Recent and Upcoming Releases
- Veronica Mars 2019: The Complete First Season | Buy the DVD | Buy the Blu-Ray
It’s a calculated bit of a misnomer — but any measure, this is really the fourth season (not counting the movie), although, technically it IS the first season on Hulu. Still, however you number it, it’s a good one, for those wondering when Veronica would finally embrace — or at least come to terms — with the fact she couldn’t be a “girl detective” forever. The writers took a chance, and a lot of fans were pissed at the conclusion of this series. But not all of them. I’m anxious to see what’ll happen in the fifth (or second?) series.
- Noir Archive Volume 3: 1957-1960 9 Movie Collection | Buy the Blu-Ray
Third (and final) budget priced Blu-Ray collection of lesser known noirs, chronologically presented, including The Crimson Kimono (1959), The Lineup (1958), Man on a String (1960), The Shadow in the Window (1956), The Tijuana Story (1957), The Long Haul (1957), Pickup Alley (1957), The Case Against Brooklyn (1958) and She Played with Fire (1957).
- Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!: The Complete Series 50th Anniversary Mystery Mansion | Buy the 50th Anniversary Blu-Ray Set
For those of you yearning for something you can watch with the kids, what could be better than this four Blu-ray disc, limited-edition release, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the the Saturday morning cartoon world’s most lovable, mystery-solving dog, along with his best friend Shaggy (who may just have inhaled a time or two during commercial breaks), Thelma, Daphne and Fred? Handsomely packaged in a suitably haunted house, this special edition comes with all forty-one episodes of the original Scooby-Doo Where Are You, a Scooby-Doo series, plus a Scooby-Doo Encyclopedia and a Scooby-Doo keychain, plus a slew of new bonus features, including My Life with Scooby, Frank Welker’s Animated Journey, A Scooby-Doo for Everyone, 50 Years of Scooby Snacks and a live-stage trailer for Scooby-Doo and the Lost City of Gold. Nostalgia? You’re soaking in it.
- True Detective: Season Three | Buy the DVD | Buy the Blu-Ray | Watch it now!
I’ve always had an uneasy affection for True Detective’s ambitious but occasionally overwrought pretensions, but third time’s the charm, more than making up for its two predecessors. It’s a slow-burn mediation on identity and memory and the dark crossroads where they meet, and what it means to be a true detective when the biggest mystery of all may be life itself, and it’s just so damn right on target it hurts. The strained but abiding friendship between the two Arkansas State detectives (played with straight-to-the-gut precision by Mahershala Ali and Stephen Dorff), as they work (and re-work) a case involving the disappearance of a two missing kids over the course of thirty-five years, is not just gripping but far more touching than I’d expected. Kudos to creator and showrunner Nic Pizzolatto for bringing it all home.
- Mr. Mercedes Season Two | Buy the DVD
Season two of the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s award-winning trilogy, featuring ex-cop Bill Hodges still trying to nail a young psycho known as “Mr. Mercedes,” even though he’s in a hospital bed in a coma. Or is he?
- Noir Archive Volume 2: 1954-1956 9 Movie Collection | Buy the Blu-Ray
Where are they finding this stuff? Bait (1954), The Crooked Web (1955), The Night Holds Terror (1955), Footsteps in the Fog (1955), Cell 2455, Death Row (1955), 5 Against the House (1955), New Orleans Uncensored (1955), Spin a Dark Web (1955) and Rumble on the Docks (1956) are all present and accounted for, although calling them “classics” may be a little optimistic.
- The Thin Man | Buy this Blu-Ray | Watch it now!
The 1934 classic, based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett, with a screenplay by the husband-and-wife team of Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, and directed by W.S. Van Dyke, finally comes to Blu-Ray. Starring William Powell and Myrna Loy as the ultimate high-living married detective duo, they’re on the hunt for a missing scientist in Depression-era New York City, swapping wisecracks and knocking down the cocktails along the way. Prohibition be damned!
- Noir Archive Volume 1: 1944-1954 9 Movie Collection | Buy the Blu-Ray
Now that almost all the classics, near-classics and almost everything thing else tangentially noir has been released and re-released, here are a few more. Address Unknown (1944); Escape in the Fog (1945); The Guilt of Janet James (1947); The Black Book (aka The Reign of Terror) (1949); Johnny Allegro (1949); 711 Ocean Drive (1950); The Killer That Stalked New York (1950); Assignment Paris (1952) and The Miami Story (1954) are all presented in their original aspect ratios and high-def, but honestly? I’ve never heard of any of them. Some of the directors and cast sound intriguing (Paul Lukas, Budd Boetticher, Rosalind Russell, Melvyn Douglas, Anthony Mann, Edmond O’Brien, Otto Kruger,George Sanders) and others just puzzling (Sid Caesar? Really?), but at less than three bucks a pop, how far are you willing to stretch the definition of noir?
- Detour | Buy the DVD | Buy the Blu-Ray
After years of cheap, cut-rate, blurry, scratchy public domain versions, we’ve finally got a beautifully restored and remastered rendition of what is for many the ultimate noir: Edgar G. Ulmer’s nasty little masterpiece of bad choices and bad luck, as hapless sap Tom Neal decides to hitchhike to California to see his gal. He doesn’t make it. This new 4K restoration from Criterion, finally does it right, not only with the film itself, but with a slew of bonus features, including a 2004 documentary on Ulmer, featuring interviews with Ann Savage, Roger Corman, Joe Dante and Wim Wenders, a new interview with film scholar Noah Isenberg, trailers and an essay by critic and poet Robert Polito.
- The Phantom Lady | Buy the Blu-Ray
Special high-def Blu-Ray edition, jam-packed with bonus features, of the noir classic directed by flees to a bar to drown his sorrows, and hooks up with a woman. But when he arrives home, his wife has been murdered and hubby’s the prime suspect. The “phantom lady” is his alibi, but he has no idea how to find her…
- The Girl in the Spider’s Web | Buy the DVD | Buy the Blu-Ray
Disappointing adaptation of the first non-Stieg Larsson novel, with additional scenes added, thus accomplishing the neat trick of dis-respecting not just the original but also David Lagerkrantz, the writer hired to continued the series.
- The Lady in the Lake | Buy the DVD | Watch it now!
Doughy Robert Montgomery is arguably the worst big screen Marlowe of them all, and his case isn’t helped by his use (he also directed) of subjective camera work. Kiss my lens, baby!
- The Midnight Man | Buy the DVD | Buy the Blu-Ray
Burt Lancaster stars as Jim Slade, a former Chicago cop just released from prison for shooting his wife’s lover, who takes a job as a night watchman at a small Midwestern college. But when a co-ed is murdered and the night janitor is arrested, Slade decides to poke around.
- The Equalizer 2 | Buy on DVD | Buy on Blu-Ray | Watch it now!
Those of you looking for “More Fun with Power Tools” (McCall is now an Uber driver) may be disappointed, but if you liked the first one, you’ll probably like this one.
- Jack Irish: Season Two | Buy the DVD | Buy the Blu-Ray
Guy Pearce shambles through the streets of Melbourne and beyond as Jack Irish, the amiable hard-luck P.I., watching his world crumble: his girlfriend Linda’s left him, his pal Sid’s out of the racing game, a good friend has just passed away, and possibly worst of all, his favourite pub may soon be sold. But when a long-lost, undelivered package arrives, one that might once have changed his life, Jack is drawn into a case that soon reaches deep into every niche of his life; a case involving foreign exchange students, illegal drugs, corrupt government agencies and the murder of a friend. Sharp and surprisingly poignant, possibly the best season yet.
- The Last Seduction | Buy the DVD | Buy the Blu-Ray
Long-awaited re-release of 1994 neo-noir, with Linda Fiorentino as the femme fatale to end all femme fatales. Stupid? Don’t worry — Bridget likes that in a man.
- The Night Stalker | Buy the DVD | Buy the Blu-Ray
Newly remastered TV pilot that unleashed newspaper reporter Carl Kolchak upon an unsuspecting world, and a slew of extras, plus new cover art by Sean Phillips.
- The Night Strangler | Buy the DVD | Buy the Blu-Ray
Newly remastered second made-for-TV flick that following newspaper reporter Carl Kolchak hot on the trail of a 200 hundred year-old serial killer. Plus a ton of bonus features and new cover art by Sean Phillips.
- Private Eyes | Buy the DVD | Watch it now!
No big shakes, but this light-hearted Canadian show about a Porsche-driving, ex-NHL player (Jason Priestley) and his demanding P.I. boss (Cindy Sampson) is a nice diversion from all the frothing-at-the-mouth crime shows out there. Think of it as private eye comfort food.
- Shoestring | Buy the DVD
Rounds up the complete run of the popular British TV series from the seventies about a former computer programmer who has a breakdown, and reinvents himself as a crime-solving radio announcer.
- C.B. Strike | Buy the DVD
The first truly satisfying P.I. thing on television in a long while. Smart, literate, and adult. And all from books written by that Harry Potter dame? You’re good, J.K., you’re very, very good. Contains all three adaptations.
- Mr. Mercedes: Season One | Buy the DVD
Contains the entire season one adaptation of Stephen King’s bestseller about a burned-out former cop going down for the last time, who finds a new lease on life when “the one that got away” decides to torment him. Amazing performances all around, but special props to Brendan Gleeson as Bill Hodges and Harry Treadaway as the disturbed young homicidal sicko.
- The Frankie Drake Mysteries: Season One | Buy the DVD | Buy the Blu-Ray
Fans of Miss Fisher ought to enjoy this plucky Canadian period piece featuring Toronto’s first all-female detective agency. Frankie Drake is the hard-charging, motorcycle-riding private jane tearing through a twenties Toronto full of flappers, suffragettes, rum-runners and gangsters, with the aid of her partner/associate Trudy Clarke. The sets and the costumes are to die for… and people frequently do. Adding to the “world classiness” is some annoying reporter for The Toronto Star called Ernest Hemingway.
- Trouble is My Business | Buy the DVD | Buy the Blu-Ray | Watch it now!
A straight-to-streaming would-be B flick that hits the vanity project hattrick, written directed and starring Tom Konkle as Roland Drake, a down-on-his-luck 1940s private eye caught between the two hot-to-trot Montemar sisters. Problem is, one’s dead and the other possibly killed her.
- Archer: Season 8: Dreamland | Buy the DVD | Watch it now!
To sleep, perchance to dream… When the ego-that-walks-like-a-man ends up in a coma, he dreams — for a whole season — that he’s a hard-boiled private eye in 1947 Los Angeles, out to nail the killer of his partner.
- Small Town Crime | Buy the DVD | Buy the Blu-Ray | Watch it now!
John Hawkes shines as an ex-cop drunk trying to redeem himself by solving the murder of a woman whose body he discovered. Super strong cast includes Robert Forster, Anthony Anderson, Octavia Spencer, Anthony Anderson, Clifton Collins, Jr. But it’s Hawke you have to keep an eye on — he’s the antithesis of everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be, and he doesn’t care who knows it. Recommended.
- Harper | Buy the DVD | Buy this Blu-ray | Watch it now!
The Drowning Pool | Buy the DVD | Buy the Blu-Ray | Watch it now!
At long last BOTH films featuring Paul Newman as Ross Macdonald’s SoCal private eye Lew Archer (here rechristened “Harper”) are available on DVD, Blu-Ray and to stream. Harper gets all the acclaim and most of the attention, but personally I prefer The Drowning Pool for the slam bang locked-room escape and the way Newman stands tall in a nuanced verbal showdown against a powerful opponent, refusing to even turn his head. Toss in Robert Benton’s Twilight, as loving a rip-off of Macdonald as you can get without being sued, if you want to make it a hattrick. There Newman plays SoCal P.I. Harry Ross, but I defy anyone to tell me how he’s not just Archer/Harper under another name.
- Ray Donovan: Season 5 | Buy on DVD
Ray’s back, and he’s mourning the loss of his beloved wife Abby, whom he’s treated like shit for the first four seasons. Yet the show remains compelling, like a slow-mo trainwreck.