The Best 4K Blu Ray Movie DVD Releases In 2024: ‘Wonka,’ ‘Primal Fear’

The Best 4K Blu Ray Movie DVD Releases In 2024: ‘Wonka,’ ‘Primal Fear’

The Best 4K Blu Ray Movie DVD Releases In 2024: ‘Wonka,’ ‘Primal Fear’

"Steel Magnolias;" "The Departed;" The "Ocean's" Trilogy

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; Warner Home Video; SWarner Home Video

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As studios and distributors chart a path for their wares that — at least for the foreseeable future — prioritizes streaming, collecting physical media continues to become an increasingly rarified hobby. Yet it still remains the best way to guarantee the availability of many titles, often in the best available presentation: a 4K disc on your bookshelf offers immediate, unimpeded (meaning no buffering and no service interruptions) viewing of a favorite film or TV series at high resolution. Additionally, the vast majority of titles also include bonus content — some legacy material and some newly-produced — to contextualize, explore and, yeah, sometimes explain where they came from.

Looking at releases from the end of February and March, there are several titles worth checking out — a couple of current titles arriving on disc after their theatrical runs, some upgraded or featuring expanded supplemental material, and still others never before released in a physical format.

April 2024

The Best 4K Blu Ray Movie DVD Releases In 2024: 'Wonka,' 'Primal Fear'

“High Noon” (Kino Lorber)

One of the most famous — and controversial — Westerns ever made, Fred Zinneman’s “High Noon” feels especially ripe for rediscovery in today’s heightened political climate. Kino Lorber’s special edition offers a brand-new HD master from a 4K scan of the original camera negative, two new audio commentaries, and a dense collection of featurettes contextualizing everything from its production to its legacy.

The Best 4K Blu Ray Movie DVD Releases In 2024: 'Wonka,' 'Primal Fear'

“City of Hope” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Though a handful of his films have begun to appear in the libraries of the Criterion Collection and elsewhere, writer-director John Sayles remains one of American independent cinema’s most underappreciated voices. Never before released on disc, his 1991 film “City of Hope,” about crime, corruption and redemption in a fictitious East Coast city, arrives on Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment with a new feature commentary by Sayles. An Independent Spirit Award nominee for Best Feature, Sayles’ film is woefully overdue for rediscovery.

The Best 4K Blu Ray Movie DVD Releases In 2024: 'Wonka,' 'Primal Fear'

“I Am Cuba” (Criterion Collection)

Long withheld from circulation in the U.S. until Martin Scorsese and others mounted a campaign in the 1990s for its restoration, Mikhail Kalatozov’s propagandistic anthology film remains one of the most extraordinary works of cinematographic ambition ever attempted. Newly inducted into Criterion’s pedigreed library, the film is presented in 4K for the first time accompanied by interviews with Scorsese and cinematographer Bradford Young (Oscar-nominated for “Solo: A Star Wars Story”) and the 2004 making-of documentary “I Am Cuba: The Siberian Mammoth.”

The Best 4K Blu Ray Movie DVD Releases In 2024: 'Wonka,' 'Primal Fear'

“Steel Magnolias” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Herbert Ross’ 1989 film starring Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis and Julia Roberts celebrates its 35th anniversary this year with a new 4K release featuring remastered picture and sound. Included are legacy bonus features such as a commentary from Ross, the featurette “In Full Bloom,” and ten deleted scenes, as well as the 1990 TV pilot for CBS starring Cindy Williams, Sally Kirkland, Elaine Stritch and Polly Bergen. The film exemplified a particular era of “women’s films” — to be followed by the likes of “Fried Green Tomatoes” — and earned Roberts an Oscar nomination (and Golden Globe win), and its return to disc offers a welcome opportunity to re-experience it — perhaps for the first time in a generation.

The Best 4K Blu Ray Movie DVD Releases In 2024: 'Wonka,' 'Primal Fear'

“Rolling Thunder” (Shout Factory)

Written by Paul Schrader, John Flynn’s “Rolling Thunder” is a bloody, magnificent tale about a PTSD-afflicted Vietnam veteran (the beautifully taciturn William Devane) who enlists a fellow serviceman (Tommy Lee Jones) to exact revenge on the men who kill his wife and son. Shout Factory complements a new 4K transfer with two audio commentaries and two newly-created featurettes in addition to the film’s legacy content. If you need further incentive to check it out, Quentin Tarantino is reportedly recreating the film’s climatic shootout for his upcoming film about a 1970s film critic.

The Best 4K Blu Ray Movie DVD Releases In 2024: 'Wonka,' 'Primal Fear'


“The Departed” (Warner Home Video)

Martin Scorsese’s films have really only begun to trickle out onto 4K, but the arrival of the film for which he finally won a Best Director Oscar is a welcome addition to that slim collection. In addition to two featurettes and a whopping nine deleted scenes, each introduced by Scorsese himself, the 4K release includes “Guilt and Betrayal,” a new documentary exploring the origins of the film and its legacy — cinematically and within the director’s expansive filmography.

The Best 4K Blu Ray Movie DVD Releases In 2024: 'Wonka,' 'Primal Fear'

“Goodbye Uncle Tom” (Blue Underground)

Proper exploitation filmmakers Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi decided in 1971 to draw upon true events to recreate the landscape of antebellum America and depict the conditions that Africans faced under slavery. Whether you feel they shed light on the extraordinary inhumanity of the period or were simply exploiting it in order to provoke audiences, it’s become a truly notorious film, and Blue Underground’s four-disc set includes both its English and Italian versions, a feature-length documentary about its making, featurettes about its directors, composer Riz Ortolani and other collaborators, and a CD of the soundtrack. It’s truly a gobsmacking film in many ways, but this presentation gives audiences a chance to assess it more clearly than ever before — for better or worse.

The Best 4K Blu Ray Movie DVD Releases In 2024: 'Wonka,' 'Primal Fear'

The “Ocean’s” Trilogy (Warner Home Video)

There are few films in my collection that are more repeatedly watchable than Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s” films — not just fun and star-studded, but absolutely beautiful on screen. This new set offers a welcome upgrade, along with all of the incredible legacy content that audiences have been able to enjoy since they first debuted on disc: commentaries, featurettes and more. If by some chance you don’t already own these films, you no longer have an excuse.

The Best 4K Blu Ray Movie DVD Releases In 2024: 'Wonka,' 'Primal Fear'

“Andor — The Complete First Season” / “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier: The Complete First Season” / “Obi-Wan Kenobi — The Complete Series” / “Moon Knight: The Complete First Season”

Disney has always maintained a robust presence in the physical media market, so the fact that they’re now issuing hard copies of series that premiered on the company’s streaming service isn’t surprising. But for completists like yours truly, and the few fans of Marvel and/ or Lucasfilm who don’t have a subscription to Disney+, having these series on disc is a godsend. Personally speaking, I’m most excited about “Andor,” which is extraordinarily cinematic and has such beautiful visuals, but having these on the shelf next to theatrical MCU projects offers a new opportunity to view them in the context of a larger storytelling network. That they all come with featurette and documentary content to further explore their worlds is a welcome bonus.

March 2024

The Best 4K Blu Ray Movie DVD Releases In 2024: 'Wonka,' 'Primal Fear'

“Fear and Desire” (Kino Lorber)

Stanley Kubrick’s long-lost first film first debuted on disc in 2012, following its restoration in 2011 by the George Eastman House. The film joins Kino Lorber’s growing library of 4K-restored classics, this one referenced from a 35mm camera negative, and pairs it with three early short films from the iconic director (also restored). Perhaps most excitingly, this set features for the first time ever the 70-minute premiere cut of the film, which in typical Kubrick fashion, the filmmaker cut after its initial screening. Meanwhile, the set also features two new audio commentaries and trailers for other Kubrick films “Killer’s Kiss,” “The Killing” and “Paths of Glory,” all three of which Kino previously released in 4K. (Feb. 27)

The Best 4K Blu Ray Movie DVD Releases In 2024: 'Wonka,' 'Primal Fear'


“Wonka” (Warner Home Video)

One of several films released over the holiday 2023 season whose distributor oddly downplayed its status as a musical, Paul King’s origin story about the mischievous chocolatier starring Timothy Chalamet comes home on multiple formats. In addition to a Dolby Atmos audio option, the film is supplemented with featurettes focusing on director King, composer Joby Talbot, production designer Nathan Crowley, costume designer Lindy Hemming, and real-life chocolatier Gabriella Cugno. (Feb. 27)

The Best 4K Blu Ray Movie DVD Releases In 2024: 'Wonka,' 'Primal Fear'

“Dream Scenario” (Lionsgate)

Even among Nicolas Cage’s idiosyncratic recent output, this film from up-and-comer Kristoffer Borgli (“Sick of Myself”) stands out as wonderfully odd (and oddly timely), about a biology professor who begins appearing in his students’ dreams — to eventually disastrous effect on his waking life. Though it was overlooked during the firehose of awards season, this disc offers a second chance to appreciate the Norwegian filmmaker’s unique perspective. The Blu-ray includes a commentary track from Borgli, a 10-minute featurette and a short collection of deleted scenes. (Feb. 27)

The Best 4K Blu Ray Movie DVD Releases In 2024: 'Wonka,' 'Primal Fear'

“The Abyss” / “Aliens” / “True Lies” (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)

James Cameron spoke to Variety in December 2023 to commemorate the one-night theatrical re-release of “The Abyss,” which preceded the long-awaited 4K remastering of these three of his earlier films on physical disc. Updated versions of “The Abyss” and “True Lies” in particular have eluded collectors almost since the beginning of DVD, but it’s unclear if the versions released on disc will be the same as those that were criticized during their digital releases in December. Even if so, Cameron’s belief that “more is more” promises hours upon hours of bonus materials, some from earlier releases and others looking back contemporaneously. (March 12)

The Best 4K Blu Ray Movie DVD Releases In 2024: 'Wonka,' 'Primal Fear'

“Ferrari” (Neon/ Decal Releasing)

Michael Mann’s portrait of the automotive legend failed to make waves either at the box office or during awards season, but its debut on disc gives it a fresh start for greater appreciation. The release includes multiple featurettes focusing on Mann himself, the vehicles depicted in the film, the famous Mille Miglia race around which the fate of Ferrari’s company revolves, and the incredible lead performances of Adam Driver and Penelope Cruz. (March 12)

“To Die For” (Criterion)

Gus Van Sant’s 1995 film starring Nicole Kidman shrewdly skewered celebrity obsession at precisely the moment it was becoming a national epidemic. Criterion’s new 4K edition was restored with the approval of Van Sant and cinematographer Eric Alan Edwards, and boasts a 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The Blu-ray edition (included with the 4K UHD disc) features an audio commentary by Van Sant, Edwards and editor Curtiss Clayton, deleted scenes and a trailer for the film. (March 26)

The Best 4K Blu Ray Movie DVD Releases In 2024: 'Wonka,' 'Primal Fear'

“Primal Fear” (Paramount)

To call Edward Norton’s performance in this legal thriller a “breakthrough” is a wild understatement; playing an altar boy who suffers from multiple personality disorder, the then-newcomer quite literally defined versatility with one unforgettable role. Part of Paramount’s limited-edition “Paramount Presents” series, the 4K release comes in a slipcase that replicates the original poster art for the film, and the disc itself features a new interview with executive producer Hawk Koch and additional legacy content. (March 26)

“Phase IV” (Vinegar Syndrome)

A graphic designer best known for the title sequences he designed for filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese, Saul Bass only ever directed one feature himself: the 1974 sci-fi odyssey “Phase IV.” Oddly, its raison d’etre — phase four of its story — was cut out before the film was originally released, and not restored until 2012, but the film has since cultivated admirers leading to a bare-bones release in 2015, and now this deluxe edition in 4K. Vinegar Syndrome pulls out all of the stops for their release, which features newly-restored presentation of both the 84-minute theatrical version and the 89-minute “preview version” now including that fourth phase, a commentary track with film historian Matthew Asprey Gear, a 48-minute documentary by filmmaker Elijah Drenner, a featurette focused on the score and sound design, additional deleted shots and raw footage, and a gallery of promotional materials. (March 26)

“The Warriors” (Arrow)

Until recently, the original cut of Walter Hill’s “Warriors” was largely unavailable after Hill recut an alternate version that transformed the thriller into a comic book come to life. After first releasing an elaborate box set of the film in January as an exclusive as an limited edition featuring the original poster art, Arrow Video is now releasing it everywhere with different packaging and a bounty of extras. Not only does their set include 4K remasters of both the 1979 theatrical cut (in its correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio for the first time) and the 2005 alternate version, but a new commentary track by film critic Walter Chaw, a roundtable appreciation of the film featuring filmmakers Josh Olson (“A History of Violence”) and Lexi Alexander (“Green Street”), interviews with the film’s editor and costume designer, and a profile of composer Barry De Vorzon. (March 26)

“Simon Killer” (IFC Films)

Though it was nominated for the Gray Jury Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Antonio Campos’ psychological drama “Simon Killer” was never released domestically on physical media — until now. Costarring Mati Diop, who would go on to direct “Atlantics” in 2019, the film arrives on Blu-ray with a newly recorded commentary by Campos and his co-writer and star Brady Corbet, a separate interview with the filmmaker on the film’s aesthetics, another of his short films, “The Last 15,” and additional materials examining its making and its impact at Sundance. (March 26)


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