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OnVideo's Guide to Blu-ray Debuts 2021

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January 2022 | February 2022 | March 2022 |

January 11
  • The Celebration

    photo for The Celebration (1998 -- Denmark) The Danish Dogme 95 movement that struck world cinema like a thunderbolt began with "The Celebration," the international breakthrough by Thomas Vinterberg, a lacerating chamber drama that uses the economic and aesthetic freedoms of digital video to achieve annihilating emotional intensity. On a wealthy man’s 60th birthday, a sprawling group of family and friends convenes at his country estate for a celebration that soon spirals into bedlam, as bombshell revelations threaten to tear away the veneer of bourgeois respectability and expose the traumas roiling beneath. The dynamic handheld camera work, grainy natural lighting, cacophonous diegetic sound, and raw performance style that would become Dogme hallmarks enhance the shattering visceral impact of this caustic indictment of patriarchal failings, which swings between blackest comedy and bleakest tragedy as it turns the sick soul of a family inside out. 2K digital restoration, approved by director Thomas Vinterberg, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. Formats: Blu-ray. Extras: Audio commentary from 2005 featuring Vinterberg; new interview with Vinterberg; two early short films by Vinterberg: "Last Round" (1993) and "The Boy Who Walked Backwards" (1995); "The Purified," a 2002 documentary about Dogme 95, featuring interviews with Vinterberg and filmmakers Søren Kragh-Jacobsen, Kristian Levring, and Lars von Trier; program in which Vinterberg discusses the real-life inspiration for the film; documentaries featuring members of the cast and crew at the film’s premiere in Copenhagen and reflecting back on the production; "ADM:DOP," a 2003 documentary profile of cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle; deleted scenes, with optional audio commentary by Vinterberg; trailer; an essay by critic and author Michael Koresky. (The Criterion Collection)

    January 18
    photo for Red Angel

    Red Angel

    (1966 -- Japan) Ayako Wakao, Shinsuke Ashida, Yûsuke Kawazu, Jôtarô Senba. Directed by Yasuzo Masumura ("Giants and Toys", "Blind Beast"), "Red Angel" takes an unflinching look at the horror and futility of war through the eyes of a dedicated and selfless young military nurse. When Sakura Nishi is dispatched in 1939 to a ramshackle field hospital in Tientsin, the frontline of Japan's war of with China, she and her colleagues find themselves fighting a losing battle tending to the war-wounded and emotionally shellshocked soldiers while assisting head surgeon Dr Okabe conduct an unending series of amputations. As the Chinese troops close in, she finds herself increasingly drawn to Okabe who, impotent to stall the mounting piles of cadavers, has retreated into his own private hell of morphine addiction. Adapted from the novel by Yorichika Arima, Masumura's harrowing portrait of women and war is considered the finest of his collaborations with Ayako Wakao ("A Wife Confesses," "Irezumi") and features startling monochrome scope cinematography by Setsuo Kobayashi ("Fires on the Plain," "An Actor's Revenge"). Formats:Blu-ray. Extras: New audio commentary by Japanese cinema scholar David Desser; newly filmed introduction by Japanese cinema expert Tony Rayns; "Not All Angels Have Wings," a new visual essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum; original trailer; image gallery; reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella; FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated booklet featuring new writing by Irene González-López. (Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment). Read more here

  • photo for Shock


    (1977 -- Italy) Daria Nicolodi, John Steiner, Ivan Rassimov, Lamberto Bava, David Colin Jr. In a career spanning four decades and encompassing virtually every genre under the sun, Mario Bava inspired multiple generations of filmmakers, from Dario Argento to Martin Scorsese and Tim Burton. Best remembered for his gothic horror movies, for his final feature, "Shock," he eschewed the grand guignol excesses of "Black Sabbath" or "Blood and Black Lace" for a more intimate portrait of mental breakdown in which true horror comes from within. Dora (Nicolodi) moves back into her old family home with her husband, Bruno (Steiner), and Marco (Colin Jr.), her young son from her previous marriage. But domestic bliss proves elusive as numerous strange and disturbing occurrences transpire, while Dora is haunted by a series of nightmares and hallucinations, many of them involving her dead former husband. Is the house itself possessed? Or does Dora's increasingly fragile grip on reality originate from somewhere far closer to home? Released in the United States as a sequel to Ovidio G. Assonitis's "Beyond the Door," "Shock" more than lives up to its name, proving that, even at this late stage in his career, Bava hadn't lost his touch for terror. Now restored in high definition for the first time. Formats: Blu-ray. Extras: New audio commentary by Tim Lucas, author of "Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark"; "A Ghost in the House," a new video interview with co-director and co-writer Lamberto Bava; "Via Dell’Orologio 33," a new video interview with co-writer Dardano Sacchetti; "The Devil Pulls the Strings," a new video essay by author and critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas; "Shock! Horror! – The Stylistic Diversity of Mario Bava," a new video appreciation by author and critic Stephen Thrower; "The Most Atrocious Tortur(e)," a new interview with critic Alberto Farina; Italian theatrical trailer; four US “Beyond the Door II” TV spots; image gallery; reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Christopher Shy; FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Troy Howarth, author of "The Haunted World of Mario Bava." (Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment). Read more here

    January 25
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    The Lover (L'amant)

    (1993 -- France) Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud; stars Jane March, Tony Leung Ka Fai. The Academy Award Nominated and César Award-winning film Based on the novel from international best-selling author Marguerite Duras. In colonial French Indochina in the late 1920s, a fifteen-year-old French girl (March) returns to Saigon, where she attends a girls’ boarding school. On her way there, she meets a handsome, wealthy and much older Chinese man (Leung Ka Fai) from a respectable family. Going against the conventions of their respective societies, the pair begin a passionate affair. Their strong attraction toward one another is only intensified by the illicit nature of their rendezvous. Formats: DVD, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo. Extras: The 4k UHD/Blu-ray 2-disc combo will feature a limited edition Media Book in the package. (Capelight Pictures).<

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    February 1
  • photo for Written on the Wind

    Written on the Wind

    (1956) Douglas Sirk’s Technicolor expressionism reached a fever pitch with this operatic tragedy, which finds the director pushing his florid visuals and his critiques of American culture to their subversive extremes. Alcoholism, nymphomania, impotence, and deadly jealousy -- these are just some of the toxins coursing through a massively wealthy, degenerate Texan oil family. When a sensible secretary (Lauren Bacall) has the misfortune of marrying the clan’s neurotic scion (Robert Stack), it drives a wedge between him and his lifelong best friend (Rock Hudson) that unleashes a maelstrom of psychosexual angst and fury. Featuring an unforgettably debauched, Oscar-winning supporting performance by Dorothy Malone and some of Sirk’s most eye-popping mise-en-scène, "Written on the Wind" is as perverse a family portrait as has ever been splashed across the screen. New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. Extras: "Acting for Douglas Sirk," a 2008 documentary featuring archival interviews with Sirk, actors Rock Hudson, Robert Stack, and Dorothy Malone, and producer Albert Zugsmith; new interview with film scholar Patricia White about the film and melodrama; trailer; an essay by filmmaker and critic Blair McClendon. (The Criterion Collection).

    February 15
  • photo for Love Affair

    Love Affair

    (1939) Golden-age Hollywood’s humanist master Leo McCarey brings his graceful touch and relaxed naturalism to this sublime romance, one of cinema’s most intoxicating tear-wringers. Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer are chic strangers who meet and fall in love aboard an ocean liner bound for New York. Though they are both involved with other people, they make a pact to reconnect six months later at the top of the Empire State Building -- until the hand of fate throws their star-crossed affair tragically off course. Swooning passion and gentle comedy coexist in perfect harmony in the exquisitely tender film (nominated for six Oscars), a story so timeless that it has been remade by multiple filmmakers over the years -- including McCarey himself, who updated it as the equally beloved "An Affair to Remember." New 4K digital restoration by The Museum of Modern Art and Lobster Films, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. Extras: New interview with film critic Farran Smith Nehme about the movie’s complicated production history; new interview with Serge Bromberg, founder of Lobster Films, about the restoration; two radio adaptations, featuring Irene Dunne, William Powell, and Charles Boyer; two shorts directed by Leo McCarey, both starring silent comedian Charley Chase: "Looking for Sally" (1925) and "Mighty Like a Moose" (1926); an essay by author Megan McGurk. (The Criterion Collection).

    February 22
  • photo for Boat People

    Boat People

    (1982 -- Hong Kong) One of the preeminent works of the Hong Kong New Wave, "Boat People" is a shattering look at the circumstances that drove hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees to flee their homeland in the wake of the Vietnam War, told through images of haunting, unforgettable power. Three years after the Communist takeover, a Japanese photojournalist (George Lam) travels to Vietnam to document the country’s seemingly triumphant rebirth. When he befriends a teenage girl (Season Ma) and her destitute family, however, he begins to discover what the government doesn’t want him to see: the brutal, often shocking reality of life in a country where political repression and poverty have forced many to resort to desperate measures in order to survive. Transcending polemic, renowned director Ann Hui takes a deeply humanistic approach to a harrowing and urgent subject with searing contemporary resonance. New, restored 4K digital transfer, approved by director Ann Hui, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. Extras: New conversation between Hui and filmmaker Stanley Kwan, who was the movie’s assistant director; "Keep Rolling," a 2020 documentary about Hui made by Man Lim-chung, Hui’s longtime production designer and art director; "As Time Goes By," a 1997 documentary and self-portrait by Hui, produced by Peggy Chiao; press conference from the 1983 Cannes International Film Festival; trailer; essays by film critic Justin Chang and scholar Vinh Nguyen. (The Criterion Collection).

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    March 22
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    The Flight of the Phoenix

    (1965) A downed airplane is a motley group of men’s only protection from the relentless desert sun, in this psychologically charged disaster epic, one of the all-time great survival movies. James Stewart is the veteran pilot whose Benghazi-bound plane -- carrying passengers played by an unshaven ensemble of screen icons including Richard Attenborough, Ernest Borgnine, Ian Bannen, Dan Duryea, Peter Finch, and George Kennedy -- crash-lands in the remote Sahara. As tensions simmer among the survivors, they find themselves forced to trust a coldly logical engineer (Hardy Krüger) whose plan to get them out may just be crazy enough to work -- or could kill them all. Directed with characteristic punch by Hollywood iconoclast Robert Aldrich, "The Flight of the Phoenix" balances adventure with human drama as it conducts a surprising and complex examination of authority, honor, and camaraderie among desperate men. With 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. Extras: New conversation between filmmaker Walter Hill and film scholar Alain Silver; new interview with biographer Donald Dewey on actor James Stewart and his service as a bomber pilot; trailer; an essay by filmmaker and critic Gina Telaroli. (The Criterion Collection). Read more here

    March 29
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    Love Jones

    (1997) Steeped in the bohemian cool of Chicago’s 1990s Black creative scene, "love jones" -- the smart, sexy, and stylish debut feature of writer-director Theodore Witcher -- is a love story for anyone who has ever wondered: How do I know when I’ve found the one? Larenz Tate and Nia Long have magnetism and chemistry to burn as the striving, artistically talented twentysomethings -- he’s a poet, she’s a photographer -- who spark over their love of literature and jazz, but whose mutual reluctance to commit to a relationship leaves them both navigating an emotional minefield of confusion, jealousy, and regrets. Velvety cinematography; an unforgettable, eclectic soundtrack; sophisticated dialogue; and refreshingly low-key, naturalistic performances by an ensemble cast that also includes Isaiah Washington, Lisa Nicole Carson, Bill Bellamy, Bernadette Speakes, and Leonard Roberts come together in an intoxicating, seductively moody romance that engages both the heart and the mind. With new 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Theodore Witcher, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Extras: New interview with Witcher and film scholar Racquel J. Gates; new interview with music scholars Mark Anthony Neal and Shana L. Redmond on the soundtrack; panel discussion featuring Witcher and members of the cast and crew; trailer; an essay by critic Danielle A. Jackson. (The Criterion Collection). Read more here

    2019 Blu-ray Debuts

    2020 Blu-ray Debuts

    2021 Blu-ray Debuts

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