New Blu-ray Releases Midsommar DC

As physical media becomes more and more of a dying breed (Disney just recently announced they were halting 4K releases on older titles, including Fox movies), I’m still here, beating the physical media drum for anyone who wants to hear it. So, please, check out these new Blu-ray releases.

Midsommar Director’s Cut

You might think that Midsommar, a movie that runs 148 minutes, doesn’t need to be any longer. But there is, indeed, a longer version – the director’s cut, which was previously only available digitally and now has itself a fancy new physical release. The director’s cut clocks in at 171 minutes, so be warned: it’s a whole lot of movie. But is it any different? Well…yes, and no. Plot-wise, the director’s cut remains the same. After losing her entire family in a murder-suicide, Dani (Florence Pugh) heads off to Sweden with her gaslighting boyfriend (Jack Reynor) and his college pals (William Jackson Harper, Vilhelm Blomgren, Will Poulter). They’re supposed to be experiencing a fun festival in the sun, but it turns into a weird, darkly comedic nightmare.

What sets the director’s cut apart from the theatrical cut is both pacing and background. The film’s pacing changes a bit with the additional footage, but never in a bad way. Indeed, in many ways, this longer cut becomes even more hypnotic, lulling you into a comfortable groove before getting weird. The background stuff mostly applies to the other characters. There’s a considerable amount of additional material focusing on Dani’s boyfriend, all of which paints him as even more of a complete asshole than the theatrical cut. There’s also an additional ceremony following the infamous earlier event where two elderly people meet a bloody demise. Like I said: it doesn’t change the movie considerably. But it does make it an overall richer experience.

Own or Rent? 

Okay, this is tricky. Because I want to say “own,” but the director’s cut is only available through the A24 website, and it’s currently out-of-stock. However, A24 says the Blu-ray will be restocked, so you’re definitely going to want to keep an eye on that. Not only do you get the film in a clothbound, book-sized case, you also get a wealth of artwork from the film as well a foreword from Martin Scorsese where he sings the praises of director Ari Aster.

Special Features Include: 

  • Blu-ray disc comes enclosed in a clothbound, Hårga-yellow slipcase, accompanied by an illustrated 62-page booklet featuring original artworks from the film by Ragnar Persson and a foreword by Martin Scorsese.

 

Marriage Story

Netflix struck a deal with the Criterion Collection to release several of their recent original films. Roma was first, and now here’s Marriage Story (The IrishmanAmerican Factory, and Atlantics are the other remaining titles headed to the collection). One of the most buzzed-about movies of last year, Marriage Story follows the messy divorce of Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) and Charlie (Adam Driver). That doesn’t sound like a feel-good movie, and it isn’t. Noah Baumbach‘s film goes to some devastating places – particularly during a volatile fight between the pair. But there’s also a warmth beneath all the chaos, and as the film progresses it becomes clear that Marriage Story isn’t taking sides. It isn’t blaming either partner more than the other. It’s just telling the story of two people who grew apart, and who probably could’ve had a much more harmonious separation were it not for lawyers. Johansson is quite good here, but this is really Driver’s film, and the actor continues to prove why he’s so in-demand by so many filmmakers – he’s phenomenal. And he can sing!

Own or Rent? 

“Why would I buy a movie I can watch on Netflix for free, you jerk?!” you may be saying. I get it! I do. But come on – this is a Criterion Collection release. It’s the epitome of high-quality physical media (as far as movies are concerned), and there’s a new 4K digital transfer of the flick here, making it the best it’s ever looked. I’m not saying you must buy Marriage Story, but if you enjoy this film and want to revisit it, this Criterion release is superior to the one streaming on Netflix.

Special Features Include: 

  • New 4K digital transfer, supervised by director Noah Baumbach, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with Baumbach
  • The Players, a new program featuring interviews with actors Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Alan Alda, Julie Hagerty, and Ray Liotta
  • The Filmmakers, a new program about the production of the film, featuring interviews with Baumbach, editor Jennifer Lame, production designer Jade Healy, costume designer Mark Bridges, and producer David Heyman
  • The Making of “Marriage Story,” a new program featuring behind-the-scenes footage
  • New interviews with composer Randy Newman and Baumbach about the film’s score
  • New program featuring Baumbach walking the viewer through a key location from the film
  • Trailers
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: Notes on the film by novelist Linn Ullmann

 

Ghost

The movie that made pottery sexy, Ghost is the type of movie they don’t really make anymore – the mid-budget theatrical film aimed squarely at adults. It also holds up exceptionally well. Patrick Swayze is Sam Wheat, a very handsome, very white Wall Street banker who lives with his artist girlfriend Molly (Demi Moore). The two clearly love each other (although Sam doesn’t like to say “I love you,” because he’s a weirdo), but their plans for a long, romantic life together are violently altered when Sam is shot to death during a mugging. But Sam is still around, a ghost who can’t be seen or heard by anyone. Well, almost anyone. Sam just happens to find himself a phony psychic who turns out to be a real psychic, and she can hear him. This is Oda Mae Brown, played by Whoopi Goldberg in an Oscar-winning role. Goldberg is dynamite here – funny and quick, a wonderful balance to Swayze’s very square ghost. Full of big, unapologetic melodrama, cutting-edge (for 1990) special effects, thrills and chills and swooning romance, Ghost is the kind of original project that Hollywood used to make with great success not too long ago. If only they could go back.

Own or Rent? 

Own! This movie isn’t streaming on the big streaming sites (it’s on Showtime and something called Fubo?), and this is definitely a title worth owning. You can take it off the shelf whenever you want, fire up the pottery wheel, and cover yourself in wet clay as you watch! Fun! Ghost now has itself a swell 4K release from the Paramount Presents line, which means it’s presented in collectible packaging that includes a foldout image of the original theatrical poster, and an interior spread with key movie moments. This release also includes a newly remastered from a 4K film transfer supervised by director Jerry Zucker.

Special Features Include: 

  • NEW Filmmaker Focus: Jerry Zucker Interview
  • Ghost Stories: The Making of a Classic
  • Alchemy of a Love Scene
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Audio Commentary

 

Tales From the Darkside: The Movie 

Have you ever wanted to see a movie where Debbie Harry plays a witch ready to cook a little boy? Where Steve Buscemi raises a mummy from the grave to kill Julianne Moore? Where New York Dolls frontman David Johansen fights a killer cat? Where James Remar plays a romantic lead? Well, I have just the film – Tales From the Darkside: The Movie. Based on the Tales From the Darkside TV show, this horror anthology film boasts a script by George Romero and story influence from Stephen King, leading many to consider it the unofficial third Creepshow movie. It’s also a total blast, full of gooey, gory practical effects, darkly comedic tales of horror, and surprise appearances from actors you wouldn’t expect to appear in this sort of thing. Horror anthology fans can’t go wrong here.

Own or Rent? 

This is, without question, a must-have. Coming from the fine folks at Shout Factory/Scream Factory, it has a new documentary-length making-of feature, as well as an older commentary that features Romero. If you don’t care for horror anthology flicks, then sure, by all means, skip this bad boy. But if you crave the good old days of practical effects and ’90s celebrities being butchered by ghouls, I urge you to pick this up.

Special Features Include: 

  • NEW Audio Commentary With Co-Producer David R. Kappes
  • NEW Tales Behind The Darkside: The Making Of Four Ghoulish Fables – A Six-Chapter, Feature-Length Documentary Featuring Director John Harrison, Producer Mitchell Galin, Director Of Photography Robert Draper, Production Designer Ruth Ammon, Special Make-Up & Creature Effects Artists Robert Kurtzman, Greg Nicotero, And Howard Berger, Creature Performer Michael Deak, Actors James Remar And Rae Dawn Chong And Editor Harry B. Miller
  • Audio Commentary With Director John Harrison And Co-Screenwriter George A. Romero
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Radio Spots
  • Stills Gallery
  • Behind-The-Scenes Gallery
  • Behind-The-Scenes Footage Compilation

 

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