Streaming channels and cable channels are scrambling right now in an attempt to outdo their competitors’ Halloween programming. Whether it’s AMC’s FearFest or HBO Max’s House of Halloween, there are plenty of spooky viewings available.
But if terror isn’t your first fancy, there are classics from Martin Scorsese and Brian De Palma and cult favorites with stars like Julia Roberts and Malcolm McDowell that have been given the special edition treatment in recent weeks that are worth taking home. Below are a handful of the best to look for this fall.
“FURIOUS BULL” [CRITERION]
Martin Scorsese has created one of the truly great and visionary works of modern cinema with this startlingly visceral portrait of self-destructive machismo, directed by Robert De Niro, who pours his blood, sweat and physical brutality into the Oscar-winning role of Jake La Motta . The biopic “Raging Bull” tells the story of the rising middleweight boxer from the Bronx whose fury and ambition propel him to success in the ring but whose equally intense paranoia and unbridled jealousy tears apart his relationships with everyone. in its orbit.
Criterion, recognized as the gold standard of home video, has released a director-approved special edition of “Raging Bull” in a new 4K digital master. The 4K UHD disc of the film is presented in HDR and one disc is on Blu-ray with the film and a host of special features. Included are three audio commentaries, featuring Scorsese and editor Thelma Schoonmaker, cinematographer Michael Chapman, producers Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler, casting director Cis Corman, music consultant Robbie Robertson, actors Theresa Saldana and John Turturro, and supervising sound effects editor Frank. Warner and boxer Jake La Motta and screenwriters Mardik Martin and Paul Schrader.
The 1980 film is 129 minutes long and is in black and white and color with 2.0 surround and a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
“SWITCH OFF” [CRITERION]
Also on Criterion, the captivating “Blow Out”, brilliantly crafted by Brian De Palma. It sees John Travolta give one of his greatest performances as a movie sound effects man who believes he accidentally recorded a political assassination. To uncover the truth, he enlists the help of a possible eyewitness to the crime – played by Nancy Allen – who may be in danger herself. Another main character in the film is an early 1980s Philadelphia where it was set, adding to the paranoia of the thriller.
The special director-approved Blu-ray edition includes one disc, a 4K UHD version of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and a Blu-ray with the film and special features, led by an interview with De Palma conducted by filmmaker Noah Baumbach and an interview with Allen. Also included is “Murder à la Mod”, De Palma’s first low-budget film released in 1968.
The 1981 “Blow Out” is 108 minutes in 2.0 surround with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio.
“FLATLINERS” [Arrow Video]
Though they certainly aren’t considered the best picture on their respective resumes, Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland and Kevin Bacon star in Oscar-nominated “Flatliners,” which debuted at No. 1 and grossed over $60 million at the domestic box office in 1990. Directed by Joel Schumacher, the film tackles the existential question that at one time or another haunts us all: what awaits us after we die ? At University Hospital Medical School, five ambitious students undergo a daring experiment where they temporarily cause their own deaths, hoping to glimpse the afterlife before being brought back to life.
A brand new 4K restoration from the original negative, approved by cinematographer Jan de Bont
is in 4K with an HDR10 compatible UHD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision. The special features kick off with new audio commentary from critics Bryan Reesman and Max Evry as well as a full list of interview featurettes. Among the latter are “The Conquest of Our Generation” with screenwriter Peter Filardi and “Visions of Light” with de Bont and chief lighting designer Edward Ayer. The first pressing of the new set includes an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing about the film by Amanda Reyes and Peter Tonguette.
“Flatliners” is 114 minutes long and comes in color with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 surround soundtracks presented in its original 2.39:1 aspect ratio.
“THE CAT PEOPLE” [SCREAM FACTORY]
“Cat People” is the provocative and memorable 1982 cult hit that’s a remake of the 1942 Jacques Tourneur horror/noir classic of the same name. Brought to you by Scream Factory, the cult classic horror and sci-fi sub-brand of Shout Factory, the film stars Nastassja Kinski as Irena, a beautiful young woman who discovers love for the first time. only to discover that the experiment has tragic consequences. The passion for this woman’s romantic first love is so strong that it shrugs off the chaos around her, including the extraordinary demands of her brother – played by Malcolm McDowell – as she pushes her towards her own bizarre destiny.
Directed by Paul Schrader, the collector’s edition of “Cat People” comes in a 4KUHD + Blu-ray combo pack with special features and a new 4K scan from the original camera negative that makes it better than anything another draw to date. Also on the bonus article folder, an audio commentary and the short “More Than a Remake” with Schrader. Interviews added are “Unleashing the Animal Within” with Kinski, “Making Memories” with actress Annette O’Toole, “Caging the Animal” with actor John Heard, “Reconnecting with Cat People”, with actor Malcolm McDonalds and more.
The Collector’s Edition of “Cat People” runs 118 minutes in Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 and an aspect ratio of 1.85:1.
VINYL OF THE WEEK
Keep an eye on this place as each week we’ll be reviewing new or upcoming vinyl from a variety of artists. It can be a reprint of a historical recording, a special edition or a new collection of a legendary act. This week, it’s a contemporary holiday set that makes its vinyl debut.
VARIOUS ARTISTS: “HOLIDAY RULE”
Yes, that’s way, way too early for holiday music – you won’t find any argument here about that. However, that doesn’t mean it’s out of order to start building the catalog for the next season of festivities, frustrating weather and goodies. And there’s no better place to start than with Craft Recordings’ first-ever vinyl pressing of “Holidays Rule,” a delightfully diverse collection of seasonal music featuring scintillating contributions from across the musical spectrum.
“Holidays Rule” delves into a rich assemblage of Americana, alt-pop, folk, electronica, country, American standards, singer-songwriter, New Orleans gospel, garage rock and more to create a melting pot of sounds that always feel cohesive. album, rather than a holiday hodgepodge. Originally released in 2012, the set includes 17 recordings of timeless holiday classics from artists such as Paul McCartney, The Shins, The Civil Wars, Rufus Wainwright teamed up with soul icon Irma Sharon Van Etten Thomas with The Preservation Hall Jazz Band and many more.
Some of the many highlights include fun. whipping up a decidedly postmodern take on the joyful “Sleigh Ride” and Paul McCartney’s velvety take on the fireside classic “The Christmas Song.” The Shins, meanwhile, take McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” in a cheekily retro direction, turning the track into a musical homage to the Beach Boys, while Wainwright and Van Etten deliver a perfectly seductive “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”
The 2LP “Holidays Rule” is pressed on translucent red vinyl and housed in a gatefold sleeve. There is also a limited clear splash variant with red and green available, limited to 300 copies, already sold out in the Craft Recordings store, but available in the secondary market. The lacquers for the vinyl were cut by Dave Cooley at Elysian Mastering from the original high resolution sources and were mastered by Gavin Lurssen at Lurssen Mastering.
Look for the “holiday rule” online and at any reputable retailer that sells vinyl.
To contact music columnist Michael Christopher, email [email protected] Also check out his website at thechroniclesofmc.com.