Cinema Paradiso

4K ULTRA HD REVIEW:

MVD/Arrow;
Drama;
$49.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R.’
Stars Philippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale, Antonella Attili, Marco Leonardi, Salvatore Cascio, Jacques Perrin, Agnese Nano.

With movie theaters facing an existential threat, there is perhaps no better time to revisit this 1989 Best Foreign Film Oscar winner about the magic of cinema, available in 4K for the first time.

Through extended flashbacks, the Italian film traces one man’s love affair with the movies beginning as a boy in war torn Sicily in the pre-television era. The boy Toto is fascinated by his small town’s movie theater and the projectionist, Alfredo, who creates magic on the screen from his small booth above the balcony. The booth also houses treasure, stolen kiss clips from various films that the local priest has had the projectionist excise from reels shown in the theater. Through his special relationship with the projectionist and the theater, the fatherless boy grows to cherish the magic of cinematic storytelling. Revisiting the town as an accomplished filmmaker, he reminisces about love, movies and loss.

Director Giuseppe Tornatore’s loving homage to the cinema also earned five BAFTA Awards, the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival and many more plaudits.

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The original award-winning theatrical version of Tornatore’s classic is presented here for the first time on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with DolbyVision. Special features include audio commentary with Tornatore and Italian cinema expert critic Millicent Marcus; “A Dream of Sicily,” a 52-minute documentary profile of Tornatore featuring interviews with the director and extracts from his early home movies and interviews with director Francesco Rosi and painter Peppino Ducato, set to music by Ennio Morricone; “A Bear and a Mouse in Paradise,” a 27-minute documentary on the making of Cinema Paradiso and the characters of Toto and Alfredo, featuring interviews with the actors who play them, Philippe Noiret and Salvatore Cascio, as well as Tornatore; “The Kissing Sequence,” in which Tornatore discusses the origins of the kissing scenes with clips identifying each scene; and the original director’s cut theatrical trailer and 25th anniversary re-release trailer. This 4K combo pack also includes the expanded director’s cut on Blu-ray, which delves deeper into Salvatore’s backstory.

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While the extras provide interesting backstory information, especially about the climactic and affecting “Kissing Sequence,” the real star here is the film itself polished for 4K. I saw the film when it first came out, and it has lost none of its power. As we move into the digital age, and physical media and theatergoing are increasingly labeled passé, Cinema Paradiso is a loving look back at moviegoing in a time when moving pictures were projected on a film strip of successive photos, capturing moments of magic.

‘Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV’ Coming to 4K UHD March 30 From Sony

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV will come out on 4K Ultra HD March 30 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the film, the magical kingdom of Lucis is home to the sacred Crystal, and the menacing empire of Niflheim is determined to steal it. King Regis of Lucis (Sean Bean) commands an elite force of soldiers called the Kingsglaive. Wielding their king’s magic, Nyx (Aaron Paul) and his fellow soldiers fight to protect Lucis. As the overwhelming military might of the empire bears down, King Regis is faced with an impossible ultimatum — to marry his son, Prince Noctis, to Princess Lunafreya of Tenebrae (Lena Headey), captive of Niflheim, and surrender his lands to the empire’s rule. Although the king concedes, it becomes clear that the empire will stop at nothing to achieve their devious goals, with only the Kingsglaive standing between them and world domination. Based on the iconic game, which has sold nearly 9 million copies worldwide since its launch.

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Extras include “A Way with Words: Epic and Intimate Vocals,” in which Aaron Paul, Lena Headey and Sean Bean — along with the filmmakers — reveal the process of creating the vocals for this film; “Fit for the Kingsglaive: Building the World,” an in-depth exploration of imagining and designing the world of the film;  “To Capture the Kingsglaive: The Process,” exploring the intricate process of capturing the physical performances at the heart of this computer-generated film; and “Emotive Music: Scoring the Kingsglaive,” about the creation of the score.

‘Cinema Paradiso’ and ‘Tremors’ on 4K Among Arrow Titles Available on Disc From MVD

Cinema Paradiso, Tremors, Versus and the Shohei Imamura three-film collection Survivor Ballads are available this month on disc from MVD and Arrow Films.

A winner of awards across the world including the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, five BAFTA Awards, the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival and many more, Cinema Paradiso (1988) — available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD — is Giuseppe Tornatore’s loving homage to the cinema. It tells the story of Salvatore, a successful film director, returning home for the funeral of Alfredo, his old friend who was the projectionist at the local cinema throughout his childhood. Soon memories of his first love affair with the beautiful Elena and all the highs and lows that shaped his life come flooding back, as Salvatore reconnects with the community he left 30 years earlier. The original award-winning theatrical version of Tornatore’s classic is presented here for the first time on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with DolbyVision. This edition also includes the expanded director’s cut on Blu-ray, which delves deeper into Salvatore’s backstory. Special features include audio commentary with Tornatore and Italian cinema expert critic Millicent Marcus; “A Dream of Sicily,” a 52-minute documentary profile of Tornatore with interviews with the director and extracts from his early home movies and interviews with director Francesco Rosi and painter Peppino Ducato, set to music by Ennio Morricone; “A Bear and a Mouse in Paradise,” a 27-minute documentary on the making of Cinema Paradiso and the characters of Toto and Alfredo, featuring interviews with the actors who play them, Philippe Noiret and Salvatore Cascio, as well as Tornatore; “The Kissing Sequence,” in which Tornatore discusses the origins of the kissing scenes with clips identifying each scene; and the original director’s cut theatrical trailer and 25th anniversary re-release trailer.

A 1950s-style humorous creature feature, Tremors (1990), available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray, is a cult classic that has spawned a successful franchise that continues to this day. In the film, good-ol’-boy handymen Val (Kevin Bacon) and Earl (Fred Ward) are sick of their dead-end jobs in one-horse desert town Perfection, Nev. (population: 14). Just as they’re about to escape Perfection forever, however, things start to get really weird: half-eaten corpses litter the road out of town; the phone lines stop working; and a plucky young scientist shows evidence of unusually strong seismic activity in the area. Something is coming for the citizens of Perfection and it’s underground. The release features a new 4K restoration from the original negative by Arrow Films, approved by director Ron Underwood and director of photography Alexander Gruszynski. Included in the release are a 60-page book featuring new writing by Kim Newman and Jonathan Melville and selected archive materials; a large fold-out double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt Frank; a small fold-out double-sided poster featuring new Graboid X-ray art by Frank; six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproductions; and limited edition packaging with a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Frank. Special features include new audio commentary by director Ron Underwood and writers/producers Brent Maddock and S.S. Wilson; new audio commentary by Jonathan Melville, author of Seeking Perfection: The Unofficial Guide to Tremors; “Making Perfection,” a new documentary by Universal Studios interviewing key cast and crew from the franchise (including Bacon, Gross, Ariana Richards and Underwood, among many others) and revisiting the original locations; “The Truth About Tremors,” a newly filmed interview with co-producer Nancy Roberts on the film’s rocky road to the screen; “Bad Vibrations,” a newly filmed interview with director of photography Alexander Gruszynski; “Aftershocks and Other Rumblings,” newly filmed on-set stories from associate producer Ellen Collett; “Digging in the Dirt,” a new featurette interviewing the crews behind the film’s extensive visual effects; “Music for Graboids,” a new featurette on the film’s music with composers Ernest Troost and Robert Folk; “Pardon My French!,” a newly assembled compilation of overdubs from the edited-for television version; and numerous archive and other extras.

Survivor Ballads is an exclusive Blu-ray box set from Arrow Academy that presents restored versions of three late career classics from legendary filmmaker Shohei Imamura, a leading figure of the Japanese New Wave era of the 1960s. Based on an ancient folktale, The Ballad of Narayama (1983) was the first of two works from the director to win the prestigious Cannes Palme d’Or. Imamura’s magnum opus depicts the members of an extended farming family eking out their existence in the mountains north of Japan against the backdrop of the changing seasons before village lore decrees they make the sacrifice of abandoning their aged mother on the top of a nearby mountain when she reaches her 70th year. Making its HD debut, Zegen (1987) takes a satirical look at Japan’s prewar colonial expansion through the unscrupulous eyes of its flesh-peddler antihero as he establishes a prostitution enterprise across Southeast Asia. Finally, the harrowing Black Rain (1989) details the precarious existence of a household of atomic bomb survivors as, five years after being caught in the blast of Hiroshima, they struggle to find a husband for their 25-year-old niece. The three works epitomize the director’s almost documentary style of filmmaking, exposing the vulgar yet vibrant and instinctive underbelly of Japanese society through a sympathetic focus on peasants, prostitutes, criminal lowlife and other marginalized figures to explore the schism between the country’s timeless premodern traditions and the modern face it projects to the world. Special features include new audio commentaries on all three films by Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp; new, in-depth appreciations of all three films by Japanese cinema expert Tony Rayns; an alternate color ending to Black Rain, shot by Imamura but removed from the film shortly before its release; archival interviews on Black Rain with actress Yoshiko Tanaka and assistant director Takashi Miike; multiple trailers and image galleries; original Japanese press kits for The Ballad of Narayama and Black Rain (BD-ROM content); a limited edition, 60-page booklet containing new writing by Tom Mes; and limited edition packaging featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella.

Versus (2000), available on Blu-ray, is chock-full of fight scenes, gangster shootouts, sword-slashing violence and gory zombie horror. In the film, a mysterious face-off in a wooded clearing between two escaped convicts and a carload of sharply dressed yakuza holding a beautiful woman captive ends in hails of bullets and showers of blood. The location for this violent encounter is the mythic Forest of Resurrection, the site of the 444th portal of the 666 hidden gates that link this earthly domain to the netherworld. As one of the surviving prisoners escapes with the girl into the darkness of the forest, disgruntled gangsters soon become the least of their worries as an earlier battle between a lone warrior against hordes of zombie samurai is carried over from a millennium ago into the present day. The film launched the careers of director Ryûhei Kitamura (Godzilla Final Wars, Midnight Meat Train) and action star and fight choreographer Tak Sakaguchi (Battlefield Baseball, Yakuza Weapon). Arrow Video is presenting the title in both its original 2000 and expanded 2004 Ultimate Versus iterations, in a new, director-approved restoration. Numerous extras include a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon; audio commentary by Kitamura and producer Keishiro Shin; and audio commentary by Kitamura and the cast and crew.

Exploitation Classic ‘Vigilante’ Coming to 4K UHD Blu-ray and Blu-ray Dec. 15 From MVD

The exploitation classic Vigilante is coming out on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray Dec. 15 from MVD Entertainment Group and Blue Underground.

In the film, New York City factory worker Eddie Marino (Robert Forster, Oscar nominee for Jackie Brown) is a solid citizen and regular guy, until the day a sadistic street gang brutally assaults his wife and murders his child. When a corrupt judge sets the thugs free, Eddie goes berserk and vows revenge.

Fred Williamson (From Dusk Till Dawn), Richard Bright (The Godfather), Rutanya Alda (Amityville II: The Possession), Carol Lynley (The Poseidon Adventure), Woody Strode (Spartacus), Joe Spinell (Maniac) and Salsa legend Willie Colón co-star in this 1982 exploitation film from director William Lustig (Maniac Cop 2) that many critics consider to be better — and more shocking — than the original Death Wish.

Blue Underground is presenting the film in a new restoration, scanned in 4K 16-bit from the original 35mm camera negative, with Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio.

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Special features include audio commentary with co-producer/director Lustig and co-producer Andrew Garroni; audio commentary with Lustig and stars Robert Forster, Fred Williamson and Frank Pesce; a new audio commentary with film historians Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson; a new featurette “Blue Collar Death Wish,” featuring interviews with writer Richard Vetere, star Rutanya Alda, associate producer/first A.D./actor Randy Jurgensen and others; a new interview with composer Jay Chattaway; theatrical trailers; TV spots; a radio spot; a promotional reel; poster and still galleries; and a collectible booklet with a new essay by Michael Gingold.

‘Love and Monsters’ Coming to 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD Jan. 5 From Paramount

The post-apocalyptic adventure Love and Monsters will bow on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD Jan. 5 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

The film takes place seven years after a “monsterpocalypse,” in which giant monsters have taken over the Earth’s surface. Joel Dawson (Dylan O’Brien), along with the rest of humanity, has been living underground ever since. After reconnecting over radio with his high school girlfriend Aimee (Jessica Henwick), who is now 80 miles away at a coastal colony, Joel begins to fall for her again. As Joel realizes that there’s nothing left for him underground, he decides to venture out to Aimee, despite all the dangerous monsters that stand in his way. The film also stars Dan Ewing, Michael Rooker and Ariana Greenblatt. 

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Blu-ray special features include deleted scenes, “Bottom of the Food Chain: The Cast of Love and Monsters” and “It’s a Monster’s World: Creating a Post-Apocalyptic Landscape.”

Lionsgate Home Entertainment for the Holidays

Lionsgate is unveiling three big releases for the holidays: Schitt’s Creek: The Complete Collection on DVD, the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic sci-fi film Total Recall on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, and the director’s cut of the 1999 Natasha Lyonne starrer But I’m a Cheerleader on 4K Ultra HD Digital.

Schitt’s Creek: The Complete Collection, DVD, Available Now

Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara in “Schitt’s Creek.”

The irreverent character-driven comedy centers on the reversal-of-fortune story of the once filthy-rich Rose family. Suddenly finding themselves broke, the Roses are forced to rebuild their empire in Schitt’s Creek, a small town they once purchased as a joke. As the seasons go on, we see the family thrive in a place they begin to call home, ready to take their personal relationships, business pursuits and, for some, exit strategies, to the next level.

The show received 19 Emmy nominations during its run, with 15 for its sixth season, setting a record for most nominations for a comedy series in its final season. At the 2020 ceremony, “Schitt’s Creek” became the first Canadian show to win the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, for its sixth and final season. In doing so, it also became the first ongoing series to sweep all four acting categories — Eugene Levy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, Catherine O’Hara for Lead Actress, Daniel Levy for Supporting Actor, and Annie Murphy for Supporting Actress — plus the awards for writing and directing, en route to nine total wins (it also won for casting and con-temporary costumes).

The cast also includes Chris Elliott, Emily Hampshire, Jenn Robertson, Sarah Levy and John Hemphill.

DVD special features include deleted scenes, bloopers, featurettes, outtakes, “Behind the Episode” segments, and the documentary “A Schitt’s Creek Farewell.”

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Total Recall, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Dec. 8

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall

The 1990 sci-fi classic comes out on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray for the first time in celebration of the film’s 30th anniversary. The three-disc combo pack will include the film on both 4K and standard Blu-ray, plus a Blu-ray of additional bonus material.

Directed by Paul Verhoeven and inspired by the Philip K. Dick short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,” the film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a construction worker on Earth in 2084 whose memory implant of a vacation to Mars awakens the dormant personality of a secret agent involved with revolutionary forces on the red planet. The cast also includes Rachel Ticotin, Michael  Ironside, Sharon Stone and Ronny Cox.

The film has been restored by StudioCanal in 4K from a scan of the original 35 mm negative. Supervised by Verhoeven, the restoration crew paid particularly high attention to preserving special-effects continuity. Total Recall was one of the earliest films to use computer-generated images for visual effects, winning a Special Achievement Oscar.

Best Buy’s ‘Total Recall’ Steelbook

The 4K Ultra HD disc will include the film in Dolby Vision with Dolby Atmos sound, plus commentary with Schwarzenegger and Verhoeven, the film’s trailer, the new documentary Total Excess: How Carolco Changed Hollywood, and the new featurettes “Open Your Mind: Scoring Total Recall” and “Dreamers Within the Dream: Developing Total Recall.”

The second disc will contain the film on regular Blu-ray, plus the commentary and the two new featurettes. Disc three will be a regular Blu-ray with the Carolco documentary, the trailer, and previously released extras including the documentary “Imagining Total Recall” and the featurettes “The Making of Total Recall” and “Total Recall: The Special Effects.”

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But I’m a Cheerleader: Director’s Cut, Digital 4K Ultra HD, Dec. 8

Clea DuVall and Natasha Lyonne in But I’m a Cheerleader.

Collectors can celebrate the 20th Anniversary of “the best lesbian movie of all time” (Riese Bernard, Autostraddle) when But I’m a Cheerleader: Director’s Cut arrives on Digital 4K Ultra HD. From Primetime Emmy Award-nominated director Jamie Babbit (2017, Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, “Silicon Valley”), the film features Natasha Lyonne, Clea DuVall, Melanie Lynskey, RuPaul Charles, Eddie Cibrian, Bud Cort, Wesley Mann, Richard Moll, Douglas Spain, Katharine Towne, Michelle Williams, Julie Delpy and Cathy Moriarty.

Remastered in 4K and featuring never-before-seen deleted scenes, this is Babbit’s definitive director’s cut and original vision of the film.

“I uncovered some amazing lost scenes that I wasn’t able to include in the original film and am so happy to see them added back into this cut. This film is so special to me and I can’t wait for everyone to fall in love with it all over again,” said Babbit.

This whimsically edgy comedy follows teenager Megan (Lyonne), whose suburban existence filled with friends, cheerleading, and all-American fun is upended when her straight-laced parents suspect she may be a lesbian. In a panic, they send her to True Directions, a “rehabilitation” camp run by the strict and prudish Mary (Moriarty), to mount an intervention led by counselor Mike (RuPaul Charles). Megan dutifully follows the program — until she develops feelings for another camper (DuVall) in this timeless, satirical romantic-comedy about self-acceptance and love.

Special features include an audio commentary with director Babbit, costume designer Alix Friedberg, and production designer Rachel Kamerman; “But I’m a Cheerleader Class Reunion,” reuniting the cast for the first time in 20 years; “Making But I’m a Cheerleader … In 1999”; “But I’m a Composer … A Chat With Pat Irwin”; and Babbit’s student film Discharge.

‘Tenet’ to Debut on Digital and Disc — Including 4K — Dec. 15

Christopher Nolan’s Tenet will arrive on 4K, Blu-ray, DVD and digital Dec. 15 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Written, directed and produced by Nolan (Inception, Dunkirk), Tenet opened globally in August 2020 and has grossed $350 million to date, with anticipated theatrical openings in the major markets of New York and Los Angeles still to come. Tenet will be available to preorder from digital and physical retailers beginning Nov. 10.

In the film, armed with only one word — Tenet — and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist (John David Washington) journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time — not time travel, inversion.

Tenet features an international ensemble cast led by Washington (BlacKkKlansman, TV’s “Ballers”). The film also stars Robert Pattinson (the “Twilight” films, The Lighthouse, upcoming The Batman), Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, The Great Gatsby), Dimple Kapadia (Angrezi Medium), Martin Donovan (Ant-Man, Fahrenheit 451), Fiona Dourif (Cult of Chucky), Yuri Kolokolnikov (The Hitman’s Bodyguard), Himesh Patel (Yesterday), Clémence Poésy (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (The Avengers: Age of Ultron), with Michael Caine (Inception, The Cider House Rules, The Dark Knight) and Kenneth Branagh (Dunkirk, Murder on the Orient Express).

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Extras include“Looking at the World in a New Way: The Making of Tenet,” an hour-long exploration of the development and production of the film as told by the cast and crew.

‘Ip Man Complete Collection’ 4K Boxed Set Due Dec. 15 From Well Go

Well Go USA Entertainment on Dec. 15 will release the Ip Man Complete Collection, including all four titles available for the first time in 4K Ultra HD.

The Chinese action films — Ip Man (2008), Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster (2010), Ip Man 3 (2015) and Ip Man 4: The Finale (2019) — are directed by Wilson Yip and feature martial arts superstar Donnie Yen as Ip Man, legendary Wing Chun grandmaster and mentor to several martial arts masters, including kung fu superstar Bruce Lee.

The eight-disc set includes Dolby Atmos surround sound. Each film comes in a two-disc amaray case featuring the 4K disc along with the Bu-ray disc. The limited-edition box set also contains an “Ip Man” movie franchise compendium book and a double-sided “Ip Man” poster.

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Disaster Film ‘2012’ Coming to 4K UHD Jan. 19 From Sony

The disaster film 2012 will come out on 4K Ultra HD Jan. 19 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

From Roland Emmerich, director of The Day After Tomorrow and Independence Day, comes the action-adventure movie about the end of the world, starring John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Danny Glover and Woody Harrelson. As the world faces a catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions, cities collapse and continents crumble.

Bonus features on the 4K disc include Dolby Atmos sound and Discovery Channel’s 2012 Apocalypse featurette. Bonus features on Blu-ray include an interactive Mayan calendar; five featurettes on bringing the epic to life; deleted scenes; an alternate ending; “Picture-in-Picture: Roland’s Vision”; feature commentary; and an Adam Lambert music video.

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