1991: The Year Punk Broke (Geffen) - Back in 1991, Dave Markey grabbed a Super 8 camera and set out to document Sonic Youth’s European festival tour. Little did he know that one of the opening acts, a Seattle trio called Nirvana, was about to hit the big time. As a movie, 1991 is a bit of a mess but as a piece of music history, it’s invaluable. In addition to Sonic Youth and Nirvana, Markey captures performances by Babes In Toyland, The Ramones, and many others. Never before available on DVD, 1991: The Year Punk Broke resurfaces for its 20th anniversary with almost an hour of new extra features.
Citizen Kane (Warner Home Video) - Orson Welles’ 1941 debut arrives on Blu-ray in high style, boasting a magnificent new transfer and outstanding extras including the documentary The Battle Over Citizen Kane and the HBO movie RKO 281. Even better, Amazon offers an exclusive version of the set that includes Welles’ follow-up, The Magnificent Ambersons, on DVD for the first time ever.
Thor (Paramount) - Marvel’s God of Thunder comes to life courtesy of director Kenneth Branagh and star Chris Hemsworth. It’s an entertaining enough superhero movie and a decent introduction for the character, even if it feels a bit too much like a placeholder for next year’s superhero-palooza, The Avengers.
The Tempest (Buena Vista/Touchstone) - Julie Taymor tackles Shakespeare’s fantasy with her customary visual élan and offering up a gender switch with Helen Mirren taking on the customarily male role of Prospero.
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (Magnolia) - The once-and-future talk show host hits the road for his Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour.
Meek’s Cutoff (Oscilloscope) - Kelly Reichardt directs Michelle Williams in a tale of frontier survival in the 1840s.
Incendies (Sony) - An Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, this Canadian drama follows a pair of fraternal twins as they travel to the Middle East to fulfill the final wishes of their late mother.
Bill Cunningham New York (Zeitgeist) - A documentary portrait of legendary and reclusive fashion photographer Bill Cunningham.
Hesher (Lionsgate) - Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as a mysterious, van-dwelling metalhead in this peculiar drama costarring Natalie Portman, Rainn Wilson, and Devin Brochu.
Wishful Drinking (HBO) - Carrie Fisher’s intimate memoir becomes a one-woman show, filmed for HBO, detailing her struggles with alcoholism, drugs, and mental illness with biting wit.
The Star Wars Saga (20th Century Fox) - So yeah, this is happening on September 16. If you want the bonus features, including an extensive collection of rare deleted scenes, you’ll need to spring for the Complete Saga box. But if you don’t want to get that involved, there are also individual sets of both the original trilogy and the prequels, although I can’t imagine anyone who would buy the prequel set and nothing else.
Halloween II (Universal) - The first sequel to John Carpenter’s horror classic arrives on Blu-ray with a surprising bonus feature: the 1984 compilation film Terror In The Aisles.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Buena Vista/Touchstone) - It doesn’t appear that Disney has put a whole lot of effort into this release. Still, it’s one of the Coens’ most enjoyable movies and should look great in high-def.
Trainspotting (Lionsgate/Miramax) - Danny Boyle’s breakthrough film has been available on BD in other countries for quite awhile and finally arrives on high-def in the US.
The Frighteners (Universal) - It’s the 15th anniversary of Peter Jackson’s horror-comedy. The disc includes both the theatrical version as well as the extended director’s cut.
My Life As A Dog (Criterion) - Lasse Hallstrom’s 1985 comedy-drama remains one of the best coming-of-age films ever made.
3 Women (Criterion) - One of Robert Altman’s most enigmatic films with brilliant performances by Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek.
The Exterminator (Synapse) - Robert Ginty straps on a flamethrower and vows to clean up New York in this cult exploitation flick from director James Glickenhaus.
The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Fourth Season (Warner Home Video) - I’ve never seen a single episode of this show, despite having nearly every member of my family tell me they think I’d love it. I reserve judgment.
Grey’s Anatomy: The Complete Seventh Season (Buena Vista/Touchstone) - The long-running medical drama soldiers on, somehow weathering the loss of Katherine Heigl in season 6.
Supernatural: The Complete Sixth Season (Warner Home Video) - The demon-hunting drama returns, despite having basically wrapped up its main storyline the year before.
Spartacus: Gods Of The Arena (Anchor Bay/Starz) - The prequel to Spartacus: Blood And Sand, with Dustin Clare stepping into the sandals left empty by the departure of recently deceased original star Andy Whitfield.
The Good Wife: The Second Season (Paramount) - The surprise hit legal drama returns with a multi-Emmy nominated season highlighted by a guest turn from Michael J. Fox.
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia: The Complete Season 6 (20th Century Fox) - The Paddy’s Pub gang is back with another year of politically incorrect comedy.
Camelot: The Complete First Season (Anchor Bay/Starz) - Starz tries for another historical adventure hit with a medieval fantasy starring Joseph Fiennes as Merlin.
Rescue Me: The Sixth Season And The Final Season (Sony) - The final episodes of Denis Leary’s heartfelt tribute to NYC firefighters.
Blue Bloods: The First Season (Paramount) - Tom Selleck’s mustache returns to series television in this drama about a family of New York police officers.
Shaft: The TV-Movie Collection (Warner Archive) - Richard Roundtree’s black private dick hit the small screen in 1973 with a series of seven 90-minute TV-movies. Warner Archive at last collects them all in this four-disc MOD set.