The Beauty of Michael Mann’s LA is Our 4K Pick of the Week

Streaming might be the future, but physical media is still the present. It’s also awesome, depending on the title, the label, and the release, so each week we take a look at the new Blu-rays and DVDs making their way into the world. Welcome to this week in Home Video for December 8th, 2020!

This week’s home video selection includes new 4K UaHD remasters of Total Recall and Collateral, the complete Steven Universe, and more. Check out our picks below.

Pick of the Week

Collateral KCollateral [4K UaHD]

What is it? A hitman hires a cabbie to drive him around for a night of kills.

Why see it? Michael Mann’s shift into digital video has seen some ugly results (Public Enemies, Blackhat, much of Miami Vice), but this entirely night-set LA thriller is the exception. Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx headline as hitman and cabbie, respectively, and both are terrific. Cruise in particular shines as a bad guy, and he should really play a morally bankrupt baddie again soon. The film looks fairly stunning, particularly in this 4K upgrade which captures and displays the grain beautifully. LA has rarely looked this memorable at night.

[Extras: Commentary by Michael Mann, featurettes, deleted scene]

The Best

Buster KeatonBuster Keaton – Volume 4

What is it? New restorations of Go West and College.

Why see it? Buster Keaton seems destined to always land third in line behind Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd when people start naming the best silent film stars. That’s not a bad place to be, but he arguably deserves an even higher spot. The fourth Keaton double feature from Kino Lorber — once again featuring new restorations — brings together his comedic takes on both the western genre and the traditional college film. He’s a charismatic center of attention managing big laughs, awkward stabs at romance, and some entertaining action.

[Extras: Short film, featurette]

The Godfather CodaThe Godfather: Coda – The Death of Michael Corleone

What is it? A re-edited stab at an epilogue to The Godfather.

Why see it? Francis Ford Coppola’s first two Godfather films remain classics, but his third film, one that arrives decades later under less than ideal circumstances, remains a punching bag for many. It was never actually as bad as its reputation claimed, but regardless of where you land on the theatrical cut this new version in notably improved. The flow is more natural, Michael’s (Al Pacino) arc is more powerful, and Sophia Coppola’s struggles are less damaging. Most of the film remains intact, but the changes make for a new, different, and better watch.

[Extras: Introduction from Francis Ford Coppola]

Possessor KPossessor

What is it? Assassinations in the future are a painful business.

Why see it? Brandon Cronenberg’s sophomore feature is a gut punch of the highest order with an ending that just might leave you both disturbed and delighted. It involves a future tech that allows users to essentially “enter” another person’s mind and body to take control, but that solid enough genre premise is turned on its head with grim ideas, gory violence, and an aggressive introspection.

[Extras: Deleted scenes, featurette]

Steven Universe – The Complete Collection

What is it? Everything!

Why see it? Say hello to Steven Universe: The Movie as well as every episode of Steven Universe and Steven Universe Future. Fans will want to pick up this box set sooner rather than later as it features hours and hours of show content alongside plenty of special features looking into and beyond the series. The show is a colorfully drawn cartoon about a boy named Steven who’s imbued with magical powers that see him head off on grand otherworldly adventures. It’s an energetic series, but the action and fantasy are complemented by songs and a focus on friendship and doing what’s right.

[Extras: Featurettes, mini-episodes, commentaries]

Total Recall KTotal Recall [4K UaHD]

What is it? A man heads to Mars unsure of who he really is.

Why see it? This collaboration between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Paul Verhoeven remains an epic of visual spectacle and ridiculous action. While optical effects are dated, the practical work (much of it from Rob Bottin) is just spectacular fun. It’s a big sci-fi romp with some tongue in cheek humor and visual gags meant to make you smile before the next action beat. Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside, and others join the fun, and it all finds a sharp new life in 4K. The bigger draw here, though, is a documentary about the rise and fall of Carolco, the production company behind some of the biggest hits of the late 80 and early 90s. It’s a bit rushed at times, but it delivers plenty of insider details and fascinating info.

[Extras: Documentary, featurettes, commentary]

The Rest

Cry of a Prostitute [Code Red]

What is it? A mob hitman creates a ruckus.

Why see it? The great Henry Silva became best known as villains in supporting roles, but the 70s saw him land some leads in European thrillers. This one casts him as a very bad man who can hold his own in a gunfight before turning around and treating a woman with intense brutality. It’s rough stuff, but the movie also delivers some bloody gun fight action as well making for a violently entertaining piece of genre fare.

[Extras: None]

Fellini’s Casanova [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? The life and times of Casanova.

Why see it? Federico Fellini will be the big draw here for many as his films have an artistry about them, but Donald Sutherland is the real highlight. His portrayal of the legendary lover is something to behold as he runs madly throughout the film. From the drawn on eyebrows to his high shaved head, he’s a sight, and his idiosyncratic personality gives an interesting spin to the character. He’s not enough to make this a compelling film, though, as its drama and romance don’t quite gel.

[Extras: New 4K restoration, commentary, essay]

My Science Project [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A high school science class gets out of control… and out of this world!

Why see it? People talk about The Thing being side-swiped by E.T. the Extra Terrestrial in 1982, but 1985 saw something similar with Back to Future helping to wipe out this little sci-fi/comedy. Of course, I’m not saying this is equatable to John Carpenter’s classic in quality… but this is still a fun, entertaining tale of science going mad with creativity and adventure. It’s good, silly stuff, and fans of 80s comedies should give it a long overdue visit.

[Extras: Commentary, interview with Fisher Stevens]

Return of the Musketeers [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? The Musketeers, they return.

Why see it? 1973’s The Three Musketeers remains a delightful romp with some fun action and minor comedy, and the sequel is almost as entertaining. This late 80s entry, though, is a bit too much of a desperate bid for renewed relevance. Director Richard Lester manages some solid enough set-pieces, but neither the action nor the comedy can hold up to the earlier films.

[Extras: Commentary]

Sins of the Flesh [Mondo Macabro]

What is it? A man blurs his obsessions with his needs.

Why see it? Director Claude Mulot dabbled in all manner of films from pornography to horror to drama, and this mid 70s feature dabbles in each of them. The horror is of the psychological variety leaving the film’s focus to rest on the drama and explicit T&A. The latter is especially prevalent, and while its erotic effect will vary for viewers the sad characters embroiled within make for an oppressive atmosphere. The plot sees some genre elements come into play, but it exists mostly for the skin.

[Extras: New 4K transfer, interviews]

Yellowstone – Season 3

What is it? A ranch family empire faces threats against their land and their livelihood.

Why see it? Kevin Costner remains a draw, even on the small screen, and his turn here as the head of a family empire allows him plenty of room to show off his chops. It’s like a Knot’s Landing or Dallas but with families who get their hands dirty with the earth beneath them. Being a modern western, of sorts, Costner and the others also get to engage in horseplay and action at times making for a compelling show.

[Extras: Featurettes, interviews]

Also out this week:

Bobbleheads: The Movie, Cry of a Prostitute, Mouchette [Criterion Collection], Nail in the Coffin: The Fall & Rise of Vampiro, Raining in the Mountain, Rock Hudson Collection, Seven Women for Satan, Smiley Face Killers, Versus [Arrow Video]

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