sharpton, former Warner Bros. executive Lucy Fisher, producers Preston Holmes and Jon Kilik, production designer Wynn Thomas, casting director Robi Reed, and Malcolm X’s daughter Ilyasah Shabazz
Malcolm X (1972), a feature-length documentary produced by Marvin Worth and Arnold Perl and directed by Perl, narrated by actor James Earl Jones
Deleted scenes with introductions by Lee
Trailer
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
PLUS: An essay by Cooper, excerpts from Lee’s 1992 book By Any Means Necessary: The Trials and Tribulations of the Making of “Malcolm X”. . ., and Davis’s eulogy for Malcolm X


Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Home Entertainment Guide: November 2022

Paramount releases this John Hughes classic every other year or so just in case someone doesn’t own it yet for the holiday shopping season, but this one is a little different. Not only does it include a 4K version of the classic comedy but an hour of deleted and extended scenes. Most of them were deleted for a reason, but there’s still a pleasure to be had in just watching stars John Candy and Steve Martin riff in these iconic roles. Unfortunately, we lost John Candy way too soon, and this is a reminder of his remarkable skill set. As for the movie, it’s held up well, a reminder of not only the talent of its stars but also the big heart of Hughes’ best work. This feels more like a holiday classic with every passing generation.

Buy it here 

Special Features
NEW Over an hour of never-before-seen deleted and extended scenes
Getting There is Half the Fun: The Story of Planes, Trains and Automobiles
John Hughes: Life Moves Pretty Fast (2-Part Documentary):
John Hughes: The Voice of a Generation
Heartbreak and Triumph: The Legacy of John Hughes
John Hughes for Adults
A Tribute to John Candy


The Power of the Dog” (Criterion)

Home Entertainment Guide: November 2022

The Oscar winner for Best Director last year gets one of the most lavish 4K releases of this holiday season from Criterion, including a new 4K master approved by the director. Like a lot of Netflix/Criterion releases, this one is a bit controversial because anyone can watch the film on the streaming giant. Still, Criterion recognizes that this is a release for collectors, giving it a better transfer than on Netflix and accompanying it with detailed special features, most of which center Campion. She pops up in several interviews and a program that includes snippets of the rest of the cast and crew. There’s also a feature with Campion and the film’s brilliant composer Jonny Greenwood, along with one that features the award-winning cinematographer Ari Wegner. Finally, there’s an interview with Annie Proulx, the source material writer, and an essay by the excellent Amy Taubin. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
4K digital master, approved by director Jane Campion, with Dolby Atmos soundtrack
One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and one Blu-ray with the film and special features
Interview with Campion about the making of the film
Program featuring interviews with members of the cast and crew and behind-the-scenes footage captured on location in New Zealand
Interview with Campion and composer Jonny Greenwood about the film’s score
Conversation among Campion, director of photography Ari Wegner, actor Kirsten Dunst, and producer Tanya Seghatchian, moderated by filmmaker Tamara Jenkins
New interview with novelist Annie Proulx
Trailer
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
English descriptive audio
PLUS: An essay by film critic Amy Taubin


Reservoir Dogs

Home Entertainment Guide: November 2022

There’s a bit of a Quentin Tarantino resurgence this season with a 4K release of his first film and “Pulp Fiction” next month, along with his new book, Cinema Speculation. He’s having a bit of a career-retrospective moment, which should allow people to revisit his early works, now available in 4K steelbooks for the first time. His initial thriller took the world by storm. I can vividly remember seeing it for the first time and being blown away. It felt like the film was then suddenly everywhere, and we knew its filmmaker was going to matter. The 4K steelbooks for this one are thin on special features, but this is a market for collectors, and they may want to seek out the Best Buy exclusive that includes a slipcase that makes it look like a bloody ear is coming off a human head. You can sing “Stuck in the Middle with You” while you unpack it. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
Deleted Scenes
“Playing it Fast and Loose” Featurette
“Profiling Res Dogs” Featurette


Three Thousand Years of Longing

Home Entertainment Guide: November 2022

George Miller is such an essential filmmaker to me that I hate to say I was disappointed in his latest experiment, even if I admire his ambition in making it. Tilda Swinton stars as a narratologist who happens upon a Djinn, played by Idris Elba, in what is largely a two-hander (with stories intercut) between these two characters as they discuss love, life, and longing. Both performers are solid, but I think Miller struggles to bring the themes of his source together this time. It’s telling that a film by such a master has been so quietly released in theaters and on a physical release with zero special features. Could history recover this film and give it a better release down the road? Possibly, but it feels more likely to be something that will be forgotten by history, and probably rightfully so.

Buy it here 

Special Features
Nothing


“WALL-E” (Criterion)

Home Entertainment Guide: November 2022

Some collectors lost their minds when Criterion announced their first Disney release, a 4K edition of this Pixar masterpiece. The truth is that even if you don’t like the film that I would argue is Pixar’s best, you should recognize the financial play here. In a time when Blu-ray collectors feel like a decreasing market, if a company like Criterion needs to release a Disney film so they can also release titles like “World Cinema Project” and “Daisies,” then it’s a perfectly fair trade. And this release is a BEAUTY. Stanton approved a stunning 4K transfer, and they imported all of the special features, including deleted scenes, a documentary, and audio commentaries. There are also new programs for those who already have the film on Blu-ray and are thinking twice. Don’t think twice. This is one of the best 4K releases of the year.

Buy it here 

Special Features
4K digital master, approved by director Andrew Stanton, with Dolby Atmos soundtrack
One 4K UHD disc of the film, presented in both Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10+, and two Blu-rays with the film and special features
Alternate 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio and stereo soundtracks
Two audio commentaries: one featuring Stanton and the other, character supervisor Bill Wise, coproducer Lindsey Collins, story artist Derek Thompson, and lead animator Angus MacLane
New programs on Stanton’s cinematic influences and production designer Ralph Eggleston’s color scripts
Tour of the Pixar Living Archive with Stanton
Behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, including segments from early animation reels
The Pixar Story (2007), a documentary by Leslie Iwerks
More than a dozen documentaries exploring the film’s production and robots
Anatomy of a Scene: The Plant, a masterclass with Stanton
“WALL•E”: A to Z, a new program featuring Stanton and coscreenwriter Jim Reardon
Deleted scenes featuring commentary by Stanton
A Story (1987), a student film by Stanton
BURN•E (2008), a short film by MacLane
Trailers
English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
English descriptive audio
PLUS: An essay by author Sam Wasson; selections from Stanton’s sketchbooks, script notes, and drawings; and artwork from the WALL•E team

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