The best Blu-ray & 4K reissues coming in January 2021
A cult horror classic, a Kafkaesque thriller and the long awaited return of Bill & Ted are among the best movie reissues coming your way this January...
Bill & Ted: The Most Excellent Collection
Stephen Herek / Pete Hewitt / Dean Parisot
In a cursed year that saw film production and release schedules grinding almost entirely to a halt under the pandemic-induced fog that descended across the film industry as much as any other, one of the few shafts of light to cut its way through was the somewhat unlikely revival of Bill & Ted, which brought some much needed joy and laughter to cinemas and saw its stars Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves reunited onscreen for the first time in almost 30 years.
Alongside of the standard release of the new ‘threequel’ Bill & Ted Face the Music, which arrives in stores on January 25, there’s also a brand new Blu-ray box set which bundles the trilogy together for the first time and which is exclusively available at hmv. In addition to all three films, including a new 4K restoration of the 1989 original Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and its 1991 follow-up Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, the box set also includes over 10 hours of bonus features, from commentaries and behind-the-scenes clips to interviews with cast and crew members.
Kei Sanbe’s lightly autobiographical fantasy drama Erased has now seen several adaptations since its original publication as a manga series beginning in 2012, with a feature-length movie arriving in 2016 and a live-action TV series commissioned by Netflix a year later. The first of these adaptations however came with Tomohiko Ito’s acclaimed anime series, telling the story of a struggling manga writer who discovers an ability to time-travel backwards by a few minutes in order to prevent life-threatening incidents, but who soon finds himself transported all back the way to 1988 and investigating not only the disappearance of two childhood friends, but also the murder of his own mother.
This gripping and beautifully animated 12-episode series comes to Blu-ray for the first time in the UK this month, with a new box set containing the show’s entire run due to make its arrival in stores on January 18.
Breathless: 60th Anniversary Collectors Edition
Jean-Luc Godard is considered one of the leading lights in the ‘French New Wave’ cinematic movement that began to emerge in the late 1950s and of his many influential films, none captured the movement’s iconoclastic style more succinctly than his extraordinary 1960 film Breathless, a comedy-drama which draws heavily on Godard’s love of American ‘film noir’, and which celebrates its 60th birthday this year.
To mark the occasion, a brand new ‘Collectors Edition’ of Godard’s film, newly restored and presented in 4K, is set to arrive in stores on January 11. The film is presented on both Blu-ray and 4K UHD discs, while also bundled in the new edition is a selection of bonus materials and extras including a set of art cards, poster, a 40-page booklet and the original film soundtrack on 12” vinyl.
Masque of the Red Death
What do you get when you combine a story by Edgar Allan Poe, cinematography by Nicolas Roeg, the direction of B-movie supremo Roger Corman, and a performance from legendary actor Vincent Price? No, it isn’t a joke left over from one of your Christmas crackers: it’s the recipe for a cult classic.
First unleashed on the public in 1964, Masque of the Red Death is a uniquely updated take on Poe’s grisly tale from the man known affectionately as ‘The Pope of Pop Cinema’ and benefits enormously from Roeg’s beautiful camera work, not to mention an iconic leading performance from Price. Once described by Time Out as “the closest Corman ever came to real greatness”, the film returns to stores on January 25 in the form of a new addition to StudioCanal’s Vintage Classics range, which sees a new 4K restoration of Corman’s classic horror arrive on Blu-ray and, for the first time ever, in its fully extended, uncut form.
La Grande Illusion
If time has made the circumstances pictured in Jean Renoir’s interwar drama seem a distant memory, it has done nothing to diminish the film’s powerful message. Set during the first world war and released shortly before the outbreak of the second, La Grande Illusion presents a clear-eyed and startlingly prescient view of the rising dangers of fascism that remains relevant even today.
Starring Jean Gabin and Pierre Fresnay as two French aviators captured and interned in a prisoner-or-war camp, Renoir’s film charts their plot to escape while painting a vivid picture of the coming changes in the social order across Europe. Painstakingly restored by Lionsgate and StudioCanal in 2012, the film is set to be reissued as part of the latter’s Vintage Classics series and is due to return to stores on January 25.
Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion
One of this month’s new additions to the Criterion Collection, Elio Petri’s Oscar-winning 1970 crime thriller combines satire and black comedy with a Kafkaesque plot about an Italian police inspector who winds up investigating a murder he committed himself, deliberately planting increasingly obvious clues to his guilt that are routinely ignored by his police colleagues, either wittingly or not.
The Film Foundation’s new 4K restoration of Petri’s film is featured on Criterion’s new Blu-ray edition, which arrives on January 18 and also includes a range of bonus features, such as an archival interview with Petri, a 2010 interview with the film’s composer Ennio Morricone, and a 90-minute documentary from 2005 on Petri’s career.
The Young Master: Deluxe Limited Edition
Jackie Chan’s impressively packed filmography has enjoyed plenty of reissues in recent years, but not many of them have looked as good as this. Centred around a 2-disc Blu-ray presentation of Chan's 1980 film that features both a 40th anniversary restoration of the film’s 90 minute ‘international cut’ and a new 2K restoration of the original Hong Kong theatrical cut (106 mins), the new Deluxe Limited Edition from 88 Films comes bundled with a range of exclusive goodies and huge collection of bonus content.
Due to arrive on January 25, this new limited edition box set includes a double-sided poster, reversible sleeve featuring the original Hong Kong artwork, six art cards and an 80-page bound book featuring essays on Chan’s career and archive materials. On the bonus features side there is an exhaustive list of extras that includes deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes documentaries, commentaries, interviews and even never-before-seen fight scenes reconstructed from the original footage. Well worth adding to your collection whether you’re a Jackie Chan completest of just a fan of martial arts movies in general.