It's been a quite few weeks, particularly when it comes to major digital releases, but this week sees things liven up.
- Judas and the Black Messiah - William O'Neal was given two options. He could go to jail for impersonating an FBI agent. Or, he could join the Black Panthers and become an informant for the FBI. He joined the Black Panthers. "Judas and the Black Messiah" is based on a remarkable, tragic real story. Featuring outstanding performances from Daniel Kaluuya (who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor) as Black Panther leader Fred Hampton and LaKeith Stanfield as O'Neal, Shaka King's film is a powerful exploration of history from a conflicted participant's perspective.
- Justice Society: World War II - Barry Allen, the modern-day Flash, finds himself thrown back in time to a World War II battle that sees members of the Justice Society (Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Black Canary, the Jay Garrick version of Flash) fighting the Nazis.
- Land - In the wake of personal trauma, Edee Mathis (Robin Wright) abandons her life in the city for a remote Wyoming cabin without electricity. Woefully unprepared to face the extremities of isolation, Edee finds an unexpected mentor in Miguel (Demián Bichir). "Land" is a beautiful film that explores loss and recovery. [Full Review]
- The Marksman - Liam Neeson stars as Jim, an Arizona rancher, who attempts to shepherd a young Mexican boy fleeing the cartel to his family in Illinois. "The Marksman" is mostly a prototypical Liam Neeson action film that leans heavily on classic Western tropes. What sets it apart is that Jim is an incredibly interesting character who is filled with internal conflict. Neeson makes you like him but his flaws make you question if you should trust him. [Full Review]
DVD & Blu-ray
- Nomadland - "Nomadland," the recipient of Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Director at Sunday's Oscars, is a quiet drama with striking visuals of the American West that follows Fern (Frances McDormand), a woman who takes on a nomadic life when the US Gypsum plant in Empire, Nevada shuts down. Having lost her husband, Fran now lives in a van that she has personally customized. She takes on seasonal work, never sitting in one place for more than a few months. She befriends fellow wanderers along the way and forms deep friendships with those who, like herself, can't stand to sit still.
- Vanquish - "Vanquish" is a generic mess that essentially sits Morgan Freeman in front of a television with a headset directing Ruby Rose through a green-tinted world where she occasionally shoots the people she meets. There is a bad priest, a whole gaggled of corrupt cops and a lot of really stiff performances. It's painfully bad. A poor Michael Mann tribute from writer/director George Gallo that should be ignored and quickly forgotten.
- Donnie Darko - The cult favorite from Richard Kelly is getting a limited edition 4K UHD release from Arrow. The set includes both the theatrical and director's cuts of the film, a poster, a 100-page hardcover book and postcards.
- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - Kino Lorber is bringing the classic Clint Eastwood film to 4K featuring a shot-by-shot color grading for the extended 179-minute version of the western and a standard Blu-ray for the original theatrical cut (which will primarily be sourced from the new color-graded version).
- Irma Vep -Olivier Assayas’s wonderfully strange film from 1996 features Hong Kong action star Maggie Cheung as a fictional version of herself cast in a troubled remake of the silent serial "Les vampires" helmed by a madman.
- Masculin Feminin - Jean-Luc Godard's ode to the music and teenage rebellion of 1960s Paris has been given a 4K digital restoration approved by cinematographer Willy Kurant.
- Cast a Dark Shadow / Wanted for Murder - The latest release from the Cohen Film Collection is a noir double feature of Lawrence Huntington's "Wanted for Murder" (1946) and Lewis Gilbert's "Cast a Dark Shadow" (1955). "Wanted for Murder" features the story of a young man, the son of a hangman, who applies the violent aspects of his father's trade in his daily life. "Cast a Dark Shadow" is a classic young man marries an wealthy old woman thriller that heads in the expected direction and then immediately takes a left turn.
- Switchblade Sisters - Jack Hill's Shakespeare inspired cult classic girl/gang action film gets a HD release from Arrow that includes numerous archival interviews and a new audio commentary from Samm Deighan and Kat Ellinger.
- Quick Change -This 1990 heist film features an overlooked performance from a clown-costumed Bill Murray (who also co-directed) who after a successful bank robbery finds himself unable to escape New York City. Geena Davis, Randy Quaid and Tony Shalhoub co-star.
- Another Thin Man - Also known as "The Return of the Thin Man," this 1939 film was the second of five sequels that followed the the 1934 comedic detective hit "The Thin Man." William Powell and Myrna Loy return as Nick and Nora Charles in an adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's "The Farewell Murder."