This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: House of Cards, Cabin Fever, By The Sea

Last Updated on July 31, 2021

This Week: House of Cards deals up another winner, Tom Hiddleston's cheatin' heart, and the pointless return of Cabin Fever.

► It’s Underwood vs. Underwood in the early going of HOUSE OF CARD’s fourth season, as first lady Claire makes a power play against hubby Frank. But the good stuff this season doesn’t kick in until they’re faced with a common threat – a hot young Republican candidate – and realize they’ll need to stick together to retain the White House. Another superb season for Netflix’s crown jewel show.

► It takes a lot to earn the title ‘Most Pointless Horror Movie of the Year,’ but CABIN FEVER has it wrapped up. There will not be a more absurd, unnecessary, WTF horror flick of the year. It isn’t a sequel, it isn’t even a useless reboot, it’s a baffling mirror image of Eli Roth’s 2002 original…made with his blessing. Can you even get mad at something this laughably inconsequential? The only difference, too slight to matter, is that it lacks the goofy comedy of Roth’s version, meaning no pancake-obsessed kid to lighten the mood. Otherwise, it’s the same story of college kids infected with a flesh-eating virus. Next year’s most pointless horror movie has a tough act to follow.

► By all accounts, Hank Williams was one of the most fascinating figures in country music. You won’t gather that from the biopic I SAW THE LIGHT, with Tom Hiddleston slinging the guitar and trying to capture Williams’ hard-earned southern grit and addiction-plagued life. He also does his own singing, which led Williams’ grandson to rip him online: “You got no moan or soul in your voice.” Elizabeth Olsen plays Williams’ first wife Audrey, who had addiction problems of her own.

► In BY THE SEA, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are a dysfunctional couple who check into a coastal hotel in France to try and find some spark again. They find it when they discover a way to watch the young couple in the next room have sex, but things quickly turn south when Jolie gets intimate with the man she’s peeping on. She also directs this bleak drama, inspired by arthouse bummers from the ‘70s.

► A fave of Quentin Tarantino, Jack Hill’s THE SWINGING CHEERLEADERS is a mid ‘70s drive-in classic about a college newspaper reporter (Jo Johnston) who goes undercover to expose her school’s cheerleading squad. Instead, she gets caught up in the drama of promiscuous football players, illicit affairs with teachers, and a corrupt college dean. Arrow Video special edition includes commentary from Hill, a Q&A with some of the cast from 2012, and new 2K restoration.

► Arrow Video also gives the deluxe treatment to the 1964 Italian horror flick BLOOD AND BLACK LACE this week. A key early giallo movie, it had a direct influence on the slasher genre nearly 20 years later. At a ritzy fashion house, models are being killed by a man in a plain white mask who is searching for a diary which reveals all of the illegal activity going in the house. Restored edition includes the doc ‘Psycho Analysis.’

► The ‘Hangover’-ish SEARCH PARTY sends a jilted groom (Thomas Middleditch) and his dumb-ass friends (T.J. Miller, Adam Pally) to Mexico to try and find the angry bride-to-be after a wedding day meltdown. Which of course leads to drug deals, kidney theft, and other stuff they list in the Mexican brochures. Made three years ago, released this May. Whopping box office: $33,560. Alison Brie and Krysten Ritter co-star.

► Criterion has given the royal treatment to some surprise movies before, but THE IN-LAWS? Really? There is little about this 1979 comedy starring Peter Falk and Alan Arkin that’s memorable, but here’s a deluxe blu-ray with digital restoration, 2003 commentary from Falk, Arkin and director Arthur Hiller, and a new interview with Arkin. He plays a dentist who doesn’t trust the father (Falk) of the daughter his son is engaged to. It somehow leads to a road trip from New Jersey to Honduras.

Also out this week:





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