New Blu-Ray Releases You Should Check Out: 'Labyrinth' 4K, 'Luca', 'Brotherhood Of The Wolf', 'Jakob's Wife'

I've rounded up some great Blu-ray releases you should check out right now. Right this very second. Drop everything that you're doing and check these Blu-rays out, or there will be trouble! I mean it! Or you can take your time. In either case, I will continue to beat the drum of physical media until they pull me away from my computer and throw me in the loony bin.

Labyrinth 4K

Jim Henson was in a class of his own, and he brought his own unique gifts for storytelling and creatures to his 1986 movie Labyrinth, which is now on 4K. This should go without saying, but Labyrinth is not a perfect movie. It has many flaws – its main character, played by Jennifer Connelly, is the prime example. Connelly is a wonderful actress, but her character Sarah is, to be blunt, an annoying jerk. Sure, she eventually learns to be a better person after her harrowing journey, but it's still a bit of a chore to spend time with her. And yet, despite a flaw of this magnitude, Labyrinth succeeds because it's such a wildly inventive movie, full of fantastical elements that you'd never see portrayed today the way they were here. Everything is practical, and physical, and tangible. If someone were to remake Labyrinth – which, perish the thought, will probably happen one day – everything would be digital, and cold, and lifeless. And of course, no remake could ever recapture the sheer personal magnetism of David Bowie, who is dynamite here as the sexy, pouty Goblin King

Own or Rent?

Labyrinth has actually already been released on 4K once before, so you might not want to double-dip. However, this new release – which is meant to coincide with the film's 35th anniversary – is presented with Dolby Vision, which the previous release was not. That may be enough to get fans to splurge, and I personally would recommend you own this one.

Special Features Include:

  • Feature presented in 4K resolution, with Dolby Vision
  • Dolby Atmos audio + 5.1 audio + original theatrical 2-Channel Surround audio
  • Special Features:
  • NEW: Deleted & Alternate Scene Oubliette
  • Over 25 minutes of never-before-seen lost and alternate scenes, with all-new commentary from Brian Henson!
  • NEW: Sarah's Screen Tests
  • A collection of rare, original screen tests for the role of Sarah! Featuring Molly Ringwald, Trini Alvarado, Tracey Gold, Claudia Wells, Jill Schoelen, Maddie Corman and Danielle von Zerneck
  • "The Henson Legacy" Featurette
  • Labyrinth Anniversary Q&A
  • "Remembering The Goblin King" Featurette
  • The Storytellers (Picture-in-Picture)
  • Commentary by Conceptual Designer Brian Froud
  • Original Making-of Documentary "Inside The Labyrinth"
  • "Journey Through the Labyrinth: Kingdom of Characters" Documentary
  • "Journey Through the Labyrinth: The Quest for Goblin City" Documentary
  • Theatrical Trailers

Luca

Luca is another winner from Pixar. It may not be an instant classic like some of their other entries (I'm looking at you, Inside Out). But it's still a lovely little movie about friendship, sea monsters, and beautiful Italian locations (rendered digitally). The story follows two sea monster kids who look like humans when they step onto dry land. One of those kids, Luca (Jacob Tremblay) dreams of staying in the real world, make human friends, and go to human school, much to the chagrin of his best pal/fellow sea monster Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer). This is ultimately light, fluffy stuff, but that doesn't mean it's not worth your time (even if I have a hard time believing any kid, sea monster or otherwise, would be so hellbent on going to school).

Own or Rent?

I firmly believe Luca is worth seeing. But I don't think it's worth owning. If you have Disney+ you can go stream this baby right now – and you should. Or you could rent it. Those would be my suggestions to you, reader.

Special Features Include:

  • Our Italian Inspiration – Experience the joy of discovery as Pixar artists travel to Cinque Terre, Italy, to absorb the beauty and culture of the coastal region which inspired the characters and the quintessential Italian backdrop of "Luca."
  • Secretly A Sea Monster – Explore the artistry and technical innovation of Luca's transformation from sea monster to human, and how the theme of transformation is central to the emotional journey of the main characters.
  • Best Friends – Best friends can challenge us, inspire us, annoy us, and encourage us. The cast and crew of "Luca" share their own stories about how besties influenced their lives, and how those experiences informed the creation of screen pals Luca, Alberto and Giulia.
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Introduction – Director Enrico Casarosa introduces scenes not included in the final version of "Luca."
  • Starfish Hunt (Alternate Opening) – Luca explores the shore and the sea, gathering mussels and starfish, in this serene alternate opening to the film.
  • Isola Del Mare (Alternate Opening) – Luca welcomes viewers to the quiet island he calls home.
  • Festa Del Mare – The boys go to a festival filled with fun ... and danger.
  • Here Comes Giulia – Giulia explores Isola Del Mare, where she meets Luca and Alberto, and asks so many questions.
  • Gelato Trouble – Giulia offers to treat Luca and Alberto to something called "gelato."
  • Sea Monster Cannery – Luca dreams about a magical place filled with Vespas and gelato, but things aren't quite what they seem.

Brotherhood of the Wolf

Christophe GansBrotherhood of the Wolf is a truly wild movie: a historical drama featuring the French Revolution; a werewolf movie that isn't really a werewolf movie; an action movie complete with slow-motion kung-fu; a disturbing tale of incest and murder; and oh yeah, did I mention it was also based on a true story? In Brotherhood of the Wolf, a knight/naturalist and his Iroquois sidekick who happens to know martial arts, head to a small village to investigate a series of grisly murders being attributed to a monster. Once there, the knight falls in love, gets caught up in scandals, and finds out that nothing is as it seems. It's a strange, beautiful, violent movie with some of the most memorable scene transitions ever caught on film (at one point the camera zooms in on Monica Bellucci's breasts, at which point they dissolve into a pair of mountains).

Own or Rent?

This is a tough one. I very much want to tell you to buy Brotherhood of the Wolf. It's a damn good movie and it looks great on this new collector's edition Blu-ray. But for some reason, the subtitles on the film are incredibly off. I don't speak French, but even I could tell the translations weren't entirely accurate. In some cases, the subtitles are just lazy – for example, when Mark Dacascos' character, who is meant to be Iroquois, speaks in his own language the subtitles state [Speaks in Foreign Language] without actually translating his words. That's nearly unforgivable. Still, if you're a fan of this one, the Blu is worth scooping up.

Special Features Include:

Disc One: Feature Film

  • Unrated Director's Cut Of The Film

Disc Two: Bonus Features

  • The Guts Of The Beast – A Look At The Creation Of The Film From The Fight Scenes To The Digital Effects
  • The Making Of BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF – A Look Behind-The-Scenes
  • The Legend – A Look At The Historical Facts Behind The Legend Of The Gévaudan Beast
  • Deleted Scenes With Introduction By Director Christophe Gans
  • Theatrical Trailers

Jakob's Wife

All hail Barbara Crampton, who might just be one of the hardest working actresses these days. It truly seems like every other month there's a new movie featuring Barbara Crampton, and while the movies in question aren't huge blockbusters with worldwide distribution, they're still worth your time. Crampton never phones it in, and she has one of her juiciest roles yet in Travis Stevens' vampire flick Jakob's Wife. Crampton plays the bored wife of a minister (Larry Fessenden) in a small town. Crampton's character's dull life suddenly undergoes a major shift when she's turned into a vampire. Despite her undead state, she finally feels alive again – but of course, that newfound lust for life also requires her to drink blood. And there's a lot of that here – when vampires bite necks in Jakob's Wife, the blood explodes out as if being pumped from a firehose. The first half of Jakob's Wife is the most successful, invoking a great Salem's Lot-like vibe. However, while I appreciate the film's overall message of Crampton's character learning to break away from her husband, Jakob's Wife starts to feel like it's running on fumes, and no amount of blood can change that.

Own or Rent?

Let's go with a rental for this one. Or you could wait for the film to drop on Shudder – something that's happening on August 19, 2021. But in either case, I don't think I could suggest a full-fledged purchase for this one, unless you really end up digging it.

Special Features Include:

  • The Making Of Jakob's Wife
  • Deleted Scenes