August's slate of 4K UHD restorations deliver striking visuals, iconic performances, and dynamic storytelling — all serving as prime examples of diverse genre filmmaking: This month's restorations include a cult classic fantasy adventure, one of horror's most famous slasher flicks, and must-see entries from the oeuvres of Michael Mann and Stanley Kubrick.
Whether you're re-discovering these movies or experiencing them for the very first time, there's something for everyone coming to 4K this August.
There's been a renewed interest in the work of filmmaker Joel Schumacher following his passing in June of 2020. Respected for his eclectic storytelling and pop visual flair, Schumacher was also known for assembling impressive casts. And Flatliners is a quintessential Schumacher film. Starring Kevin Bacon, Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland, Oliver Platt and William Baldwin, the 1990 horror thriller is about five elite medical students who experiment with controlled "near death" experiences, discovering that playing God has dark consequences as their past traumas return to the forefront of their lives.
Released by Arrow Video, Flatliners was beautifully shot by famed cinematographer Jan de Bont, who went on to direct Speed and Twister. He has supervised this new 4K transfer from the original camera negative. The film's striking visuals are bound to be given new life thanks to the addition of both Dolby Vision, and an HDR color grade. Flatliners was nominated for its Sound Effects Editing, and, along with nine-time Oscar-nominated composer James Newton Howard’s atmospheric score, the film's DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix will give your sound system a robust workout. Supplements include a new audio commentary, along with retrospective interviews with key members of film’s production team. Coming off St. Elmo’s Fire and The Lost Boys, Schumacher's Flatliners has that "it-factor" that made it one of the coolest hits of the early '90s.
Watch on 4K UHD Blu-Ray Aug. 2.
Four-time Oscar-nominated filmmaker Michael Mann's 1995 crime drama Heat arrives on 4K UHD courtesy of 20th Century Studios. Featuring nail-biting, high-octane action sequences and pitch-perfect performances from its cast, led by Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Val Kilmer, Heat has secured its status as one of the greatest films of its genre. Set in early '90s Los Angeles, career criminal Neil McCauley (De Niro) and his team are investigated by LAPD Detective Vincent Hanna (Pacino) and his team. With Hanna determined to put an end to the activities of McCauley's crew, and the criminals committed to their next heist, tensions escalate until the sides brutally clash. The film focuses on both the professional and personal lives of the men involved. Heat is thoughtfully scripted and expertly crafted, serving as a character drama, an action film, and a crime thriller.
To coincide with the release of Mann and Meg Gardiner's novel, Heat 2: A Novel, this 4K UHD remaster of Heat contains the Director's Definitive Edition of the film with an HDR presentation and a DTS-HD 5.1 audio track. This release offers a vast array of extras, including an Academy panel with Mann, Pacino and De Niro moderated by Christopher Nolan, a director's audio commentary, a behind-the-scenes featurette, eleven deleted scenes, and more. Heat is a must-have for any collector's library and is also available in a limited edition steelbook.
Watch on 4K UHD Blu-Ray Aug. 9 – also available on Digital.
From Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger to Jason Voorhees and Ghostface, there are iconic characters in the horror genre who are a part of pop culture and known by even those who are too reluctant to watch horror films. Enter Chucky — a doll possessed by the soul of a serial killer from the 1988 horror thriller Child’s Play. Deftly directed by Tom Holland (1985's Fright Night), the film was praised upon release for its tight balance of comedy and horror, delivering audiences an unforgettable villain with just the right number of frights and thrills. Both a commercial and critical success upon its release, Child’s Play spawned several sequels, a remake, a TV series, and a respectable merchandising empire. There’s no way to escape Chucky during the Halloween season — his reputation is well-earned.
Following a complete restoration from the original camera negative, Scream Factory is bringing Child's Play to the 4K UHD format with both Dolby Vision and HDR presentations. The film’s audio is also getting a hefty bump with a new Dolby Atmos sound mix. The release is stacked over three discs with extensive supplements, including filmmaker and cast audio commentaries, retrospective interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, archival featurettes, and so much more. And, if that’s not enough, Scream Factory is also bringing two of the sequels to Child’s Play to the 4K UHD format. This August, Chucky wants YOU for a best friend.
Available on 4K UHD Blu-Ray Aug. 16.
Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman considered 1981's Heavy Metal one of his proudest achievements. (He produced the film.) Based on the sci-fi and fantasy magazine, and strictly for adults, Heavy Metal is the very definition of cult cinema. Heavy Metal is an anthology film comprised of ten animated stories — each directed by a different director — that are tied together by a singular plot device, Loc-Nar, a green orb which is "the sum of all evils." Featuring the voices of John Candy, Harold Ramis, Jackie Burroughs and Eugene Levy, the film is celebrated for its animated visuals, and a classic rock soundtrack that features Black Sabbath and Blue Öyster Cult.
Heavy Metal’s new 4K restoration, approved by Reitman before his passing, comes from Sony Pictures. Though it features a new Dolby Atmos audio track, the film’s original stereo audio mix is included as an option for purists. The release also contains a new retrospective documentary, deleted scenes, the film’s original rough cut and the sequel, Heavy Metal 2000.
Watch on 4K UHD Blu-Ray Aug. 16 – also available on Digital.
Paths of Glory
Widely acclaimed as one of the most powerful anti-war films ever made, Stanley Kubrick's 1957 Paths of Glory is making its way to 4K UHD thanks to Kino Lorber. Kirk Douglas plays French World War I Colonel Dax, who, knowing that their mission was impossible and suicidal from the outset, takes a stand against his superiors when they accuse his men of cowardice. With intense sequences of warfare, nuanced performances and an enthralling courtroom sequence, Paths of Glory is yet another stunning example of Kubrick’s meticulous filmmaking and cinematic storytelling of the highest order.
In 1992, Paths of Glory was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress, and was selected for preservation. Kino Lorber’s release features a new 4K restoration from the film's original camera negative, complete with Dolby Vision and HDR presentations of the film, and a DTS-HD 2.0 Mono audio track. For an in-depth experience, a new audio commentary featuring film critic and novelist Tim Lucas is included.
Available on 4K UHD Blu-Ray Aug. 23.
By Adam J. Yeend