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US Blu-ray and DVD Releases: Next Goal Wins, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Fear The Walking Dead, Columbia Classics, Dream Scenario, Paprika, The Bridge and more


This week feels like a regular release week for the first time in a while. We’ve got one or two recent theatrical releases, a few cool films from across the pond, a gorgeous catalog box set, some new 4K Ultra HD titles, and lots more. Read on to see the full breakdown of this week’s titles!

Next Goal Wins

The Movie: Michael Fassbender stars in this charming little sports dramedy from director Taika Waititi, who seems to enjoy moving back and forth between projects like Marvel’s Thor movies and much smaller-budgeted fare like Next Goal Wins. The film is based on a true story, of how washed-up soccer coach (dealing with a painful past) is forced to come to American Samoa and coach the team that’s ranked worst in the world. Like, literally, the very last ranked team in the world. They’ve never even scored a single goal in a game. What follows is a semi-predictable comedy-drama, with the gruff coach learning to appreciate and respect his players (including a trans athlete) as well as embrace the American Samoan culture, which is spotlighted in the movie. It’s pretty by-the-numbers stuff, but it has some good laughs and darn it if it won’t bring a tear to your eye by the end. Special mention to Oscar Kightley, who plays the head of the American Samoa Soccer Federation, and who steals the show with his disarming nature and quirky charm.

The Special Features: There is a making-of featurette and a single deleted scene, but that’s it.

The Wrap-Up: Next Goal Wins probably won’t rocket to the top of your favorite sports movies list, but it’s an enjoyable film that’s worth tracking down when you just want something lighter and enjoyable to watch.

Fear the Walking Dead: The Complete Eighth Season

The Show: The Walking Dead may not be the pop culture juggernaut it once was, but it still gets eyeballs on televisions in many households. But the mothership show wrapped up its eleven-season run a couple of years ago, and now we have Season 8 of Fear the Walking Dead marking the end of that show. Out on Blu-ray and DVD this week is the concluding season of the long-running and most successful of the Walking Dead spin-offs. While Fear never reached the heights of the main show, it lumbered along as an interesting diversionary series to watch while waiting for the main show to return. Season 8 take s a huge time leap, moving forward seven years after the end of Season 7, with our characters (led by Lennie James’s Morgan) going up against PADRE, the organization first mentioned in Season 7 as a possible safe haven with instructions on how to rebuild society. (And we know how well those things work out in this franchise!) This final season veered from the usual eight-episode order that the last several seasons have given us, going to an extra-sized 12 episodes to wrap everything up, all of which are included in this set.

The Special Features: I was hoping for a little more, but you do get audio commentaries on the the episodes. No other making-of materials, though.

The Wrap-Up: Fear the Walking Dead was always a solid show that made for a nice placeholder between seasons of The Walking Dead. This newest DVD/Blu-ray collection will let fans complete the series on their shelves, and that’s a good thing.

Columbia Classics: Volume 4 (4K Ultra HD)

The Movie: While Columbia has released three previous volumes of their prestigious Columbia Classics box set line, this is the first one released in 2024, which also marks Columbia Pictures’ 100th anniversary, something the studio is celebrating with special releases and promotions. So I think it’s kind of fitting that, in my opinion at least, Volume 4 happens to be the best volume yet. As with the previous box sets, this multi-disc beauty includes new 4K Ultra HD versions of six classic films from the Columbia vaults, all making their 4K debuts. The films included this go around are: His Girl Friday, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Kramer vs. Kramer, Starman, Sleepless in Seattle, and Punch-Drunk Love. The set includes a brand new 4K Ultra HD disc for each film, but also includes each film on Blu-ray, ensuring that all of the original extra features are included in the collection. Now, one of my complaints with these kinds of sets has always been that the random nature of the films sometimes leads to a weird mix that might appeal to different movie fans. But the reason I said I feel like this is the best set yet is not just because it has some films I really love in it (Starman, His Girl Friday, Sleepless in Seattle), but that all of them seem to fit more thematically than previous sets did. Even Starman, the lone science fiction entry in the set, is more of a romance than a pure sci-fi film. Ultimately, it’s a nice mix of hands-down cinema classics and newer well-loved movies that deserve a place on the list of great movies.

The 4K Audio/Video: Each film has been restored and remastered in the Ultra HD format, and despite the age range of the films, by and large each one has been wonderfully revitalized in the new format. His Girl Friday, for example, looks better than I’ve ever seen it, and I’ve seen the film on both DVD and Blu-ray previously. It’s in black and white, but it showcases brilliant contrasts and excellent shadow delineation. Starman and Sleepless in Seattle sparkle with bright new colors and improved clarity. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Kramer Vs. Kramer both look sharp and clear, while Punch-Drunk Love, as the newest film in the set, still manages a minor upgrade over the Blu-ray version. The soundtracks vary depending on the age of the film and the technology available for the film’s soundtrack, but between dialogue, music and surround effects (when applicable), I didn’t hear anything that sounded less than terrific. Technically speaking, you can’t beat the job the studio has done with these transfers.

The Special Features: So not only do we get archival materials, but there are also some new extras as well. In addition, you get digital copies of each film, which not all sets like this include, so I am happy to see those. Here’s the breakdown:

  • His Girl Friday – You get two brand new retrospective making-of featurettes focusing on the costumes and the rapid-pace dialogue, plus a cometary track, seven archival featurettes, and more.
  • Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? – There are three archival featurettes and an audio commentary.
  • Kramer Vs. Kramer – There is a new audio commentary with a film professor plus five newly-added deleted scenes, plus four archival featurettes and more.
  • Starman – There’s a new collection of deleted scenes, an audio commentary with John Carpenter and Jeff Bridges, two featurettes, a music video, and more.
  • Sleepless in Seattle – There’s a new audio commentary track plus a new featurette with Meg Ryan and Gary Foster called A Conversation on Sleepless in Seattle, plus an audio commentary with Nora and Delia Ephron, deleted scenes, a music video, and more.
  • Punch-Drunk Love – A couple of featurettes and a couple of deleted scenes are included here.

The Wrap-Up: Despite my noting the mix of movies in previous sets, I really do love this series and with this being Columbia Pictures’ 100th anniversary year, I have to imagine we’ll see a couple more volumes hitting shelves this year. And I, for one, am here for it! Keep ‘em coming, Columbia!

Dream Scenario

The Movie: Whenever a new Nicolas Cage movie comes out, you always have to ask yourself, “was this a paycheck movie or a personal movie?” Paycheck movies are when Cage stars in some low-budget creature feature or sci-fi/horror/action flick that you can tell he has no interest in. His performances in those are usually pretty awful. But the personal films, those are the ones where we get reminded that Cage is a serious actor, and one who does sometimes give us great performances. And that leads us to Dream Scenario, a new movie in which Cage plays a bald, bearded and bespectacled professor of evolutionary biology. He’s an average, everyday guy, until he starts showing up in people’s dreams. And not a few people, but thousands and thousands of people all over the world. And he has no idea why. And the film is utterly terrific. Cage is almost unrecognizable under a heavy beard, bald head, and glasses, and he plays such a nebbish-y guy it’s almost like he’s channeling his inner Woody Allen. It’s a juicy role for the actor, and he handles it with aplomb. The film itself is also completely fascinating as he goes from being a nobody to becoming one of the most famous people in the world, but in a very surreal way. And then, when the dreams start to change… well, let’s just say, being the object of the world’s dreams may not be all it’s cracked up to be. I had no idea what to expect from this film, but I really enjoyed it. My biggest complaint is about the cinematography; the film is purposefully shot to look like it’s on 1970s-era film stock, and I found that touch both unnecessary and distracting. Leave it to A24, a studio who never met a movie they couldn’t force their stamp onto.

The Special Features: The disc includes an audio commentary with the film’s director, a set of deleted scenes, and a making-of featurette.

The Wrap-Up: I’m famous for hating dream sequences in my popular fiction; I don’t like them in movies or books or comics or TV shows or anything. But when a movie is entirely about dreams (and the dream sequences are thankfully both short and part of the actual plot), it works better than it should. Dream Scenario is a wonderful dramedy that’s worth a watch if you want something a little off the beaten path.

Paprika (4K Ultra HD Steelbook)

The Movie: I’ve been reviewing films for a long time, and in those years I’ve never hidden the fact that I am only a casual anime fan at best. There are a handful of anime movies that I truly love, but by and large, I find a lot of the genre to be… just not for me. It’s not that they’re bad movies, they’re just not my thing. Now, in the review above, I also mentioned that I generally don’t like dream sequences. Which brings us to Paprika, a popular 2006 anime film that’s about, well, dreams, that makes its 4K Ultra HD debut this week, packaged in a sharp-looking Steelbook case. In the movie, a trio of scientists create a device that allows users to watch and record their dreams, but when a thief steals it and starts entering people’s dreams uninvited, all heck breaks loose. When dreams and the real world start to meld it’s up to the three scientists and a pixie-like creature named Paprika to save the day. Now, look, there was a lot going against this film for me personally, but I can see why it’s a popular movie. It’s bright and colorful yet deep and complex, and while it wasn’t my cup of tea, it’s not hard to see why fans enjoy it so.

The 4K Audio/Video: The film looks and sounds great, as an animated movie should on 4K. Blacks are deep and solid and image clarity is sharp, while colors are vibrant and outlines are inky black. The surround soundtrack also bolsters the presentation, with a generous spreading out of surround effects through each satellite speaker as well as well-balanced and bright music. It’s a terrific A/V presentation overall.

The Special Features: The 4K disc actually has a featurette on the technical side of things called Restoring Paprika. Then on the Blu-ray Disc, there is also a making-of documentary, three additional featurettes, an audio commentary, a storyboard and concept art gallery, and the film’s trailer.

The Wrap-Up: Paprika has been available on home video before, but this new Steelbook Edition 4K Ultra HD offers up the best home video version yet for fans. It’s a terrific package for anyone who loves anime.

The Bridge: The Complete Series

The Movie: Credited with being the television show that launched the “Nordic Noir” genre, The Bridge has also been remade for American television. (Although, in my opinion, the less said about that remake series, the better.) Nordic Noir refers to the genre of movies and television that takes place in Scandinavian countries and features mysteries that are often a little darker in nature, which is typically contrasted by a bright, snowy backdrop (although that’s not a requirement.) The Bridge sees Detective Saga Noren leading a team of detectives who are investigating a string of crimes committed around Oresund Bridge, the bridge that links Sweden and Denmark. She’s investigating from the Swedish side, but she has to team up with inspector Martin Rohde, who’s investigating from the Danish side, since the body that launches the show was found right on the border. The show, which features a tense, taut, and surprising mystery at the core of it, ran for four seasons, all of which are collected in this new 11-disc box set from MHz Choice.

The Special Features: I’m not sure if this counts as an extra, but there are optional English dubs for each episode, which not all foreign releases have. I prefer subtitles, though. There is also a collection of behind-the-scenes footage and the show’s trailer.

The Wrap-Up: I know not everyone wants to watch an entire series that’s not in their native language, but The Bridge is an effective and engaging mystery show that will hold your attention. If you’re looking for something new in the mystery genre but you’ve exhausted your usual resources, check out The Bridge for something more unique.

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (4K Ultra HD)

The Movie: Kino Lorber’s Studio Classics line has quietly been doing an amazing job of taking classic Hollywood movies and giving them a terrific 4K Ultra HD release. Not only do they ensure terrific video and audio elements, but they often will find or create extra features for the films and then package them in nice cases with well-decorated slipcovers. One of their latest releases is the 4K Ultra HD debut of 1957’s western classic Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas (one of their many great pairings) as Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, the film is just one of many retellings of the most famous gunfight in American history, but it’s also one of the best. Directed by John Sturges, one of the best directors of classic Hollywood cinema, the film is both a drama and an action, and Lancaster and Douglas are pure on-screen powerhouses.

The 4K Audio/Video: This is one of those movies that clearly benefits from the 4K upgrade; image clarity is sharp and colors are natural and lifelike, while the print is nice and clean (which is huge for an older movie like this.) Black levels are solid and there’s a nice depth of field that makes the film feel very textured. The surround soundtrack relies on a booming low end to anchor those famous gunfight sequences, and music and dialogue are well balanced in the mix. It’s a nice upgrade over previous home video versions.

The Special Features: A new audio commentary by author/screenwriter C. Courtney Joyner and film historian Henry Parks is the lone extra.

The Wrap-Up: I’m not the world’s biggest westerns fan, but I do like a good one, and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral is a great one. This new 4K Ultra HD release is a terrific way to add this classic to your collection.

The Moon

The Movie: Korea has long been a major contributor to the international cinema scene; for the past few decades they’ve been putting out big-budget action/adventure and crime movies that can often rival anything that Hollywood produces. One of their latest big-scale offerings is The Moon, a riff on films like Gravity and The Martian that sees Korea trying to enter the international space race. When their mission goes wrong, a lone astronaut ends up stranded on the moon and it’s up to him and the mission control crew to try and rescue him. Along the way, secrets about a previous mission attempt that ended up in disaster are also revealed. I enjoyed The Moon, even if it has some flaws. For one thing, it’s just a little too long for my tastes. And while the special effects are terrific, the science at work sometimes seems a little… convenient. I’m not sure just how realistic some of the things we see on screen are. And that’s okay, I’m not a stickler for realism, but occasionally it’s a little distracting when something seems to happen way too easily. That said, it’s a pretty tense film and it will keep you engaged throughout.

The Special Features: There’s a 4-minute making of, some brief character bios, and the film’s trailer.

The Wrap-Up: The Moon isn’t a perfect sci-fi disaster film, but it’s an enjoyable watch and the ending works really well, giving me all the feels. If you know how high-quality Korean films these days are (and even if you don’t) this one is worth checking out.

Dr. Cheon and the Lost Talisman

The Movie: Speaking of Korean films, we get a two-fer this week with another genre offering from there. This one is a different kind of movie though, as it deals with the supernatural. Dr. Cheon doesn’t believe in ghosts, even though he’s descended from a famous shaman, but that doesn’t stop him from performing exorcists. He’s a sham, a fake, who uses his sharp sense of observation but also assistants and gadgets to fool people into thinking he’s exorcising their ghosts and demons. But – and I think we all know where this is going – along comes that one client who asks for his help, and he finds that what he once thought was fake might be much more real than he thinks. The film runs a brisk 90 minutes, which I liked because so much Korean cinema comes in at over two hours, but it also has some pros and some cons. On the plus side, it’s fun and snappy and fast-paced, and it has no small amount of charm to it. On the other hand, a lot of that charm disappears in the second half as the film devolves into a pure action-and-special-effects spectacle. It’s cool to look at, sure, but the heart of the film that’s so present in the first half dissipates in the second, and that’s disappointing. Still, overall it’s a pretty fun ride.

The Special Features: All that’s included are some brief character bios, and the film’s trailer.

The Wrap-Up: Dr. Cheon and the Lost Talisman isn’t a perfect film, but it does showcase the kinds of movies Korea is producing these days. I wish it had managed to keep its momentum going all the way until the end, but it’s still more enjoyable than not and I think people will like it.

The Black Mass

The Movie: This new horror movie is based on a true story that’s more famous than you think (and I’m trying to avoid any spoilers here.) In it, we follow a serial killer on a 24-hour rampage in 1970s Florida. And while the facts of the case in terms of victims and such are true, since the movie is told from the killer’s point of view, it seems likely there’s a good amount of fictional embellishment as well. What is interesting is that the film spends a lot of time on the victims, which is a nice touch, and it also keeps the identity of the serial killer a secret; in fact, he’s just listed as Me in the credits, although it won’t take you long to figure out who is stalking college co-eds in late 1970s Florida if you think about it. The movie isn’t a slam dunk, but I will say that I liked it more than I expected to, even with a conceit that I wasn’t sure was going to work. And with a few familiar faces in the cast, such as Nicky Whelan and Jeremy London (plus a lot of “hey, they were in Halloween the 13th, Part 12!” actors), the film is easily watchable.

The Special Features: Just a trailer and an image stills gallery.

The Wrap-Up: The Black Mass gets credit for trying to do a horror film in a unique way that sets it apart from a lot of similar movies. It doesn’t always succeed, bur frankly, I’ve seen lots of worse movies. Worth a watch if you’re looking for something interesting in the horror genre.

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