Elvis

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 9/13/22;
Warner;
Drama;
Box Office $150.29 million;
$19.99 DVD, $24.99 Blu-ray, $29.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for substance abuse, strong language, suggestive material and smoking.
Stars Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge.

Director Baz Luhrmann spotlights the career of Elvis Presley with his usual visual flair and penchant for musical embellishment. In this case, the King of Rock and Roll’s unique rockabilly blend of country, gospel and R&B would nominally make the subject matter a nice fit for him.

Narratively, however, Luhrmann decides to examine Presley’s life through the perspective of his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), who was widely considered one of the most disreputable men in the entertainment industry, and likely fleeced Elvis out of millions of dollars of potential earnings.

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Austin Butler gives an energetic performance as Elvis, pouring his heart out in the musical numbers to re-create the King’s signature stylings that made the ladies swoon.

The key role of Parker, however, doesn’t quite fit in tonally with the proceedings, as seems less like a real person and more like it’s just Hanks with some over-the-top make-up and a bad accent. Famously, this is the role that Hanks was filming in early 2020 when he was among the first celebrities to become infected with COVID-19.

The film is presented mostly as a contrast between Elvis’ desire to have a memorable and significant life, and Parker’s efforts to control him like a figurative puppet master (coincidentally, Elvis is hitting Blu-ray not long after the release of Disney’s live-action Pinocchio, in which Hanks plays a literal puppet master). As presented in the film, Elvis grows to resent Parker for what he sees as hampering his fame.

Luhrmann covers the touchstones of Elvis’ career, from his fascination and incorporation of African-American musical styles, to his 1968 comeback special and his multiyear residency in Las Vegas at the International Hotel. The film’s central thesis is that Parker’s financial needs led him to push Elvis to perform to the point of burning out the superstar that he turned to drugs to cope, facilitating his early death at the age of 42.

The tug-of-war between these two aspects of the film: Elvis biopic and Colonel Tom Parker character study, don’t always make for a smooth presentation, though it’s certainly fun to watch. In addition to a steady supply of Elvis music, Luhrmann as he is prone to do mixes in some anachronistic selections such as hip-hop to really set the mood.

The film is colorful and glitzy and offers a dazzling HD presentation with such detail that viewers can practically feel the sweat dripping from Elvis’ face.

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The Blu-ray includes a number of featurettes that delve into the making of the film. The centerpiece is the 22-minute “Bigger Than Life: The Story of Elvis,” which covers the production in general. More specific topes are covered in the seven-and-a-half-minute “Rock ‘N Roll Royalty: The Music and Artists Behind Elvis”; the eight-minute “Fit for a King: The Style of Elvis,” about the costumes; and the seven-and-a-half-minute “Viva Australia: Re-creating Iconic Locations for Elvis,” about the challenges of building several decades worth of historical settings in the land down under.

Also included are a lyric video for the song “Trouble,” and a “Musical Moments” mode that allows viewers to jump to specific songs as they’re performed in the movie.

 

Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Elvis’ Available for Premium Digital Ownership Aug. 9, on Disc Sept. 13

Director Baz Luhrmann’s biopic Elvis arrives for premium digital ownership at home Aug. 9 and on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD Sept. 13 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The film, which stars Austin Butler and Tom Hanks, tells the story of Elvis (Butler) through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager Colonel Tom Parker (Hanks). As told by Parker, the film delves into the complex dynamic between the two spanning more than 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America. Central to that journey is one of the significant and influential people in Elvis’s life, Priscilla Presley (Olivia DeJonge).

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Special features on digital, 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray include “Bigger Than Life: The Making of Elvis“; “Rock ‘n Roll Royalty: The Music & Artists Behind Elvis”; “Fit for a King: The Style of Elvis“; “Viva Australia: Recreating Iconic Locations for Elvis“; and the “Trouble” lyric video.

Elvis has so far grossed nearly $130 million at the domestic box office, according to Box Office Mojo. The film earned $106 million internationally for a worldwide gross of more than $235 million. 

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

BLU-RAY REVIEW:  

Sony Pictures;
Comedy;
Box Office $141.06 million;
$30.99 DVD, $38.99 Blu-ray, $45.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for language throughout, some strong graphic violence, drug use, and sexual references.
Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Julia Butters, Austin Butler, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, Mike Moh, Luke Perry, Damian Lewis, Al Pacino, Nicholas Hammond.

Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood isn’t so much a film as it is a time machine that transports the audience back to 1969, allowing the viewer to swim in the atmosphere and flavor of the era.

The movie is Tarantino’s love letter to the movies and TV shows he grew up with, providing a vast canvas for him to relish in his specialties of memorable characters, rich background detail, and an indelible soundtrack of period-specific songs.

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The story is a tale of contrasting Hollywood paths. On one road is former television Western star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), a borderline has-been looking to hold onto his fame by taking guest spots as the bad guy in the popular shows of the day, when he’s not too drunk to remember his lines.

Dalton is accompanied everywhere by his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), who’s even more down on his luck but gets by on a come-what-may attitude despite a shady past that has led to Rick being the only one willing to employ him.

On the flip side is Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), the up-and-coming starlet giddy over seeing her name on the movie marquee.

And in between them is the Manson family, which gives the film some historical context, grounding it in both a sense of dread and morbid fascination. Of course, anyone familiar with Tarantino’s previous efforts in historical fiction will understand where the real clash of this story is headed.

But as could be expected with Tarantino at the helm, the film transcends the bounds of story to give viewers the experience of living in the fantasy of 1960s Hollywood. A mix of parody and homage, the film is so beautifully shot and faithful to the styles of the time that it just feels like watching a memory — or at the very least, a dream of how things could have been.

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In typical Tarantino fashion, the overarching story isn’t so much the point as the individual scenes that comprise it, offering unforgettable bits of dialogue and character interactions, from Rick being reduced to tears by his 8-year-old co-star, to Rick and Cliff providing a running commentary watching an episode of “FBI.”

Even more of Tarantino’s Hollywood is offered up in the Blu-ray bonus materials, which feature more than 20 minutes of additional scenes, from expansions of scenes already in the movie to faux commercials for some of the products prominently featured.

Also included are five behind-the-scenes featurettes totaling more than a half-hour that detail the intricate re-creation of the period.

 

Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Gets Home Release Dates for Digital, DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD

Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film, the summer theatrical blockbuster Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, will be released to home audiences digitally Nov. 26 and on disc two weeks later, on Dec. 10.

Disc versions will be available in the DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD formats from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, set in Hollywood in 1969, reimagines the Manson murders that shocked the city that year. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt as actor Rick Dalton and his longtime friend and stuntman Cliff Booth, with Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate.

In the film, Dalton and Booth make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. The cast also includes Julia Butters, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Luke Perry, Austin Butler, Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch, Bruce Dern and Al Pacino — and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age.

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The film earned $140.4 million in U.S. theaters, and was the highest opening weekend of Tarantino’s career at $41 milion. It has been Certified Fresh by RottenTomatoes.com.

The 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and digital releases come with more than 20 additional minutes of footage that delves deeper into world of Rick Dalton’s Hollywood. The 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and digital include an additional behind-the-scenes look at the film’s production design, cinematography, costume design, cars and more.

Also due Dec. 10 is a limited 4K Ultra HD collector’s edition with a 7-inch vinyl record with two of the soundtrack’s 1960s hits,  a poster for the fictitious Rick Dalton film Operazione Dyn-o-mite!, and an exclusive mini-edition of a Mad Magazine parody of the Rick Dalton TV series “Bounty Law,” called “Lousy Law.” The collector’s edition may be ordered beginning Oct. 28 from Amazon.com, Walmart.com, BestBuy.com and Target.com.

The Blu-ray Disc release comes with several retailer-exclusive extras, including “Rick Dalton” movie poster cards from Walmart, a vintage-style film magazine with over 26 never-before-seen production photos at Target, and a Steelbook available at Best Buy. All exclusive offerings also may be ordered beginning Oct. 28.