In lieu of being actually able to watch anything, I thought I might take this opportunity to look at what I’ve got pre-ordered or coming my way over the next few months-
The Guilty & High Tide (Flicker Alley)
First (maybe) is a pair of noir just recently released on region-free Blu-ray/DVD in the States by Flicker Alley, who seem on a par with Indicator regards supplemental material and rescuing obscure titles. Unfortunately as they are based in the States, these releases don’t come cheap, even via Amazon, and there are a few other noir films from them that are on my radar. I’m dipping my toes with this one as its a double-bill but if its as good as early reviews suggest and I do go for some other Flicker alley releases it might become an expensive series of additions to my noir collection. Probably a few weeks before my copy reaches here, certainly no sign of it being dispatched yet.
The Northman 4K UHD
Released July 18th comes Robert Egger’s The Northman, one of those films I’ve been sufficiently curious about to pre-order the 4K disc. Although it must be said, Eggers is the guy behind The Witch (a disturbing period horror which I really quite enjoyed) and The Lighthouse (a film I detested, not ‘getting it’ at all) so even now my thumb tends to hover over the ‘cancel pre-order’ button. Eggers involvement would seem to indicate this film has Marmite slapped all over it, so I’m wary about it: in theory with its setting etc it could be right up my street but you just never know- these days I have increasingly little patience with ‘pretentious’ when it interferes with storytelling. Then again, that’s a charge aimed at The Green Knight by many, a film I enjoyed and one stylistically similar to John Boorman’s Excalibur, a film which I’ve seen mentioned in the same sentence as The Northman in some circles. So who knows? Sometimes staying spoiler-free to enable watching a film ‘blind’ can be a dangerous thing though; I can understand some renting first.
Get Carter 4K UHD (BFI)
The week following The Northman sees the BFI release their next 4K disc following The Proposition, which was a good film in a very good package, and they seem to have followed a similar format regards releasing this British crime classic. Well, I say ‘classic’ but I’ve never seen it. It figures that if its as good as they say it is, I might as well watch it in the best presentation that I can, so this 4K remaster it is. I tend to avoid these ‘tat’ editions which seem to have sneaked into the physical market as some kind of ‘last hurrah’ but if it allows these disc releases to stay financially viable I guess I can stomach one or two where I have to (thankfully the pre-order prices have dropped recently to something less eye-watering). While mentioning these ‘tat’ editions, a 4K release of Event Horizon due in August tempts me endlessly. That film is a guilty favourite of mine and I would dearly love to fix some of the current Blu-ray disc issues (stretched ratio for one) but goodness me, can’t they drop the tat for once? Can’t see a bare-bones just-the-bloody-film-no posters or badges or scarfs edition available for pre-order yet. Added complication is I’ve got my Blu-ray sitting in my glorious elaborate Event Horizon DVD case (some of the fanciest packaging I own) which will do me fine to house the 4K if only I could buy the 4K at a reasonable non-tat price, drokk it.
I suppose most everyone reading this though is busy tutting at the revelation that I have somehow never seen Get Carter, but as I’ve mentioned before, its weird how some films, even the established ‘classics’ just pass us by. Part of me hopes it leaves me nonplussed, because it could get just even more expensive if it turns out its soundtrack is as cool as I’ve heard say.
Flatliners 4K UHD (Arrow)
Here’s where my credibility really takes a fall. I think the week after Get Carter comes out, Arrow releases Joel Schumacher’s original Flatliners in a 4K edition. My only defence is that I haven’t seen this film in decades, not since the VHS rental days, and back then I really enjoyed this film immensely; as I recall, rather a cheeky poor-man’s rehash of Brainstorm (not that Doug Trumbull’s film is a particular classic). Part of my enjoyment of the film was that I was really taken by the film’s soundtrack at the time; by James Newton Howard, a composer unknown to me back then but who has since become a household name in film score circles. Indeed, just as I had done with Vangelis’ Blade Runner, I remember I would search for the soundtrack album for months in vain- it was never released, as far as I know. As for the film, I don’t know what I’ll think of it now, and I appreciate this pre-order has mindless self-indulgence all over it, but as I never owned it on DVD or Blu-ray its hardly like wasting money on a double-dip- which is a curious justification, but there you go. We’ll see if I hold my nerve/come to my senses.
Heat 4K UHD
The releases keep on coming, week after week- seven days after Flatliners possibly sullies my letterbox, comes one of those films we’ve been waiting for AGES to come to 4K UHD; Michael Mann’s Heat (after this, surely The Abyss can’t be far behind?). Shame about the lazy-looking cover though- they clearly seem to be almost reluctantly dumping this out on physical media. Remember when studios were interested and made some effort? I have a mind to dig my fancy VHS copy of Heat from out of the loft- the VHS case came in a fancy cardboard box (with the ‘proper’ film poster art) to signify the importance of its release in Widescreen (anybody remember when those VHS Widescreen releases were such a Big Deal?). Its clearly a film which deserves the Indicator treatment, its almost a shame Warner (or whoever owns this now) couldn’t hire those good folks at Indicator to produce the proper special edition which this film deserves. I suppose we’ll be lucky if it just looks as good as it should; Mann is infamous for tinkering with home releases of his films, so maybe my pre-order needs a watchful eye for early reviews.
Dog Soldiers 4K UHD (Second Sight)
I haven’t seen this film in so many years. My mate Andy absolutely loved this film when it came out and always seemed to be watching it on DVD, repeatedly listening to its cast & crew commentary (which inexplicably isn’t included on this release). I’m sure Second Sight will be adding new special features but that commentary track was legendary according to Andy. Also, I’m not sure about that cover art; for some unfathomable reason they’re going for Ugliest Cover Award 2022, right? But anyway, another one of those films that I’ve not seen in ages, not since the DVD era in this case, so I’m as much curious regards what I think of it as how good it looks in 4K. After this film, Neil Marshall, who back then seemed to be a British John Carpenter, went on to direct The Descent, another horror film I loved- I’d be keen to see that one in 4K someday too.
The Police Story Trilogy 4K UHD (Eureka)
Finally in September comes this mighty box, not certain why this seemed to somehow catch my eye- I’ve not seen anything of these films, other than a mouth-watering stunt sequence on YouTube that blew my mind and had me pressing that pre-order button. I’m a sucker for good action movies, especially as they seem to just get rarer as the years roll on. We’ll see if my courage holds up regards a boxset blind-buy like this one though. I’ve seen a few Jackie Chan films and enjoyed them so it may be a safe bet- this seems to be loaded with extras too, multiple commentaries on each film, different versions, a 100-page book, so plenty to get my teeth into assuming I enjoy the films themselves (indeed its so stacked it could be a contender for release of the year if Eureka can pull it off). Am I right in thinking that when Eureka gets into the 4K game with this release we can suggest the format is finally niche no longer? Imagine Indicator getting into 4K disc sets- what? They are? Oh my wallet.
Anyway, while on the subject of my poor wallet, that’s about it regards what I’ve actually pre-ordered right now. I’ve my eye on a few other releases but avoided succumbing just yet, particularly some of those 4K releases out in America like Kino’s Touch of Evil. There are other releases coming, for instance from Indicator (that Universal Noir box in September, and in October both a rumoured Dracula (1979) and another Hammer set). There’s also talk of Arrow releasing Videodrome in 4K – that’s one of my old favourites but I’ll likely resist that one, the Blu-ray seems fine enough to me. But who knows? The Abyss might come before year-end yet.