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Joker, The Lighthouse and More

New Blu-ray Releases Joker

It’s time again to take a look at the latest in physical media. This week finds Joaquin Phoenix dancing up a storm, Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe farting, Rian Johnson’s first attempt at a mystery, and some cursed body parts. These are the new Blu-ray releases you should check out this week

Joker

What else is there to say about Joker at this point? The Todd Phillips-directed take on the Clown Prince of Crime generated plenty of controversies before anyone had even laid eyes on it. Then it somehow became an awards season fixture. Then a box office smash. So where do people stand? The movie is unquestionably popular – it wouldn’t have made all that money otherwise. But a growing disdain has arisen for Phillips’ dark, moody, nihilistic film. And it’s understandable – Joker has many flaws, its screenplay being the biggest of the bunch. But at the same time, Phillips does such an exemplary job crafting this tale, creating a Gotham that feels run down and sleazy. Is he ripping off the work of Scorsese and Friedkin? He sure is. But he’s doing it well. Really, though, the main thing that elevates Joker is Joaquin Phoenix. One of our best living actors, Phoenix gives the part his all, and creates a fully realized character. His Arthur Fleck is too nasty to be sympathetic, but it’s easy to pity him. As Arthur goes more and more insane, Phoenix goes deeper into character, and the results are hypnotic.

Why It’s Worth Owning on Blu-ray:

The 4K Blu-ray looks wonderful, capturing the grit and grain that Phillips embedded into the frame. It also comes with several behind-the-scenes featurettes that delve into the process of nearly everything here, from inception to character creation and beyond. Phillips talks about how he approached the film wanting to “make a great character study – and get people to see it.” The result: crafting a character study narrative onto a familiar character. Other topics of discussion: Phillips and Phoenix talk about the creation of Arthur’s weird, haunting dance moves. As they tell it, the first time Arthur dances – in a public bathroom after committing his first murder – the scene was written so that he runs into the bathroom to ditch his weapon. But Phillips felt that wasn’t true to the character, so he and Phoenix hashed things out on set for over an hour until Phoenix struck on the idea that the scene was really about the Joker “emerging” from Arthur, and that the best way to present that would be with this strange, slow dance. The rest is history.

Special Features Include: 

  • Joker: Vision & Fury
  • Becoming Joker
  • Please Welcome… Joker!
  • Joker: A Chronicle of Chaos

The Lighthouse

Hark! Bellow, bid our father The Lighthouse Blu-ray rise from the depths full foul in his fury! Robert Eggers‘ follow-up to The Witch is another period horror movie, but it’s much weirder, much stranger, and much funnier. I can distinctly remember seeing The Lighthouse at TIFF and feeling the confusion from the audience as to whether or not they were supposed to be laughing at all the insanity Eggers was throwing our way. The answer is yes: it’s okay to laugh. The Lighthouse is funny. It’s also disturbing and even scary at times, telling the story of two lighthouse keepers – a salty sea dog played by Willem Dafoe, and a “timberman” played by Robert Pattinson. The two men are like oil and water, and they clash almost immediately. And then things get really weird. Shot in haunting black and white, and in Academy Ratio to boot, The Lighthouse feels like some sort of forgotten 100-year-old film that recently washed ashore.

Why It’s Worth Owning on Blu-ray:

While I would’ve loved a commentary track from Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, in character, complete with farts, I’ll settle for a commentary from director Robert Eggers instead. So many filmmakers seem averse to doing commentary tracks these days that whenever someone takes the time to sit the hell down and give it a shot, I’m all ears. Eggers is informative and meticulous, and his commentary doesn’t lag.

Special Features Include: 

  • “The Lighthouse: A Dark & Stormy Tale” Featurette
  • Audio Commentary with Co-Writer & Director Robert Eggers
  • Deleted Scenes

Brick

Rian Johnson has a new whodunit in theaters right this moment, but it’s not his first exploration of the mystery genre. Johnson burst onto the scene with Brick, his feature debut released back in 2005. Johnson took hardboiled pulpy dialogue from old school detective yarns and transplanted it to modern-day high school, which sounds like a terrible idea. But it’s not! And it works incredibly well. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is our “detective”, a high school outcast who wants to find out who killed his ex-girlfriend. His sleuthing leads him to a seedy high school underworld, where everyone talks and acts like they’re from a paperback from the 1930s even though they’re all high school kids in California.

Why It’s Worth Owning on Blu-ray:

Brick is a must-have. Not only is it a fine damn film that still holds up, but this is the first time it’s ever been available on Blu-ray in the U.S. Kino Lorber has a brand new 4K restoration supervised by Rian Johnson himself, and it looks (and sounds) wonderful. The other special features are ported over from the previous DVD release, but they’re worth having here as well.

Special Features Include: 

  • Brand New 4K Restoration Supervised by Director Rian Johnson
  • Audio commentary by writer/director Rian Johnson, actors Nora Zehetner and Noah Segan, producer Ram Bergman, production designer Jodie Tillen and costume designer Michele Posch
  • 8 deleted and extended scenes (w/ introduction by writer/director Rian Johnson)
  • The Inside Track: Casting the Roles of Laura and Dode
  • 5.1 Surround and 2.0 Stereo
  • Theatrical Trailer

Body Parts

Eric Red’s gnarly horror flick Body Parts feels like an underrated gem waiting for a whole new audience to discover it. Jeff Fahey plays a psychologist who gets into a terrible car accident that causes him to lose an arm. Luckily for him, his doctor is the best in her field and she’s ready to transplant a brand lew limb on him almost immediately. Unfortunately, that arm belonged to a serial killer! And in the best horror movie wisdom, having the arm of a killer suddenly make Fahey’s character have visions of the killer’s crimes – and also to lose control of his arm in the process. Meanwhile, other people out there have gotten other transplant limbs from the killer. As if all of this wasn’t troubling enough, it appears the killer is somehow back from the dead, with new body parts (hey, that’s the title!), and he’s on the hunt. Absolutely none of this makes any sense, but that’s okay. Red and his cast play all of this insanity straight, to the point where you don’t even think to question all the nonsense. Plus: you’ll see plenty of practical gore effects.

Why It’s Worth Owning on Blu-ray:

I never thought the day would come where Body Parts would receive a special edition Blu-ray, but the movie gods work in mysterious ways. Scream Factory has once again done its due diligence, bringing in Eric Red for a behind-the-scenes feature and a brand new commentary. I enjoy this approach because the feature is almost like a truncated version of the commentary track. Don’t have time to sit through the whole thing? Watch the feature to hear Red’s thoughts on the making of this weird movie.

Special Features Include: 

  • NEW Audio Commentary With Director Eric Red
  • NEW I Dare You To Read The Script – An Interview With Director Eric Red
  • NEW Something Unstoppable – An Interview With Actor Paul Ben-Victor
  • NEW Molded For Cinema – An Interview With Actor Peter Murnik
  • NEW That One Hurt – An Interview With Editor Anthony Redman
  • Deleted Gore Footage With Optional Commentary With Director Eric Red
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Still Gallery

Source: Slashfilm

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