This holiday season sees several Oscar-nominated and Oscar-winning classics meticulously restored and presented in 4K Ultra HD making for the perfect addition to any movie lover's collection.
Steven Spielberg directs an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker while Oliver Stone directs an all-star cast in one of the most provocative films ever made.
Richard Gere stars in a visually sublime romantic drama from director Terrence Malick, and Rob Reiner directs an adaptation of a coming-of-age novella from author Stephen King.
But first up, a cultural touchstone as one of the biggest film and pop culture events of all time from James Cameron receives a visual and audio presentation matching the size and success of the film itself…
James Cameron delivered unparalleled success and groundbreaking visual effects technology with Aliens (1986) and Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991). In the mid '90s, Cameron leant into his fascination with the ill-fated luxury passenger liner, the RMS Titanic, which tragically sank on April 14, 1912 during its maiden voyage. With footage Cameron filmed of the shipwreck at the bottom of the Atlantic, he pitched his next movie to 20th Century Fox as a Romeo and Juliet love story set on board the ship.
Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio star as Titanic passengers Rose and Jack, defying the class and social expectations of their era by falling in love. But when the ship of their dreams collides with an iceberg, a crisis of survival and classism arises that changes the lives of every passenger on board forever.
Cameron's film had a production and scope almost beyond imagination. Filmed off the coast of Mexico and featuring thousands of extras, a nearly full-size replica of the ship was built on a gimbal that would tilt and sink, resulting in a truly visceral and captivating epic that thrilled audiences the world over upon its release during the 1997 holiday season.
Titanic became the first film to make a billion dollars at the box office and played in theaters for several months, catapulting its two lead actors DiCaprio and Winslet to global stardom while James Horner's unforgettable score for the film resulted in one of the highest selling albums of all time. Titanic received fourteen Oscar nominations and went on to win eleven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. In 2017, the film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry.
Titanic comes to the 4K format from Paramount Home Media Distribution. With a sublime reference quality 4K restoration complete with Dolby Vision and HDR supervised by Cameron, the film is also complemented with a robust Dolby Atmos Audio Track. Supplements include new featurettes, Titanic: Stories from the Heart, Titanic – 25 Years Later with James Cameron, audio commentaries, and over 15 hours of legacy behind-the-scenes pieces. In addition to the standard release, a Limited Edition Deluxe Boxed Set is available. Presented in an elegant slip case, this addition includes all of the above along with a stunning hardcover behind-the-scenes coffee table book.
Get it: Available now on 4K UHD Blu-Ray – also available on digital.
Days of Heaven
Filmmaker Terrence Malick's second feature, Days of Heaven, is a sweeping romantic drama, and one of the most beautifully photographed films ever made. Set in 1916, Richard Gere and Brooke Adams star as lovers Bill and Abby who move to the Texas Panhandle where they harvest crops for a wealthy farmer (Sam Shepard) who is believed to be dying. When the farmer falls in love with Abby, Bill convinces her to marry the farmer so that they can soon inherit all of his money. With Bill masking as Abby’s brother, the plan moves forward. Suspicion, jealousy, and tension, however, begin to plague the once peaceful setting.
After a lengthy production and a two-year editing process, Days of Heaven was released in 1978 to critical acclaim, particularly for the film's spectacular cinematography. Néstor Almendros, who captured the superb visuals of wheat fields, ferocious fires, and a hellish locust plague, won the Oscar for Best Cinematography for his work. Malick's period-set love triangle, a vivid recreation of American life at the turn of the twentieth century, is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of the 1970s. In 2007, Days of Heaven was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry.
This new 4K restoration of Days of Heaven from The Criterion Collection presents the film with both Dolby Vision and HDR, and was fully supervised and approved by Malick. The film's audio is presented via a DTS-HD 5.1 audio track, with extras including interviews with cinematographer Haskell Wexler, who shot the film during the final weeks of production when Almendros had to leave the production due to a prior commitment; the late John Bailey, who was the camera operator on the film; and actors Gere and Shepard. There's also a feature audio commentary with members of the key crew, an essay by critic Adrian Martian, and more.
Get it: Available now on 4K UHD Blu-Ray
Stand by Me
"I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve… does anyone?" Following the death of his childhood best friend, a writer recounts a journey he and his friends went on when they were 12 during the summer of 1959 in Castlerock, Oregon, to find the body of a missing boy. Heartfelt, nostalgic, and honest, director Rob Reiner's drama Stand by Me beautifully captures the coming of age of its four lead characters as they embark on an unforgettable two-day expedition that quickly turns into a journey of candid self-discovery.
Based on The Body, a novella by Stephen King, Stand by Me is one of Reiner's finest films. Nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, the film features sensational performances from River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell, and Kiefer Sutherland. Stand by Me continues to resonate with audiences of all ages as they move through their adolescence or reflect on their childhoods as adults.
Housed in a collector's SteelBook, this new limited-edition release of Stand by Me from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents the film via a previously released 4K UHD transfer sourced from the film's original camera negative, with the addition of Dolby Vision along with a new Dolby Atmos audio track. The film's original audio track is also available. Supplements include newly found Deleted and Alternate scenes, a previously recorded audio commentary track with Reiner, the featurette Walking the Tracks: The Summer of Stand by Me, the film's music video, and more.
Get it: Available now on 4K UHD Blu-Ray (Limited Edition).
The Color Purple
Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple, remains a rich and powerful cinematic experience. Set in America's rural south in the early 20th-century, Whoopi Goldberg stars in her breakthrough debut performance as Celie Harris, a Black teenager refusing to submit to the life of abuse and cruelty inflicted upon her. With resilience, strength, and love, Celie takes an awe-inspiring life journey to find her independence.
Along with Goldberg, The Color Purple features celebrated performances from its distinguished cast, which includes Danny Glover, Oprah Winfrey, Adolph Caesar, Desreta Jackson, Margaret Avery, Rae Dawn Chong and Akosua Bsia. The film received eleven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress in a Leading Role for Goldberg, Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Winfrey, and Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Avery. The Color Purple was adapted into a successful Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, which has now been produced as a new film directed by Black is King director Blitz Bazawule, in theaters on Dec. 25.
Closing out their yearlong centennial celebration, Warner Bros. has restored The Color Purple in 4K UHD with HDR. The restoration was sourced from the original camera negative resulting in a beautifully filmic presentation of the film. The audio is presented via an DTS-HD 5.1 audio track with extras that include the featurettes Conversations with the Ancestors: The Color Purple from Book to Screen, A Collaboration of Spirits: Casting and Acting and Cultivating a Classic: The Making of The Color Purple, plus the film’s original teaser and theatrical trailers.
Get it: Available now on 4K UHD Blu-Ray – also available on digital.
JFK – The Director's Cut
Released in 1991, writer-director Oliver Stone's JFK became a must-see movie, and a major talking point across the globe surrounding one of the most controversial events of our time. Kevin Costner plays Jim Garrison, a New Orleans District Attorney who believes there to be more to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy than what is being reported by the FBI, and so initiates a deep investigation into the matter unearthing the possibility of a cover-up and deadly conspiracy. Combining fact with speculation, JFK is a riveting piece of filmmaking, backed by an all-star cast that includes Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Tommy Lee Jones, Sissy Spacey, Joe Pesci, Laurie Metcalf and Kevin Bacon.
Upon its theatrical release, JFK gained momentum at the box office becoming a sizable hit and went on to receive eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, and went on to win for Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing. Stone's film sparked a large degree of social discourse and played a major role in the national debate leading to the passage of the 1992 Assassination Materials Disclosure Act.
This new 4-disc archival release of JFK from Shout Factory presents the film in both its Original Theatrical Cut and Director's Cut with both transfers sourced from the original camera negatives and approved just this year by Stone. Each version of the film contains an audio commentary with the filmmaker. The release offers an extensive amount of supplemental pieces, including the featurettes One Person Can Make A Difference: Oliver Stone on JFK, Stone Bold: Cinematographer Robert Richardson on JFK, Brave New Worlds, Supporting the Vision, Assassination Updated, The Delicate Hands of Time, Meet Mr. X, 12 deleted and extended scenes, an alternate ending, trailers, galleries and much more.
Get it: Dec. 19 on 4K UHD Blu-Ray.
By Adam J. Yeend