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US Blu-ray and DVD Releases: New Mutants, Resident Evil, Beverly Hills Cop, Chernobyl, Perry Mason, Top Gun, Popeye and more

The New Mutants – After being perhaps the most delayed film of the last decade, The New Mutants finally made it to theaters in a post-COVID landscape and managed to make a decent sum at the box office. It might have even been a huge hit if movie theaters were at full capacity. But now the film is out on home video, and as a lifelong comics fan and X-Men reader, I was excited to dive into this X-Men spin-off. The film has had pretty mixed reviews, but I found it to be fairly enjoyable. It takes a while to get going, and the tone is a little too dark, but it’s an easy way to kill a couple of hours. The cast has some recognizable names in it, such as Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones), Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit) and Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things). I wish the film was a little more fun — this is a group of teenage superheroes, after all — but it’s a solid enough film to watch, as long as you keep your expectations in check.

Resident Evil: The Complete Collection – Let me start this review by saying that I am an unabashed fan of the Resident Evil movie franchise. I’ve never even played the video games the films are based on; I just love this world of zombies and mutant monsters, mysterious kick-ass female warriors, clones, evil corporations, and worldwide apocalypse. For my money, the first, third, fourth, and fifth films are all absolutely outstanding as fun action/horror hybrids, while the second and sixth films are fun diversions but clearly the weakest two in the bunch. Now, for the first time ever, all six films are collected into one box set in the premium 4K Ultra HD format (with each film also included on Blu-ray). The films all benefit nicely from the 4K upgrades, with deeper colors, sharper definition, and — perhaps most importantly — better shadow delineation, making it easier to see the onscreen action in the many, many nighttime scenes. Each disc also comes loaded with extra features (although there are a few that are only include on the 4K discs, if you’re one of the Blu-ray buyers.) It’s all packaged in a sleek box set and digital copies of each film are included, making this set a must-have for any fans of the Resident Evil franchise. RECOMMENDED!

Mission Impossible: The Original TV Series – The Complete Series – I love when CBS/Paramount gets something right. After numerous DVD season releases over the years, they’ve finally collected the entire Mission: Impossible series from the 1960s into one box set… and all on Blu-ray, too! While most people nowadays associate Mission: Impossible with Tom Cruise, the genesis for it was, of course, the 1960s hit TV show starring Peter Graves. Over the course of seven seasons, we watched the Impossible Missions Force get into some of the tautest situations on television… and then get out of them using gadgets, masks, planning, and luck. With a range of cast members that included TV luminaries like Leonard Nimoy, Martin Landau, and Lesley Ann Warren, the show was a hip, fun, exciting spy thriller every week. This gorgeous box set features outstanding design and includes a whopping 46 discs that comprises all seven seasons (171 episodes total). Each episode has been remastered and features improved picture and sound, making this the ultimate collection of a terrific show for any fan to have. RECOMMENDED!

Chernobyl: A 5-Part Miniseries – One of the most famous manmade disasters of all-time, Chernobyl has been somewhat ignored by popular culture, in that there haven’t really been lot of movies or TV shows about it. Perhaps that’s because it’s such a serious subject matter that it scares off networks and movie studios. But HBO has now tackled the subject with the powerful and moving five-episode miniseries titled simply Chernobyl. Wisely made up of a cast of recognizable faces but with no big name stars, the focus of the show is on the events of the tragedy and the people involved and affected by it. What that means is that we get five episodes that are dark, painful, and tough-to-watch; be clear, this isn’t feel-good television. But it’s important viewing and there are some truly outstanding performances (Jared Harris and Jessie Buckley stand out particularly. It’s not light fare, but it’s worth watching. Chernobyl has been released on 4K Ultra HD (as well as Blu-ray/DVD) and the premium format ensures excellent image clarity and sharp pictures, even if the desaturated nature of the film doesn’t allow the color saturation to bloom like it would on other releases.

Perry Mason: The Complete First Season – Okay, I grew up watching Perry Mason reruns as a kid, so I was definitely curious to see the show relaunched as an HBO Max series. And, well… this isn’t your father’s Perry Mason. While the original Raymond Burr series was part investigation and part trial during each episode, this one is much less formulaic. Matthew Rhys portrays mason as a low-rent P.I. who investigates cases that bleed from episode to episode, and there’s no shortage of violence, sex, and swearing along with them. It’s a far cry from the original show, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I just wonder what was the point of even calling the show Perry Mason when it’s that different? I mean, I understand it’s for marketing reasons, but it is basically a dark Neo-noir mystery show and I think the people who will like it the most will be the ones who have never watched the original series.

Top Gun (4K Ultra HD): Steelbook Edition – The new Top Gun sequel was supposed to be out this summer, so this is actually the second 4K Ultra HD release of Top Gun this year. Meant to tie in to the new theatrical sequel, the earlier releases was a pretty standard 4K catalog release. This new edition is a Steelbook edition, with the discs housed in a gorgeous Steelbook case with new artwork, and the collection includes some new extra features including a 30-year retrospective documentary. You also get a digital copy of the film, something Paramount hasn’t always been great about when it comes to catalogue titles. As with the previous release, the film has gotten the 4K upgrade, and the results include vibrant colors and sharper image resolution than ever before, but the film shows its age a little bit. The surround soundtrack for the film is exceptional, filling your living room with fighter jets, and missiles and utilizing all the channels while doing so. Another excellent release for one of the biggest films of the 80s!

Beverly Hills Cop (4K Ultra HD) and Coming to America (4K Ultra HD) – Paramount also has a few new 4K Ultra HD catalogue releases this week, both Eddie Murphy blockbusters. Beverly Hills Cop (just the first one, though) and Coming to America (with a theatrical sequel due soon) both make their 4K Ultra HD debut, and each one includes both Blu-ray Discs and digital copies as well. I’m a huge fan of Beverly Hills Cop and I really enjoy Coming to America, so it’s nice to see these movies get upgraded. Of course, they’re over 30 years old at this point, so it’s not like the films look brand new, but you do get improved color saturation, sharper image clarity, and expanded surround soundtracks on the 4K discs, which is nice. Neither movie looks SO different that you have to run out and grab these right away, but if you love the movies and want them in the best format possible (and add them to your digital libraries), tase are definitely the editions to grab.

The Golden Child and Trading Places: Paramount Presents Editions – Continuing the Eddie Murphy catalog drop from Paramount, we also have new Blu-ray editions of The Golden Child and Trading Places, this time as part of the Paramount Presents line. Paramount Presents packages each film on Blu-ray in nice gatefold packaging and with a new extra feature or two, but no digital copies are included, which is a big bummer. These are both fun movies from the ‘80s; it’s nice to see a Blu-ray edition of The Golden Child, but I think Trading Places has been released on home video some 437 times already, so that one feels a little gratuitous. Still, for Eddie Murphy fans, this is a good (and slightly expensive) week with so many great new catalogue releases of his films.

Popeye – Wrapping up the Paramount catalog drop this week, we have the 40th Anniversary Edition release of Popeye, the live action adaptation of the popular cartoon starring Robin Williams as everyone’s favorite spinach-guzzling sailor. I remember watching Popeye as a kid and really enjoying it; watching it as an adult for the first time in many years, it doesn’t really hold up all that well, but it’s not too bad either. The film was a notorious box office flop, so I think it’s developed kind of a bad rep over the years, but it might be a little undeserved. Directed by Robert Altman (of all people), the film is at least a good effort, and younger viewers might find it enjoyable like I did when I was young. This release marks the movies debut on Blu-ray, so it’s worth tracking down int you’re a fan.

Green Eggs & Ham: The Complete First Season – I’ve found a lot of Dr. Seuss’s books translate well to the animated medium. When my kids were young we really enjoyed The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That animated series, and now we have a new cartoon show in the form of Green Eggs & Ham: Season One. While it doesn’t have a lot to do with the book itself, the show follows Sam and Guy (who you’ll recognize when you see them) as they go on wild adventures throughout a Seussical land. The show is a lot of fun, and it boasts an absolutely incredible voice cast: Michael Douglas, Adam Devine, Jillian Bell, Eddie Izzard, Keegan Michael Key, Diane Keaton, and Jeffrey Wright. Whaaaat? It’s a fun show that kids will love and I think parents will enjoy watching too, which is a nice bonus! This two-DVD collection includes all 13 episodes from the first season.

S.O.S. Titanic – When you think of Titanic movies, I think for most people what comes to mind are either James Cameron’s Titanic (obviously) or perhaps 1958’s well regarded A Night to Remember. What’s rarely remembered is the 1979 TV movie called S.O.S. Titanic, which is kind of a shame. While it’s no masterpiece, it is a highly enjoyable retelling of the Titanic’s ultimate fate and the aftermath for some of the passengers. It also boasts a pretty good cast that includes Helen Mirren, Ian Holm, Cloris Leachman, David Warner, and David Janssen. The film makes its way to Blu-ray (which marks its home video debut to my knowledge) with both the theatrical cut and the longer TV cut, as well as some nice bonus features including an audio commentary. This is a cool film to discover if you’re fascinated by The Titanic that you might not have seen before, and it’s a terrific Blu-ray release.

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