Summer is finally here, and as we are now half way through the year we thought it would be the perfect time to round-up a small selection of our favourite Home Entertainment releases of 2021 so far.
This is just a small selection of some of our personal favourites so we apologise if your favourites have been missed off!
Let us know what you would include in the comments.
Let’s kick things off with a bang, as WORLD OF WONG KAR WAI is the definitive Wong Kar Wai box set that cinephiles have been waiting for for a very long time.
Thankfully, this stunning new Criterion Collection release, featuring deluxe artwork, a lavish booklet and a wealth of new bonus features, does not disappoint, and it is something of a treasure trove for fans of great cinema and his masterful films.
Featuring new 4K digital restorations of seven of the director’s best loved works, including In the Mood for Love, Chungking Express, and Fallen Angels, and with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks on five of those films, WORLD OF WONG KAR WAI is the must have collection that fans have long sought after, and arguably the finest release of the year so far.
If there is one complaint it is that the packaging is too flimsy and can be easily damaged, which is rather disappointing given the steep price, however the contents are exceptional, so if you do decide to splash out then the discs themselves certainly won’t disappoint.
Joel Anderson’s widely acclaimed 2008 Australian psychological horror LAKE MUNGO has long been unavailable on Home Entertainment formats in the UK, but now arrives on Blu-ray for the very first time courtesy of Second Sight Films’ essential new Limited Edition Collector’s Box Set.
Brilliantly acted and very cleverly constructed, LAKE MUNGO uses documentary style, found-footage storytelling to depict the strange and mysterious events experienced by a grieving family following the tragic death of their Sixteen-year-old daughter.
Continuing their series of Limited Edition releases, this is yet another superb set from Second Sight Films, complete with a rigid slipcase, bound booklet and exclusive special features, and with upcoming releases of The Babadook and Paranormal Activity still to come this year, 2021 looks set to be another very strong year from one of the most consistent distributors around.
Following the success of Eureka Entertainment’s Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi, released in July 2020 as part of the Masters of Cinema series, Eureka Classics now presents KARLOFF AT COLUMBIA, a fascinating new collection of six lesser known films from that other great horror icon, Boris Karloff, made in collaboration with Columbia Pictures following the introduction of the Hays Code.
This Limited Edition set includes the early gothic horror gem, The Black Room, alongside all four films from Karloff’s “Mad Doctor Cycle,” with all films presented in their worldwide Blu-ray debuts and available on Home Entertainment format for the first time ever in the UK.
The six works featured may not be as well known as his earlier Universal work, but this is nevertheless a thrilling new box set that cinephiles and classic horror fans can definitely get excited about. All six films look great and it is brilliant to see more Karloff films getting the Blu-ray treatment. Let’s hope there are many more to follow!
Limited to just 4,000 copies, this beautiful collection from the BFI combines four of the iconic star’s best loved classics from the Golden Age of Hollywood, all presented from beautiful new HD transfers and accompanied by a huge 60-page book and an array of bonus commentary tracks.
Featuring Seven Sinners (Tay Garnett, 1940), The Flame of New Orleans (René Clair, 1941), The Spoilers (Ray Enright, 1942) and Pittsburgh (Lewis Seiler, 1942) – all of which were produced by Universal in the early 1940s – MARLENE DIETRICH AT UNIVERSAL perfectly showcases the alluring and enduring persona of one of cinema’s most captivating stars, with all four films looking and sounding better than ever.
For fans of Dietrich and classic Hollywood, this is a must own collection, and a perfect companion to Powerhouse Films’ Marlene Dietrich & Josef von Sternberg at Paramount, 1930-1935 box set, released back in 2019.
There are a number of titles we could have selected here (Peter Solan’s Before Tonight Is Over; Albert Serra’s Liberte; and Angela Schanelec’s moving I Was At Home, But, to name just a few) as it has been another incredibly strong year for Second Run, but given its rarity we went with Jindřich Polák‘s (Ikarie XB-1) absurdist time-travel comedy, TOMORROW I’LL WAKE UP AND SCALD MYSELF WITH TEA (Zítra vstanu a opařím se čajem), one of the great undiscovered sci-fi movies of the 1970s.
Presented from a new HD transfer from original materials by the Czech National Film Archive, this unpredictable and irreverent sci-fi comedy has not been seen in the UK since its unscheduled, one-off screening on late-night terrestrial TV back in the early ’80s, giving the film something of a cult reputation!
Sometime in the near future, time travel is a reality, and a group of neo-Nazi’s hijack a rocket to return to 1944. They plan to deliver a hydrogen bomb to Hitler, ensuring a victorious outcome to WWII, but their meticulous plans are fatally derailed by a stale bread roll…
Second Run are one of the most consistently brilliant labels out there, and the fact that they have given a fresh lease of HD life to a little known gem such as this is a good example of why. For true cinephiles, this is most definitely a must have addition to any serious collection … though the same could definitely be said for all Second Run releases!
Arrow Films have pulled out all the stops with this lavish new Limited Edition 4K Ultra HD box set celebrating the hugely influential Japanese action thriller, BATTLE ROYALE, an alternate dystopian vision of turn-of-the-millennium Japan which has become something of a cult phenomenon since it was first released back in 2000.
Packed full of special features, and featuring stunning artwork, this 5-disc set includes brand new 4K restorations of both the Original Theatrical Version and Special Edition Director’s Cut of the film, taken from the original camera negative by Arrow Films and approved by Kenta Fukasaku, son of the film’s director Kinji Fukasaku. Both versions are presented in Dolby Vision.
Also included in the set are Blu-ray presentations of the Battle Royale II: Requiem theatrical cut and the Battle Royale II: Revenge extended cut, alongside the original soundtrack CD for BATTLE ROYALE, an illustrated collector’s booklet and an exclusive 120-page monograph on Kinji Fukasaku.
A Limited Edition and selling fast, this stunning new box set is absolutely essential for franchise fans and those new to the film, and will make a great addition to any good or growing collection!
British auteur Thomas Clay makes a welcome return with this long-awaited third feature, FANNY LYE DELIVER’D, a self-styled ‘Puritan Western’ that was almost a decade in the making.
This Region Free Limited Collectors’ Edition 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray set from Pull Back Camera features the previously unseen 130m Extended Cut of Clay’s superb film, presented in Dolby Vision HDR from a 16-bit 4K transfer of the original 35mm camera negative and featuring a flawless 5.1 Surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack.
Visually, the 4K UHD presentation is absolutely breathtaking, boasting exceptional colour, crisp detail and gorgeous, fine grain, making this one of the most beautiful 4K transfers to date.
If you have not yet seen the film and want to experience it in the best possible format, then Pull Back Camera’s lovingly crafted new release in an absolute essential.
CLICK HERE to read our full 2019 BFI London Film Festival review