The best Blu-ray & 4K reissues coming in April 2021
Godzilla joins our Cine Edition range, Wes Anderson gets the Criterion treatment, and two cult classics get a 4K glow-up - all this and more coming your way in April...
Godzilla (hmv Exclusive) - Cine Edition
Gareth Edwards’ 2014 reboot of the storied kaiju classic takes the 1954 ‘Showa era’ original as its inspiration, reviving storyline threads forsaken in previous iterations that draw a direct connection between post-war nuclear testing to Godzilla’s awakening – one that the Japanese and American authorities are keen to keep hidden from the public. Starring a cast that includes Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Sally Hawkins, the 2014 version of Godzilla brought about a revival in the iconic monster’s popularity, with a follow-up released in 2019 and a big screen showdown with King Kong set to debut in cinemas this year.
Edwards’ film is the latest addition to hmv’s exclusive Cine Edition range, with a limited run of 1500 copies due to make its arrival on April 12. Bundled in the exclusive Cine Edition are 4K and Blu-ray versions of the film, a double-sided A3 poster, 4 x art cards and a 32-page booklet, while the bonus materials include three fun shorts presented as ‘Top Secret’ government files detailing the cover-up of Godzilla’s existence, as well as a deep-dive into the Godzilla mythology titled Godzilla: Force of Nature.
The Darjeeling Limited - The Criterion Collection
One of the earlier instalments in Wes Anderson’s distinctive filmography, The Darjeeling Limited is sometimes viewed by critics as one of his more flawed films, often because its tale of three preposterous, privileged white men on a voyage of self-discovery across the Indian continent is a story that’s hard to love. Like the rest of his films, though, The Darjeeling Limited is nevertheless a visual delight that still exhibits all the stylish verve Anderson is known for, and the film joins the Criterion Collection this month with a new Blu-ray edition heading to stores on April 26.
Featuring a new high-definition digital transfer, supervised by Anderson himself, which shows the film in all its pastel-coloured, symmetrical glory, the Criterion edition also includes a range of extras such as audio commentary from Anderson, Jason Schwartzman and co-writer Roman Coppola, a behind the scenes documentary, deleted scenes and Anderson’s film short Hotel Chevalier, which serves as a prologue to the film itself.
Bong Joon Ho Collection
Bong Joon Ho
If you enjoyed Bong Joon Ho’s Oscar-winning horror Parasite, but have yet to delve into the rest of the Korean director’s impressive back catalogue, a new box set coming this month from the folks at Curzon Artificial Eye offers the opportunity to get your hands on six of his finest films to date in one tidy package.
Due to arrive on April 19, the Bong Joon Ho Collection includes both full colour and black-and-white versions of his 2020 Oscar winner, as well as five earlier films including his debut feature Barking Dogs Never Bite and his 2013 film Snowpiercer, to which Bong has recently returned for a 20-episode TV adaptation. Other films included in the box set are his 2003 film Memories of Murder, 2006 cult horror The Host and the much-underrated crime thriller Mother, first released in 2009. Keeping the extras to a bare minimum in favour of packing half a dozen of his best moments into one box, the new collection is an ideal introduction for those who’ve recently discovered Bong Joon Ho’s brilliant work and want to see more.
Donnie Darko - 4K Limited Edition
Once described by its director Richard Kelly as “The Catcher in the Rye as told by Philip K. Dick”, Donnie Darko’s weird and wonderful story has seen Kelly’s film become a proper cult classic in the two decades since its original release. With the Donnie Darko reaching its 20th birthday this year, new 4K restorations of both the Theatrical Cut and the Director’s Cut of the film, overseen by the folks at Arrow Video and approved by Kelly himself, are due to arrive this month in the form of a new limited edition box set.
Available from April 21st, the new 4K edition comes bundled with a double-sided poster, 100-page hardcover book, reversible sleeve and six collector’s postcards. Amongst the huge range of bonus materials included are various director commentaries with Kelly, Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore and filmmaker Kevin Smith, a full-length ‘making-of’ documentary titled Deus Ex Machina, 20 deleted and alternate scenes, archive cast interviews and featurettes, b-roll footage, and Kelly’s 1996 short film The Goodbye Place as well as much more besides.
Battle Royale - 4K Limited Edition
First released in 2000 and based on the dystopian novel of the same name by Koushun Takami, published the previous year, Battle Royale was the final film by Japanese director Kinji Fukusaku and arguably one of his most influential. Generating much controversy at the time of its release thanks to its shocking concept and blood-soaked action sequences, Battle Royale quickly became a cultural phenomenon that has inspired countless films and movie franchises from The Hunger Games to The Purge and been cited as an influence by the likes of Quentin Tarantino, who even borrowed one of the film’s cast members (Chiaki Kuriyama) to star in Kill Bill: Volume 1.
Fukusaku’s film is another to benefit from a new 4K restoration at the capable hands of Arrow Video, whose new limited edition reissue of Battle Royale is set to make its arrival in stores on April 26. Both the Theatrical Cut and the director’s Special Edition have been given the restoration treatment, while the new reissue also includes goodies such as a fold-out poster, illustrated collector’s booklet, soundtrack CD and an exclusive 120-page monograph on the life and career of the director titled Kinji Fukasaku: Man of Rage. There are are also plenty of bonus materials on offer, including a new documentary examining the film’s legacy and a brand new interview with Kenta Fukusaku, the film’s writer and producer.
Secrets and Lies
Over the course of his career British director Mike Leigh has tackled many types of storytelling, his most recent outings being a historical account of the Peterloo Massacre in Manchester and a biopic of the eccentric artist J.M.W. Turner, the latter featuring a wonderful leading performance from Timothy Spall in his sixth collaboration with Leigh. Arguably though, Leigh’s natural gifts lend themselves best towards gritty, down-to-earth drama, and there are few better examples than his 1996 film Secrets and Lies, which once again features Spall alongside a cast that also includes Lesley Manville, Brenda Blethyn and Marianne Jean-Baptiste.
Centred around the story of a young, adopted black woman who is surprised when her efforts to find her birth parents reveal that her biological mother is white, Leigh’s Palme d’Or-winning film joins the Criterion Collection this month with a newly-restored reissue set to arrive on Blu-ray on April 26. Alongside a new. Director-approved 2K restoration of the film, the Criterion edition also includes a new conversation between Leigh and composer Gary Yershon, and a new interview with Marianne Jean-Baptiste by film critic Corrina Antrobus.
I Start Counting
Equal parts coming-of-age story and taut thriller, David Greene’s slice of late-60s cinema stars Jenny Agutter as a young woman who begins to suspect that the stepbrother she is infatuated with may be the man behind a series of grisly local murders. Written by screenwriter Richard Harris, whose long list of credits includes TV shows such as The Avengers and A Touch of Frost, the film has been given a new 2K restoration by the BFI, who are set to reissue a new Blu-ray edition of Greene’s film on April 19.
Alongside the newly-restored film are a range of bonus materials including a selection of rare archive films and two brand new mini-features, one with Richard Harris looking back over his career, and another in which Trunk Records founder Jonny Trunk explores the pioneering work of the film’s composer, Basil Kirchin.
The Roy Andersson Collection
The second career retrospective from Curzon Artificial Eye to feature on our pages this month, The Roy Andersson collection is a wonderful introduction to the work of the Swedish filmmaker, cherry-picking half a dozen of his finest creations from a career spanning more than five decades – one which has seen him described as one of Europe’s most important living filmmakers.
Highlights include his 1970 debut feature A Swedish Love Story and his marvellous 2014 film A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, but each one of the films featured here is a gem, making this a box set well worth investigating even if you’re only vaguely familiar with Andersson’s work. You won’t be disappointed.