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Essential Home Video Releases for April '23
New Releases and Remasters Now on Blu-Ray and 4K UHD
While many have decided to forgo physical releases and stick to digital, I’m here to share another month of fantastic home video releases. Check out the 4K UHD releases and stick around for some new articles that I’ve written. There are also some Blu-ray recommendations to be found below.
On 4K UHD:
Star Trek: The Next Generation 4-Movie Collection
Coinciding with the release of Star Trek: Picard Season 3 comes a brand new box set of the four Next Generation Trek movies in 4K HDR and Dolby Vision. I was really excited to add First Contact to the collection since I consider it the best of the Next Generation movies. Out of the four movies, the only one I’ve watched since getting the box set is Star Trek: Generations. Also known as Star Trek VII, the movie contains the final appearance of Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and is the first movie for the Next Generation crew. The reputation of this one has had me avoiding it for a long time, but in actuality it’s fine.
The first twenty-five minutes focus solely on Kirk as he explores a new ship going out on its maiden voyage. A catastrophe occurs and Kirk is assumed to be dead. Fast forward eighty years, and the crew of the Enterprise has got themselves mixed up with Soran (Malcolm McDowell), a man who will stop at nothing to make it back into a fantasy world known as the Nexus. For all the build-up of this being a Kirk/Picard movie, they are only together on screen for a brief period of time. As for the movie itself, it definitely feels like three or more Next Generation episodes tied together, and not really a true feature film outing.
As for the 4K picture, it looks fantastic. Paramount really did a wonderful job with this one and as Generations is the oldest movie in the set, I expect the other ones to be even better. Whether or not you ultimately purchase this set comes down to how much you enjoy this collection. I don’t think the Next Generation movies are as strong as the movies with Kirk and Spock, so you might be fine with just picking up First Contact. But if you enjoyed Picard and want to see more adventures with the Next Generation crew, then this is a box set for you.
Warner Bros. 100 - The Maltese Falcon, Cool Hand Luke, Rebel Without a Cause
Warner Bros. has released three classics in the 4K UHD format to celebrate its 100th anniversary. The Maltese Falcon, Cool Hand Luke, and Rebel Without a Cause all received lush HDR passes bringing out detail that these films haven’t seen before. I sampled two of the three discs (Maltese Falcon and Rebel Without a Cause) and Maltese Falcon looked exceptional. Some of my favorite releases to the 4K format have been Black & White movies. Gone are the artifacts that would plague lower definition releases when comes to displaying black, not only that but the whites pop off the screen as well. I was a little less impressed with Rebel Without a Cause, which was also the first time I watched the movie. Sure, James Dean’s signature red jacket looks magnificent, but the image was fine more or less. Maybe Warner Bros. stuck to presenting the movie in the best possible presentation, but it isn’t one that looked particularly amazing on my set. It also doesn’t help that I probably prefer this movie the least out of the three that were released in this promotion.
All three movies are available on 4K UHD now. Click here to purchase The Maltese Falcon.
Triangle of Sadness
From my review of Triangle of Sadness:
“Triangle of Sadness still has some tricks up its sleeve after this memorable sequence. In particular, a crew member named Abigail (Dolly De Leon) becomes a major character and leaves an indelible impression despite her limited screen time. It’s easy to make fun of the rich and laugh at their expense, even if it’s considered low-hanging fruit narratively. Triangle of Sadness can be a blunt instrument at times, but it wonderfully weaves its tale of class warfare. It’s a vacation I won’t forget anytime soon.”
No surprises, but this is an exceptional picture from the Criterion Collection which has released Triangle of Sadness as part of their April 2023 slate. The release has the following features:
• New 4K digital master, approved by director Ruben Östlund, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
• In the 4K UHD edition: One 4K UHD disc of the film and one Blu-ray with the film and special features
• New interview with Östlund and filmmaker and actor Johan Jonason
• Two new programs: one about the film’s special effects and one about a challenging day on set
Shout Factory has released Midnight Run to 4K following their Blu-ray release a few years ago. This isn’t a significant upgrade, but if for some reason you didn’t buy Midnight Run a few years back, I highly recommend it. I wouldn’t exactly call it an underrated gem, because it has Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin, but I do believe more people should see it. Midnight Run is an exceptional movie with great action and humor, as well as, some decent drama. Watch this one and thank me later.
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For RogerEbert.com, I interviewed director Makoto Shinkai in honor of his new animated feature, Suzume. An absolute pleasure to speak with him and get additional insight into his new feature. Check out the interview at RogerEbert.com
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The newest episode of the It’s the Pictures Podcast continues the tradition of our Summer Box Office game. You can stream it, download it, or play it by hitting the YouTube link below:
One release I’m excited to check out is the new A24 store exclusive of Charlotte Welles’ Aftersun. On the surface, the movie comes across as a coming-of-age film for Sophie (Frankie Corio), but look a little closer and you’ll find some deep fears in Calum (Academy Award-nominee Paul Mescal). I would say that Aftersun is definitely a movie you might want to watch before purchasing, so check it out on digital platforms. It was one of my favorite movies of 2022 though.
Small Axe Box Set
In 2020, director Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave) released a 5-movie series to Amazon. It detailed the real-life experiences of London’s West Indian community between 1969 and 1982. While the series has been streaming on Amazon for a while now, this represents the first time the series will be available on home video from Criterion. Available April 25th.