Pages Navigation Menu

"No matter where you go, there you are."


US Blu-ray and DVD Releases: Ghost, Clueless, Castle Rock, Samurai Marathon, Resistance, and more


Well, it’s another small week due to the lack of new movies in theaters. This is around the time we’d normally be seeing all the big March and April movies hitting home video, but since we didn’t have new movies in theaters in March or April, the options are limited. You’ll notice the two big marquee releases this week are new special editions of hit movies. Sigh. Here new go:

Ghost – People forget what an incredibly big blockbuster Ghost was. It was the Titanic before Titanic, grossing some half a billion dollars worldwide back in 1990, an unheard-of sum for any movie that didn’t have aliens or spaceships in it. So it’s fitting that Ghost has made it into Paramount’s new Paramount Presents line of home video releases, which sees the studio digging in to their most popular or influential films and giving us new Blu-ray editions of them. While it’s not the end-all-be-all of special editions, it does include a new interview with director Jerry Zucker alongside some classic extra features (although the lack of a digital copy — as usual — is a huge miss.) Personally, I love Ghost. It’s a great love story, a paranormal drama, a comedy, and a good mystery film all wrapped up in one, and Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore have never been better. Plus, that pottery scene went viral before going viral was even a thing. I hope more people go back and remember what a cultural touchstone this movie was with this nice new Blu-ray.

Clueless: 25th Anniversary Edition – Also from Paramount this week (and this time WITH a digital copy — what gives, Paramount?) is the new 25th Anniversary Edition of Clueless, which comes packaged in a terrific steelbook package. In its own way, Clueless was as influential as Ghost, shaping the fashions and colloquialisms of high school kids for a good decade after the film came out. The film also launched Alicia Silverstone to stardom as well as giving us Paul Rudd, Breckin Meyer, and the late (and missed) Brittany Murphy. Watching the film now, it holds up as both a great high school comedy as well as a true snapshot of life in the early ‘90s, and I find that I have a real affinity for this film. This is a terrific new edition, with some great extra features, and I love any steelbook release. If you’re a younger person who hasn’t seen this film, I highly recommend you give it a watch, and if you remember the heyday of high school in the ‘90s, you’ll love this trip down memory lane.

Castle Rock: The Complete Second Season – I wasn’t overly enamored with the uneven first season of Castle Rock, but Season Two went in a completely new direction and really won me over. The always-excellent Lizzie Caplan stars as Annie Wilkes (who would go on to become the main character of Misery) who comes to Castle Rock with her daughter and encounters various elements of the town and its people. To say more would spoil the story, but as someone who didn’t love the first season, I can say that this second outing is much more coherent and linear, and it makes for a much more satisfying viewing experience. Caplan is terrific, and having Tim Robbins along for the ride adds some star power. If you loved Season 1, you’ll definitely enjoy this one, but if you were underwhelmed, this might be a good time to venture back to Castle Rock and see what’s improved.

Resistance – A film about the world-famous mime Marcel Marceau as a member of the French Resistance during World War II might sound like a fantasy or a parody, but its actually based on the true story. Before he was a renowned entertainer, Marceau was actually a reluctant member of the French Resistance, helping children who were displaced by the Nazis in World War II. This story is brought to life in an engaging new film starring Jesse Eisenberg as Marceau, alongside supporting cast members Ed Harris, Clémence Poesy, and Edgar Ramirez. It’s an interesting movie; part biopic and part war film, but be aware that it’s more a drama than an action movie, despite what the cover art my have you think. Still, it’s an interesting story and Eisenberg gives a great performance, so it’s worth watching.

Samurai Marathon – This is an interesting one. While it’s set in feudal Japan, Samurai Marathon has a uniquely modern feel. Starring Danny Huston and Takeru Satoh, the film is actually directed by Bernard Rose, who directed the original Candyman film and is largely known for his horror outings. This film sees an undercover samurai get discovered and forced to participate in a, well, a Samurai Marathon, which is just as punishing as it sounds. There’s an interesting approach to this film, which doesn’t just present a straightforward narrative, and the end result is something of a mixed bag. There are parts of this film that I really enjoyed, and there are parts where it flags a little. Ultimately the good outweighs the bad, and the film really does have its own feel to it, and that sets it apart from the endless other period Asian action films that hit home video. Worth a look.

You Don’t Nomi – It’s kind of about time we had a feature documentary about the Showgirls phenomenon, don’t you think? For those of you who don’t know exactly what I mean, it starts with the movie Showgirls, which was a notorious big-budget flop from the ‘90s. But somewhere along the way, it morphed into a cult classic that has taken on its own life. Think of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, with its late night screenings, sing alongs, and costumes, and you have an idea what the second life of Showgirls has become. Well, You Don’t Nomi (named after the film’s main character) explores that fandom, looking at the film itself, its history, and what it’s become over the years. I love movies about movies, and I enjoyed this one, but it’s not without its flaws. I don’t like the way that we don’t really see most of the interviewees, and the film could have been maybe 10 minutes shorter. But overall, it’s a fun look at a flick that has one heck of a history.

The Whistlers – I really wanted to like this Romanian crime film. I suspected that the extremely Fast and Furious-esque cover art was more marketing than it was reflective of the film itself, but I was still hoping for an engaging crime thriller. And despite the presence of the incredibly stunning Catrinel Marlon (who clearly could become an international breakout star), the film didn’t really do it for me. I found the narrative to be muddled and a bit confusing, and the central conceit of the film which involves learning a whistling language on the Canary Islands is a bit odd. There’s also a weird scene at the end of the film that is particularly grisly, which stands out because the film is almost entirely bloodless up until then. It’s not a bad film per se, it just didn’t click for me. That said, keep your eyes out for the aforementioned Ms. Marlon; I won’t be surprised to see her popping up in a Fast and Furious film in the future!

L’Innocente – Speaking of foreign films, this week we also have the Blu-ray release of the Italian film L’Innocente, from acclaimed director Luchino Visconti. In fact, it was Visconti’s final film. Starring Giancarlo Giannini, Laura Antonelli, and Jennifer O’Neill, this melodrama follows an aristocrat who is unfaithful to his wife, then basically starts to lose his mind when he finds out she’s returning the favor. It’s an interesting film. I’ll be honest, at over two hours, the film didn’t hold my attention completely from start to finish. That said, the three lead performances by Giannini, Antonelli, and O’Neill are — without fail — all completely outstanding. It’s a movie you can watch for just the acting alone, even if the story doesn’t hold you the whole way through. The film makes its Blu-ray debut courtesy of Film Movement, and for a movie that came out in 1976 it looks pretty darn good. Fans of Italian cinema or Visconti will be happy to see this release.

Next PostPrevious Post