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US Blu-ray and DVD Releases: Urban Cowboy, One Cut Of The Dead, An Unmarried Woman, Star Trek: Short Treks and more

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Well, it’s another small week as Coronavirus-Related shipping delays have kept review product out of my hands. Here are a few titles available this week:

Urban Cowboy – Paramount brings us one of John Travolta’s earlier hits with the 40th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray of Urban Cowboy. And while the title is certainly a welcome addition to the high-def world, Paramount confuses me sometimes. They just recently launched Paramount Presents, a line of curated titles being released on Blu-ray that represent the classics and well-loved films in Paramount’s catalogue. The line features numbered titles, a special logo, and everything. So you would think that Urban Cowboy would fit in perfectly as a part of that line, right? Well, you might, and I might, but Paramount doesn’t seem to, as this is a stand-alone release. Weird. Anyway, the film itself holds up pretty well. There are echoes of Saturday Night Fever here, only in a country setting this time, but the plot does take a left turn with a criminal element subplot that sets the film apart. Travolta is terrific and young and exciting, and Debra Winger and Scott Glenn filling out the cast makes the film that much better. This is a great inaugural Blu-ray release, even if it’s not a part of the Paramount Presents line.

Star Trek: Short Treks – This terrific collection of short films/episodes is a real treat for Star Trek fans. These shorts have been available via CBS All Access for a while now, but now you can own them if you don’t have a subscription. Each of the shorts included runs between 5-20 minutes, and they all take place in different corners of the Star Trek Universe. Some feature all-new characters, some feature existing characters, some are animated, some are prequels… it’s a whole big mix. The great thing, though, is that they’re all super high quality. These aren’t just crappy little add-ons thrown together to sell DVDs. Rather, they’re high-budget, well-though-out, entertaining shorts that tie in to the larger Star Trek events taking place in Discovery, Picard, and other as-yet-unseen parts of the Trek Universe. You also get almost an hour’s worth of extra features, giving you even more bang for your buck. Highly recommended for any Star Trek fans.

An Unmarried Woman – The Criterion Collection gives us another flashback to post-code Hollywood with their newly restored and remastered Blu-ray (and DVD) release of An Unmarried Woman. This film, directed by Paul Mazursky, stars Jill Clayburgh as a newly-single woman after 16 years of marriage, who has to figure out how to navigate love and relationships for the first time in a very long time. The film is quite progressive for its time, as the film presents this female character as a real character and not a foil for male characters, and it also allows her to explore her sexuality without judgment. I’m not always a fan of 1970s cinema, and this wasn’t a movie I was familiar with before, but it was certainly worth watching, if for no other reason than to see an amazing performance by Jill Clayburgh.

One Cut Of The Dead – A new Steelbook Edition of this low-budget, high-concept zombie comedy sheds new light on a zombie film from 2019 that many people probably overlooked. But check this out: the film was made to look like it was filmed in one take (think Sam Mendes’ 1917), and on top of that, it’s about a group of filmmakers and actors making a zombie movie who get attacked by actual zombies. How can you not want to see that? What’s great about One Cut of the Dead is that it embraces its own nature; this could have been a serious zombie film shot in one take in an attempt to ratchet up the suspense — and there is some of that from time to time — but it knows there’s a lot of room for ridiculousness and the filmmaker’s aren’t afraid to embrace that. This new edition comes in a gorgeous collectible Steelbook case, and if you missed it the first time around, you’ll probably enjoy watching it now.

Warner Archive Spotlight – There are three new Blu-ray debut releases from the Warner Archive this week. All of these manufactured-on-demand titles can be purchased from can purchased at https://www.wbshop.com/collections/warner-archive0 or from any online retailers where DVDs and Blu-rays are sold. The most notable tile this week is Selena, which was Jennifer Lopez’s breakout role as the late singer of the same name. This biopic is pretty straightforward stuff, but it’s a solid film and J. Lo does a great job as the young woman who rocketed to fame and met a tragic end. I was surprised that this film has never been released on Blu-ray before, as I know it’s a well-loved movie, especially amongst Selena fans, so I think this one will be a hit for them. Next, we move into classic Hollywood territory with two more films making their Blu-ray debuts. First up is The Reluctant Debutante, starring Rex Harrison, John Saxon, Angela Lansbury, and Sandra Dee. It’s a lighthearted romp about social circles and who is allowed to become romantically entangled with who, the kind of thing that played well in 1958 but seems a little dated now. That said, it’s a good cast and a fun enough film, making it an easy watch. Finally, Sunday in New York stars Jane Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Robert Culp, Rod Taylor, and Jim Backus, and it also falls squarely into the romantic comedy category. A very young Jane Fonda stars as a woman on the run from commitment, trying to figure out if and who she should marry, It’s lightweight and frothy, but it scratches a certain itch.

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