New on Blu-ray: 'Promising Young Woman', 'Event Horizon', 'Defending Your Life', 'Psycho Goreman'

Welcome back, loyal physical media fans. This latest round-up of new Blu-ray titles is a truly eclectic mix – we have the critically-acclaimed Promising Young Woman, the sci-fi horror cult classic Event Horizon, the very funny Defending Your Life, and the wonderfully silly sci-fi-horror-comedy Psycho Goreman. There’s something here for everyone.

Promising Young Woman 

One of the best-reviewed films of the year, and now a multiple Oscar-nominee, Promising Young Woman is Emerald Fennell‘s sharp, unsettling feature debut. Carey Mulligan is Cassie, a woman who we first meet getting “picked up” at a bar. She appears to be completely wasted, but that doesn’t stop a guy from whisking her away, back to his apartment. The implication is queasily clear – Cassie looks like she’s about to be sexually assaulted. But then something startling happens: Cassie reveals she’s not drunk at all – she was faking it, waiting for some creep to try to exploit her condition.

And thus the stage is set for a narrative that follows Cassie as she plots revenge. Against whom? Well, Promising Young Woman takes its time revealing that, and that’s part of the film’s strength and its weakness. Fennell deliberately plays around with truth and perspective here, and there are long stretches where we’re not entirely sure what Cassie is doing, or even how she’s doing it. Unfortunately, this approach ultimately hurts the film, and more often than not, it feels like Fennell is pulling her punches in places she really shouldn’t. That doesn’t change the fact that Promising Young Woman is often wholly unique and quite emotionally devastating. Mulligan is fantastic, carrying nearly the entire film on her shoulders – although she’s aided by a memorable turn from Bo Burnham as a “nice guy” who might actually really be a real nice guy, not just a scumbag who gives himself the classification. Then again, as the film’s overall narrative hammers home again and again, looks can be deceiving.

Own or Rent?

This is going to be a controversial statement, but I think this is a rental. I know I remain in the minority here, but Promising Young Women just doesn’t entirely work, and its shifting tones are bound to throw some viewers off. If you’ve already seen this and are 100% on board with it, then obviously, this is a purchase for you. Otherwise, a rental might be in order first. It doesn’t help that the Blu-ray release comes with a truly awful-looking cover. The film had multiple posters that were eye-catching, and yet, in the end, they went with…this:

 

Special Features Include:

  • A Promising Vision – Writer/Director Emerald Fennell discusses her inspirations for writing this bold, genre-bending film.
  • Two-Sided Transformation – A look at why Carey Mulligan was the perfect choice to play “Cassie” and how filmmakers used wardrobe, hair, and makeup to express the balance between light and dark.
  • Balancing Act – Cast members discuss their unexpected reactions to the careful balance of levity and tragedy in director Emerald Fennell’s take on female revenge.
  • Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Emerald Fennell

Event Horizon

A trip beyond the stars unleashes hell in Event HorizonPaul W.S. Anderson‘s giddy, blood-drenched sci-fi horror extravaganza. A high-profile spaceship dubbed the Event Horizon vanishes during a mission – only to randomly reappear seven years later. A rescue crew is sent in on a salvage ship captained by Laurence Fishburne, and the crew – and the doctor who designed the Event Horizon, played by Sam Neill – quickly discovers that they’re the ones who might need rescuing. It seems that the Event Horizon literally went to hell, or someplace like it, after traveling through a wormhole, bringing back all sorts of unspeakable evil.

Anderson’s flick isn’t exactly original – it’s borrowing heavily from stuff like Hellraiser, Solaris, and of course, Alien. But that doesn’t make it any less fun – or creepy. Anderson is more known for his cornball action movies but he manages to wring some legit scares here as he creates elaborate set-pieces involving the forces of evil.

At one point, those set-pieces were even gorier than they appear in the finished film, and for years, there’s been talk of restoring the violent deleted scenes. When Scream Factory first announced they were working on this disc, they even specifically stated that they hoped to locate the footage and include it here. Sadly, it really seems like that lost footage is lost forever. No matter – Event Horizon is damned scary even without it. Hell is only a word. The reality is much, much worse.

Own or Rent?

This is a must-have, day-one purchase. While I’ll always hope for a release that manages to restore the long-lost footage, this is likely the definitive home media release for the time being – unlike a full-blown 4K release hits shelves someday, and I have my doubt that’ll ever happen. In the meantime, buy this, ASAP.

Special Features Include:

  • NEW 4K Scan Of The Original Camera Negative
  • NEW Reflecting On Hell – An Interview With Director Paul W.S. Anderson
  • NEW Ghost Galleon – An Interview With Writer Philip Eisner
  • NEW Organized Chaos – An Interview With Actress Kathleen Quinlan
  • NEW Compassion In Space – An Interview With Actor Jack Noseworthy
  • NEW The Doomed Captain – An Interview With Actor Peter Marinker
  • NEW Space Cathedral – An Interview With Production Designer Joseph Bennett
  • NEW Something New – An Interview With Set Decorator Crispian Sallis
  • NEW Taking Care Of It – An Interview With Production Manager Dusty Symonds
  • NEW Reinforcements – An Interview With Second Unit Director Robin Vidgeon
  • NEW Almost Real – An Interview With Location Manager Derek Harrington
  • NEW Screams From The Cosmos – An Interview With Sound Designer Campbell Askew
  • Audio Commentary With Director Paul W.S. Anderson And Producer Jeremy Bolt
  • The Making Of Event Horizon – A 5-Part Documentary
  • The Point Of No Return – A 4-Part Look At The Filming Of Event Horizon With Narration By Paul W.S. Anderson
  • Secrets – Deleted And Extended Scenes With Director’s Commentary
  • The Unseen Event Horizon – The Un-Filmed Rescue Scene And Conceptual Art With Director’s Commentary
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Video Trailer

Defending Your Life

Albert Brooks‘s charming, funny Defending Your Life is now part of the Criterion Collection. At the start of the film, Brooks’s character, Daniel, is killed in a car accident and ends up in the afterlife. The afterlife sort of looks like the world of the living, except everyone is decked out in white robes and they can eat whatever the hell they want without gaining weight. But there’s a catch: everyone who dies has to go through a sort of trial, and in the end, they’re judged. The judgment will allow the deceased person to either move on to the next phase of the afterlife – whatever that may be – or get sent back to Earth via reincarnation.

And things aren’t looking good for Daniel. His trial reveals him to be a guy who lived his entire life ruled by fear, and that’s a big no-no – it’s the type of thing that gets you sent back to Earth to start all over again. To further complicate matters, Daniel meets and falls in love with another recently dead person – Julia, played wonderfully by Meryl Streep. It’s pretty clear that Julia is moving on to whatever the next phase is, and all Daniel wants to do now is go with her – but that’s easier said than done.

All of this is way more delightful than you might expect from a movie about dead people. Brooks is hilarious, but it’s Streep who really steals the show. It feels kind of silly and cliche to point out what a great actress Meryl Streep is at this point, but when you watch her practically glowing in every frame of this film, you’re reminded all over again of why she’s one of the best of the best.

Own or Rent?

This is another must-have. A wonderful, funny, unique film lovingly restored for the Criterion Collection, complete with new retrospective bonus material. What’s not to love?

Special Features Include:

  • New 4K digital restoration, approved by director Albert Brooks, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New conversation between Brooks and filmmaker Robert Weide
  • New interview with theologian and critic Donna Bowman about Brooks’s vision of the afterlife
  • New program featuring excerpts from interviews conducted in 1991 with Brooks and actors Lee Grant and Rip Torn
  • Trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by filmmaker Ari Aster

PG: Psycho Goreman

Psycho Goreman (or PG: Psycho Goreman, as some press materials call it) is an absolute gem – an inventive, bloody, funny, practical effects-driven flick that recalls titles like The Monster Squad or Galaxy of Terror. Through a series of unlikely events, siblings Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myre) awaken an alien monster with unspeakable powers. But through a twist of fate, Mimi is in total control of this creature – whom she names Psycho Goreman. Which means this little girl is now the boss of a murderous monster, and she has to teach him to follow her rules – and start liking some hunky boys. Meanwhile, more aliens are arriving on Earth, setting the stage for all sorts of mayhem.

It’s all very silly, and that’s part of the charm. While Psycho Goreman stumbles here and there (the child actors are a little too unnatural for my liking), it gets by with a can-do spirit and some admittedly great practical effects. Psycho Goreman and all the other aliens that pop-up all have their own unique creature designs, and all of them are lovingly created through practical make-up and props. It’s like an overactive child gorged themselves on sugar, Adult Swim reruns, comic books, and gnarly ’80s sci-fi/horror films and then had a fever-dream that somehow became a movie.

Own or Rent?

This is a rental bordering on a purchase. There’s so much to love here, particularly in the form of the practical make-up and gore effects. But the uninitiated might want to make sure they’re on board with everything else that’s going on in Psycho Goreman first. Shell out some money for a rental, and if you love it, buy yourself a copy. Psycho Goreman will thank you.

Special Features Include:

  • Director Commentary
  • One-on-One: An Interview with the Director of PG: PSYCHO GOREMAN
  • Interviews with the Cast
  • Interview with Adam Brooks
  • Kortex: A Konversation
  • The Music of PG: PSYCHO GOREMAN
  • Fight Choreography
  • Fight Pre-Viz
  • Filming the Paladin Fight
  • PG vs Pandora
  • Miniature Magic
  • Inside the Creature Shop
  • Concept Art Gallery
  • PG: PSYCHO GOREMAN Trading Cards Gallery
  • Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery

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