Candyman (Universal, Blu-ray or DVD, R, 91 min.). This reimagining of 1992’s “Candyman,” based on the story “The Forbidden” by Clive Barker (a favorite author), does touch with the original film, but ignores the two sequels that came in 1995 and 1999. All three previous films starred Tony Todd as the Candyman, and Todd appears in the extras here. The connection with the original film is Virginia Madsen’s Helen Lyle character, whose voice is heard in the film.

Again the film is set in Chicago’s Cabrini Green area, but the ghetto-like housing development when Lyle met her fate is radically changed, with the high towers torn down and the area gentrified, with apparently a lot of artist types living there, such as central African-American couple of painter Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II of HBO’s “Watchman,” the upcoming “Matrix Revolutions”), who is having painter’s block, and his other half Brianna Cartwright (Teyonah Parris of “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “The Marvels”), who arranges art gallery shows.

The film, directed and co-written by Nia DaCosta, and co-written by Jordan Peele (“Get Out,” “Us”) and Win Rosenfeld, does some things very well and some too heavy-handed. The result is a film that is not as scary as it should be and which loses its logic towards the end. The two things I like best about the film are John Guleserian’s cinematography and the use of shadow puppets by Manual Cinema to depict the Candyman historical scenes. These include the scene that shows Lyle’s grisly end and the history of Candyman portrayals during the closing credits.

What I dislike is the film’s pushing an agenda that has little due to the horror. Multiple times the characters go on about gentrification. Among the many instances is when Brianna tells her brother Troy (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett): “White people built the ghetto and then erased it when they realized they built the ghetto.” Troy, by the way, is given a white boyfriend (Kyle Kaminsky as Grady Greenberg), who seems to only exist to show how liberal the filmmakers are. It would be different if Grady actually contributed to the plot. Troy is the one who spins the first Candyman story, the beginning of repeated instances of how violence is perpetuated on black bodies by whites and the white-created systems.

The film opens with Sammy Davis Jr.’s classic version of “The Candy Man” by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, but, for some reason, all the logos are backwards (probably because mirrors play a large part in the film). There then is a flashback to 1977 in the project, where a young black boy named Billy is scared by a black man, with a hook for one hand, who emerges from a hole in the wall of a basement laundry room and then offers him candy, before the police storm in and kill the man.

After hearing Troy’s Candyman story, Anthony decides to investigate Cabrini Green and he gets inspiration for his next wave of paintings, including an installation that houses some of his new paintings inside a mirror box, called “Say My Name.” The Candyman myth is that if you look in a mirror and say his name five times, he appears in the reflection and kills you. While at Cabrini Green, Anthony encounters the grown-up Billy (Colman Domingo of TV’s “Fear the Walking Dead”), who, amusingly, runs a laundromat now.

The first modern murders are coolly done in the art gallery, and there is a crazy elevator scene, as Anthony has been stung by a bee, which makes his hand all gnarly – the beginning of a transformation that mirrors the original film. The scares are downhill from there, with a ho-hum bathroom massacre at a college prep school and the muddled things that follow.

Extras include an alternate ending (2:38) that shows an art exhibit of Anthony’s works; four deleted or extended scenes (5:52); a making-of featurette which includes Todd (6:46); looks at the body transformation horror (6:22), the paintings and other art in the film (7:17), the director (4:48), the music by Robert Aiki Aubrey Low (4:54) and the shadow puppets by Manual Cinema (4:09); and a roundtable discussion of black horror (20:24). Grade: film 2.75 stars; extras 2.5 stars

Rating guide: 5 stars = classic; 4 stars = excellent; 3 stars = good; 2 stars = fair; dog = skip it

Vanilla Sky (2001, Paramount Presents, Blu-ray, R, 135 min.). “Vanilla Sky” is one of those movies that will blow your mind, even after repeat viewings. The film, written and directed by Cameron Crowe (“Almost Famous,” “Jerry Maguire,” also with Tom Cruise), plays on the beauty of Cruise’s famous face and smile, by subjecting his character to a disfiguring automobile accident and then having the character wear a blank, whitish mask for much of the film. The film is an adaptation of the Spanish film “Abre Los Ojos,” written by Alejandro Amenabar and Mateo Gil, with star Penelope Cruz repeating her role in Crowe’s film.

Cruise plays magazine publisher David Aames, 33, who inherited the lucrative business when his parents were killed. He was left a controlling 51 percent of the stock, but he feels the board of directors, whom he calls the Seven Dwarves, are out to do him in. In his personal life, he has a casual sex partner (Cameron Diaz as Julie), who actually feels it is more than casual, and he starts a relationship with Sofia Serrano (Cruz), who arrives at his birthday party as the date of his friend Brian (Jason Lee of many a Kevin Smith film), although Brian says he had just met Sofia that afternoon. David and Sofia spend the night together talking, but as he leaves to go to work, Julie ambushes him.

In a sense it is a spoiler, but it sets up the rest of the film. The pissed-off Julie talks David into a ride with her, which ends when she goes off a bridge. While Julie dies, David “only” suffers his arm and face being shattered, with his jaw broken in four places, and being in a coma for three-and-a-half weeks. At the same time, through intercuts, we are shown masked David being interrogated about a murder by psychologist McCabe (Kurt Russell of “Escape from New York”). At this point, confusion sets in for the viewer. I even wondered if the car accident was a dream, because the film opens with a brilliantly-realized dream, involving Times Square.

Along the way, director Crowe includes plenty of nods to iconic images and events – such as David and gal pal Sofia walking down the street that mirrors the cover of Bob Dylan’s 1963 “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” album. Other clues are found in television commercials and interviews and there is a remarkable bar scene with Noah Taylor (“Almost Famous”). Also in the film are Timothy Spall as David’s business attorney and Michael Sheen as a grumpy police guard.

The film is newly remastered from a new 4K film transfer under Crowe’s supervision. The only new extra is a Filmmaker Focus with Crowe, who discusses the accident and Times Square sequences (8:54). Imported from an earlier Blu-ray release are audio commentary by Crowe and Nancy Wilson of Heart, who did the music; an alternate ending – the original ending – that includes a good dialogue scene between David and McCabe in a bathroom, with optional Crowe commentary (29:45); and Crowe talking about the Spanish film and how he used mainly the same crew that was used on “Almost Famous” (6:13). There is a featurette – basically a video montage – of the 2001-02 press tour for the film (10:04) and a brief Paul McCartney interview about how he wrote the title song, which received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations (1:34). Also in the music category is a video for the exciting, beat-heavy “Afrika Shox” by Leftfield and Afrika Bambaataa, the music number played during the dance club scene (3:57). There is a photo gallery (18:15) with an introduction by photographer Neal Preston (2:43) and a look at the mask tests with optional Crowe commentary (3:23). There is a gag reel (5:30; it’s an Easter egg), 13 deleted scenes with optional Crowe commentary (34:16); and a single-take version of Russell’s rooftop scene, also with optional Crowe commentary (6:08). Grade: film and extras 4 stars

Legend (1985, Arrow Video, 2 Blu-rays, NR, 89/113 min.). “Legend” is notable for being an early Tom Cruise movie – he made “Risky Business” in 1983 and broke through with “Top Gun” in 1986 — as well as for Rob Bottin and Peter Robb-King’s Academy Award-nominated makeup – in particular for the Lord of Darkness (Tim Curry) and Meg Mucklebones (Robert Picardo). It also was director Ridley Scott’s first foray into fantasy, coming after his back-to-back science fiction masterworks “Blade Runner” (1982) and “Alien” (1979). The film is a beautifully-lensed fairytale that takes place in an Eden-like forest above and in Darkness’ lair below ground.

In the film, Cruise plays Jack, a simple lad in touch with nature and with no guile in his heart. He is in love with Princess Lili (Mia Sara, then 15, who went on star in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”) and decides to show her their world’s wonder, a pair of unicorns, who, in addition to being beautiful, help keep Darkness at bay. (Note that this 2-disc collection includes the longer director’s cut – the version reviewed here – and the U.S. theatrical version. One of the differences is that Lili is not referred to as a princess in the U.S. cut.)

Lili, to Jack’s dismay, approaches the unicorns and tries to touch one, which provides just enough of a distraction for Darkness’ three minions, including goblin Blix (Alice Playten), to shoot a drugged dart at the animal. Blix then cuts off its alicorn. The result is winter suddenly descends, but Darkness needs both alicorns in order to stop the sun from ever rising again. (Interestingly, the almost touching of a near-mythic creature – a white deer – that suddenly is killed crops up in the new Showtime series, “Dexter: New Blood.”)

Jack eventually is aligned with firefly Oona, who actually is a disguised fairy played by Annabelle Lanyon, and child-like elf Gump (David Bennent). Oona leads Jack to the magical sword – for “a champion bold of heart and pure of purpose” – that he will need against Darkness. In retrieving the sword, Jack encounters a threatening Meg Mucklebones, who is a creature wondrously slimy to behold. The action all eventually leads to Darkness’ underground lair. In the director’s cut, Darkness, played by Curry (“The Rocky Horror Picture Show”) in extraordinarily striking full-body makeup, does not fully appear until 76 minutes in.

Another major change in the two versions is that the director’s cut has a wonderful score by Jerry Goldsmith, while the U.S. version goes more rock with a Tangerine Dream synthesizer score (the German group also scored Cruise’s “Risky Business”) and a song each by Yes’ Jon Anderson and Roxy Music’s Bryan Ferry. There also is a third, European version of the film – not included – which only cuts 20 minutes from the film, whereas the U.S. version cuts 25 minutes, as well as shifting and changing some scenes.

Disc two, the director’s cut, has audio commentary by Scott and a 2000 documentary (51:03) on the making of the film. The production actually built a forest with live trees and animals on the giant “Bond” soundstage at Pinewood Studios, which unfortunately burned down late in the shooting process. For the unicorns, six Andalusian horses from Spain were used. Curry had to undergo five hours of makeup each day, with Darkness’ horns patterned after those of a water buffalo and his body all red like a satyr. The prototype for Blix was Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

There also is an archival behind-the-scenes feature (9:44); two lost scenes (10:35), including an alternate opening with the four goblins, rediscovered in 2001, and a faerie dance (audio with storyboards and photos); eight storyboard sequences; two drafts of William Hjortsberg’s screenplay; nine minutes of alternate takes and angles to make up for cuts in the director’s cut; and three image galleries.

Disc one, which has a new 2K scan of the U.S. version, includes two new two-part documentaries. One is on the two music scores, with Jeff Bond discussing the Goldsmith score (15:12) and saying some themes were not used and others were a bit crudely edited, and part of Goldsmith’s “Psycho 2” score was used for the kitchen scene, and Daniel Schweiger and Electric Youth members Austin Garrish and Bronwyn Griffin discussing the Tangerine Dream’s score (13:09). Additionally, there is an isolated music and effects track and a 2002 reconstructed isolated score by Tangerine Dream. The other two-part documentary is on the creature illustrations with illustrator Martin A. Kline (10:28) and on Bottin’s makeup effects with makeup effects artist Nick Dudman (16:15).

The U.S. version also comes with new audio commentary by Paul M. Sammon, author of “Ridley Scott: The Making of His Movies.” There is a new visual essay comparing the different incarnations of the film by critic Travis Crawford (20:47; he points out that 10 of Scott’s films have different versions) and a new, very interesting featurette on the film’s making with camera grip David Cadwallader, costume designer Charles Knode, actress Lanyon, camera operator Peter MacDonald, set decorator Ann Mollo and draftsman John Ralph (30:45), which covers the soundstage fire. Ferry’s music video for “Is Your Love Strong Enough” – his clothes strike me as a bit bizarre or, at least, very ‘80s – is included (5:23) and features Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour on guitar.

There also is an excellent 2003 documentary interview with Scott on all his films up to that point and slightly beyond, but only a few minutes are on “Legend,” from the “Directors” series (58:33). The set comes with an illustrated, perfect-bound book with new writing by Nicholas Clement and Kat Ellinger, plus archival material, including production notes and a 2002 interview with Charles de Lauzirika about the restoration of the director’s cut. Additionally, there are six double-sided postcard-sized lobby card reproductions, glossy full-color portraits of the cast by Annie Leibowitz, and a large double-sided poster with new art by Neil Davies and original theatrical artwork by John Alvin. Grade: film 4 stars; extras 4.5 stars

Raging Fire (Hong Kong, Well Go USA, NR, 126 min.). Donnie Yen (the “Ip Man” film series) plays a highly-regarded hardline police detective with a long history of success in dangerous cases. However, in one instance, he had to testify in court against a quintet of his proteges who murdered a suspect during interrogation. Now a sting operation goes bad as, you guessed it, the bad and good guys are both attacked by that same quintet, now out of prison and looking for revenge. They are led by Yau Kong-ngo (Nicholas Tse of “New Police Story,” “Young & Dangerous: The Prequel”).

Most importantly, this is the final film by director and action auteur Benny Chan (“Shaolin,” “New Police Story”). The action thriller, which includes some incredible stunts that seem to have put the actors’ lives in danger, explores police corruption and violent regret, with tons of bloodshed.

The first massacre occurs at a mall, where the police sting was to go down. With one of his co-worker friends killed during the botched raid, Cheung Sung-bong (Yen) goes to his memorial, only to meet Ngo and his remaining crew, all of whom had served several years in jail due to the murder and Bong’s testimony. Thereafter, there are some extreme stunts involving cars, and a fight between Ngo, while he is driving a motorcycle, and Bong, while he is driving a car. A massive shootout in the streets leads up to the final brutal one-on-one fight between Ngo and Bong in what appears to be an abandoned church. The action often is frenetic, but at times, especially early, the film is confusing until one realizes an hour in that some of the previous scenes have been flashbacks.

Extras are minimal, a four-part making-of that covers set construction, the use of CGI cars, a look at the street shootout, Yen talking about the film and his character and a Tse interview (7:31 total). Grade: film 3.25 stars; extras ½ star

Sailor Suit and Machine Gun (Japan, 1981, Arrow Video, Blu-ray, NR, 112/131 min.). The title is a joke that Japanese audiences would have gotten, as most junior high and high school girls in Japan wore sailor-like outfits as uniforms. Indeed, the film has a hilarious, and unbelievable, melding of a teenage girl as the new head of a yakuza gang, even if the gang only has four members remaining. The film, directed by Shinji Somai (“Typhoon Club,” “Wait and See”), was based on a popular novel by Jiro Akagawa. The film and book eventually led to two television series. Somai was a massively influential figure in Japanese cinema, but his works has rarely been seen outside of his homeland.

The Blu-ray contains two versions of the film, with the extended version being the one reviewed here. It opens with close-ups on two men driving in a car to their hideout where their yakuza leader is dying. He instructs the quartet to make his nephew the next chairman of the gang. A short time later, we learn the nephew has declined and thus the chairmanship falls to his unknowing daughter Izumi Hoshi (pop singing idol Hiroko Yakushimaru, who indeed had a hit single with the film’s title song). Young Izumi has three would-be suitors as her pals, who are also stunned when a large group of men show up at school to take her away to her new duties as chairman of the Medaka Family. Humorously, most of those who show up at the school were just hired for the occasion and the real ones have a junker of a car that is barely running.

Izumi’s new yakuza crew, all of whom eventually fall for her to one extent or another, includes Hiko (Shinpei Hayashiya), Masa (Masaaki Daimon), Makoto Sakuma (Tsunehiko Watase) and Akira (Toshiya Sakai). Izumi needs to meet the other yakuza family heads – some meetings are humorous, some are dangerous and some are deadly. Her home gets vandalized, the Medaka office is shot up and Detective Kuroki (Akiro Emoto) claims her father was a drug dealer. Most of the ill will comes because Fatso’s (Rentaro Mikuni) heroin shipment has gone missing. One weird scene involving Fatso started to remind me of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” At the heart of the film, it is an unusual coming-of-age tale.

Extras include a discussion of the film and Somai’s career by actor Emoto, film scholar Chika Kinoshita, Somai biographer Tatsuya Kimura and assistant director Koji Enomoto (51:30; in Japanese except for Kinoshita); an image gallery; and the original press kit. The extended version basically has three extra scenes: one at the Medaka hideout; and two love scenes. Grade: film 3 stars; extras 2 stars

Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge (1989, Arrow Video, 2 Blu-rays, R, 91/88 min.). A humorous take on Gaston Leroux’s classic novel, “The Phantom of the Opera” – after all, where did young American hang out in the Eighties other than their local mall – the film is saddled with a stupid title that gives away the whole film. There is no sense hiding who the mall’s phantom is for half the film when the title tells you it is Eric (Derek Rydall, later writer of 8 episodes of “Power Rangers Wild Force”).

Eric is the former boyfriend of Melody Austin (Kari Whitman), who was with Eric the night his house burned down. She barely escaped, while it was presumed Eric did not. A year later, Melody has just gotten a job at the new Midwood Mall, built on the site where Eric’s home had been. Yup, it does not take one long to figure out the house fire was ordered by the mall’s developer, as Eric’s parents refused to sell their house. That developer is Harv Posner (Jonathan Goldsmith), who is in league with Mayor Karen Wilton (Morgan Fairchild of TV’s “Falcon Crest”). Posner’s muscle is mall guard Christopher Volker (Gregory Scott Cummins).

While Eric is hiding in the mall’s ventilation shafts, but leaving Melody orchids in her locker and the dress should could not afford to buy in her car, he also is killing the occasional mall employee and even Posner’s annoying Fonzie-like son (Tom Fridley as Justin) and, with his trusty arrow, he saves Melody from an attacker in the parking lot. (Humorously, the attacker turns out to be the mall’s pianist.) However, Melody has moved on and has started to fall for local reporter Peter Baldwin (Rob Estes, then of TV’s “Days of Our Lives” and later of “Silk Stalkings” and “Melrose Place”), who is instantly taken with her.

The other weird twist in the film is a typically bizarre, but early, performance by Pauly Shore, who plays Buzz, who works in the mall ice cream shop and likes to put fake body parts in what he serves to Melody’s friend Susie (Kimber Sissons), whom he would like to date. Shore would go on to star in “Encino Man,” “Bio-Dome,” “Pauly Shore is Dead” and “Son in Law.”

Disc one contains the longer theatrical version, while disc two contains the shorter TV version. However, it is the TV version that has a different beginning, with Eric doing a strenuous gymnastics routine, including an iron cross. Disc two also has a bonus composite third cut, called the “Phan Cut” (96 min.).

For the theatrical versions, which is a brand new 2K restoration, there are two new audio commentaries: the first by director Richard Friedman; the second by disc producer Ewan Cant and film historian/author Amanda Rayes. There also is an audio interview track with composer Stacy Wideletz and associate producer Robert J. Koster.

Also new is “Shop Til’ You Drop!: The Making of ‘Phantom of the Mall’,” a making-of documentary featuring interviews with Friedman, screenwriters Scott Schneid and Tony Michelman, actors Rydall and Cummins, filmmaker Tony Kayden and special make-up effects creator Matthew Mungle (42:22), which is very informative about all the problems with scriptwriting and the powers that be, who cut the budget in half. Kayden, a friend of the writers, was fired off the film. The scriptwriters say the original version had much more comedy.

Joe Escalant of the punk band The Vandals is interviewed (12:56). The Vandals wrote and performed the closing credits song, “Is There a Phantom in the Mall.” The film itself twice uses Stan Bush’s “Heart of Darkness” song. Finally, the alternate beginning (3:21) and five other scenes from the TV version (3:56), including an alternate ending, are accessible separately, and there is an image gallery.

Other than the discs, the set comes with a 60-page, fully-illustrated, perfect-bound book with new writing on the film by Brad Henderson and original press kit extracts; a large foldout, double-sided poster with original and newly commissioned artwork by Justin Osbourn; six postcard-sized lobby card reproductions; and limited-edition packaging with a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Osbourn. Grade: film 2 stars; extras 4 stars

The Last of Sheila (1973, Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray, PG, 119 min.). Other than six episodes of TV’s “Topper” and one episode of “Rendezvous,” the great Broadway composer/songwriter Stephen Sondheim, who passed away last week, wrote only one non-musical movie. With his friend, actor Anthony Perkins, he wrote “The Last of Sheila,” whose dry-wit plot is filled with the puzzle elements Sondheim so loved. There also are many a poke at Hollywood, with some of the characters being thinly veiled versions of real-life people.

The film opens with a Bel Air party and gossip columnist Sheila (Yvonne Romain, wife of composer Leslie Bricusse, who died this past October and who was a musical writing partner with Anthony Newley) running out for some air, only to be struck and killed by an unknown driver. The film then goes forward a year, when Sheila’s husband Clinton Green (James Coburn of “The Great Escape”) invites six of the party attendees to a week of games and fun on his yacht, named Sheila, off the coast of Southern France (where the film was made).

The attendees include married couple Tony, a screenwriter played by Richard Benjamin (the film “Westworld”), and Lee (Joan Hackett of “Support Your Local Sheriff”); talent agent Christine (Dyan Cannon (“Heaven Can Wait,” “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice”); director Phillip (James Mason of “A Star Is Born,” “Lolita,” “North By Northwest”); actor Anthony (Ian McShane of “John Wick,” HBO’s “Deadwood”); and actress Alice (Raquel Welch of “The Three Musketeers,” “Myra Breckinridge”).

The audience soon learns that one of the cruise guests is the hit-and-run murderer and Clinton may know who. Clinton plans a very complicated game. He hands all of the guests typewritten cards with secrets on them, secrets of another of his guests. The secrets are that one is a shoplifter, one an alcoholic, one a child molester, one an informer during the communist witch-hunts, one an ex-convict and one a homosexual. Each night a different secret will be revealed at an on-shore location, with points award to those who discover that night’s “criminal” before the real person does.

The first night is in a port town, while the second is in an abandoned island monastery. Night two, however, ends with a murder. The mystery is fun, with lots of clues spread throughout the film, and the characters can be quite mean to each other. Overall, the film is a delight. The bonus feature is an audio commentary by Benjamin, Cannon and Welch. Grade: film 3.5 stars; extra 2.5 stars

The Thin Man Goes Home (1944, Warner Archive Collection, Blu-ray, NR, 101 min.). The Warner Archive Collection continues to release the “Thin Man” films on Blu-ray. This is the fifth film in the series and has Nora Charles (Myrna Loy) finally meeting her in-laws, sleuth husband Nick’s parents (Harry Davenport and Lucile Watson). The debonair sleuths leave little Nicky Jr. at boarding school, grab dog Asta and head to Nick’s boyhood home of Sycamore Springs. Of course, murder has a way of showing up on the doorstep wherever they go.

Nick (William Powell) can show off his gumshoe talents for his parents when an artist is killed, but he will do it without his customary liquid inspirations, because he is on the wagon and only drinking cider. Nora has to try and sneak Astra onto the train’s passenger compartment (and boy, is that train crowded), wrestle a folding lawn chair, tail a presumed suspect through town and ignite a pool-hall rumble. Nora also gets to have a fun, wild dance with a sailor, with Nick watching with amazed eyes.

As often is the case, all those involved are gathered into a single room for the reveal of the killer. This time, though, the ending goes on a bit long. The extras are the Peter Benchley comedy short “Why Daddy?” and the cartoon “Screwball Squirrel,” directed by Tex Avery. Grade: film 3.5 stars; extras 2 stars

Tom Von Malder of Owls Head has reviewed music since 1972, just after graduation from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He has reviewed videos/DVDs since 1988.