Big Country, Four Seasons, and Hong Kong Superheroes | Coming Attractions

Upcoming DVD and Blu-ray releases to relish include a planetary documentary, an actioner starring Michelle Yeoh, and Bogie and Cagney living the bootlegger life in The Roaring Twenties

Afire. 102 min. Christian Petzold, Criterion. 2023. DVD UPC 715515293211. $24.99; Blu-ray UPC 715515293112. $29.99. DRAMA

A self-centered novelist (Thomas Schubert) on a working vacation is distracted by a horny houseguest (Paula Beer) and an encroaching forest fire in this Berlin International Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner. From the director of Phoenix, Undine, and Transit.

The Big Country. 166 min. William Wyler, Kino Lorber. 1958. Blu-ray UPC 738329265588. $24.95. WESTERN

Gregory Peck headlines an all-star cast (including Charlton Heston, Jean Simmons, and Carroll Baker) in this epic saga about two ranch families battling over water rights, for which singer Burl Ives, playing a tyrannical land baron, won an Oscar. An extras-laden special edition.

Eric Rohmer’s Tales of the Four Seasons. 4 discs. 446 min. In French w/English subtitles. Criterion. 1990-98. Blu-ray UPC 715515292214. $124.99. DRAMEDY

Despite a change in seasons, the vagaries of the human heart on display in these tales are a constant. Funny and sad, light and heady, they always pose a paradox. In Springtime, an incipient friendship between a professor and a pianist becomes strained by envy, suspicion, and intrigue. In Winter, a pair of tailor-made amours fatefully reunite five years after losing touch. In Summer, a graduate student must choose among several young women vying for his affections while on a carefree seaside vacation. In Autumn, the plans to find a new beau for a shy widow lead to misunderstandings. Deceptively light on the surface but hardly insubstantial, this quartet offers tales which are sharply observed but languorous in their revelations.

The Heroic Trio/Executioners. 185 min. In Cantonese w/English subtitles. Johnnie To, Criterion. 1993. Blu-ray UPC 715515292511. $49.99. ACTION

Oscar-winner Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once) teams up with Maggie Cheung (In the Mood for Love) and Anita Mui (Rouge) to form a kick-ass triumvirate of Hong Kong superheroes who employ martial arts to defeat evildoers.

Nothing but a Man. b/w. 91 min. Robert Young and Michael Roemer, Criterion. 1964. DVD UPC 715515293013. $29.99; Blu-ray UPC 715515292917. $39.99. DRAMA

A southern Black railroad worker (Ivan Dixon) deals with racial discrimination and economic insecurity while settling down with his new school-teacher bride (Abbey Lincoln) in the U.S. of the 1960s. A landmark period film examining self-determination.

The Roaring Twenties. b/w. 106 min. Raoul Walsh, Criterion. 1939. DVD UPC 715515292818. $29.99; Blu-ray UPC 715515292719. $39.99. DRAMA

Hollywood Golden Age icons James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart star as army buddies who get involved in Big Apple Prohibition-era bootlegging in one of the notable examples of gangster pictures that Warner Bros. was celebrated for producing.

Planet Earth III. 3 discs. 400 min. David Attenborough, BBC. 2023. DVD UPC 883929820566. $31.99. Rated: TV-PG. DOCUMENTARY

Eight hour-long episodes in the third season of the miniseries trace some of the planet’s most amazing species, offering stories filled with drama, thrills, humor, and uplift. Preeminent naturalist Sir David Attenborough produces and narrates. 

Witness for the Prosecution. b/w. 116 min. Billy Wilder, Kino Lorber. 1957. Blu-ray UPC 738329265571. $24.95. DRAMA

A man (Tyrone Power) on trial for a wealthy widow’s murder hires a renowned lawyer (Charles Laughton) to defend him. Too bad his wife (Marlene Dietrich) elects to testify against him. Based on Agatha Christie’s hit London stage play.

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