Criterion Sets ‘Uncut Gems’ 4K Edition for Nov. 23

The Criterion Collection has announced a Nov. 23 street date for the 2019 drama Uncut Gems, which will be released in new Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray editions.

The film, directed by brothers Josh and Benny Safdie, stars Adam Sandler as Howard Ratner, a fast-talking New York jeweler and gambler in relentless pursuit of the next big score. When he comes into possession of a rare opal, it seems Howard’s ship has finally come in — as long as he can stay one step ahead of a wife (Idina Menzel) who hates him, a mistress (Julia Fox) who can’t quit him, and a frenzy of loan sharks and hitmen closing in on him.

The cast also includes LaKeith Stanfield, Eric Bogosian, Judd Hirsch and NBA Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett.

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The Criterion edition will boast a new 4K digital transfer approved by the Safdie Brothers, with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack on the 4K UHD and Blu-ray editions. The 4K edition will be a combo pack with the film in Dolby Vision HDR on a 4K disc, and the film with bonus materials on a regular Blu-ray disc.

Extras include an audio commentary from 2019 featuring the Safdies, writer and editor Ronald Bronstein, and producer Sebastian Bear-McClard; new interviews with cinematographer Darius Khondji, costume designer Miyako Bellizzi, production designer Sam Lisenco, and casting director Jennifer Venditti; documentaries from 2019 and 2020 on the making of the film and soundtrack; a screen test featuring actors Adam Sandler and Julia Fox; Goldman v Silverman, a 2020 short film by the Safdies, featuring Sandler and Benny Safdie; Question & Answer, a 2020 short film featuring the Safdies, Sandler, actor Jason Bateman, and comedy writer Megan Amram; audition tapes; deleted and extended scenes, including a full performance of “The Morning” by The Weeknd; trailers; and an essay by film critic J. Hoberman and, for the 4K UHD and Blu-ray editions, a 2020 discussion of the film by the editorial staff of Jewish Currents magazine.

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The film was previously released by Lionsgate on Blu-ray in March 2020 with just a making-of featurette. Criterion DVD and Blu-ray editions had previously been earmarked for an Oct. 26 release.

Uncut Gems becomes Criterion’s fourth 4K release in November, joining Citizen Kane, Mulholland Dr. and Menace II Society among the boutique distributor’s first slate of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray titles.

Uncut Gems


Box Office $50 million;
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for pervasive strong language, violence, some sexual content and brief drug use.
Stars Adam Sandler, Lakeith Stanfield, Julia Fox, Kevin Garnett, Idina Menzel, Eric Bogosian, Judd Hirsch.

A disturbing and offbeat thriller from the Safdie brothers, Uncut Gems offers what is undoubtedly the best performance of Adam Sandler’s career.

Sandler plays Howard, a New York jeweler and gambling addict who is deeply indebted to loan sharks. He manages to get his hands on a rare Ethiopian black opal expecting to auction it off to raise the money to pay his debts. Yet his fortunes continue to spiral out of control as he desperately tries to stay one step ahead of his past catching up with him.

Sandler’s reputation for comedy creates a certain expectation among viewers that lends to the film’s sense of unease, as it undercuts seeming moments of levity with an undercurrent of tension that always threatens to boil over. Sandler’s presence makes it easy to root for Howard despite his constant penchant for screwing up his own life. It could almost be considered a comedy of errors if it weren’t so gritty.

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Set in 2012, the film ties Howard’s predicaments to the real-life NBA playoff series between Boston and Philadelphia, with former Celtics superstar Kevin Garnett playing himself as a client of Howard. Garnett becomes obsessed with the opal, believing it gives him good luck as the series progresses, which puts Howard in a bind as he needs to hand it over to the auction house while outrunning the enforcers of his bookies, who won’t let him make any additional bets to cover his losses.

One of the highlights of the film is a starmaking turn by newcomer Julia Fox as Howard’s employee and mistress, the kind of arm candy every middle-aged sad sack wants to envision by their side.

The Blu-ray includes the featurette “Money on the Street,” a half-hour making-of video that details the extensive production history of the film, which is based on real elements from the Safdie’s own childhood remembrances of their father’s stories about the diamond district. The featurette offers some good insights from the filmmakers and cast about its themes of aspirations outpacing ability.

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