Home Entertainment Guide: May 2023 | TV/Streaming

“Branded to Kill” (Criterion)

Seijun Suzuki’s 1967 hitman flick was such a disaster that it basically led to his exile from filmmaking for a decade. How ironic that it’s become one of the most influential movies of its era, with John Woo, Quentin Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch, Park Chan-wook, and others singing its praises. Now available in a Criterion 4K edition, “Branded to Kill” is a stunner that eschews traditional plotting, even the B-movie kind, for a surreal cavalcade of images that filmmakers would try and mimic for generations. It’s a phenomenal picture, and the 4K restoration allows its sharp black-and-white cinematography to look like it could be made today. If only there were more filmmakers out there as daring as Suzuki.

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Special Features
New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
One 4K UHD disc of the film and one Blu-ray with the film and special features
Interviews with director Seijun Suzuki and assistant director Masami Kuzuu
Interview with Suzuki from 1997
Interview with actor Joe Shishido
MORE: An essay by critic and historian Tony Rayns


At its best, the latest Woody Harrelson comedy has a shaggy dog ​​sports movie vibe meant to replicate “Bad News Bears.” And the Oscar nominee sells his role as a Walter Matthau-esque life loser well, especially when he’s working opposite the excellent Kaitlin Olsen. The problem is that director Bobby Farrelly can’t walk the tightrope of making a movie that preaches representation and empowerment between scenes in which it mocks most of its cast. The bigger problem is one of pacing. There’s no reason for this underdog story to be over two hours long. Ultimately, it’s not a complete disaster because of the sense of admirable intention by everyone involved, but that doesn’t make it entertaining.

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Special Features
Feature Commentary with Director Bobby Farrelly
12 Deleted Scenes
Keeping it Friendly – ​​Director Bobby Farrelly, Woody Harrelson, and the rest of the cast share how they became involved in CHAMPIONS, as well as the importance of representation in the film.
Woody and the Team – Every team needs a good leader – here we explore how Woody Harrelson filled that role on and off screen.
Cast the Friends

“Cocaine Bear”

What a weird movie this February 2023 theatrical release ended up being. The fact that a cast this talented with a director as well-known as Elizabeth Banks got together to tell the tale of a bear hopped up on nose candy feels like a dare no one was willing to walk away from. Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Alden Ehrenreich, Margo Martindale, and Ray Liotta are just a few of the familiar faces in this goofy gore comedy in which a bear goes violently crazy after ingesting a large amount of cocaine. It’s got kind of a “Snakes on a Plane” energy, and that film’s problem wherein it’s mostly one idea in search of a story, but it mostly gets its job done. If you have low expectations for a brazenly dumb movie called “Cocaine Bear,” then you’ll probably have a reasonably good time.