‘Bumblebee’ Screenwriter Relished Chance to Put a Woman in the Driver’s Seat

A girl and her car are at the center of the “Transformers” reboot Bumblebee, available now on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc and digital from Paramount Home Media Entertainment.

And that’s just as screenwriter Christina Hodson intended.

“As soon as I got the call about working within the ‘Transformers’ franchise I knew I wanted to tell a female-driven story,” she said in an interview with Media Play News on the Paramount lot.

It’s something that blockbuster action franchises rarely feature.

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“Honestly, it’s more about the big picture for me; it’s just about seeing girls in these kinds of roles,” she said. “I think we haven’t seen it often enough. We see so many movies where we just take for granted that it’s the boy or the man that’s at the lead going on the adventure.…  It’s wonderful to just introduce into the world a new spin on that, to see a woman — forgive me — at the steering wheel.”

She based the character of Charlie on her two nieces. One is neither a “girly-girl” nor a “tomboy,” but “something in between” like Charlie, she said. Another has a special relationship with her dad that inspired Charlie’s.

Hodson said she wants more women to get into screenwriting to provide more balance.

“The numbers are crazy, and we’ve got to work on fixing them, and the one thing that I can say — knowing a lot of the female screenwriters of my generation — is we are bringing more women up with us,” she said. “That’s very much our goal.”

To talk about Bumblebee, editor-in-chief Stephanie Prange visited the Paramount lot to learn about the sound effects and more:

She also talked to screenwriter Hodson about the need for more girl power in the movies. Here is the full interview:

Actioner ‘Miss Bala’ Coming to Digital April 16, Disc April 30 From Sony

The action adventure Miss Bala will shoot to digital April 16 and Blu-ray and DVD April 30 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film earned $15 million in theaters.

Gina Rodriguez (Annihilation,“Jane the Virgin”) plays a young woman caught in the perilous world of a brutal cross-border cartel who finds powers she never knew as she seeks to rescue her friend. Ismael Cruz-Córdova (Mary Queen of Scots) stars alongside Rodriguez as the cartel kingpin, whose growing attraction to his strong-willed female hostage raises the stakes for both as the CIA, DEA and rival cartels close in. The film is directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight).

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More than an hour of bonus material includes eight deleted and extended scenes, wardrobe and rehearsal footage with insights by Hardwicke, and three behind-the-scenes featurettes. In “Gina: The Unstoppable Strength of a Woman,” Rodriguez explains the importance of portraying a strong Latina woman on the big screen. The cast and stunt team explain how they created the action scenes in “The Bigger the Bang: Action on Set.” “The Making of Miss Bala” explains how the story was brought to life from script to screen with a 95 percent Latinx cast and crew. A feature audio commentary includes Hardwicke, executive producer Jamie Marshall, and associate producer Shayda Frost.

‘Aquaman’ Swimming to Home Video in March

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the DC Comics adaptation Aquaman through digital retailers March 5, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray March 26.

The sixth installment in the interconnected series of films based on DC Comics, Aquaman picks up with the title character’s adventures after his appearance in 2017’s Justice League. While Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) is content on using his abilities to help people, he is summoned to Atlantis by Mera (Amber Heard), who urges him to assert his birthright as the true king of the undersea kingdom to prevent his half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) from waging a war against the surface world. To do this he must set off on a quest across the realms of the seven seas to recover the ancient artifact that will allow him to unite the oceans and fulfill his destiny as Aquaman.

The cast also includes Willem Dafoe, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Kidman, Temuera Morrison and Ludi Lin.

Directed by James Wan, the film has earned $325 million at the domestic box office, and $1.1 billion worldwide.

All versions of Aquaman will include a three-minute preview of Shazam, the upcoming live-action adaptation starring Zachary Levi as the DC superhero, due in theaters April 5.

The Blu-ray and DVD editions of Aquaman will also include scene study breakdowns and several featurettes: “Going Deep Into the World of Aquaman,” “Becoming Aquaman,” “James Wan: World Builder,” “Aqua Tech,” “Atlantis Warfare,” “The Dark Depths of Black Manta,” “Heroines of Atlantis,” “Villainous Training,” “Kingdoms of the Seven Seas,” “Creating Undersea Creatures” and “A Match Made in Atlantis.”

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of Aquaman will feature Dolby Vision HDR and a Dolby Atmos soundtrack.

‘Hardbodies,’ ‘Krull,’ ‘Last Action Hero’ Among VHS-Era Classics Due on Blu-ray From Mill Creek in January

Recalling the VHS rental era when the video store reigned, Mill Creek Entertainment in January will release on Blu-ray Disc six of the time periods’ classics, featuring such stars as John Candy, Chuck Norris and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Sporting retro art mimicking the VHS release, the Blu-ray collection includes Happy Birthday to Me, Silent Rage, Last Action Hero, Hardbodies, Who’s Harry Crumb? and Krull.

The mystery-shocker Happy Birthday to Me (1981) follows popular high school senior Virginia Wainwright (Melissa Sue Anderson), who survives a freak accident, but suffers from memory loss and traumatic blackouts. As she attempts to resume a normal life, something terrible is happening — her friends are ruthlessly murdered one-by-one. Will she be the next victim or is she the killer? The terrifying truth is finally uncovered at Virginia’s 18th birthday party.

The release is restored with the original soundtrack.

Chuck Norris, six-time World Karate Champion, stars in Silent Rage (1982), his first suspense film, as the tough, street-fighting sheriff of a small Texas town terrorized by a psychotic killer. He is faced with the dilemma of stopping the invincible murderer, made virtually indestructible through genetic engineering. A young group of researchers are responsible for developing the serum, and the head of the research institute is determined to continue the genetic experiments regardless of the consequences. Norris’s sheriff singlehandedly routs a dozen brutal bikers from a truck stop hangout, while rekindling an old romance with Alison Halman (Toni Kalem), a researcher at the institute.

In Last Action Hero (1993), young movie fan Danny Madigan (Austin O’Brien) knows the first three Jack Slater movies by heart, and the fourth one is just about to be released. With the aid of a magical ticket, while watching the opening action sequence during an advance screening, Danny is transported into the movie. On the other side of the silver screen, Danny becomes the sidekick of Slater (Arnold Schwarzenegger), the toughest cop on the police force. Complications arise when one of the bad guys takes Danny’s magic ticket and escapes out of the movie into the real world. Danny and his hero must chase the arch villain in the real world, a world where evil guys can actually win.

The film, which includes the song “Big Gun” written for the film by AC/DC, features a number of cameo appearances by stars inlcuding Chevy Chase, Jim Belushi, Sharon Stone, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Damon Wayans.

In the classic teen comedy Hardbodies (1984), three middle-aged geezers move into a swinging beach house and hire a young stud to teach them how to score with the local beauties. The ‘80s band Vixen and hundreds of Southern California swimsuit models co-star in the cult comedy originally made for broadcast on the Playboy Channel but picked up for theatrical release by Columbia. Stars include Grant Cramer, Teal Roberts, Courtney Gains, Kane Hodder and Gary Wood.

The sci-fi fantasy Krull (1983) explores a mystical time and place that belongs to neither the past nor the present, where extraordinary creatures of myth work their incredible magic, and where a horrific, omnipotent Beast is the ruler. Prince Colwyn sets out on a daring mission to rescue his young bride who is held captive by the Beast, but slayers and alien beings under the command of the Beast oppose him at every turn. Colwyn must first reach a faraway cavern to recover the legendary Glaive, a flying blade capable of phenomenal powers.

Directed by Oscar nominee Peter Yates, the film stars Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony, Liam Neeson and Francesca Annis.

In Who’s Harry Crumb? (1989), John Candy stars as the bumbling private eye Crumb. When Harry, the last of the great sleuthing Crumbs, finally gets a shot at a frontpage kidnapping, it’s only because his boss Eliot Draisen (Jeffrey Jones) doesn’t want the case solved. At stake is the gorgeous daughter of multi-millionaire P.J. Downing, a $10 million ransom, and Draisen’s mistress (Annie Potts). Attired in a bizarre array of goofball disguises, from a Hungarian hairdresser to a hefty housewife, Harry is determined to crack the case.

‘The Predator’ Stalking to Digital Nov. 27, Disc Dec. 18

The Predator will stalk to digital (including Movies Anywhere) Nov. 27 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD Dec. 18 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The film made $50.9 million at the box office.

The studio will also release a special-edition “Predator” four-movie collection, which includes Predator, Predator 2, Predators and The Predator on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Dec. 18. It includes four collector cards of the original film poster re-issue with some of the franchises most iconic quotes on the back.

The hunt has evolved in the next chapter of the “Predator” series, from director Shane Black (Iron Man 3). The most lethal hunters in the universe are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever, and only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and an evolutionary biology professor can prevent the end of the human race.

Extras on The Predator releases include deleted scenes, “A Touch of Black,” “Predator Evolution,” “The Takedown Team,” “Predator Catch-Up” and a photo gallery.

Skyscraper

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 10/9/18;
Universal;
Action;
Box Office $67.8 million;
$24.98 DVD, $39.98 Blu-ray, $44.98 3D BD, $44.98 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of gun violence and action, and for brief strong language.
Stars Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Han, Roland Møller, Noah Taylor, Byron Mann, Pablo Schreiber, McKenna Roberts, Noah Cottrell.

Writer-director Rawson Marshall Thurber pivots from comedies to action in this slick hybrid of the Die Hard and Towering Inferno formulas that provides plenty of excuses for Dwayne Johnson to run around and beat people up.

An added twist to the Johnson tough-man routine this time around is that his character is an amputee — a former FBI agent who lost a leg during a hostage negotiation gone wrong in the film’s opening scene.

Cut to 10 years later and Johnson’s Will Sawyer character is now a security consultant for a new, mile-high skyscraper in Hong Kong. The top half of the building is mostly unpopulated since it’s so tall the developers are having trouble securing sufficient insurance to allow people to move into the residential floors, with Sawyer and his family the only residents aside from the owner in the penthouse suite.

An inspection by representatives of the insurance company thus gives some bad guys an opportunity to take control of the building and set it on fire as they carry out an agenda against the guy who built it.

As the plot unfolds around him, Sawyer learns his wife (Neve Campbell) and two children are still in the building, he embarks on a series of breathtaking action scenes to get to them, even as he’s being framed for sabotaging the building’s fire-suppression systems. (You can best believe Sawyer’s fake limb will make for a handy tool when the story requires it.)

The filmmakers have no qualms about any comparisons between this film and the original Die Hard. There’s even a jokey deleted scenes in which Sawyer ponders that his next step should be to call Bruce Willis.

What sets Skyscraper apart, to a degree, is the way the building itself becomes a character in the story — imbued with plenty of design quirks to aid in setting up a variety of action scenes. It even has a multi-leveled park halfway up so that Sawyer’s family can find themselves in the middle of a forest fire 2000 feet in the air.

The top-notch production design really gives the film a visual flair that is only enhanced by the film’s ability to get down and dirty with its characters. Campbell’s character in particular is allowed to evolve beyond the typical wife-in-distress role, given a military background that pays off as she holds her own in several fight scenes of her own.

Otherwise, though, the villains are mostly a cookie-cutter assortment of disposable henchmen inserted when needed into the story to provide more obstacles for the Sawyers to overcome.

The Bu-ray includes about 18-and-a-half minutes of traditional-style behind-the-scenes featurettes that focus on developing some of the key characters and finding the right actors to portray them. There’s also a cute story about how Thurber pitched the film to Johnson, with whom he previously worked on Central Intelligence.

Most of the details of the making of the film are revealed in a feature-length solo commentary from Thurber, who says he has envisioned making a movie like this since he was 8 (he’s 43 now).

The Blu-ray also includes more than 22 minutes of deleted and extended scenes, including a lot of excised exposition that offers more details about how the bad guys’ plan is supposed to work. These are fine to have on the record but ultimately would have worked against the pacing of an action film that ended up a tight hour and 42 minutes (which Thurber points out in optional commentary available with the scenes).

Also included with the deleted material are alternate versions of scenes involving the primary Hong Kong police characters in which they speak English in one version and Cantonese in the other. Thurber shot these scenes in both languages before deciding that having the Chinese characters speaking their native language better served the film.