Forget It, Jake, It’s Our Home Video Pick of the Week

Chinatown UhdChinatown [4K UHD, Paramount Presents]

What is it? A film noir masterpiece from a piece of shit filmmaker.

Why see it? Chinatown remains one of the very best films, period. A mystery leading down a very dark road, a raw commentary on greed and power no matter the cost, a stunningly affecting character piece on an indifferent man in an increasingly cruel world, the film is over two hours of pure brilliance. Jack Nicholson headlines as a private eye used to treading water with the desperate and divorced, but his latest case finds him caught up in things far more sinister. The story enthralls, whether it’s focused on the personal struggles or the bigger picture regarding the ever-growing divide between the wealthy and the rest of us, and it all builds to an ending that never fails to land with a gut punch no matter how many times you’ve seen it. Faye Dunaway and John Huston co-star, and the movie just kills. Paramount’s new 4K UHD offers up the kind of restoration any film would hope for as shadows envelop, colors pop, and the California sunlight takes hold knowing it’s pure evil that it’s illuminating. Just an amazing film, one worth watching and rewatching. And they’ve also included the Nicholson-directed sequel on a second disc!

[Extras: New 4K transfer, featurettes, commentary, The Two Jakes on Blu-ray]


The Best

Bound UhdBound [4K UHD, Criterion]

What is it? Two women find themselves caught up in a romantic, but criminal, entanglement.

Why see it? The Wachowskis made their name with The Matrix films, but Bound came first and immediately highlighted the siblings as filmmakers to watch. A sexy and smart little neo-noir, the film smashes Gina Gershon and Jennifer Tilly head-on and lets the pair cook with sizzling interactions and sharp dialogue. Joe Pantoliano brings a different kind of heat, and together the unlikely trio — along with spot-on filmmaking — deliver a film that thrills, entertains, and surprises throughout. It’s a caper film that checks numerous boxes from stellar acting performances and attractive cinematography to razor-sharp writing and a deliriously enjoyable execution. The film has always looked good, already impressive for the budget and that it was the Wachowskis’ debut, but Criterion’s new 4K UHD brings home the crisp details and colors in noticeable ways. This is a must-own for film fans.

[Extras: New 4K restoration, commentary, video essay, interviews]

The Karate Kid UhdThe Karate Kid [4K UHD]

What is it? A coming of age classic, with kung fu!

Why see it? The Karate Kid made a big splash back in 1984, and the decades since have seen sequels, a remake, and even a Netflix streaming series following the ongoing rivalries of now adult characters and their own teenaged kids. It’s easy to see the ongoing appeal as underdog stories have an enduring popularity, and this one gets the format right with a charismatic, likeable lead (the immortal Ralph Macchio), some engaging side characters, and the kind of finale that leaves audiences cheering. The action is more charming than thrilling, but that doesn’t take away from the film’s effect as a summer staple, an 80s favorite, and a fine family film.

[Extras: New 4K transfer, commentary, deleted scenes]

Nowhere SpecialNowhere Special

What is it? A single father faces an important decision after a terminal diagnosis.

Why see it? I’m not sure if this is the kind of film you’d want to watch a second time — typically a factor when I decide what lands under The Best instead of The Rest — but it’s just so good that the choice was made for me. James Norton plays a single dad who discovers he has a short time to live, so he sets out to find a new family for his young son. It’s heartbreaking, sweet, heartbreaking, honest, and heartbreaking, but it never feels like a messy or cheap attempt at tearjerking you. Norton is terrific, and you feel the pain of it all as much as you do the love. You’ll cry over these ninety minutes, and sometimes that’s a good thing.

[Extras: Interviews, featurette]


The Rest

Anna Boleyn

What is it? A two-hour silent film about a very dysfunctional marriage.

Why see it? Ernst Lubitsch is one of the greats, particularly for his comedic run through the 30s and 40s, but there’s interesting work before then too. This silent feature from 1920 is a drama about the infamous Henry VIII and one of his unfortunate wives, and it’s just that — interesting — without being anywhere near great. The material can’t carry the running time, and while Lubitsch finds some engaging sequences at times, it feels like a real outlier in his filmography. Fans should give it a spin, all the same.

[Extras: None]


Also out this week:

American Fiction, American Gigolo [4K UHD, Arrow], Robocop 2014 [4K UHD, Shout Factory], Robocop 2 [4K UHD, Shout Factory], Shotgun Stories, Victims of Sin [Criterion]

#Forget #Jake #Home #Video #Pick #Week

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