It's a big month for film lovers and collectors interested in experiencing some of cinema's best titles in 4K. July features a selection of restored films that each serve as a celebration of bold cinematic storytelling, from writer-director Sofia Coppola's feature directorial debut to Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning boxing biopic, considered by many to be one of the greatest films ever made.
This month's selection also includes movies starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet as exes undergoing memory erasure after a painful breakup, Mickey Rourke as a 1980s neo-noir private detective, and Peter Weller as one of sci-fi cinema's most iconic characters.
Here are the titles being released in 4K throughout July:
The Virgin Suicides
Demanding to be experienced, the 1999 indie romantic drama introduced Sofia Coppola as a force within the landscape of American cinema. Based on Jeffrey Eugenides' acclaimed 1993 novel, Coppola's sophisticated debut film is a powerfully charged coming-of-age story exploring the isolation and repression of the five Lisbon sisters — their adolescence stifled by the rules of their religious and over-protective parents following an initial suicide attempt by their youngest daughter. Both quiet and confronting, The Virgin Suicides features a captivating performance from Kirsten Dunst, a dreamlike score from French electronic duo Air, and exquisite cinematography from Ed Lachman, who captured the 1970s Detroit upper middle class setting beautifully.
Released by The Criterion Collection, this 4K scan was supervised by cinematographer Lachman and approved by Coppola. With a 5.1 Surround DTS audio track, the release is loaded with bonus content, including Coppola’s 1998 short film Lick the Star, a 'Making of' Documentary, the music video for Air's song, "Playground Love," directed by Coppola and her brother Roman, and much more.
Available on 4K UHD Blu-Ray July 5.
The Criterion Collection is on a roll this month, also delivering a highly anticipated 4K restoration of Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull. The 1980 masterpiece brought audiences a brutally unrestrained account of real-life boxer Jake La Motta. In the film, the legendary Robert De Niro delivers what some would call his finest work as an actor. His transformative performance as La Motta, whose violent aggression and animalistic nature made him a champion inside the boxing ring but led to the suffering and anguish of those in his personal life, was at the time of its release and remains to this day nothing short of astonishing. Raging Bull was nominated for eight Oscars, winning for Best Actor and for Best Film Editing. In 1990, The film was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant."
Filmed in black and white on 35mm film, Raging Bull's new 4K restoration was supervised and approved by Scorsese, and comes with an HDR color grade. HDR has proven to bring a richness and depth to black and white films on previous titles, so prepare to be dazzled. The feature will have a Stereo DTS Audio soundtrack and Criterion’s release is complimented by a substantial amount of additional content, including video essays from film critics Geoffrey O’Brien and Sheila O’Malley, three feature audio commentaries featuring Scorsese, three-time Oscar-winning film editor Thelma Schoonmaker, two-time Oscar-nominated director of photography Michael Chapman, and others. There’s also a ‘Making of’ documentary and much more. Criterion’s new 4K restoration release is not to be missed.
Available on 4K UHD Blu-Ray July 12.
Two-time Oscar-nominated director Alan Parker's 1987 neo-noir thriller Angel Heart is making its way to audiences in the U.S. this month courtesy of Lionsgate Entertainment, right in time for its 35th anniversary. (This restoration is already available outside of the U.S. by Studio Canal.) Based on William Hjortsberg's 1978 novel, the film features Mickey Rourke as Harry Angel, a down-and-out private investigator who is hired to track down a missing singer. But, as the bodies pile up, Harry quickly discovers that this is no ordinary case. Successfully blending the classic noir detective story with dark horror, Angel Heart sports an impressive supporting cast that includes De Niro, Lisa Bonet, and Charlotte Rampling.
Lionsgate's 4K release arrives in an impressive Limited Edition steel book. This native 4K restoration from the original camera negative is complemented by an HDR color grade and Dolby Vision, bringing new life to cinematographer Michael Seresin's haunting and atmospheric visuals. Along with a 5.1 DTS audio track, the release offers an introduction and commentary by writer-director Parker, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews. With murder, sex, a dash of voodoo, and twists aplenty, Angel Heart is regarded as an underappreciated and highly influential film from the director of Midnight Express and Mississippi Burning.
Available on 4K UHD Blu-Ray (Limited Edition) July 12.
Paul Verhoeven's iconic and enduring 1987 sci-fi classic Robocop is being re-released by Arrow Video on its 35th anniversary following last year’s limited edition set. Peter Weller plays a Detroit police officer named Alex Murphy. After being brutally gunned down, Murphy is revived by a powerful corporation using a mix of cybernetic implants. He is then used as a prototype police cyborg to usher in a new era of crime fighting. Murphy's memories and remaining humanity, however, set him on a quest to avenge his death and to bring down the all-powerful corporation pulling all the strings. Sharply scripted, Verhoeven’s film is thrilling, humorous, topical, and even touching. With its blend of visceral imagery, social satire and violence, Robocop is considered a staple in Verhoeven’s filmography and serves as a prime example of his ability to subvert audience expectations and push the bounds of cinematic storytelling to new heights.
Arrow Video's release of Robocop features the Director’s Cut and is sourced from a 2013 4K restoration from the original camera negative by MGM, which was approved by Verhoeven. Dolby Vision is included, and for those with the set-up, the new Dolby Atmos track delivers an all-immersive audio experience. As Arrow Video does so well, the release is loaded with supplements, including commentaries by film historians and the filmmakers, several behind-the-scenes pieces, retrospective interviews, deleted scenes and much more.
Available on 4K UHD Blu-Ray July 19.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Capping off the month, Kino Lorber Studio Classics is bringing Michael Gondry's Oscar-winning Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to 4K. Jim Carrey stars as Joel, a man stunned to learn that his girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) has undergone a procedure to erase the memories of their troubled relationship. Joel then contacts the inventor of the procedure to have Clementine removed from his own memory. But, as his memories begin to disappear, he rediscovers their earlier love and passion for one another, and sets out to reverse the procedure. Part sci-fi and part romantic drama, the highly original film — which also featured exceptional performances — was celebrated by critics and audiences alike upon its release in 2004. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind went on to win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. A deeply involving exploration of love and the pain of loss, the film is now widely recognized as one of the best films of the 2000s.
This 4K restoration features both Dolby Vision and a new HDR color grade by cinematographer Ellen Kuras with a 5.1 DTS audio track. The release also contains commentary by Gondry and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, interviews with the filmmakers and the cast, deleted scenes, a new documentary called Memory Light, the music video for the song Light & Day, and more.
Available on 4K UHD Blu-Ray July 26.
By Adam J. Yeend