Uncut Gems

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Lionsgate;
Thriller;
Box Office $50 million;
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for pervasive strong language, violence, some sexual content and brief drug use.
Stars Adam Sandler, Lakeith Stanfield, Julia Fox, Kevin Garnett, Idina Menzel, Eric Bogosian, Judd Hirsch.

A disturbing and offbeat thriller from the Safdie brothers, Uncut Gems offers what is undoubtedly the best performance of Adam Sandler’s career.

Sandler plays Howard, a New York jeweler and gambling addict who is deeply indebted to loan sharks. He manages to get his hands on a rare Ethiopian black opal expecting to auction it off to raise the money to pay his debts. Yet his fortunes continue to spiral out of control as he desperately tries to stay one step ahead of his past catching up with him.

Sandler’s reputation for comedy creates a certain expectation among viewers that lends to the film’s sense of unease, as it undercuts seeming moments of levity with an undercurrent of tension that always threatens to boil over. Sandler’s presence makes it easy to root for Howard despite his constant penchant for screwing up his own life. It could almost be considered a comedy of errors if it weren’t so gritty.

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Set in 2012, the film ties Howard’s predicaments to the real-life NBA playoff series between Boston and Philadelphia, with former Celtics superstar Kevin Garnett playing himself as a client of Howard. Garnett becomes obsessed with the opal, believing it gives him good luck as the series progresses, which puts Howard in a bind as he needs to hand it over to the auction house while outrunning the enforcers of his bookies, who won’t let him make any additional bets to cover his losses.

One of the highlights of the film is a starmaking turn by newcomer Julia Fox as Howard’s employee and mistress, the kind of arm candy every middle-aged sad sack wants to envision on their arm.

The Blu-ray includes the featurette “Money on the Street,” a half-hour making-of video that details the extensive production history of the film, which is based on real elements from the Safdie’s own childhood remembrances of their father’s stories about the diamond district. The featurette offers some good insights from the filmmakers and cast about its themes of aspirations outpacing ability.

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Adam Sandler Thriller ‘Uncut Gems’ Due on Digital Feb. 25, Disc March 10

The thriller Uncut Gems, starring Adam Sandler, arrives on digital Feb. 25 from A24 and on Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital) and DVD March 10 from Lionsgate.

In the film, executive produced by Martin Scorsese, Sandler plays a charismatic jeweler who makes a high-stakes bet that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime. In a precarious high-wire act, he must balance business and family, fending off adversaries on all sides in pursuit of the ultimate win.

Co-written and directed by brothers Josh and Benny Safdie (writers and directors of Good Time), the film also stars LaKeith Stanfield, Kevin Garnett, Idina Menzel, Eric Bogosian, and Judd Hirsch.

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Special features include a making-of featurette.

Netflix Unveils its Top 10 Programs in U.S.

Netflix via Twitter unveiled the top 10 most popular series, films and documentaries released on the service in the United States in 2019.

The feature comedy Murder Mystery, starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, topped the overall list. It was also the top movie.

The lists are based on titles released on Netflix in 2019 and are ranked based on accounts that choose to watch 2 minutes or more of a title during its first 28 days on the service this year. The service noted that titles released this month may incorporate viewing predictions.

The top 10 most popular releases:

  1. Murder Mystery
  2. “Stranger Things 3”
  3. 6 Underground
  4. The Incredibles 2
  5. The Irishman
  6. “The Witcher”
  7. Triple Frontier
  8. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
  9. “The Umbrella Academy”
  10. The Highwayman

 

The top 10 most popular series releases:

  1. “Stranger Things 3”
  2. “The Witcher”
  3. “The Umbrella Academy”
  4. “Dead to Me”
  5. “You: S2”
  6. “When They See Us”
  7. “Unbelievable”
  8. “Sex Education”
  9. “13 Reasons Why: S3”
  10. “Raising Dion”

 

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The top 10 most popular movie releases:

  1. Murder Mystery
  2. 6 Underground
  3. The Incredibles 2
  4. The Irishman
  5. Triple Frontier
  6. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
  7. The Highwayman
  8. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  9. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  10. Secret Obsession

 

The top 10 most popular documentary releases:

  1. Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes
  2. Our Planet
  3. Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened
  4. Homecoming: A Film by Beyonce
  5. Don’t F**k With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer
  6. Abducted in Plain Site
  7. The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann
  8. The Family
  9. Street Food
  10. Kevin Hart: Don’t F**k This Up

 

For more Netflix U.S. top 10s see the Twitter thread.

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Netflix: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston Comedy ‘Murder Mystery’ Sets Biggest Opening Weekend with 30.8 Million Views

Netflix June 18 disclosed that its new Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston original comedy, Murder Mystery, set an all-time weekend streaming record with 30.87 million views.

The second Netflix comedy movie starring Sandler and Aniston — which launched June 14 — generated 13.37 million views in the United States and 17.5 million worldwide through June 15.

Netflix disclosed the info on Twitter.

The SVOD behemoth, which is typically reticent disclosing viewership data, has opened up this year revealing streaming data on select original movies, including Will Smith’s Bright with 11 million views; Bird Box with Sandra Bullock (45 million views) and The Christmas Chronicles (25 million) with Kurt Russell.

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Animated ‘Hotel Transylvania 3’ to Haunt Fans on Digital Sept. 25, Disc Oct. 9 From Sony

The animated Hotel Transylvania 3 will make its debut on Digital HD Sept. 25, and on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD Oct. 9 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The family comedy has grossed more than $425 million in theaters worldwide.

In the third installment in the series, Mavis surprises Dracula with a family voyage on a luxury, haunted monster cruise ship. The unexpected happens when Drac falls for the ship’s human captain Ericka.

The voice cast includes Adam Sandler (Grown-Ups), Andy Samberg (TV’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”), Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers), Kevin James (Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2), David Spade (TV’s “Rules of Engagement”), Steve Buscemi (TV’s “Boardwalk Empire”), Keegan Michael Key (TV’s “Key and Peele”), Molly Shannon (TV’s “Saturday Night Live”), Fran Drescher (TV’s “The Nanny”), Kathryn Hahn (Bad Moms), Jim Gaffigan (Super Troopers 2) and Mel Brooks (Young Frankenstein).

Bonus materials include three sing alongs, “Dennis Had a Giant Dog,” sung by Dennis & Winnie, “Monsters Like to Party Down,” sung by Johnny, and “Oh These Wolf Pups,” sung by Wanda Werewolf; the featurette “Plan Your Own Spook-tacular Sleepover,” with details on snacks to crafts to games; a “Vampire Make Over: Mavis and Drac Tutorial,” about how to turn yourself into Hotel Transylvania 3 characters; “Behind the Screams – The Voices of Hotel Transylvania 3,” showing how the characters are brought to life in the recording booth; “Johnny’s Home Movies (Franchise Recap)”; “I See Love Monster Dance Party Dance Along”; “Drac’s Zing-tastic Read Along”; and two mini movies, “Puppy and “Goodnight Mr. Foot.”

Netflix Announces New Toni Collette Series, Movie Reuniting Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston

Netflix announced a new series starring Toni Collette and a new movie reuniting Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston.

Toni Collette, Merritt Wever and Kaitlyn Dever have been cast in “Unbelievable,” a series based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning article by The Marshall Project and ProPublica, “An Unbelievable Story of Rape.” Collette and Wever will play detectives whose lives become intertwined in their mutual pursuit of a possible serial rapist.

Sandler and Aniston, who teamed in Just Go With It, will reunite in Murder Mystery, due in 2019. It follows a NYC cop (Sandler) who finally takes his wife (Aniston) on a long promised European trip. A chance meeting on the flight with a mysterious man (Luke Evans) gets them invited to an intimate family gathering on the Super Yacht of elderly billionaire Malcolm Quince. When Quince is murdered, they become the prime suspects.

Directed by Kyle Newacheck, the film also stars Gemma Arterton (Their Finest, The Girl With All The Gifts), Luis Gerardo Mendez (Club de Cuervos, Nosotros Los Nobles, Time Share), Shioli Kutsuna (Deadpool 2), David Walliams (Little Britain), Adeel Akhtar (The Big Sick, Murdered By My Father, Four Lions), John Kani (Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, The Lion King), Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (The Meg, True Detective, The BFG), Dany Boon (R.A.I.D. Special Unit, Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis) and Terence Stamp (Miss Peregrine’s, The Limey, A Song For Marion).