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New DVD, Blu-ray and digital release highlights for the week of April 12-18, 2021

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Frances McDormand in the film NOMADLAND. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2020 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved (Photo: Searchlight Pictures)

It's a quiet week as Oscar nominated "Nomadland" comes to digital and a variety of documentaries, catalog titles and a little Nicholas Cage arrive on Blu-ray and DVD.

Digital

  • Nomadland - Likely to bring home at least one Oscar, "Nomadland" is a quiet drama with striking visuals of the American West that follows Fern (Frances McDormand), a woman who takes on a nomadic life when the US Gypsum plant in Empire, Nevada shuts down. Having lost her husband, Fran now lives in a van that she has personally customized. She takes on seasonal work, never sitting in one place for more than a few months. She befriends fellow wanderers along the way and forms deep friendships with those who, like herself, can't stand to sit still.

Blu-ray and DVD

  • Oliver Sacks: His Own Life - I knew about Oliver Sacks' work as a leading neurologist. His books are incredible. I knew little to nothing about Sacks himself. "Oliver Sacks: His Own Life" offers a uncensored (Sacks is delightfully vulgar) look at the man's life and his unusual career path and his late-in-life love story.
  • Spaceballs - Mel Brooks' sci-fi parody of Star Wars is nearly as beloved as the films that it lovingly pokes fun at. Kino Lorber is bringing the film to 4K. I've owned the film on VHS, DVD, Blu-ray. Would be interested to see if there is a substantial improvement in detail and color.
  • Willy's Wonderland - Nicolas Cage stars as a mute man who is hired as a night janitor at a Willy's Wonderland, a decaying family entertainment center with eight homicidal animatronic characters. It's Cage vs. animatronics. Don't over think it.
  • Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on the Exorcist - "The Exorcist" is a quintessential horror movie experience. More than a right of passage, the film is a terrifying work of art that has aged far better than many of its contemporaries. It's also a film surrounded by stories (both true and fictional). "Leap of Faith" finds director William Friedkin reflecting on the making of the film. It's a little dry but fans of the film who are looking for some behind-the-scenes insight will have plenty to chew on.
  • Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space: The Complete Series - "Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space" is essentially the second season of "Josie and the Pussycats." Whereas the original 16 episodes saw Josie and her girl group embarking on a variety of adventures as they toured around the world, the second 16 episodes took place in outer space and allowed the series to visit unusual planets and face extraterrestrial foes.
  • History is Made at Night - Released in 1937, "History is Made at Night" is a romantic drama about a disintegrating marriage, a scheme foiled by a time intervention and a subsequent murder. Like many of the early films by Frank Borzage (who won the first Best Director Academy Award for his work on "7th Heaven") "History is Made at Night" is filled with glamorous characters, and a forbidden love opposed by obstacles and high drama.


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