New Blu-ray Releases knives out

Welcome back, fans of physical media. There are several great Blu-ray releases hitting the shelves this week, and if you’re one of those weirdos like me who cherishes physical copies, you’re going to want to grab some (if not all) of these. These are the new Blu-ray releases you should check out this week.

Knives Out

One of the most entertaining movies of last year, Rian Johnson‘s Knives Out is both a send-up of and a loving tribute to whodunits – specifically locked room mysteries in which a gaggle of colorful characters are all treated as suspects. Daniel Craig‘s private detective Benoit Blanc gets top billing here, but he’s actually a secondary character. The film truly belongs to Ana de Armas, playing Marta, the immigrant nurse of a wealthy author (Christopher Plummer). After the author turns up dead by apparent suicide, things take a turn for the surreal as the dead man’s family jockey for his inheritance. Johnson has so many tricks up his sleeve here that it borders on the absurd – and that’s part of the fun. Just when you think you’ve got Knives Out figured out, a new twist arises and shows you how wrong you’ve been.

Why It’s Worth Owning on Blu-ray:

You might assume that knowing the twist (or rather, twists) of Knives Out makes for a less-fun rewatch. But you’d be wrong! Knives Out is inherently rewatchable. In fact, rewatching it helps you pick up on the clues you missed the first time around. In addition to the film itself, you get two different commentary tracks – one with Rian Johnson, DOP Steve Yedlin, and frequent Johnson player Noah Segan; one Johnson recorded to be used in theaters. Johnson is a filmmaker who knows his stuff, making his commentary tracks must-listens. And if that isn’t enough for you, there’s a 2-hour making-of featurette.

Special Features Include: 

  • Audio Commentary by Writer-Director Rian Johnson, Director of Photography Steve Yedlin, and Actor Noah Segan
  • In-Theatre Commentary by Rian Johnson
  • Deleted Scene: “Bicycling Accident” (with Optional Audio Commentary by Rian Johnson)
  • Deleted Scene: “Don’t Do Anything Rash” (with Optional Audio Commentary by Rian Johnson)
  • “Making a Murder” Eight-Part Documentary
  • “Rian Johnson: Planning the Perfect Murder” Featurette
  • Writer-Director and Cast Q&A
  • Marketing Gallery
  • “Meet the Thrombeys” Viral Ads

 

Frozen 2

There seem to be two camps regarding Frozen 2. On one side you have those who think this is a step-down from the original. And then on the other you have people like me, who think this is, in fact, the superior film. The original Frozen is good, don’t get me wrong. But it kind of runs out of energy midway through, and never really recovers. That doesn’t happen with Frozen 2, which keeps moving along at a steady clip. That said, the movie commits an almost unforgivable sin: It gives us answers to questions we never really asked. There’s a storyline here about how ice queen Elsa got her magical ice powers – and honestly, we didn’t need to know that. It was fine as a mystery. But here we are! Once you get over that, though, you’ll find another charming adventure with endearing characters, and some great tunes, too.

Why It’s Worth Owning on Blu-ray:

Don’t lie: You want that sing-along version. “Oh, it’s for my kids!” you say defensively. Nice try: You don’t have kids. You just want Frozen 2 in your house so you can turn it on whenever you want and start belting out “Into the Unknown.” I see you. And I’m not judging you.

Special Features Include: 

  • Sing-Along Version of the Movie – Sing along with your favorite songs as you watch the movie.
  • Song Selection – Jump to your favorite musical moments, with on-screen lyrics. Songs include Oscar®-nominated “Into The Unknown,” “All Is Found,” “Some Things Never Change,” “When I Am Older,” “Lost in the Woods,” “Show Yourself,” and “The Next Right Thing”
  • Outtakes – Laugh along with the cast of “Frozen 2” as they record their lines, sing their songs and have fun in the recording booth.
  • Deleted Scenes – Check out a few scenes that never made the final cut.
    • Intro – Directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck offer a glimpse into their filmmaking process with scenes that didn’t make the final cut.
    • Prologue – A battle rages between Arendelle and the Northuldra while a mysterious figure challenges King Agnarr.
    • Secret Room – A secret room reveals even more of Anna and Elsa’s past, including a shocking revelation about their mother.
    • Elsa’s Dream – Anna’s playful glimpse into Elsa’s dream takes a dark turn.
    • Hard Nokks – Kristoff reveals his true feelings about life in Arendelle when the Nokk won’t take no for an answer.
    • A Place of Our Own – Elsa uses her magic to relieve Anna’s lingering doubts about their parents’ faith in her.
  • Deleted Songs – When it comes to “Frozen 2,” there can never be too much music. Hear some of the songs that got cut from the final film.
    • Intro – Directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck revel in the chance to share a few songs that didn’t make it into the final film.
    • “Home” – Anna savors every moment as she wanders through this kingdom she calls home.
    • “I Wanna Get This Right” – Kristoff wants everything to be perfect before he proposes, leaving Anna to wonder, “Will it ever be just right?”
  • The Spirits of “Frozen 2” – Cast and crew explore the Scandinavian and Nordic mythology that inspired the spirits inhabiting the enchanted forest of “Frozen 2.”
  • Did You Know??? – Olaf asks us the question “Did You Know” as we discover “Frozen 2” fun facts, Easter eggs and tidbits about the making of the film.
  • Scoring a Sequel – Composer Christophe Beck combines a 91-piece orchestra with 30 choral voices to create the compelling score for “Frozen 2.”
  • Gale Tests – They say you can’t see the wind. Only its effects. Filmmakers give it a shot while creating the playful wind spirit, Gale.
    • Gale Test – A young girl and boy play tag in this fully animated effort to “give personality to something that’s invisible.”
    • Hand-Drawn Gale Test – A hand-drawn test to bring the precocious wind spirit to life.
  • Multi-Language Reel
    • “Into the Unknown” in 29 Languages – Hear Elsa’s soaring call to adventure in 29 different languages
  • Music Videos – Weezer and Panic! at the Disco lend their voices to a few of the soaring melodies from “Frozen 2.”
    • “Into the Unkown” (Panic! at the Disco version) – Panic! at the Disco frontman Brendon Urie stars in their version of “Into The Unknown” from “Frozen 2.”
    • “Lost in the Woods” (Weezer version) – Weezer puts their spin on Kristoff’s epic ballad, “Lost In the Woods.”

Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit is not a film for everyone. In fact, many flat-out despise the film. But for me, it works. In fact, it works because it shouldn’t. There are a million ways a comedy about a boy and his imaginary friend, who is also Hitler, could’ve gone wrong. But writer-director-actor Taika Waititi does a fine job balancing the absurd with the serious. Jojo goes to dark places – how could it not? – but Waititi manages to make the humor work without seeming crass. Young actor Roman Griffin Davis is great as Jojo, a Hitler youth who idolizes the Nazis and then slowly begins to see how evil – and absurd – the regime really is. With this film, Waititi is saying that there’s hope for some people – people who have just started to go down the wrong path, but haven’t quite arrived at their destination yet. That may seem naive, but it’s a nice hope to hold onto.

Why It’s Worth Owning on Blu-ray:

Taika Waititi does a commentary track on this release that will be familiar to anyone who listened to his commentary on Thor: Ragnarok. It’s not even the least bit serious, and Waititi treats it as a total joke. Whether or not that works for you is up to you to find out. Some may get sick of Waititi’s constant jokes and droll comments, while others might find them endearing. But if you’re hoping for an informative track where Waititi talks about his process, and the making of the film itself, well…you won’t get that. But you will get that info via a making-of featurette, “Inside Jojo Rabbit.” At this point, you’ve likely made up your mind about Jojo. You either buy what Waititi is selling here, or you want a full refund.

Special Features Include: 

  • Deleted Scenes:
    • “Imaginary Göring”
    • “Little Piggies”
    • “Adolf Dies Again”
  • Outtakes
  • Inside Jojo Rabbit
  • Audio Commentary by Taika Waititi
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Teaser Trailer

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is tailor-made to make you weep – and there’s nothing wrong with that. Marielle Heller‘s film isn’t a Mr. Rogers biopic, even though the marketing might have convinced you otherwise. Instead, Rogers, as played by Tom Hanks, is a supporting character. The real focus is fictional journalist Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys), a sour sod who has a terrible relationship with his estranged father (Chris Cooper). Will the saintly Mr. Rogers help Lloyd get over his anger and forgive? You can probably guess the answer to that – there are no plot twists here. Rhys is quite good as the surly journalist, but Hanks is the real draw. He doesn’t really look like Mr. Rogers, and he doesn’t exactly sound like the man, either. But he does nail Rogers’s soft-spoken cadence, which goes a long way towards convincing you that you really are watching the real Mr. Rogers.

Why It’s Worth Owning on Blu-ray:

While I have a few issues (mostly script related) with A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, it’s absolutely worth owning for Tom Hanks’s performance. The ability to skip ahead to Hanks’s scenes is nice, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook the rest of the movie. For all of its clunky elements, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is ultimately a kind, empathetic movie, and we certainly need more of that right now.

Special Features Include: 

  • Over 15 Minutes of Additional Scenes
  • Blooper Reel
  • Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers
  • The People Who Make a Neighborhood: The Making Of
  • Dreaming Big, Building Small: The Puppets & Miniatures
  • Daniel Tiger Explains: Practice Makes Perfect
  • Filmmaker Commentary

Color Out of Space

How does one even begin to describe a film like Color Out of Space? This absolutely bonkers H.P. Lovecraft adaptation is a film at war with itself. It’s both a film that tries to capture the cosmic horrors of Lovecraft’s work while also letting Nicolas Cage go insane and yell about alpacas. That makes the film sound more fun than it ultimately is, but pacing – and some poor acting from supporting cast members – nearly sink things. And yet, this is a fascinating experiment. Director Richard Stanley is in a class of his own, and when he’s taking Color seriously, he delivers – there are several genuinely unnerving moments that feel as if they’ve sprung from an unwell mind. I only wish the rest of the movie, which is about alien light turning everyone insane and/or into mutated monsters, could live up to those moments.

Why It’s Worth Owning on Blu-ray:

Boy oh boy, I wish this release had come with a Richard Stanely commentary track. I have the privilege of interviewing Stanley about this film (read it here!), and it was one of the most fascinating interviews I’ve ever conducted, simply because he’s so otherworldly and intelligent that it kind of throws you off-kilter. So I can only imagine what a commentary track from the filmmaker would sound like. Alas, we’ll all have to make do with a making-of featurette.

Special Features Include: 

  • The Making of COLOR OUT OF SPACE
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Photo Gallery

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