New on DVD and Blu-Ray

There’s some great work being done in this week’s small selection, like the first-ever 4K release of a Bela Tarr movie and a much-needed HD upgrade for Paul Schrader’s bleak (even by Paul Schrader standards) Affliction. But you could at least watch those movies on DVD, while John Sayles’ City of Hope gets its very first disc release of any kind since Laser-. I generally hold strong on it being naive to believe that almost any piece of art has the power to be a force of positive societal change, but I firmly believe that if so much of Sayles’ filmography was more widely-circulated, it would do a lot of people a lot of good, City of Hope maybe most of all. It’s not a model of perfection like Lone Star or a personal, sentimental favorite like Baby It’s You or Lianna, but I believe it’s a strong contender for The Great American Movie, an epic panorama of a small city’s rot infecting every soul trying to make a life within it. Compromises are muddled into triumphs for present-tense victories that may portend years of festering corruption, and the thin line between community and tribalism is crossed frequently and sometimes permanently. When it comes time for Sayles to use his obvious mouthpiece for the Message of the Day, all he can muster is a scream for help, one we know is never getting answered. And all this is filmed with feats of Steadicam and crazy Robert Richardson top-lighting beyond even what Scorsese and Tarantino could muster.

Affliction (Shout Factory)
City of Hope (Sony)
The Invisible Fight (Kino)
Joyland (Oscilloscope)
The Peasants (Sony)
Taxi (1998) (Samuel Goldwyn)
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan: The Final Season 4K (Paramount)
Werckmeister Harmonies 4K (Criterion)
You’ll Never Get Rich (Sony)