The Best New Blu-Ray Releases: Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, Raging Bull On The Criterion Collection, And More

Welcome back, Blu-ray fiends. It’s time yet again for another super-sized Blu-ray column, where I round up some of the best recent releases on home media. This week, we have the return of Doctor Strange, two 4K Criterion releases, a conspiracy-theory-laden documentary, an animated feature, and a mash-up of horror and film noir. It’s a good bunch of movies, let me tell ya!

Strange

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

The prospect of Sam Raimi returning to directing was enough to get me excited for “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” one of the latest entries in the MCU. However, I was also worried that Marvel’s oppressive directing-by-committee style would hamper Raimi. The end result was somewhere in the middle: Raimi was able to inject some of his trademark style, but not enough to overcome the Marvel machine.

The plot involves Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange teaming up with America Chavez (a spirited Xochitl Gomez, who is sadly wasted here in a thankless part) to jump through dimensions and save the world from Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), who has gone off the deep end. The best parts of the movie are the weird little bits Raimi is able to add, like a fight involving flying music notes, and the prerequisite Bruce Campbell cameo. But too much of the film is designed to be just another Marvel movie, and that’s not enough to make this worth repeated viewing.

Special features:

Featurettes

  • Method to the Madness – Join various crew members and Marvel employees in interviews as they discuss their love of Sam Raimi and all the details of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness that make it quintessentially Raimi.
  • Introducing America Chavez – In this short and fun profile piece, we’ll learn about America’s humble beginnings in the comics. We’ll meet Xochitl Gomez and discuss the complications her character’s unique power presents for the future of the MCU.
  • Constructing the Multiverse – Writing a feature film for Marvel is no easy task. In this playful yet informative featurette, we’ll dive into the challenges that writer Michael Waldron faced in creating the twisting and turning story of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Bloopers

  • Gag Reel – Take a look at some of the fun outtakes on set with the cast and crew of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Deleted Scenes

  • A Great Team – A journalist questions Doctor Strange’s integrity.
  • Pizza Poppa – Bruce is relieved when Doctor Strange’s spell ends.
  • It’s Not Permanent – Bruce tries to accuse Doctor Strange of being an imposter.

Audio Commentary

  • View the film with audio commentary by Sam Raimi, Richie Palmer, and Michael Waldron.

Raging Bull 4K

Martin Scorsese has made several films I’d call flat-out masterpieces, and one of those titles is “Raging Bull,” his brutal, black and white portrait of troubled boxer Jake La Motta. Like most great Scorsese movies, “Raging Bull” is about violence and guilt. As played by Robert De Niro (who famously underwent a massive physical transformation to play La Motta at different parts of his life), La Motta is a tortured, insecure soul who takes his pent-up rage out on his opponents in the ring — and on his family outside of it.

Scorsese shoots the fights like abstract works of art, laced with smoky hazes, blood dripping from ropes, and sounds of animals played in slow motion. There’s absolutely nothing likable about La Motta, and yet, Scorsese makes us care about this abusive, harmful man. We can’t help but get swept up in his story, as La Motta slowly and violently destroys both himself and everyone around him. And now it’s in 4K from the Criterion Collection.

Special features:

  • New 4K digital master, approved by director Martin Scorsese, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack
  • In the 4K UHD edition: One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in HDR and one Blu-ray with the film and special features
  • New video essays by film critics Geoffrey O’Brien and Sheila O’Malley on Scorsese’s mastery of formal techniques and the film’s triumvirate of characters
  • Three audio commentaries, featuring Scorsese and editor Thelma Schoonmaker; director of photography Michael Chapman, producers Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler, casting director Cis Corman, music consultant Robbie Robertson, actors Theresa Saldana and John Turturro, and sound-effects supervising editor Frank Warner; and boxer Jake La Motta and screenwriters Mardik Martin and Paul Schrader
  • Fight Night, a making-of program featuring Scorsese and key members of the cast and crew
  • Three short programs highlighting the longtime collaboration between Scorsese and actor Robert De Niro
  • Television interview from 1981 with actor Cathy Moriarty and the real Vikki La Motta
  • Interview with Jake La Motta from 1990
  • Program from 2004 featuring veteran boxers reminiscing about La Motta
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

Okja 4K

Another 4K release from Criterion, Bong Joon Ho’s “Okja” is a wonderful movie that’s very hard to watch. It’s so difficult, in fact, that it changed my life forever — it turned me into a vegetarian. The film follows a superpig, which is a gigantic, cuddly creature created in a lab for one purpose — meat. There are many superpigs, but Okja, who is being raised by Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun), afarm girl who thinks of the animal as her best friend.

When the evil company that created Okja comes calling to collect the animal, Mija sets off on a quest to retrieve her beloved friend. As is usually his style, Bong blends together several different genres here, creating a film both whimsical and horrifying. The stuff with Mija and Okja is incredibly sweet, but soon gives way to nightmare as Okja is tormented at every turn. A final sequence involving a slaughterhouse for superpigs was so disturbing that it made me swear off meat forever.

In the midst of all of this is a genuinely unhinged performance from Jake Gyllenhaal, who seems to be in a completely different movie while also having the time of his life.

Special features:

  • 4K digital master, approved by director Bong Joon Ho, with Dolby Atmos sound on the Blu-ray and 4K UHD editions
  • In the 4K UHD edition: One 4K UHD disc of the film presented in Dolby Vision HDR and one Blu-ray with the film and special features
  • New conversation between Bong and producer Dooho Choi
  • New interviews with actors An Seo Hyun and Byun Heebong
  • New interviews with members of the crew about the film’s cinematography, visual effects, and costume and production design
  • Short programs including a director’s video diary, featuring Bong; actors Paul Dano, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton, and Steven Yeun; and others
  • Teaser, trailer, and web promos
  • English subtitle translation and English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Karen Han

Angel Heart 4K

Alan Parker’s horror-noir “Angel Heart” has never looked better than it does in this new 4K release. The clear imagery, even when things grow visually dark, is a reminder of how much style Parker packs into this thing. Mickey Rourke plays an extremely rumpled detective who gets hired by a mysterious creep (Robert De Niro) to find a missing singer. The investigation takes Rourke’s character from snowy New York to sweltering New Orleans, uncovering a plot involving voodoo, devil worship, and more.

At this point, “Angel Heart” is probably best known for both its big twist and an infamous sex scene between Rourke and Lisa Bonet. But the movie is so much more than that; it is a twisty, creepy, unsettling mystery full of enigmatic shots that conjure up troubling thoughts like storm clouds violently forming in a previously bright sky. Rourke’s sweaty, shaggy detective makes for a great noir protagonist, and De Niro is clearly having fun with his small, devilish role.

Special features:

  • Introduction to Angel Heart by Screenwriter-Director Alan Parker
  • Audio Commentary with Alan Parker
  • Alan Parker Interview excerpt from Cineastes Des Annees
  • News Features
  • Personality Profiles
  • Additional Interviews
  • Behind-the-Scenes Footage
  • Teaser Trailer
  • A Background in Voodoo
  • Behind-the-Scenes Gallery

The Bob’s Burgers Movie

“The Bob’s Burgers Movie” is basically an extended episode of the animated show, but that doesn’t make it a bad thing. Once again, the constantly groaning Bob Belcher has to deal with trouble with his restaurant while his three kids go off on their own “Goonies”-like adventure. The thing that separates this from the show is a sharper animation style, but otherwise, fans will get what they wanted. That includes some delightfully silly songs, some genuinely surprising twists, and laugh-out-loud funny lines (my favorite involved someone bringing up a guy named Cotton Candy Dan, to which Bob’s wife Linda comments, “Cotton Candy Dan? Isn’t he the guy who sold corn dogs?”

You may find that joke stupid. To me, though, it is the height of comedy.

Special features:

Audio Commentary

  • Watch the movie with audio commentary by H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, Kristen Schaal, Directors Loren Bouchard and Bernard Derriman, Writer Nora Smith and Production Designer Ruben Hickman.

Featurette

  • Making Of the Movie: Bob’s Burgers Creator Loren Bouchard talks about turning Bob’s Burgers the TV show into Bob’s Burgers the show that’s a movie.

Theatrical Short (Seen Only in Limited Theaters)

  • My Butt Has a Fever – Theatrical Version: The Belcher children perform in the school talent show in order to share their very important and powerful message.
  • My Butt Has a Fever – Animatic Version: A look Behind-the-scenes, the animatic of the theatrical short My Butt Has a Fever.

Deleted Scenes

  • Metal Detector: Bob and Linda go to City Hall in a version of the movie where they went to City Hall.
  • Burning Piers: The turbulent history of Wonder Wharf.
  • Grover’s Office: Bob and Linda go to Grover’s office in a version of the movie where they went to Grover’s Office.

Deleted Scenes with Audio Commentary

  • The Movie We Didn’t Make: Creator Loren Bouchard and Writer Nora Smith discuss trying to make a movie, particularly The Bob’s Burger Movie.
  • Metal Detector: Bob and Linda go to City Hall, with commentary by Creator Loren Bouchard and Writer Nora Smith.
  • Burning Piers: The turbulent history of Wonder Wharf, with commentary by Creator Loren Bouchard and Writer Nora Smith.
  • Grover’s Office: Bob and Linda go to Grover’s Office, with commentary by Creator Loren Bouchard and Writer Nora Smith.

Animation Extras – Animatics

  • “Sunny Side Up Summer” Storyboards and Rough Animation: The work-in-progress not-even-color-yet animatic of the song “Sunny Side Up Summer.”
  • “Lucky Ducks” Storyboards and Rough Animation: The work-in-progress not-even-color-yet animatic of the song “Lucky Ducks.”
  • “Not That Evil” Storyboards and Rough Animation Featuring David Wain: David Wain performs an entire dance routine, with no formal training, to his character Grover’s song “Not That Evil.” Plays alongside the song’s animatic.
  • “End Credits” Storyboards and Rough Animation: The work-in-progress animatic of the End Credits, comes with provocative dance moves and unconventional rhythm.

Animation Extras – Animating the Scene

  • Linda Through the Pass-Through with Commentary by Director Bernard Derriman: The progression of a scene from storyboard to animation, with commentary by Director Bernard Derriman, and also Linda is in it.
  • Bob And Linda Go to The Bank: A time lapse of the bank scene being animated.
  • Bob And Linda Go to The Bank with Commentary by Director Bernard Derriman: A time lapse of the bank scene being animated, with commentary by Director Bernard Derriman.
  • Louise Grabs the Fuse: A time lapse of the “Louise Grabs the Fuse” scene being animated.
  • Louise Grabs the Fuse with Commentary by Director Bernard Derriman: A time lapse of the “Louise Grabs the Fuse” scene being animated, with commentary by Director Bernard Derriman.

JFK Revisited: The Complete Collection

Oliver Stone’s “JFK” is one of my all-time-favorite movies, and I’d dare say it’s one of the best movies of the last 50 years. Using groundbreaking editing, Stone and company were able to cut together a massive thriller that tried to get to the bottom of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It is a commanding, spellbinding film that fascinated as much as it disturbs. It’s also riddled with inaccuracies, and in some cases, Stone blatantly twists and ignores facts. And you know what? That’s fine. I have no complaints, even though I do take issue with Stone trying to claim everything that happened in his film was accurate.

In any case, Stone has once again returned to the world of JFK assassination theories with two different titles: the feature-length documentary “JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass,” and the docuseries “JFK: Destiny Betrayed.” Both titles are packaged together in a new Blu-ray from Shout Factory titled “JFK Revisited: The Complete Collection.” Stone’s “JFK” film was such a cultural phenomenon that it resulted in the passing of the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, which established the collection of all U.S. records in regards to Kennedy’s death. Because of the gathering of these documents in the National Archives, Stone has been able to add even more to his growing list of conspiracy theories.

Personally, I’ve come to believe that — despite some admittedly unanswered questions — Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination. But I remain fascinated with theories about the case, and while I may disagree with the ideas Stone puts forth here, I have to admit that he’s skilled enough to assemble a slick, fast-paced documentary that pulls you into a never-ending black hole of speculation.

Special features:

  • NEW Audio Commentary For JFK Revisited: Through The Looking Glass By Director Oliver Stone And Writer James DiEugenio

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