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This Week on Blu-ray: ‘Firestarter’, ‘Red Dawn’, ‘Fences’ & More

Here’s a look at some of the films hitting Blu-ray this week.

firestarterFirestarter [Collector’s Edition]

Drew Barrymore has the power to set things on fire with one glance in this Stephen King adaptation from 1984. Firestarter hasn’t aged particularly well, and Barrymore’s performance is severely lacking — bordering on boredom. But there are some sparks here, mostly in the form of George C. Scott as the villainous Agent John Rainbird, who wants to use Barrymore’s powers for evil. The Scream Factory Collector’s Edition Blu-ray comes packed with the usual dependable extras from the boutique Blu-ray label, including a commentary and interviews. Interestingly enough, in one of the interviews, director Mark L. Lester reveals that mater of horror John Carpenter was originally going to helm Firestarter. Carpenter apparently threw out all of the material from King’s novel and wrote something completely different. I’m sure I’m not the only person itching to know what was in Carpenter’s draft.

Bonus Features

    • NEW 2K Scan Of The Interpositive Film Element
    • NEW Audio Commentary With Director Mark L. Lester
    • NEW Playing With Fire: The Making Of FIRESTARTER – Featuring Interviews With Director Mark L. Lester, Actors Freddie Jones, Drew Snyder, Stuntman/Actor Dick Warlock And Johannes Schmoelling Of Tangerine Dream
    • NEW Tangerine Dream: Movie Music Memories – An Interview With Johannes Schmoelling
    • NEW Live Performance Of “Charlie’s Theme” By Johannes Schmoelling Of Tangerine Dream
    • Theatrical Trailers
    • Radio Spot
    • Still Gallery

91nI1ydJGgL._SX342_Red Dawn [Collector’s Edition]

The thought of Russia invading the U.S., as happens in 1984’s Red Dawn, was once ludicrous. Now, here in the topsy-turvy America of 2017, it’s not so far-fetched — although the infiltration didn’t apparently come via parachuting Kremlin agents, but rather hackers. That wouldn’t have satisfied Red Dawn director John Milius. Instead, he crafted this slice of 80s cheese, starring every then-young-actor you could think of — Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Charlie Sheen, and Jennifer Grey — and having them save the invaded United States. Swayze and his young cohorts become guerrilla fighters when the U.S. is invaded by Russia, and what results is a lot of hokum and gunfights. It’s not a particularly good movie, but it is a fascinating one. Also fascinating are the supplementary material compiled by Shout Factory offshoot Shout Select. In interviews, several members of the film’s crew recount how director John Milius kept two things on him at all times — a bottle of Pepto-Bismol and a real gun loaded with blanks that he would fire off whenever he got angry.

Bonus Features

    • NEW “A Look Back At Red Dawn” – A 70 Minute Feature Including Brand-New Stories From Co-Star Doug Toby, Casting Director Jane Jenkins, Production Designer Jackson DeGovia And Editor Thom Noble
    • Archival Featurette: “Red Dawn Rising”
    • Archival Featurette: “Training For WWIII”
    • Archival Featurette: “Building The Red Menace”
    • Archival Featurette: “WWIII Comes To Town”
    • Original Theatrical Trailer

91EkEcJKpOL._SX342_Fences [BD/Digital HD Combo] [Blu-ray] 

Few films can match Fences when it comes to performances. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis are phenomenal in this adaptation of the August Wilson play, with both actors delivering two of the finest performances of their already acclaimed careers. Unfortunately, as a film, Fences doesn’t quite live up to its performances. Director Denzel Washington keeps things rather stagey, and while that makes sense for a play, it doesn’t quite cut it when it comes to film. Instead, the camera just sort of sits there and lets the actors do all the work. This isn’t a terrible thing, since, again, the actors are great — but it makes for mixed results.

Bonus Features

  • Expanding the Audience: From Stage to Screen
  • The Company of Fences
  • Building Fences: Denzel Washington
  • Playing the Part: Rose Maxson
  • August Wilson’s Hill District


The Love Witch [Blu-ray]

The Love Witch, a glorious technicolor dream of a movie from writer-director-producer-production designer Anna Biller. Here is a film that is so meticulously constructed to resemble a 1960s Euro-thriller that you’ll be startled when a very modern looking police car suddenly pulls Elaine over to the side of the road. The Love Witch is set in a kind of in-between time, where the costumes and attitudes invoke the 60s while little esoteric details hint at something much more modern. It’s all part of Biller’s sweet candy-colored fantasy world: a film that’s a wild, sexy, funny, twisted breath of fresh air, referential while also being unlike anything you’ve ever laid eyes on.

Bonus Features

  • Feature-length audio commentary with director Anna Biller, cinematographer M. David Mullen, actor Samantha Robinson, and producer/actor Jared Sanford
  • Behind-the-scenes video with Anna Biller
  • Interview with cinematographer M. David Mullen
  • Deleted and extended scenes
  • Theatrical trailers

Also arriving this week: EllePassengersSolaceGhost in the Shell.

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Written by

Chris Evangelista is the Executive Editor of Cut Print Film & co-host of the Cut Print Film Podcast. He also contributes to /Film, The Film Stage, Birth.Movies.Death, The Playlist, Paste Magazine, Little White Lies and O-Scope Musings. 'The House on Creep Street' and 'Beware the Monstrous Manther!', two horror books for young readers Chris co-authored with J. Tonzelli, are available wherever books are sold. You can follow him on Twitter @cevangelista413 and view his portfolio at chrisevangelista.net

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