Dual

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

RLJE Films;
Sci-Fi Comedy;
Box Office $0.19 million;
$27.97 DVD, $28.96 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for violent content, some sexual content, language and graphic nudity.
Stars Karen Gillan, Aaron Paul, Theo James, Beulah Koale, Maija Paunio, Sanna-June Hyde.

Writer-director Riley Stearns’ Dual presents an offbeat satire about the nature of identity.

The film is set in a near-future world where nearly everyone speaks with the same kind of droll precision as the characters from American Psycho. Scientific advancements have led to a rapid form of cloning, giving rise to a new industry that allows terminally ill people to duplicate themselves before they die, allowing their clones to live out their lives and minimizing the distress on their loved ones.

The catch is that if the dying person doesn’t die, the clone will either be destroyed or, if it has lived long enough, it can request a form of asylum that calls for the person to duel the clone to the death, with the survivor earning the rights to the disputed persona.

Follow us on Instagram

Karen Gillan plays Sarah, who is told she has an incurable disease with a 98% chance of dying. Sarah decides to play the clone card to ease the pain of her potential death on her boyfriend and mother. Sarah and her double seem to get along fine at first, but then 10 months pass, and Sarah remains alive. In the interim, subtle personality differences in Sarah’s Double have led Sarah’s boyfriend to leave her for the double. Sarah turns out to be one of the 2% the disease doesn’t kill, but when she vows to have her clone eliminated out of jealousy, Sarah’s Double files for the right to live, setting up a fight to the death in a year.

Stunned by these developments, Sarah prepares for the dual by hiring a trainer (Aaron Paul) who specializes in clone combat rituals. Their workouts evoke the spirit of a low-rent Hunger Games.

Gillan gives a fantastically understated performance as both world-weary Sarah and the eager to take over double. Paul is equally fun to watch as the bargain-basement trainer, mostly because he’s the primary source of exposition to see the inventive paths Stearns has taken in developing the film’s premise.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Stearns’ matter-of-fact approach to the material can seem off-putting at times, but the film clearly derives much of its humor from the casual apathy of this society toward the premise and everything embodied by it. One of its darker ideas involves people getting clones because they’re ultra-depressed and intend to kill themselves so the clone can take over their lives.

The Blu-ray includes a 10-minute behind-the-scenes featurette and an insightful commentary from Stearns in which he mostly sings the praises of his cast and about the benefits of filming in Finland.

Cloning Fantasy ‘Dual’ Heading to Blu-ray and DVD July 19

RLJE Films will release the sci-fi film Dual on Blu-ray Disc and DVD July 19.

Karen Gillan stars as a woman who, upon receiving a terminal diagnosis, opts for a cloning procedure to ease her loss on her friends and family. When she makes a sudden and miraculous recovery, her attempts to have her clone decommissioned fail and lead to a court-mandated duel to the death. Now she has one year to train her body and mind for the fight of her life.

The cast also includes Beulah Koale, Theo James and Aaron Paul. Dual is the third feature film by writer-director Riley Stearns, following The Art of Self-Defense and Faults.

Extras include an audio commentary with the director, and the featurette “The Making of Dual.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

‘Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV’ Coming to 4K UHD March 30 From Sony

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV will come out on 4K Ultra HD March 30 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the film, the magical kingdom of Lucis is home to the sacred Crystal, and the menacing empire of Niflheim is determined to steal it. King Regis of Lucis (Sean Bean) commands an elite force of soldiers called the Kingsglaive. Wielding their king’s magic, Nyx (Aaron Paul) and his fellow soldiers fight to protect Lucis. As the overwhelming military might of the empire bears down, King Regis is faced with an impossible ultimatum — to marry his son, Prince Noctis, to Princess Lunafreya of Tenebrae (Lena Headey), captive of Niflheim, and surrender his lands to the empire’s rule. Although the king concedes, it becomes clear that the empire will stop at nothing to achieve their devious goals, with only the Kingsglaive standing between them and world domination. Based on the iconic game, which has sold nearly 9 million copies worldwide since its launch.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Extras include “A Way with Words: Epic and Intimate Vocals,” in which Aaron Paul, Lena Headey and Sean Bean — along with the filmmakers — reveal the process of creating the vocals for this film; “Fit for the Kingsglaive: Building the World,” an in-depth exploration of imagining and designing the world of the film;  “To Capture the Kingsglaive: The Process,” exploring the intricate process of capturing the physical performances at the heart of this computer-generated film; and “Emotive Music: Scoring the Kingsglaive,” about the creation of the score.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Sony Pictures;
Drama;
$40.99 Blu-ray/DVD Steelbook;
Not rated.
Stars Aaron Paul, Jesse Plemons, Charles Baker, Matt Jones, Scott MacArthur, Scott Shepherd, Robert Forster.

The Blu-ray edition of this follow-up movie to “Breaking Bad” is the kind of fan-pleasing disc studios tend not to bother with much anymore. Loaded with extras in support of a fantastic main feature, the El Camino Blu-ray offers practically everything a “Breaking Bad” fan could want from it.

The movie serves as something of an epilogue to “Breaking Bad.” Written and directed by series creator Vince Gilligan, the story deals with what happens to Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) immediately after escaping from the criminals who were holding him hostage in the “Breaking Bad” finale.

Whether by coincidence or design, the movie is paced so it feels like watching three episodes of the show. The movie’s story can be roughly broken down into three sections, with a moment at the beginning of each section where one could imagine fitting in the iconic “Breaking Bad” title graphics. If one were inclined to think in such terms.

Even with all the baggage of serving as a sequel to one of the greatest TV series of all time, El Camino works just fine as a movie on its own — a neo-Western about a man’s quest to free himself from the consequences of his criminal past.

To set himself up in a new life, Jesse needs cash. And to get it, he recalls an incident with Todd (Jesse Plemons), one of the criminals who was forcing him to cook meth for them in the final episodes of the show. Several well-constructed flashbacks set during the time of the series inform on Jesse’s current actions, as well as giving the show’s fans plenty of material to fawn over. The movie is crammed with background details and Easter eggs.

Follow us on Instagram

Even the title is emblematic of Gilligan’s knack for layering multiple meanings into his projects. While an El Camino is the type of car Jesse uses to make his escape, the words el camino are Spanish for “the road,” representing the way forward for Jesse as he tries to escape his past.

And there are a few welcome but not altogether unsurprising cameos from some old favorites.

This is also one of the final roles for beloved character actor Robert Forster, who reprises his role from an episode of “Breaking Bad” as a man who specializes in creating new identities for those who need them (and can pony up big bucks to buy them). He died the same day the movie premiered on Netflix. Forster ended up reprising the role again (posthumously) in an episode of the “Breaking Bad” prequel series “Better Call Saul.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The Blu-ray, which comes in an attractive Steelbook case alongside a DVD version, includes two great commentary tracks, one featuring Gilligan and Paul, and the other with 46 members of the cast and crew providing scene-specific insights.

Also included is the half-hour “Making of El Camino” featurette, as well as three scene breakdowns totaling nearly 23 minutes that offer picture-in-picture comparisons with a scene from the film to its storyboards, which Gilligan refers to as “homework.” There are also two-minutes of visual effects progression reels, showcasing a lot of subtle work in creating various backgrounds to match the look of the show.

Gilligan’s original cut of the film was reportedly three hours long, which eventually was trimmed to just over two hours. The Blu-ray includes seven deleted scenes that run about 17 minutes and include a few surprises. There’s also an amusing six-minute gag reel.

Rounding out the package is a trove of promotional material, starting with the two-and-a-half-minute short film Snow Globe, which centers on Todd. There are also two faux commercials for some of the fake companies used on the show, and a three-minute “Enchanted” music video featuring clips from the series.

Last up is the film’s trailer, plus a couple of teasers. The “Skinny Pete in the Box” teaser also pulls double duty as a sort of deleted scene.

The only thing missing is a digital copy so fans can add it to their digital libraries alongside “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul.”

‘El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie’ Blu-ray Combo Pack Steelbook Due Oct. 13

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie will come out on Blu-ray (plus DVD) combo pack Oct. 13 in a limited-edition Steelbook from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The thriller — written and directed by “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan — reunites fans with Jesse Pinkman (Emmy Award-winner Aaron Paul). In the wake of his dramatic escape from captivity, Jesse must come to terms with his past in order to forge some kind of future.

Exclusive Blu-ray bonus materials include audio commentary with Vince Gilligan and Aaron Paul; deleted and extended scenes; a gag reel; and scene studies with Vince Gilligan.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Bonus materials on Blu-ray and DVD include a “Super Commentary!” audio commentary featuring 46 members of the cast and crew; “Making El Camino,” a behind-the-scenes documentary featuring never-before-seen interviews with the cast and crew; “Snow Globe: A Breaking Bad Short”; a “Skinny Pete in the Box” teaser; an “On the Radio” teaser; a Rocker Salvage commercial; a Vamonos Pest commercial; an “Enchanted” music video by Chloe x Halle; and visual effects design galleries.

Follow us on Instagram

Netflix Testing Speeding Up Movie Playback on Mobile Devices

Users of portable media devices gravitate toward short-form video. It’s the premise for the Quibi SVOD start-up.

Now Netflix has begun testing playback of movies up to 1.5 times their original speed.

“We’re always experimenting with new ways to help members use Netflix,” the company said in a boilerplate response to media inquiries.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Indeed, Netflix pioneered binge viewing making all episodes of a series available at launch, launched the first recommendation software and ushered in Q&A fiscal webcasts devoid of perfunctory balance sheet readings.

The concept has produced blowback from some content holders, including longtime Netflix fans such as director Judd Apatow and “Breaking Bad” star Aaron Paul.

“No @Netflix no. Don’t make me have to call every director and show creator on Earth to fight you on this. Save me the time. I will win but it will take a ton of time. Don’t fuck with our timing. We give you nice things. Leave them as they were intended to be seen,” Apatow tweeted.

Netflix contends the app helps viewers seeking to consume longer form content on the go.

“As with any test, it may not become a permanent feature on Netflix,” said the company.

Actor Paul hopes so.

“There is NO Way Netflix will move forward with this,” he tweeted. “That would mean they are completely taking control of everyone else’s art and destroying it. Netflix is far better than that. Am I right Netflix?”

Netflix Says 25 Million Households Streamed ‘Breaking Bad’ Movie in First Week

Netflix officially disclosed streaming data for original movie El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, which launched Oct. 11.

The title, featuring Aaron Paul as meth-cooking Jesse Pinkman, who escaped in a 1978 Chevy El Camino at the conclusion of the “Breaking Bad” TV series, was watched by 25,753,392 million households in its first seven days, according to Netflix.

The service reported 6.5 million homes streamed the movie in the first three days, which is less than the 8.2 million Nielsen reported earlier this week.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The data suggests continued strong appeal for the “Breaking Bad” brand on par with Kevin Costner’s The Highwaymen. 

The Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston original comedy Murder Mystery set an all-time weekend Netflix streaming record with 30.87 million views. Another 20 million streamed The Christmas Chronicles, starring Kurt Russell as Santa Claus.

Netflix traditionally doesn’t disclosed viewership data for original programming, citing a lack of advertisers to satisfy.

Did Netflix’s ‘El Camino’ Run Out of Gas?

Netflix’s big-budget “Breaking Bad” movie sequel (El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie) from creator Vince Gilligan offers a lengthy tale of morality and redemption through the gritty eyes of Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) — the meth-cooking partner-in-crime to high school chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston), whose character perished in the 2013 series finale.

El Camino — name of the 1978 Chevrolet Pinkman made his escape in the series conclusion — premiered on Netflix Oct. 11, reportedly generated 8.2 million viewers in the United States opening weekend, including an average of 6.5 million per minute, and 2.6 million per minute opening day, according Nielsen.

The viewership was on par with the “Breaking Bad” series run, with opening day streaming of El Camino topping the 1.5 million average household views for “Breaking Bad” episodes.

Some media reports say the data portended a strong theatrical weekend if Netflix bothered to distribute original movies via industry norms.

The data made news largely based on the “Breaking Bad” legacy and the fact Netflix remains secretive about ratings data of original programming.

Netflix has downplayed Nielsen data in the past contending it is limited to TV households and excludes portable devices and international viewership.

It also suggests the possibility El Camino hasn’t generated as much traction with subscribers as might be expected compared with other high-profile Netflix movies. Or perhaps Nielsen disclosed incomplete data.

Regardless, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and CCO Ted Sarandos made no mention of the movie during the service’s Oct. 16 fiscal webcast — which was noteworthy.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The service last year said a lot early about Bird Box, Sandra Bullock’s dystopian thriller that attracted 45 million households during its first week of release.

Kevin Costner’s Bonnie & Clyde thriller, The Highwaymen, generated 40-million first-month views, and Ben Affleck auctioneer Triple Frontier attracted 52 million households in 30 days.

The Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston original comedy Murder Mystery set an all-time weekend Netflix streaming record with 30.87 million views. Another 20 million streamed The Christmas Chronicles, starring Kurt Russell as Santa Claus.

On the Oct. 16 webcast, however, Sarandos just talked about pending movie releases 6 Underground, The Irishman, Marriage Story and The Two Popes, among others.

“It’s our first time we’ve seen the scale and this volume of films in one quarter, so we’re really excited about it,” Sarandos said.

So where’s the El Camino excitement?

‘Breaking Bad’ Movie a Streaming Sensation

El Camino, the feature film sequel to the TV series “Breaking Bad,” was seen by nearly 6.5 million viewers its opening weekend, according to Nielsen, the ratings company.

According to Nielsen’s SVOD Content Ratings, the film reached nearly 8.2 million unique viewers in the United States during its first three days of availability on Netflix.

El Camino has Aaron Paul reprising his role as Jesse Pinkman, who in the series finale had been enslaved by a drug lord and ordered to cook meth, only to be set free by his former partner, Walter White (Bryan Cranston. He’s last seen driving off in an El Camino that belonged to a drug lord.

Nielsen’s SVOD Content Ratings does not include mobile or PC streaming.

Netflix’s ‘Breaking Bad’ Movie ‘El Camino’ Bowing in Theaters Oct. 11

Breaking from tradition, Netflix’s much-anticipated feature length film based upon the acclaimed “Breaking Bad” series is debuting in select theaters Oct. 11 – 13.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie will also stream on Netflix Oct. 11, in addition to airing later on AMC Networks, which broadcast the original Emmy-winning series from 2008 to 2013.

While the theatrical offering is part of Netflix’s desire to satisfy industry awards rules, it will likely not appease exhibitors’ mandate for an exclusive 90-day release window.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The movie revolves around the series’ meth-making Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) character dealing with the aftermath of his infamous partnership with terminally ill chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston).

Cranston’s White character remains an integral component of the movie.

“Jesse must come to terms with his past … in order to forge some kind of future,” reads a promo tagline.

“Breaking Bad” celebrated its 10th anniversary last year.