Promising Young Woman

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 3/16/21;
Universal;
Crime, Drama, Thriller, Dark Comedy;
Box Office $5.5 million;
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for strong violence including sexual assault, language throughout, some sexual material and drug use.
Stars Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox, Connie Britton, Molly Shannon, Sam Richardson, Max Greenfield, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Adam Brody.

Striking right at the core of gender relations brought to the fore by the #MeToo movement, Promising Young Woman is a relentless revenge thriller that expertly walks a line between dark comedy, tragedy and drama led by a beautifully nuanced performance from Carey Mulligan, who just received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for it.

Emerald Fennell (who served as showrunner on “Killing Eve” and plays Camilla on “The Crown”) received three well-deserved Academy Award nominations for her directorial debut (Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay) for this story than broaches a wrenching subject while keeping the audience laughing and gasping on a roller coaster journey through one woman’s pathos and secret fury. (The film also received an Oscar nomination for Best Film Editing for a total of five noms.)

Promising Young Woman follows Cassie (Mulligan), a former medical student who was headed for success until a mysterious event abruptly derailed her future. By day a young woman going nowhere as a barista, by night Cassie lives a secret double life. An unexpected encounter with an old classmate gives her a chance to avenge the wrongs of the past.

At turns a horror story, a romantic comedy and a tragedy, the film plays with familiar tropes in the narrative and film history of male-female relations and power dynamics. With a hot score and vibrant, eye-popping art direction, set design, costumes and makeup, it’s a truly unique film that defies categorization. Dark comedy elements provide levity, but the film also takes a deep dive into the characters’ multiple facets. As noted in the bonus features, the film portrays men who think of themselves as “good guys,” while doing morally questionable, even horrible things. Then there’s Cassie, an engaging, attractive and smart avenging angel/devil who leaves emotional turmoil in her wake. This tension between the light and dark side of humanity allows the actors to explore a layer cake of emotions and elicits some truly great performances.

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Bonus features include three featurettes: “A Promising Vision,” in which Fennell discusses her inspirations for creating the film; “Two-Sided Transformation,” a look at Mulligan in the role of Cassie and how filmmakers used wardrobe, hair and makeup to express the balance between light and dark; and “Balancing Act,” in which cast members discuss their unexpected reactions to the careful balance of levity and tragedy in Fennell’s take on female revenge.

There’s also a commentary with Fennell, who provides a detailed explanation of key elements in the film, including set design, framing, and makeup and costume choices. As do the best commentaries, Fennell’s leaves viewers with a greater appreciation for the artistry and thought process behind this complicated film and makes a second pass through Promising Young Woman with commentary well worth the time.

‘Kid Detective’ Coming to Disc and Digital Jan. 19 From Sony

The dark comedy The Kid Detective will come out on DVD, Blu-ray and digital Jan. 19 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

A once-celebrated kid detective (Adam Brody, TV’s “The O.C.”), now 31, continues to solve the same trivial mysteries between hangovers and bouts of self-pity. Until a naïve client (Sophie Nélisse, The Book Thief) brings him his first adult case — to find out who brutally murdered her boyfriend.

The film also stars Tzi Ma, Wendy Crewson and Sarah Sutherland.

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‘Brady Bunch’ Celebrates 50 Years With Comprehensive DVD Collection June 4

CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment will mark the 50th anniversary of “The Brady Bunch” with a new DVD boxed set containing almost every “Brady” TV show and movie spinoff.

The Brady Bunch: 50th Anniversary TV & Movie Collection arrives June 4 as a 31-disc set and includes The Brady Bunch: The Complete Series, The Brady Kids: The Complete Animated Series, the complete runs of spinoffs “The Brady Brides” and “The Bradys,” the TV movie A Very Brady Christmas, the 1995 theatrical remake The Brady Bunch Movie and its two sequels, and the behind-the-scenes docudrama Growing Up Brady.

Created by Sherwood Schwartz, “The Brady Bunch” told the story of a family brought together when a woman with three daughters married a man with three sons. The sitcom premiered on ABC on Sept. 26, 1969 and ran for five seasons, comprising 117 episodes.

The animated spinoff “The Brady Kids” ran for 22 episodes on ABC in 1972 and 1973. Produced by Filmation, the series unsurprisingly featured the whacky adventures of the Brady children.

“The Brady Brides” was a spinoff that ran on NBC in 1981, featuring the lives of newlyweds Jan and Marcia and their husbands, who agreed to live together to save money. The series began with a reunion movie, The Brady Girls Get Married, which is presented on disc in its TV movie format (it was broken up into four sitcom episodes in its initial airing), and was followed by six additional episodes. Incidentally, this TV movie is the only time the original cast reunited in its entirety after the original series ended (subsequent reunions featured at least one of the Brady daughters replaced with a different actress).

The Bradys next reunited in the 1988 CBS reunion TV movie A Very Brady Christmas, which proved popular enough to warrant a spinoff called “The Bradys,” which ran for six episodes in 1990 in an hourlong drama format.

The 50th anniversary collection represents the first DVD releases for “The Brady Brides” and “The Bradys.” The “Brady Brides” disc includes a “Move It” sales presentation.

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The 1995 theatrical adaptation The Brady Bunch Movie, featuring a new cast with cameos by original cast members, spoofed the show by transplanting the family into the 1990s, though they acted as if it were still the 1970s. It was followed by the theatrically released A Very Brady Sequel in 1996 and the TV movie The Brady Bunch in the White House in 2002.

Finally, the collection includes Growing Up Brady, a 2000 NBC TV movie based on the book of the same name by Barry Williams, who played Greg on the show. The movie chronicles some behind-the-scenes stories about the creation of the show and its run. It featured Adam Brody as Williams, and future “The Big Bang Theory” star Kaley Cuoco as Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia.

The collection does not include the infamous “The Brady Bunch Hour,” a nine-episode ABC series that ran in 1976 and 1977 and starred most of the original cast in character hosting a variety show (needless to say, it is not considered part of the “Brady” canon). The replacement of Eve Plumb as Jan with a different actress was famously spoofed in the “Spin-Off Showcase” episode of “The Simpsons.”