Home Entertainment Guide: September 2023 | TV/Streaming

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Special Features
Short Film
Carl’s Date – Written and directed by Academy Award® nominee and Emmy® Award winner Bob Peterson and produced by Kim Collins, this all-new short, “Carl’s Date,” finds Carl reluctantly agreeing to go on a date with a lady friend —but admittedly with no idea how dating works these days. Ever the helpful friend, Dug steps in to calm Carl’s pre-date jitters and offer some tried-and-true tips for making friends — if you’re a dog. “Carl’s Date” opened in theaters in front of Disney and Pixar’s “Elemental.”
Ember and Wade – Take a deeper look at the development of main characters Ember and Wade, from early designs to final effects, and learn how the complex work of the technical and character teams brought these characters to life.
Next Stop: Element City – Explore how Element City is built to accommodate its different inhabitants. Director Peter Sohn and crew members share insights about the evolution of the designed world, as well as some of the research that inspired its unique look.
Paths to Pixar: The Immigrant Experience – Hear from first-generation filmmakers on the Elemental crew as they share their journeys to Pixar. Discover how Elemental’s real-world themes of sacrifice and identity, amongst many others, reflect or diverge from their own lived experiences.
Deleted Scenes – Director Peter Sohn introduces five scenes that are storyboarded, set to music, timed, and voiced, but are not included in the final version of Elemental.
Intro Ember – An alternate opening in which our hero Ember helps a newly immigrated Fire family navigate through, and acclimate to, Element City. Scene introduced by director Peter Sohn.
Mom Rejects Wade – Ember’s traditional parents learn that she’s enamored with watery Wade…and it doesn’t go well. Scene introduced by story supervisor Jason Katz.
Dante Challenge – In an attempt to keep Ember apart from Wade, Bernie tasks her with finding a place to live for newcomer Dante, who Wade finds himself rather enamored with. Scene introduced by story artist Nira Liu.
Brook Dinner – Ember joins Wade for dinner at his home, in this abandoned storyline in which Wade’s mother, Brook, is revealed to be the villain diverting water into Firetown. Scene introduced by story artist Anna Benedict.
Beach Proposal – Sharing a tender moment on the beach, Ember and Wade propose marriage to each other. Scene introduced by story artists Yung-Han Chang and Le Tang.
Audio Commentary
Elemental Filmmaker Commentary – Join director Peter Sohn, supe tech Sanjay Bakshi, supervising animator Mike Venturini, and directing animator Gwendelyn Enderoglu as they provide insight into the making of this remarkable animated feature while you watch it.

“Horror Steelbooks”

We typically don’t include Wal-Mart exclusive releases in this column, but these are too cool to ignore, especially this time of year. The truth is that horror fans are collectors, people more likely to shell out for new editions of things they already own. On the one hand, I don’t want to encourage studios to double-dip into the wallets of their most loyal fan base. On the other hand, I increasingly think that things like steelbooks could help save physical media, turning them into collectibles more than mere affirmations of a film’s existence. These five Wal-Mart horror steelbooks from Lionsgate include at least three gems. The best of the bunch is a double feature of Rob Zombie’s “Halloween” movies, a set that contains both the original “The Blair Witch Project” and the frustrating reboot and, most of all, a single steelbook release with the first eight “Saw” movies, just in time for the release of “Saw X” in theaters, priced at only around $50. I think that’s about a buck for every one of Jigsaw’s traps.

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“La Bamba” (Criterion)

In 2017, the Library of Congress chose to include Luis Valdez’s 1987 biopic of Ritchie Valens in the National Film Registry, a nice moment of affirmation for a film that I don’t feel got quite the critical or cultural attention it deserved when it was released. As a child of the ’80s, it felt like it was seen more like a vehicle to make the title song a hit again. But the truth is that this is an excellent little study of a life taken too soon, grounded by a star-making performance by Lou Diamond Phillips and sharp, empathetic filmmaking. Roger got it, saying at the time, “This is a good small movie, sweet and sentimental, about a kid who never really got a chance to show his stuff. The best things in it are the most unexpected things: the portraits of everyday life, of a loving mother, of a brother who loves and resents him, of a kid growing up and tasting fame and leaving everyone standing around at his funeral shocked that his life ended just as it seemed to be beginning.” The Criterion edition includes audio commentaries with the major players, including Valdez, LDP, and Esai Morales. There’s also an enlightening new conversation with the writer/director.