This week on home video, we’ve got a visually stunning live-action Disney film, a decent romance, some worthwhile television, and a couple of classics. Read on for the full list.

Arrow: Season 4 (2015) 85%

Stephen Amell stars in this CW action series based on the DC Comics character as Oliver Queen, a billionaire playboy who moonlights as vigilante hero; season four is when he officially becomes Green Arrow. The season set comes with the Flash crossover episode, a number of featurettes, the show’s 2015 Comic-Con panel, and more.

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Shameless: Season 6 (2016) 100%

William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum star in Showtime’s dark comedy about a highly dysfunctional family and its irresponsible, alcoholic patriarch. The season six set comes with deleted scenes and a pair of featurettes.

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The Jungle Book (2016) 94%

Neel Sethi stars in this live-action remake of the Disney adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s tale about a young boy raised by wolves who helps defend his jungle against a fearsome tiger. Special features include a commentary track, a making-of doc, a look at Sethi’s performance, and a look at one of the big set pieces of the film.

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The Night Manager: Miniseries (2016) 91%

Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie star in this six-part adaptation of the John le Carré novel about a former soldier who is recruited by British intelligence to infiltrate a secret arms operation. There doesn’t appear to be any extras on the release.

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The Phenom (2016) 79%

Johnny Simmons and Ethan Hawke star in this sports drama about a major league pitching prospect with a troubled family life. No information on special features is currently available.

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Me Before You (2016) 54%

Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin star in this romantic drama about a wealthy paraplegic who falls in love with the small town woman he hires as his assistant. Extras include a look at the process of adapting the film’s source novel, outtakes, and deleted scenes.

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Chimes at Midnight (1965) 96%

Finally, from the Criterion Collection, we have two films from Orson Welles, beginning with this drama about recurring Shakespearean character Falstaff and his relationship with his father. The new Blu-ray comes with a commentary track with Welles scholar James Naremore, and interview with Welles during his time editing the film, and new interviews with film historians and Welles’s daughter Beatrice, who appeared in the film.

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The Immortal Story (1968) 92%

The second Orson Welles film offered this week is the director’s first color film and final completed feature, and adaptation of a story by Isak Dinesen about a 19th century merchant obsessed with reenacting an apocryphal tale about a wealthy man who pays a sailor to impregnate his wife. The new release comes with a French-language version of the film, a 1968 documentary about Welles, new interviews, and more.

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James Franco - Steve Granitz/
Having established his name in the Spider-Man movies, these days James Franco is clearly making some more personal career choices. He was in three films in 2008, notable for their vastly different styles. His extended cameo as Richard Gere‘s son in the weepy Nights in Rodanthe, based on the Nicholas Sparks novel, was followed by two far less forgettable roles; opposite Seth Rogen in Pineapple Express (for which he received a Golden Globe nomination) and as Sean Penn‘s boyfriend in Milk (for which he has been nominated with the cast for the SAG ensemble award).

He says he signed on for Pineapple because it was a chance to work with Judd Apatow and company, whom he knew from his days on the TV series Freaks and Geeks. “We did a lot of goofing around in a kind of constructed way,” he says of the film. “It’s a lot of improvisation, just letting the camera roll and doing the scene over and over again and seeing what happens. And I loved that!”

When asked to contrast the experiences on the two sets, he stops and thinks. “Milk had its own kind of looseness,” he says. “Gus Van Sant has his own approach, and there was the freedom to try different kinds of things. And Sean really encouraged that too. So it was somewhat improvisational, but what it did was to make the performances more natural. And it may be funny to say, but it was the same with Pineapple. I think that’s one of the things that Judd Apatow brings to comedies: there are wacky situations but it feels more emotionally grounded.”

Clearly this on-screen naturalism is important to him. He’s been studying film at New York University, and chooses five favourites that are all firmly rooted in authenticity…


Gimme Shelter (1970, 100% Tomatometer)

Gimme Shelter
It’s just amazing. I’ve been watching all of the Maysles Brothers‘ films and I’m really into their approach, which they called “direct cinema”, and the whole school that came out of DA Pennebaker, Robert Drew and so on. I love the whole idea that life can be as dramatic as fiction. It’s very different than reality television, because that’s very manipulated.

The Maysles’ approach is minimal interaction and being as observational as possible. Gimme Shelter has such drama, and it’s so well-done. As are all of their films.

I also love Salesman, which also proves that their philosophy can really work, because it just has these real Bible salesmen. But to me it has as much drama and tension as Arthur Miller or Eugene O’Neill – it’s like the Death of a Salesman and The Iceman Cometh all rolled together – but it’s real! I just can’t get enough of it.

My Own Private Idaho (1992, 85% Tomatometer)

My Own Private Idaho
Even before I started acting, this was a very important film to me. Obviously I was really drawn to the performances and characters, but the whole film just kept bringing it back.

Gus has changed his style somewhat beginning with Gerry and all this Bela Tarr and Chantal Akerman influence, which I love too. But back then it was really about collage.

Idaho actually started as three different projects – three scripts – through Orson WellesChimes at Midnight, which was a distillation of Shakespeare, and this other story about street kids in Portland, and then something else about a kid finding his parents in Italy. And then this whole narcoleptic thing that was influenced by George Eliot. He’s got all that just in the script, and then there’s the way it’s shot – he had two DPs, plus time-lapse for the cloud sequences and 8mm for the dream sequences.

I love all of Gus’ movies. I think Drugstore Cowboy is a hilarious movie. I love how he can take a situation like that and make it funny. I think Matt Dillon gives one of the best comedic performances in that movie. Gus is taking a very personal approach in the film – from the look of Bob Yeoman‘s cinematography to the way Gus captures Portland on screen.

The Bicycle Thief (1948, 95% Tomatometer)

The Bicycle Thief
All of my favourite films are approaching realism in a different way. This is Italian neorealism – obviously there’s a script and a story and everything, but it’s shot in the street and it has the feel of Italy, of being in the streets and, like Idaho, a deceivingly, simply constructed narrative. But there’s so much emotion that’s evoked from these very simple stories.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2008, 97% Tomatometer)

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
Again, a very simple approach, but there’s so much power in that film. You’re not quite sure what’s happening from the beginning, but you’re just kind of thrown into it. All you know is that these women have this mysterious meeting, and it takes you from there. The film gives you a great sense of what it was really like to live in Romania in the 1980s.

The Wrestler (2008, 98% Tomatometer)

The Wrestler
I loved this film! I really like the films of the Dardenne Brothers, like The Child and The Son, and I’m sure The Wrestler was influenced by the Dardennes, especially in the beginning when the camera is following the back of Mickey Rourke‘s head through the hallways.

I know Darren Aronofsky a little bit, and I remember meeting with him just when The Fountain was coming out, and he told me to look at the Dardenne Brothers because they were doing some really good stuff, so I know he’s a fan.

Milk opens in UK on Friday and in Australia on 29th January. It’s out now in the US.

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