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Headsup – Sex, Space, & Chain Saws

The cover art for the 4K UltraHD Blu-Ray edition of Devotion, starring Jonathan Majors and Glen Powell, both of whom are featured in the artwork.

Jonathan Majors (Creed III) and Glen Powell (Top Gun: Maverick) star in the epic and inspirational true story of two elite U.S. Navy fighter pilots who helped turn the tide in the most brutal battle in the Korean War: Jesse Brown, the first Black aviator in Navy history and his fellow fighter pilot and friend, Tom Hudner. Their heroic sacrifices and enduring friendship would ultimately make them the Navy’s most celebrated wingmen. — from Paramount

The story of the friendship between Brown and Hudner, along with the action they both saw during the war is what is being dramatized in Devotion. I’m frankly not sure when this was shot in relation to Jonathan Majors’ schedule because I don’t think the man sleeps. It seems like Glen Powell’s turn in Top Gun: Maverick was shot before this. Usually a film like this would garner no bonus bits, but perhaps due to the aviation it was considered Top Gun-adjacent. Plus it’s a helluva story. There are two featurettes here, a look at the actual aviation and behind the scenes of the film, as well as one focused on Brown himself. Fans of either actor or aerial combat films in general will want to check it out most definitely. You can grab it over at Amazon here.

The 4K UltraHD Blu-Ray cover art for the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre, which is basically the classic poster art showing Leatherface, one of his victims, and the immortal tagline: "Who will survive and what will be left of them?"

For both new viewers and long-term devotees, this is THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE as it has never been seen or heard before. The film follows a group of young friends (played by Marilyn Burns, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain, William Vail and Teri McMinn) road-tripping by van through Texas who fall victim to a bizarre family of cannibals – including a huge masked madman known as Leatherface (Gunnar Hansen) who always has a gas-powered chain saw at the ready. The shocker originated many elements of the slasher genre that would soon explode: the use of power tools as murder weapons, a hulking faceless killer, a desolate rural setting, and the sadistic slaughter of innocent young victims. — from Dark Sky Films

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (and I still think the word is “chainsaw” but whatever, we’re going with how they have it) is a horror classic that has seen its share of releases. In fact, it’s even been on 4K before (although from what I can tell, maybe previously it was officially released as such across the pond). This edition appears to be a culmination of previously available bits with two major new-ish ones. First, the legacy stuff contains: four—count them—four commentary tracks with the director, many actors, the production designer and more. There’s deleted scenes, outtakes, an interview with John Dugan (the incredibly creepy Grandpa Sawyer), a documentary about the making-of and—get this—outtakes for the documentary! Extensive. New stuff is a new feature-length documentary as well as an almost hour-long conversation between Tobe Hooper and Exorcist director William Friedkin. (I think this last part was a bonus on a limited edition set several years ago, but now it’s resurfaced. Hence “new-ish.”) Anyway, if you’re a fan of the film, then this is worth plonking down the coin for. There’s just too much stuff here to refuse. Find it over at Amazon.

The 4K UltraHD Blu-Ray cover art of Babylon, featuring the cast in a mirrored sort of kaleidoscopic view. They are, going from left to right across the top, Brad Pitt, Jean Smart, Jovan Adepo, Diego Calva, Margot Robbie, and Li Jun Li. This isn't counting repeats of the actors in the art.

BABYLON follows an ambitious cast of characters — The Silent Film Superstar (Brad Pitt), the Young Starlet (Margot Robbie), the Production Executive (Diego Calva), the Musical Sensation (Jovan Adepo) and the Alluring Powerhouse Performer (Li Jun Li) — who are striving to stay on top of the raucous, 1920s Hollywood scene and maintain their relevance at a time when the industry is moving on to the next best thing. – from Paramount

As Lord Fanny once said, “Nothing exceeds like excess.” And that’s definitely reflected in Babylon, which is trying to show you the Hollywood of the 1920s, and the struggle as the film industry moved from silent films to talkies. Not everybody is Fritz Lang, basically. For a production this big, it would be hard for a decently-sized featurette to cover everything to the depth that you might like. But you do get a half-hour look at the making-of, tiny looks at the costumes and music, plus deleted and extended scenes. In a perfect world, we’d have an audio commentary from some film historians at least, talking about the real story of the transition and the time and also talking about how and where the film got it right. Maybe if Criterion gets a hold of it someday. Until then, this is the best version you’re going to find if you need it on your shelf. It awaits you over at Amazon.

The Blu-Ray cover art for Star Trek: Strange New World Season One, featuring a front-on view of the starship Enterprise against a bluish-green sky and the crew standing on what I guess are supposed to be a range of rocks. Anson Mount as Captain Pike is front and center.

The debut season of STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS is based on the years Captain Christopher Pike manned the helm of the U.S.S. Enterprise. The series features fan favorites from season two of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike, Rebecca Romijn as Number One and Ethan Peck as Science Officer Spock. The series follows Captain Pike, Science Officer Spock and Number One in the years before Captain Kirk boarded the U.S.S. Enterprise, as they explore new worlds around the galaxy. — from CBS

Well, it’s been a strange journey for Captain Pike, the predecessor to Captain Kirk. I’m no Trek scholar, but I think it goes something like this: he was just in the unused pilot, winding up in a regular original series episode when they were desperate to get episodes done and re-used bits of the pilot, then appearing in Star Trek: Discovery and now finally getting to be captain in his own series in Strange New Worlds, what, over a half-century later? (This isn’t counting the version in the Trek reboot movies, mind you.) But still. I wonder how many characters have that circuitous a route to get to series. Anyway, you’ve got the first ten episodes of the series here, plus bonus bits. CBS/Paramount don’t usually stinge when it comes to Trek, and this is no exception. There’s a look at Anson Mount as Pike, a making-of featurette, audio commentary, deleted scenes, and gag reel. Trek fans will probably want to snag this for their collection. And it is snaggable at Amazon.