New On Blu-ray: 'The Irishman', 'The New Mutants', 'Resident Evil' 4K Box Collection, 'I Spit On Your Grave' Box Set

Here are the latest Blu-ray releases you should check out this week. There’s Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman coming from The Criterion Collection. There’s the long-delayed The New Mutants. And then there are not one but two different box sets – a 4K collection for the Resident Evil series and a set for the infamous I Spit On Your Grave series. 

The Irishman

Martin Scorsese‘s gangster epic The Irishman is not GoodFellas. It’s Casino. It’s not Mean Streets. Scorsese detractors may want to lump this title into a “more of the same” category, but nothing could be further from the truth. If GoodFellas is a movie about youthful characters who think they’re going to live forever, The Irishman is all about men nearing the end of their lives and feeling the cold, lonely, icy embrace of death taking hold. Based on a “true” story, the film follows Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), who sort of just lucks his way into the criminal underworld. After being taken under the wing of Philly mob boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci, who came out of retirement for this film and gave perhaps the best performance of his career as a result), Frank ends up becoming the best buddy of Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino, having a lot of fun). This sets the stage for a decade-spanning story of friendship and betrayal, resulting in a film that’s both surprisingly funny and more than a little tragic. Much has been said about Pesci and Pacino’s performances since they’re both showier, but De Niro deserves praise too. His stuttery, clumsy Frank Sheeran isn’t a cool gangster like Jimmy the Gent from GoodFellas. He’s a pretender. A brute who just happens to have powerful friends, and not much else. And what’s he left with in the end? Nothing. And no one.

Own or Rent? 

The Irishman is a Netflix movie, so you could just watch it there if you have the streaming service. But c’mon – the physical release comes from The Criterion Collection. How can you pass that up? I say this every time I have to write about a Blu-ray movie that’s streaming: physical will always, always look better than streaming – this release even comes with a brand new 4K master approved by Scorsese. And to have this modern masterpiece in a neat Criterion package is too good to pass up.

Special Features Include:

  • New 4K digital master, approved by director Martin Scorsese, with Dolby Atmos soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Newly edited roundtable conversation among Scorsese and actors Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci, originally recorded in 2019
  • Making “The Irishman,” a new program featuring Scorsese; the lead actors; producers Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Jane Rosenthal, and Irwin Winkler; director of photography Rodrigo Prieto; and others from the cast and crew
  • Gangsters’ Requiem, a new video essay by film critic Farran Smith Nehme about The Irishman’s synthesis of Scorsese’s singular formal style
  • Anatomy of a Scene: “The Irishman,” a 2020 program featuring Scorsese’s analysis of the Frank Sheeran Appreciation Night scene from the film
  • The Evolution of Digital De-aging, a 2019 program on the visual effects created for the film
  • Excerpted interviews with Frank “the Irishman” Sheeran and Teamsters trade-union leader Jimmy Hoffa from 1999 and 1963
  • Trailer and teaser
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien

 

The New Mutants

Oh, The New Mutants, you poor, misguided child. This ignoble end to the Fox-era X-Men films became infamous for its many, many release date delays. Rumors of massive reshoots swirled about – but the reshoots never happened. Then, finally, the film hit theaters in the midst of the coronavirus, where it grossed a not-great $45.8 million worldwide. Now, it’s hitting Blu-ray and digital. So what’s the verdict? Is this a misunderstood triumph that deserved better? Sadly…no. It’s not. I wanted it to be! I loved the first trailer for the film, which made it look like a horror movie. A superhero horror film? That’s a neat idea! Sadly, The New Mutants does nothing with it. Sure, there are horror movie elements here, but none of them work. In fact, nothing really works here. The film follows a group of young mutants – Maisie Williams as Rahne Sinclair, who can turn into a wolf; Anya Taylor-Joy as Illyana Rasputin, who has the power to summon up a supernatural sword when she’s not being a total asshole; Henry Zaga as Roberto “Bobby” da Costa, who bursts into flames when he gets too horny (yes, really); Charlie Heaton as Samuel “Sam” Guthrie, who can explode off the ground into the air like a cannonball; and Blu Hunt as newcomer Danielle “Dani” Moonstar, who doesn’t know what her mutant power is just yet. But whatever it is, it caused the death of her father and many others. Now she’s locked up in a surprisingly empty hospital with the other young mutants, and…well. That’s it, really. It’s shocking how little happens here. The characters just mill about, and then eventually there’s a big CGI-enhanced climax. It’s bland to the extreme, and none of the cast members make it work. Even Taylor-Joy, who is usually great in everything, is shockingly bad here. The film deserves some points, I suppose, for being the rare superhero movie with an openly gay relationship – between Rahne and Dani – but even that comes across as weirdly bland. It’s a missed opportunity all around.

Own or Rent? 

This is a rental, at best. In fact, you might not even want to do that. Maybe wait to see if this ends up on Disney+ in a few years instead.

Special Features Include:

  • Origins & Influences – Legendary comics artist Bill Sienkiewicz and the filmmakers explore the origins and influences behind “The New Mutants.”
  • Meet the New Mutants – Cast members share their experiences while filming and reveal how they bonded as a family, much like the characters in the film.
  • Deleted Scenes
    • Roberto Suns & Dani Climbs
    • “She’s a Demon”
    • “Everybody’s Type” & Chores
    • Dani’s Nightmare – Alt
    • “I Need to Cool Off”
    • “We’re on Lockdown”
    • Take out the Source

     

    Resident Evil 4K Collection

    Let’s get this out of the way first: the Resident Evil film franchise doesn’t consist of what you’d call good movies. They’re clunky; they’re derivative; they’re even a bit dated at this point. And yet…they’re inherently watchable. Mostly directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (he helmed films 1, 4, 5, and 6, while Alexander Witt directed part 2 and Russell Mulcahy directed part 3), these films are extremely loose adaptations of the video game series that spawned them. Instead, they mostly serve as vehicles for Milla Jovovich, aka Mrs. Paul W.S. Anderson. Jovovich is the one consistent presence here, playing the main character Alice as she deals with the zombie apocalypse and the evil  Umbrella Corporation. The first film is the most solid in the franchise, with Alice waking up with amnesia in a big, deadly mansion. From there, things get increasingly weirder and sillier. How silly? Let’s just say that clones start to get involved. You want to turn away from all of this hot garbage, and yet you can’t. This is true junk food cinema – movies loaded with empty calories that are probably very bad for you, and yet you keep shoveling them into your gaping maw. And you hate yourself while you do it, but you also feel so good at the same time. That’s the magic of trash movies, my friends.

    Own or Rent? 

    Sony has released the entire film franchise (well, entire as of this writing – there’s a reboot in the works) in a beautiful 4K package. The case could be made that these movies don’t deserve a beautiful 4K package, but they got one all the same. And if you’re the type of person who relishes in this type of glorious, bombastic, explosion-heavy, mindless fun (I mean all of that as a compliment, I swear!), then you can’t pass this up.

    Special Features Include:

     

    I Spit On Your Grave Box Set

    I Spit On Your Grave might be one of the most infamous movies of all time. Even if you haven’t seen it you’re likely aware of its legacy – a legacy that spawned sequels and remakes. Now, Ronin Flix has put together a curious little box set. It doesn’t collect all the films – instead, it features the 1978 original and the 2018 direct sequel I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu. It also comes with the documentary Growing up with I Spit on Your Grave, in which Terry Zarchi, son of I Spit On Your Grave director Meir Zarchi, chronicles both the making-of and the history of the film. And what are we to make of I Spit On Your Grave these days? Is it a piece of icky, disgusting, sensationalism or is it a secretly feminist horror classic? Or is it all those things, and more? In the original, a writer (Camille Keaton) is sexually assaulted by a group of men and then takes bloody revenge. In Deja Vu, that same writer (played again by Keaton) and her daughter (Jamie Bernadette) are hunted down by the family members of the slain men. The first film is effective in its nastiness, and whatever you think of it in the end, it lingers with you. The same can’t be said for Deja Vu, which takes an interesting premise – violence that begets violence that begets even more violence – and does nothing good with it. Still, this series has earned its legacy, for better or worse.

    Own or Rent? 

    This is a tough one. The box set itself is physically appealing, with great cover art and strong features, including liner notes by horror writers Michael Gingold and /Film contributor Meagan Navarro. But then you have to take into account the fact that Deja Vu is a rather subpar sequel, and the original I Spit On Your Grave is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Plus there’s not really a way you can rent this box set, so that takes rental off the table. I’m going to lean towards recommending this one as a purchase, but only if you’re a fan of the series.

    Special Features Include:

    • Disc 1: I Spit on Your Grave (1978) – NEW Jennifer’s Journey – the locations of I Spit on Your Grave featurette hosted by writer Michael Gingold, Audio Commentary with writer/director Meir Zarchi, Audio Commentary with Film Critic Joe Bob Briggs, The Value of Vengeance – Meir Zarchi Remembers I Spit on Your Grave, Alternate Day of the Woman Opening Title, Theatrical Trailers, TV & Radio Spots, Still Gallery and NEW Slideshow with Rare & Behind-the-Scenes Photos from Set, Reversible Cover
    • Disc 2: I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu (2018) – Special Features: NEW Audio Commentary with Film Critic Joe Bob Briggs, NEW Cast Interviews, Exclusive The Making of I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu, Behind-the-Scenes footage with director Meir Zarchi and cast, Theatrical Trailers
    • Disc 3: Growing up with I Spit on Your Grave (2019) – Special Features: Exclusive Deleted Scenes, NEW Terry Zarchi’s 8mm film starring Camille Keaton, NEW Home Movies – Camille and Meir’s wedding, Trailer

     

     

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