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Home Video Releases for May '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:
Superman 1978 – 1987 5-Film Collection
Even though Superman has been on a hiatus on the big screen (no Henry Cavill’s appearance in the credits of Black Adam doesn’t count), Warner Bros. has released a brand new 4K boxset chronicling Christopher Reeves as Superman. Included in the set are Superman: The Movie, Superman II, Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, Superman III, and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. I’ve long considered Superman: The Movie my favorite Superman movie. It captures the spirit I associate with the character and has the wonderful chemistry between Reeves and Margot Kidder as Lois Lane. Funny enough I always stopped there with Reeves’ Superman adventures since I’d heard the sequels were of diminishing quality. This set presented an opportunity to check out Superman II at the very least.
With Lex Luther (Gene Hackman) securely in jail, Superman is mostly concerned with taking down minor villains. Another one of his tasks is babysitting Lois Lane, as she continues to take ridiculous risks in order to be the best journalist in the world. One of these scoops puts her in a dangerous position at the Eiffel Tower, with a bomb about to destroy the famous tower. Superman comes to the rescue and the bomb is disposed of in space, but the explosion frees three criminals from Superman’s home planet. These criminals are empowered by the sun just like Superman and their power might prove too much.
What’s funny about Superman II is that Superman isn’t really all that knowledgeable about his new enemies until much later in the movie. Instead, he’s spending a lot of his time with Lois Lane, who’s determined to make the connection between her fellow journalist Clark Kent and Superman. The discovery will help Clark and Lois take their relationship to another level.
I only watched the theatrical cut of Superman II. What I found was a movie that was mostly goofy and often boring. It was smart to separate the villains from Superman because when the villains are on the screen you can fast forward. Maybe the special effects were enough to carry those sections when the movie was released, but the romance material (as silly as it can be) is often more interesting. I still vastly prefer the original movie, but this was a fine opportunity to see Reeves in action once again. Not sure I’ll pursue III and IV which are supposed to be even worse than this one.
Do I recommend this box set? Nope. Even if you enjoy the first two Superman movies, there isn’t enough value here to justify the price. I didn’t think that Superman II looked especially groundbreaking in its 4K UHD debut. The special features are mostly rehashed from previous releases. As much as I love Superman: The Movie I would’ve probably been better off with just that one.
Superman 1978 – 1987 5-Film Collection is now available on 4K UHD
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
By all accounts, a Dungeons & Dragons movie shouldn’t work. As someone who has dabbled in playing D&D, the appeal is mostly playing with your friends and making your own stories. Those are elements that simply can’t be replicated on the big screen. Thankfully, the directors of the excellent Game Night (John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein), made sure to capture another element of D&D that is fundamental to the experience, the found family.
Edgin (Chris Pine) is a lowly Bard who’s been imprisoned with his close friend Holga (Michelle Rodriguez). In order to be released from prison, he needs to plead his case and we quickly learn why he’s in this terrible situation. His goal includes retrieving a lost artifact that’ll let him resurrect his late wife and have a relationship with his daughter Kira (Chloe Coleman). After leaving the prison, Edgin and Holga discover they’ll need a new crew to get what they’re after and that includes adding Doric (Sophia Lillis) and Simon (Justice Smith) to the team.
You don’t need to have played Dungeons & Dragons to enjoy the movie. Those who are into the franchise and the lore will certainly get more of the jokes and references, but this is a standalone fantasy story that has plenty to recommend. I remember feeling really excited to revisit this movie again and again after seeing it in theaters and I’m glad to have that opportunity again. Did I mention that Hugh Grant is the villain? He’s fantastic as a villain and if you haven’t seen Paddington 2, watch that too.
I briefly demoed the disc with the Themberchaud sequence (also known as the big-boi dragon sequence) since I figured the blacks would most benefit from the 4K resolution and I wasn’t wrong. Everything looks great and ideally, the 4K UHD is the way to watch Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.
Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves comes to 4K and Blu-ray on May 30th. You can purchase the movie digitally or watch it on Paramount+.
The newest episode of the It’s the Pictures Podcast features a discussion on the Guardians of the Galaxy series of movies, including Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. You can stream it, download it, or play it by hitting the YouTube link below:
Thelma & Louise
Two women, a turquoise Thunderbird, the ride of a lifetime. With this pop-culture landmark, screenwriter Callie Khouri and action auteur Ridley Scott rewrote the rules of the road movie, telling the story of two best friends who find themselves transformed into accidental fugitives during a weekend getaway gone wrong—leading them on a high-speed southwestern odyssey as they elude police and discover freedom on their own terms. Propelled by irresistible performances from Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis (plus Brad Pitt in a sexy, star-making turn)—and nominated for six Academy Awards, winning one for Khouri—the exhilaratingly cathartic Thelma & Louise stands as cinema’s ultimate ode to ride-or-die female friendship.
I’ve run out of time to review this disc before the end of the month, but this was easily the Criterion release I was most looking forward to in May. Hopefully, I’ll have thoughts on the movie in the newsletter soon enough.
Thelma & Louise comes to 4K and Blu-ray via Criterion on May 30th
Gunbuster Complete Original OVA Series
I have something about Gunbuster coming out soon, but I wanted to report on this new release from Discotek Media. Gunbuster is one of my favorite all-time anime and this represents the best way to watch the series in Region 1/A. It has a new English dub and looks sharp in its new transfer to Blu-ray. I was a little disappointed with the extras on the release because back in October, Discotek Media unveiled some big plans for the release. It’s most likely that the Japanese Licensors didn’t want to allow those extras and we’re given a scaled-back release. Nevertheless, content is king, and this series comes highly recommended.
Gunbuster Complete Original OVA Series comes to Blu-ray on May 30th
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