Armchair Vacation: Five Must Own Home Video Releases For June

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As May finally comes to a close, and Summer 2013 ramps up, June is on our doorstep, and so are a new wave of home video releases that will make all your hard earned cash all that easier to spend. Be it classics getting new transfers or new pictures finally making their way to store shelves, there are a handful of upcoming home video releases that are just about impossible to pass up. Ranging from anarchic British cultural lightning rods to moving classic romances, here are five home video releases to pick up the very moment they arrive on store shelves.

5. Scum (Parker, 1979) Kino; June 4

What better way to spend the first week of June 2013 than by immersing yourself within the vicious, controversial and beautifully brutal world of British reform schools. This brazen drama from director Alan Clarke stars Ray Winstone as Carlin, a reform school inmate who is abused by seemingly everyone around him, and has been considered one of the most controversial films of the 1970s. Originally banned by the BBC when it was originally set to air in 1977, Clarke went on to reshoot some scenes, and ultimately released an even more boundary pushing version two years later, which itself is the cut available on this Kino Blu-ray. I myself have had the pleasure of seeing this blu-ray, and while the picture itself is haunting and deeply troubling, it’s an important picture and one that should be seen. It’s a tough watch, and one that may not feel rewarding right away, but this is a devastatingly angry film that is hard to truly compare to anything else around. Plus, it looks mighty gorgeous in HD.

4. Wrong (Dupieux, 2013) Drafthouse Films; June 11

Among the various oddball directors that we have today, very few have created such an odd collection of work, even down to a film about a maniacal killing machine that also just happens to be a car tie, as director Quentin Dupieux. Dupieux’s latest film, Wrong, will be getting a DVD and Blu-ray release via Drafthouse Films on June 11. The film itself garnered mixed reviews, but I found it to be quite an interesting bit of absurdist comedy that follows a man who must deal with the death of his one true love, his dog. It’s a live action Looney Tunes episode and it is a must watch for any fan of absurdist comedy. Normally, an Amazon link would be included somewhere here, but with Drafthouse Films being the distributor, it’s hard not to be enticed by their various bundles. Check out all the possible editions of the DVD/Blu-ray here.

3. Flame Of The Barbary Coast (Kane, 1945) Olive Films; June 18

Over the last few months, Olive Films has been bringing a cavalcade of films from the John Wayne filmography to DVD/Blu-ray, ranging from The Quiet Man to this underrated Joseph Kane picture, Flame Of The Barbary Coast. The multi-Oscar nominee, the film finds Wayne as a character named Duke, a rancher who falls for the girl of a local casino owner who owes him a debt. The film is relatively hard to find, but with Olive Films comes a gorgeous new restoration and hopefully a re-evaluation of a rarely seen Wayne classic. It’s a really superb picture, and while it is admittedly a “minor” film in the Wayne canon, it’s still an important look at one of Hollywood’s great screen presences.

2. No (Larrain, 2013) Sony Pictures Classics; June 25

Director Pablo Larrain has become synonymous with some of the more intriguing films to come out of any given foreign market over the last few years. With films like Post Mortem, the director has solidified himself as one of today’s most underrated auteurs, and thankfully, Oscar has started to notice. June 25 marks the home video release of his latest picture, the Oscar nominated No, and it’s about time. The film is arguably Larrain’s best picture to date, and with a truly great performance from star Gael Garcia Bernal, who himself continues to be one of the more interesting actors around, this is possibly the most must-own modern picture arriving on store shelves this month. The film will look absolutely gorgeous in HD, as it’s a rather beautiful picture, and the story is rife with intrigue.

1. Big Box Sets Break Apart

Sometimes, box sets just cost too pretty a penny. Maybe some of the pictures weren’t films that you truly enjoyed, or maybe, as mentioned, the price tag was too high, but now, a couple of Blu-ray box sets have broken apart. Once a DVD box set known as The Essentials Collection, this box set of Alfred Hitchcock films will be released as a separate set opposed to the Masterpiece Collection released late last year (itself now half off) and include films like Psycho, The Birds and Vertigo. However, the big releases for the start of June come in the form of single releases of a handful of films found within last year’s Universal Monsters box set. Four films; The Creature From The Black Lagoon, Phantom Of The Opera, The Mummy and The Invisible Man, will arrive on store shelves on June 4, and in absolutely packed releases. Just skimming through the supplements for these releases will give you a headache, with each release including documentaries, trailer galleries and most importantly, commentaries abound.