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Recommended Discs & Deals of the Week: Hayao Miyazaki, ‘Dr. Caligari,’ Leos Carax, and More

Written by on November 18, 2014 

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Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. If we were provided screener copies, we’ll have our own write-up, but if that’s not the case, one can find official descriptions from the distributors. Check out our rundown below and return every Tuesday for the best films one can take home. Note that if you’re looking to support the site, every purchase you make through the links below helps us and is greatly appreciated.

22 Jump Street (Chris Lord and Phil Miller)

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There’s not a single frame of Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s 22 Jump Street that isn’t acutely aware of its own status as a lazy, cash-grabbing sequel, but after about a half hour of this pleasingly genial and generously silly comedy, such attempts at self-deprecation just look phony. Despite the excessive references to awkward franchise practices — “We’ve doubled the budget, as if that would double the profit” — and studio interference- — “Do the exact same thing as last time, so everybody’s happy”– the truth about 22 Jump Street is that it’s anything but lazy and it takes the time to make us smile and laugh as it retrieves that admission price from our wallets. – Nathan B. (full review)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene)

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While there’s a handful of horror films now in theaters, we can’t imagine a better use of one’s time than revisiting (or discovering) one of the genre’s first, and best, entries. Robert Wiene‘s seminal German Expressionist feature The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari recently underwent a digital restoration which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year and now it’s available on a stunning Blu-ray courtesy of Kino Classics. Along with a 52-minute making of documentary, the release also includes an essay from Kristin Thompson, an alternate score, and a demonstration of the restoration. – Jordan R.

It Happened One Night (Frank Capra)

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One of Frank Capra‘s greatest films gets the Criterion treatment today. Farran Smith Nehme says in her essay for the release, “Almost eighty years ago, the Academy Awards saw a clean sweep of its top five categories—screenplay, actor, actress, director, and picture—not by a grandiose epic or searing social drama but by a romantic comedy, a sparkling, gossamer thing about the love of a pampered heiress for a just-fired, often-drunk scamp of a reporter. The film begins with the heiress already married to an obvious fortune hunter. Her father has imprisoned her on his yacht, demanding that she accept an annulment. She runs away on a Greyhound bus and finds herself mixed up with that scoop-hungry reporter. They spend one night together, then another. They fall in love. A bare plot synopsis hasn’t got much heft. And yet after all these years, It Happened One Night is almost universally acknowledged as one for the ages, its gorgeous spirit haunting all the romantic road trips, all the unlikely courtships, all the bickering, smitten couples that have come after.”

Kiki’s Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, and The Wind Rises (Hayao Miyazaki)

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Not only do a pair of Miyazaki classics get released on Blu-ray today, but so does his masterpiece of a swan song. Naming it one of the finest films of last year, I said, “With his final feature, The Wind Rises, the director loses the fantastical elements his career has been built upon (aside from a few dream sequences) and the result is an emotional connection I’ve rarely felt in the field of animation. Tracking the life passions of Jirō Horikoshi, a man best known for designing the Zero Fighter plane used in bombing Pearl Harbor, the film deals with obsession, guilt, and loss more effectively than any live-action film I’ve seen this year.” – Jordan R.

Mauvais Sang and Boy Meets Girl (Leos Carax)

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If you’ve seen but one of Leos Carax‘s other films — and when those options include The Lovers on the Bridge, Holy Motors, Boy Meets Girl (also available on Blu-ray today), and Pola X, let’s hope this is the case — it will be both predictable and reductive to describe his second feature, Mauvais Sang, as “strange.” Less an oddity in the sense of form or narrative — well-rounded though it also happens to be in those regards — and more confounding, I think, for its indefinably slippery quality. Binoche and Levant leave their expected mark on a minute-to-minute basis, yet the offered experience is almost akin to watching a hazy remembrance of some sci-fi story — thus, the picture should benefit well from repeat viewings one might now take advantage of. Or, if nothing else, just all those times you’ll rewind the “Modern Love” sequence. – Nick. N

Also Available This Week

20,000 Days on Earth (review)
Automata (review)
Housebound (review)
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (review)

Recommended Deals of the Week

(Note: new additions are in red)

Top Deal: All titles in The Criterion Collection are currently 50% off.

The American (Blu-ray) – $6.75

Amelie (Blu-ray) – $6.74

An Education (Blu-ray) -$7.49

Animal Kingdom (Blu-ray) – $6.93

Atonement (Blu-ray) – $7.40

Beginners (Blu-ray) – $6.88

Bernie (Blu-ray) – $4.99

Black Swan (Blu-ray) – $9.49

Blue Ruin (Blu-ray) – $11.62

Bronson (Blu-ray) – $10.91

The Cabin in the Woods (Blu-ray) – $7.55

Casino (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Drive (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Fight Club (Blu-ray) – $5.99

The Fly (Blu-ray) – $6.99

Gangs of New York (Blu-ray) – $6.99

Goodfellas (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Good Will Hunting (Blu-ray) – $6.99

Gone Baby Gone (Blu-ray) – $6.00

The Grey (Blu-ray) – $6.96

Hot Fuzz (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Hugo (Blu-ray) – $6.99

Inglorious Basterds (Blu-ray) – $8.81

Inside Llewyn Davis (Blu-ray) – $9.99

I Saw the Devil (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Jackie Brown (Blu-ray) – $5.00

Lost In Translation (Blu-ray) – $8.99

MacGruber (Blu-ray) – $7.43

The Master (Blu-ray) – $9.91

Melancholia (Blu-ray) – $10.99

Mud (Blu-ray) – $7.88

No Country For Old Men (Blu-ray) – $4.87

Observe & Report (Blu-ray) – $9.29

Office Space (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Only God Forgives (Blu-ray) – $10.29

Persepolis (Blu-ray) – $7.64

Public Enemies (Blu-ray) – $7.50

Reality Bites (Blu-ray) – $8.99

The Secret In Their Eyes (Blu-ray) – $7.99

A Serious Man (Blu-ray) – $7.39

Seven (Blu-ray) – $6.99

sex, lies, and videotape (Blu-ray) – $7.02

Shutter Island (Blu-ray) – $7.99

A Single Man (Blu-ray) – $7.28

The Social Network (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Spring Breakers (Blu-ray) – $9.96

Sorcerer (Blu-ray) – $14.99

Source Code (Blu-ray) – $5.00

Synecdoche, New York (Blu-ray) – $7.99

There Will Be Blood (Blu-ray) – $8.69

The Truman Show (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Valhalla Rising (Blu-ray) – $11.27

Vanilla Sky (Blu-ray pre-order) – $8.57

Volver (Blu-ray) – $6.91

Waltz With Bashir (Blu-ray) – $7.48

We Own the Night (Blu-ray) – $6.97

The Wrestler (Blu-ray) – $6.99

Zero Dark Thirty (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Zodiac (Blu-ray) – $6.99

What are you picking up this week?


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