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New DVD, Blu-ray and digital release highlights for the week of March 29 - April 4, 2021

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GAL GADOT as Diana Prince in the action adventure “WONDER WOMAN 1984,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. (Photo: Warner Bros.)

It's a big week for DVD and Blu-ray as "Wonder Woman 1984" makes its way to the physical format for the first time and "The Ten Commandments" gets a 4K release in time for Easter.

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  • Wonder Woman 1984 - Gal Gadot returns as Wonder Woman in the latest film in the DC Cinematic Universe. Set in 1984, the film pits Wonder Woman against Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal), an evangelic businessman, who uses an ancient artifact to grant the wishes of the world while twisting their heart's desires to his economical advantage. Essentially it's Wonder Woman vs. greed and it works as a throwback to the superhero films that I grew up with in the 1980s.
  • Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV - Originally released in 2016, "Kingsglaive" is an extension of the world and characters featured in "Final Fantasy XV." Where the video game told the story from the son's perspective, this film was more from the father's perspective. The film's producers didn't want anything in the movie to spoil any of the reveals in the game and ultimately that paints the film into a corner where it can't properly stretch out and tell the story. Still, it's an essential part of the Final Fantasy narrative as a whole.
  • The Ten Commandments - Paramount is releasing Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 masterpiece "The Ten Commandments" just in time for Easter. You might be skeptical about picking up this new release, particularly when the Blu-ray that was released in 2011 is often regarded as one of the best Blu-ray titles ever released. For as beautiful as the 2011 release is, it's simply outclassed by the detail and improved color range afforded by the 4K format. If you're viewing movies on anything larger than a 50" screen, you'll see the difference.
  • Another Round - Mads Mikkelsen stars in this acclaimed Danish film about four teachers who decide to test Finn Skårderud's theory that life is better when your blood alcohol level is 0.05. The decision reverberates throughout their lives. Likely to win the 2021 Oscar for International Feature Film.
  • Our Friend - Casey Affleck, Dakota Johnson, and Jason Segel star in this drama that sees a man struggling to come to terms with his wife's cancer diagnosis becomes distant to her needs requiring an old family friend to step in and provide a sense of stability.

Digital

  • Willy's Wonderland - Nicolas Cage stars as a mute man who is hired as a night janitor at a Willy's Wonderland, a decaying family entertainment center with eight homicidal animatronic characters. It's Cage vs. animatronics. Don't over think it.

Catalog

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  • Journeys Through French Cinema - Bertrand Tavernier’s "My Journey Through French Cinema" was a acclaimed journey through the history of French cinema. It was a brisk three-and-a-half-hour trip. "Journeys Through French Cinema" is the seven-and-a-half-hour version where Tavernier is able to dig deeper.
  • The Bad News Bears - Walter Matthau stars as Coach Morris Buttermaker, a man who has watched his promising baseball career take a downturn and is now reduced to coaching a group of children who might be the worst team in the history of the sport. Determined to win, Buttermaker recruits Amanda Whurlitzer (Tatum O'Neal), an 11-year-old-pitching phenom, and Kelly Leak (Jackie Earle Haley), the neighborhood troublemaker.
  • The Greatest Show on Earth - Cecil B. DeMille's 1952 film stars Jimmy Stewart, Charlton Heston, Betty Hutton, and Cornel Wilde as members of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus touring company. The film is both a look behind the scenes of a real touring show and a heady drama focusing on the troubled characters and the difficult task of making money in a post-war environment. Won the Best Picture and Best Story Oscars in 1953.
  • Lust, Caution - Ang Lee's period espionage film is more infamous for its sex scenes than the drama it presents. That's unfortunate, the story is an interesting mix of fact and fiction and a character's struggle to find love.
  • The Day of the Beast - This Spanish black comedy with horror elements from 1995 sees a priest embark of a journey into the Satanic community as part of a complex plan to save the world from an Antichrist who will be born on Christmas Eve. It is one of Spanish director Álex de la Iglesia's most beloved excursions into the dark.
  • Perdita Durango - Álex de la Iglesia followed up the success of "The Day of the Beast" with 1997's "Perdita Durango (Dance with the Devil)," a dark and brutal road trip to Las Vegas featuring Rosie Perez as the title character and Javier Bardem as her boyfriend Romeo, a couple who kidnap a pair of teenagers with the intent of ritualistically sacrificing them.
  • Nosferatu in Venice - Intended to be a proper sequel to Werner Herzog's "Nosferatu the Vampyre," "Nosferatu in Venice" is more famous for the off-screen antics of Klaus Kinski who is said to have derailed the production to the point that only half of the script was ever filmed. It's an oddity that I plan on tracking down.
  • Secrets & Lies - Mike Leigh's 1996 drama follows Hortense Cumberbatch (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), a Black woman who was adopted as a child, as she attempts to locate her birthmother and is alarmed to discover that she, Cynthia Rose Purley (Brenda Blethyn), is a white woman working in a cardboard box factory. Most directors would probably try and spin a comedy out of the narrative. Leigh is not that kind of director. The film was developed through a lengthy period of improvisation with the cast.
  • Defending Your Life - Albert Brooks wrote, directed and stars in this 1991 comedy about Daniel Miller, a businessman, who finds himself in Judgment City, a waypoint between death and the great beyond where he is asked to prove that his life qualifies him for admittance into what comes next. Meryl Streep plays the romantic muse who helps Daniel to see himself.