New on DVD and Blu-Ray

This week sees the release of M. Night Shyamalan’s “official” comeback (after the very solid horror-comedy The Visit), Split. Now, I am majorly in the bag for Shyamalan and his weirdo quirks, so if you don’t like those you’re probably not going to find much to like here, but I found this to be a return to Shyamalan at his prime as a filmmaker, directing the shit out of this movie (with the aid this time of It Follows DoP Mike Gioulakis) and wringing every last drop of tension out of his scenarios while also finding unexpected pathos in them. And he’s aided by two of the very best performances in any of his films, from James McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy. And the twist adds (or just reveals) a surprising amount of thematic depth for what seems like just a goofy stunt. It’s good, is what I’m saying.

Thank god for M. Night, because otherwise this is a mighty uninspiring new release slate. There’s a sum total of two other new titles, the Jamie Foxx crime thriller Sleepless and the latest victim of Weinstein woes, The Founder, and they’re both barely worth commenting on at all. So that’s all I’ll say. There are at least a lot more catalog titles out this week, with Kino alone producing nearly two times what the studios could, with some being good (Delmer Daves’ Broken Arrow) and others, uh, not reaching that level so much (the Rock Hudson version of A Farewell to Arms). But the biggie of the bunch is undoubtedly Arrow’s mammoth release of Donnie Darko, finally making its way to the US after months as a UK-exclusive. It gets a 4K restoration (which has been making the theatrical rounds), a wealth of old and new special features, and a big booklet featuring a Jake Gyllenhaal introduction, an extensive Richard Kelly interview, and several critical essays (including one from our good friend Nathan Rabin). Aside from that, there’s also Criterion’s two offerings this week, Wim Wenders’ music documentary Buena Vista Social Club and the first Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn collaboration, Woman of the Year, plus Shout Factory releasing Volker Schlondorff’s film adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale and the horror anthology about the African-American experience, Tales from the Hood.

L’assassino (Arrow Academy)
Broken Arrow (Kino)
Buena Vista Social Club (Criterion)
Donnie Darko (Arrow)
A Farewell to Arms (Kino)
The Founder (Anchor Bay)
The Handmaid’s Tale (Shout Factory)
A League of Their Own (Sony)
The Mephisto Waltz (Kino)
Ocean Waves (Universal)
The Rounders (Warner Archive Collection)
The Scar (Kino)
Sleepless (Universal)
Spencer’s Mountain (Warner Archive Collection)
Split (Universal)
Sunset in the West (Kino)
Tales from the Hood (Shout Factory)
Woman of the Year (Criterion)