New on DVD and Blu-Ray

Like clockwork, M. Night Shyamalan releases a movie that plays like gangbusters to his steady band of defenders and fails to convince any of his steady band of detractors (while the steady band of those who think he’s good, sometimes, are just as likely to fall into either side). As a particularly staunch defender (Lady in the Water is great!), I often find it hard to fairly engage with the anti- side because his movies (usually) make me incredibly emotional and seeing people poke holes in them just makes me sad. Anybody who doesn’t have the Shyamalan gene will probably find Knock at the Cabin to be stagey and inert with an unsatisfying conclusion (but hopefully they’ll at least enjoy Dave Bautista’s masterful, tragic gentle-giant performance). I found it to be a gut-wrenching exploration of every angle of the most awful dilemma imaginable, a close-up look at the terror and helplessness of being part of God’s will (or at least believing that you’re part of God’s will). I think it works well as a tense home-invasion thriller but it made me weep more than it made me grip the armrests, for the horrible weight of its questions and for Shyamalan’s usual sincerity trying its hardest to overcome the evil surrounding it. This opens with a Kiki’s Delivery Service namedrop and moves onto visions of the apocalypse not unlike the bleakest Miyazakis, where the message is that Earth and God don’t give a shit about you if you’re in their way. It’s up to you to figure out which side of that coin wins out.

In case you need some lighter viewing after Cabin takes the wind out of you, The Sorrow and the Pity is also out this week.

Absolute Beginners (Sandpiper)
Branded to Kill 4K (Criterion)
The Experts (Kino)
Hand of Death (Arrow)
Kamikaze (Kino)
Knock at the Cabin 4K (Universal)
The Sorrow and the Pity (Milestone)
Stone Cold (Kino)
Superman I-IV 5-Film Collection 4K (Warner)
There’s No Tomorrow (Kino)
The Tiger Cage Collection (Shout Factory)
Two Orphan Vampires 4K (Indicator)