New on DVD and Blu-Ray

A very eclectic week, including a Cinemascore F, a late Orson Welles classic, the second of two Catherine Hardwicke movies released this year, the second Disney Little Mermaid (now in dismal Rob Marshall-O-Vision), and the second movie to be called What’s Love Got to Do with It(?). There’s also 4Ks of The Exorcist and James Gray’s sumptuous The Lost City of Z, a good excuse to post Gray’s beautiful tribute to William Friedkin. And then there’s two new releases that end up similarly decent but frustrating, though they don’t share anything else besides the prefix “Pa-“. Celine Song’s Past Lives is an interesting reflection on how much one’s identity is intrinsically tied to their homeland, but to be this it can’t function very well at what would seem to be its primary goal, being a satisfying, bittersweet romance in addition to an intriguing commentary. Teo Yoo only registers as a remnant of Greta Lee’s past self, of course she’s not going to end up with him when she’s already long settled into a new identity. And even if he put up a fight, he’d still be going against an all-time winsome John Magaro, a man so deep in love that he has to learn the language that his wife dreams in.

Abel Ferrara’s Padre Pio is another battle between what works and what doesn’t, here very neatly separated into two halves or maybe 2/3 and 1/3. The dominant side is a proletariat drama about the tragic ineffectiveness of elections as a revolutionary tool, interesting post-WWI history with some very unsubtle parallels to where we are now (like when the ruling class cries voter fraud). These parts are a long way away from Bad Lieutenant or The Addiction or even the least successful of Ferrara’s other late-period concoctions, a beautiful movie except when Ferrara throws out some inexplicable flourish every few minutes (I would guess 15% of this is in slo-mo for reasons that are beyond me), but I still enjoyed them, particularly relative to what this movie is ostensibly about. This may be named after Padre Pio but Ferrara can’t be arsed to make it Pio’s movie, he has nothing to do with any of the leftist drama and is sequestered away in his little corner, to be cut to only so often that we don’t forget about him entirely. There being so little of Pio is a special blessing because Pio is Shia LaBeouf, who clearly believes he’s giving a Harvey Keitel exorcism in the part but is just screaming at others (like the toxic idiot he is) to “SHUT THE FUCK UP! SAY CHRIST IS LORD!”. I almost believe Ferrara is making fun of Shia, especially when one scene exists only to confront him with his (and not Pio’s) abuse, but he has given him far too much latitude to huff and puff and gruffly whisper like a bad Sean Penn performance.

Cocaine Bear 4K (Universal)
Early Short Films of the French New Wave (Icarus)
The Exorcist 4K (Warner)
Fatal Femmes: Neige / The Bitch (Fun City)
The Last Dragon 4K (Sony)
The Little Mermaid (Disney)
The Lost City of Z 4K (Shout Factory)
Lost Souls (Shout Factory)
Padre Pio (Gravitas Ventures)
Past Lives (Lionsgate)
Prisoner’s Daughter (Vertical)
Ringu 4K (Arrow)
Santo vs. Infernal Men (Indicator)
The Trial 4K (Criterion)
What’s Love Got to Do with It? (Shout Factory)