This month sees a slate of films helmed by auteur directors, each uncompromising in their vision, beautifully restored in 4K for an unmatched home viewing experience. The newest releases include a definitive alien invasion classic celebrating its 70th Anniversary, a satirical dark comedy from Martin Scorsese, Jean-Luc Godard's French New Wave-defining film debut, and James Dean's star-making performance in Elia Kazan's period drama.

But first up is a psychological comedy-drama from six-time Oscar nominee Peter Weir. Broadcasting live, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, it's…


The Truman Show

The late '90s was a unique time as the world ramped up for the new millennium. On TV screens, the relatively new format of reality television was beginning to reach prominence within the cultural landscape. 1998's The Truman Show from director Peter Weir (Witness, Dead Poets Society) remains one of the boldest satires of the era, more relevant than ever now 25 years after its release.

Jim Carrey is perfectly cast as Truman Burbank, the unwitting star of a 24-hour live broadcast reality show that has been airing since the day he was born. Complete with actors, extras, and a few thousand hidden cameras on a studio backlot broadcasting his every move to viewers, the show depicts everything in Truman's life while he goes about living in the fictional town of Seahaven completely unaware of the outside world. However, as Truman begins to suspect that things are actually not as they appear, his innate curiosity and desire to grow beyond the confines of his world lead to him embarking on a quest to solve the mystery of his confounding existence.

Penned by Gattaca screenwriter Andrew Niccol, The Truman Show entertained critics and audiences alike with its fascinating story and imaginative visuals. The film's supporting cast, which includes Ed Harris, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, and Natascha McElhone, delivers memorable performances to go with Carrey's riveting lead performance. The Truman Show received three Oscar nominations: Best Director for Weir, Best Original Screenplay for Niccol, and Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Harris, who played Christof, the reality show's creator.

Paramount Home Media Distribution's 25th Anniversary release of The Truman Show features a beautifully filmic 4K restoration approved by Weir. Adding to this stunning transfer, the film is presented with Dolby Vision and HDR, and a freshly mixed Dolby Atmos audio track. Extras include a two-part documentary, How's It Going to End? The Making of The Truman Show, a visual effects piece, Faux Finishing, deleted scenes, original trailers, TV spots, and a behind-the-scenes photo gallery.

Get it: Get it July 4 on 4K UHD Blu-Ray, also available on digital.


After Hours

Martin Scorsese's dark comedy After Hours — a wildly thrilling, surreal, and bitingly satirical film from the Oscar-winning director, stars Griffin Dunne as Paul Hackett, an unfulfilled Manhattan office worker desperate to escape his mundane routine. In a local café, Paul meets Marcy Franklin (Rosanna Arquette) who offers him an invitation to meet her back at her apartment in SoHo. Impulsively, Paul jumps in a taxi. And so begins a wild night filled with unforgettable encounters and strange scenarios — some nightmarish — as Paul struggles to make his way home, as if trying to wake up from a bad dream.

After Hours was praised upon its release and, decades later, is regarded as a noteworthy cult classic. Scorsese takes audiences on a beautifully crafted adventure, in parts bizarre and in others humorous. Michael Ballhaus' lively cinematography, Howard Shore's engaging score, and remarkable supporting performances from Catherine O'Hara, John Heard, Teri Garr and Linda Fiorentino help to make After Hours yet another gem from this iconic filmmaker.

This release of After Hours from The Criterion Collection features a new 4K restoration of the film approved by the film's editor, Thelma Schoonmaker, and an uncompressed monaural audio track. Supplemental extras include new featurettes with Scorsese interviewed by writer Fran Lebowitz, costume and production designer interviews, a documentary about the making of the film, deleted scenes, and a legacy 2004 audio commentary featuring Scorsese and key members of the film's production team.

Get it: July 11 on 4K UHD Blu-Ray.



Jean-Luc Godard's feature debut, Breathless, erupted onto screens in 1960 during a seminal moment for cinema, becoming a highly influential film within the early days of the French New Wave film movement. Although the crime drama is a wholly original film in style, it still managed to pay homage to the Hollywood genres that had inspired Godard.

Jean-Paul Belmondo stars as Michel Poiccard, a small-time criminal inspired by the tough bravado showcased by the leading men of the film noir genre. Wanted by the authorities for murdering a police officer, Michel attempts to persuade Patricia Franchini (Jean Seberg), an American journalism student, to run away with him to Italy. Despite his "Wanted" face appearing in local papers, Michel keeps the bravado and romance in place while Patricia wonders if she is in love with a cop killer.

Exploring themes of nihilism from the lens of its two leads, Breathless is considered a daring and essential piece of work, and a film which rewrote the rules of cinema, thanks to Godard's free-form direction, bold visual style, and editor Cécile Decugis' innovative use of jump-cuts throughout the film. In the decades since its release, Breathless has been cited as one of the most important films ever made, routinely appearing on lists alongside other landmark films.

This new release of Breathless from The Criterion Collection features a new 4K restoration presented with Dolby Vision and HDR, and an uncompressed monaural feature audio track. Extensive supplements include interviews with Godard, Belmondo, Seberg, French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville, and key crew members. Additionally, there are two video essays, and the 1993 documentary Chambre 12, Hôtel de Suède, on the production of Breathless. Also, there's Godard's 1958 short film, Charlotte et son Jules, and more.

Get it: July 18 on 4K UHD Blu-Ray.


The War of the Worlds

A film from Hollywood's Golden Age which needs no introduction for sci-fi fans is 1953's The War of the Worlds. A staple of the genre, the sci-fi action thriller takes place in Southern California, where scientist Clayton Forrester (Gene Barry), aided by USC library science instructor Sylvia Van Buren (Ann Robinson), desperately searches for weaknesses and ways to combat aliens when there is an aggressive Martian assault on planet Earth. Based on the acclaimed novel by H.G. Wells and directed by Byron Haskin, a renowned cinematographer and master in groundbreaking special effects of the era, the film has long been celebrated for its astonishing visuals, unique sound design, and social commentary.

The War of the Worlds won the Oscar for Best Special Effects, and was also nominated for Best Film Editing and Best Sound Recording. In 2011, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry, when it was cited for its "apocalyptic paranoia of the atomic age." It was also added that, at the time of its release, the special effects were "soul-chilling, hackle-raising, and not for the faint of heart."

This 70th Anniversary release of The War of the Worlds comes courtesy of Paramount Home Media Distribution. Featuring a 2018 4K restoration derived from the film's original three-strip Technicolor negatives, the additional Dolby Vision and HDR-10 offer viewers a sensational home viewing experience. Supplements include The Sky is Falling: Making 'The War of the Worlds', H.G. Wells: The Father of Science Fiction, two feature audio commentaries — one with lead actors Barry and Robinson, and another with film director Joe Dante, film historian Bob Burns, and author Bill Warren. Rounding things off is The Mercury Theater on the Air Presents 'The War of the Worlds', the 1938 radio broadcast narrated by Orson Welles.

Get it: July 25 on 4K UHD Blu-Ray, also available on digital.


East of Eden

Screen icon James Dean delivered his debut star-making performance in 1955's East of Eden, directed by two-time Oscar-winning filmmaker Elia Kazan (Gentleman's Agreement, On the Waterfront). Based on the novel written by Nobel Prize winning author John Steinbeck, and set in 1917 Monterey, California, Dean plays Cal, a wayward teen, struggling to compete for the affections of his favored twin brother, Aron (Richard Davalos), and their immensely religious father, Adam (Raymond Massey), a widowed California rancher. However, Cal's discovery that their mother is still alive has devastating consequences for the three men.

Drawing parallels from the biblical Book of Genesis' story, Cain and Abel, the film explores themes of love, acceptance, depravity, guilt, and freedom. East of Eden was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Director for Kazan and Best Screenplay for Paul Osborn. Dean was nominated posthumously for Best Actor in a Leading Role while Jo Van Fleet was nominated and went on to win the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting role for her performance as the sons' estranged mother. In 2016, East of Eden was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

In celebration of Warner Bros.' 100th Anniversary, East of Eden is presented with a new 4K restoration with HDR supervised by the Warner Bros. Digital Imaging team. Recently, they have done incredible restoration work with classics such as Casablanca, Giant, and The Maltese Falcon. On the audio front, the film is complemented with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track along with a fascinating feature audio commentary by film historian Richard Schickel.

Get it: Aug. 1 on 4K UHD Blu-Ray, also available on digital.

By Adam J. Yeend


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