The Little Mermaid (2023)

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 9/19/23;
Disney;
Musical;
Box Office $298.17 million;
$29.99 DVD, $36.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD (Exclusive to Best Buy, Walmart and Disney Movie Club);
Rated ‘PG’ for action/peril and some scary images.
Stars Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Melissa McCarthy, Javier Bardem, Noma Dumezweni, Art Malik, Jessica Alexander, Daveed Diggs, Jacob Tremblay, Awkwafina.

Disney’s bland live-action remake of The Little Mermaid might not supplant the original animated classic in the hearts of fans, but it does make for a nice companion piece. At the very least, like most of Disney’s live-action remakes, it should keep entertained the new generation of viewers unfamiliar with the source material.

The story, based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, doesn’t stray much from Disney’s 1989 animated version, other than to fill in a few details. The mermaid Ariel (Halle Bailey) becomes fascinated by human culture and dreams of exploring the surface world, though is warned against doing so by her father, King Triton (Javier Bardem). Witnessing a shipwreck during a violent storm, Ariel saves Eric (Jonah Hauer-King), prince of an unnamed island kingdom, and becomes enamored with him. After being admonished by her father, Ariel is approached by the sea witch Ursula (Melissa McCarthy) who offers her a deal — three days with legs instead of a tail, and a chance to win the heart of the prince. Earning true love’s kiss will make her permanently human, but if she fails, she reverts to her mermaid form and will be enslaved by Ursula (who simply wants to use Ariel as a bargaining chip to extort the throne from Triton). And she will have to do it without her famous singing voice, as Ursula has seized it as the price for her spell.

As an added twist, in this version Ursula’s spell makes Ariel forget the terms of their deal, leaving it up to Ariel’s undersea pals Sebastian the crab, Flounder the fish, and Scuttle the bird, to arrange for the kiss.

The film also adds more dimension to Eric’s character, who is fascinated by stories of sea creatures and their culture, and he even gets his own “I want” song, “Wild Unchartered Waters,” to really hammer home that he’s the human male version of Ariel.

Most of the original songs carry over, though the ditty from the chef trying to make a meal of Sebastian has been omitted. The few new songs from original composer Alan Menken, joined by new lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda, don’t mesh very well stylistically with the legacy material, particularly the ill-advised “Scuttlebutt” semi-rap number.

As to the primary motivation for this remake to exist, the “live-action” of it all, the visual effects aren’t very convincing in that regard. The underwater sequences look like a cross between Finding Nemo and Aquaman — bright, vivid environments with greenscreened humans superimposed onto them — which just speaks to why it was animated in the first place. It doesn’t help that Ariel’s animal pals also have to speak, which lends to an uncanny valley effect involving them, particularly Sebastian.

Thankfully, the live-action version doesn’t restore the fairy tale’s original ending, in which the mermaid utterly fails in her quest for love and dissolves into sea foam, ultimately becoming an ethereal spirit.

The home video editions of The Little Mermaid include both the theatrical cut and a sing-along version with on-screen lyrics. To that end, there’s also a “Song Selection” option that lets viewers watch just the musical scenes.

The 22-minute “Song Breakdowns” featurettes delves into the making of the film’s four key musical sequences. The general making of the film is covered in the 26-minute “Hotter Under the Water” featurette, while the seven-minute “The Scuttlebutt on Sidekicks” focuses on the portrayal of the side characters. The four-minute “Passing the Dinglehopper” deals with the cameo of Jodi Benson, who voiced Ariel in the original movie.

Rounding out the extras is a two-minute blooper reel.

Note that as far as physical media is concerned, only the Blu-ray and DVD will be made widely available at retail. The 4K editions are exclusive to Best Buy (which offers a Steelbook combo pack), Walmart (which includes an enamel pin), and the Disney Movie Club (which offers standard packaging). For review the Steelbook edition was provided.

 

Renfield

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 6/6/23;
Universal;
Horror Comedy;
Box Office $17.15 million;
$29.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for bloody violence, some gore, language throughout and some drug use.
Stars Nicholas Hoult, Awkwafina, Ben Schwartz, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Adrien Martinez, Nicolas Cage.

As if tales of immortality in exchange for a nibbling of the neck weren’t parodic enough, vampire spoofs by their very nature tend to suck. (Forgive me.) If Mel Brooks (Dracula: Dead and Loving It) or Roman Polanski (The Fearless Vampire Killers) can’t make a go of it, what chances did Old Dracula, Vampire in Brooklyn, Nocturna: Granddaughter of Dracula, etc. stand of breaking the mold? Stephanie Rothman’s tale of bisexual bloodsuckers, The Velvet Vampire is not without its charms, but when it comes to vampire comedies, Nicolas Cage is two for two. Remember Vampire’s Kiss, where Cage famously ate a cockroach? In Renfield, Cage’s Dracula leaves the creepy-crawly consumption to his title sidekick.

The premise is a springboard to delight: Dracula’s “familiar,” a servant, as a chyron informs us, “gifted with a tiny portion of (his) power,” attends a meeting of DRAAG (Dependent Relationship Anonymous Addiction Group), a 12-step self-help group aimed at eliminating feelings of enslavement brought on by a spouse, boss, or spending an eternity doing the satanic bidding of the Prince of Darkness. All of the group’s abusive relationships combined can’t compete with the decades of humiliating servitude Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) was forced to chalk up to the Count’s abusively erratic mood swings as well as catching and preparing his nightly repast. Rather than shopping for victims one by one, why not dine ala group therapy? The question of why a person possessed of Renfield’s powers needs chloroform to overcome his victims is a head-scratcher.

Director Chris McKay (The Batman Lego Movie, The Tomorrow War) envisions a sequel. When Renfield’s narration suggests starting at the beginning, he didn’t mean the Bram Stoker novel, but Tod Browning’s 1931 movie adaptation that became one of the cornerstones of the Universal Horror franchise. When the two first meet in flashback, rather than a green screen restaging of the original, the filmmaker has digitally inserted the faces of our two leads over those of Bela Lugosi and Dwight Frye. With the exception of Cage’s teeth — he and Finding Nemo’s Bruce appear to share the same dentist — the effect is staggeringly convincing.

The understanding relationship between Master and somnambulic servant at times borders on touching. Renfield knows how to play up to Dracula’s narcissistic side. He warns if Dracula dies, Renfield is next, not so much for any of the heinous acts he’s committed against humanity, but because he is the only one who truly cares for the troubled Nosferatu. We want so much to believe Cage’s Dracula when he alleges a vampire’s ability to live in eternal life does not make him a monster. Choosing to join VA (Vampires Anonymous), Renfield betrays Dracula by becoming a member of the human race as opposed to the walking dead.

A subplot involving a family of mobsters gunning for vampires is a welcome addition, as is Awkwafina as a second-generation police officer looking to avenge her father’s death. The dialogue is at times excruciatingly witty and laugh-out-loud hilarious, but damn if the filmmakers refuse to play by the simplest of rules. It’s bad enough to camp things up or overstate violence looking to appeal to the Comic-Con set, but this group goes so far as breaking tradition by adding a new power. If Dracula feeds off human lives, in accordance with the original legend, Renfield devours bugs the way Popeye downs spinach for strength. As sure as the bloodsuckers in Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark are inexplicably free to move about the countryside in broad daylight, a drizzle of this Drac’s blood now has the power to raise the dead. Vampirism as we know it has been around since the early 18th-century. In choosing to color outside the lines, McKay and screenwriter Ryan Ridley do the film a giant disservice. The same goes for the ersatz CGI effects borrowed from The Matrix. That said, I’ll watch anything with Cage in it, even The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Make that especially The Sorcerer’s Apprentice!

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Bonus features include a commentary with Producer Samantha Nisenboim, screenwriter Ryan Ridley and others; several deleted and extended scenes, and alternate takes; the making of the “Renfield’s Dance” scene; and five behind-the-scenes featurettes.

 

Horror Comedy ‘Renfield’ Due on Digital, Disc June 6 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will release the Dracula spoof Renfield, with Nicolas Cage, through digital retailers and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD June 6.

The “Dracula Sucks Edition” of the film includes an hour of bonus content, including deleted scenes and featurettes.
 
Aside from Cage, the cast includes Nicholas Hoult, Awkwafina, Ben Schwartz, Adrian Martinez, Shohreh Aghdashloo, and Brandon Scott Jones. Directed by Chris McKay  and written by Ryan Ridley from a story by Robert Kirkman, the horror comedy is produced by Skybound Entertainment and Giant Wildcat.

Hoult stars as Renfield, the tortured aide to Dracula (Cage). For centuries, Renfield has slavishly served Dracula by procuring his master’s prey and doing his every bidding, no matter how debased. But now, Renfield is ready to look for a new life outside Dracula’s shadow of The Prince of Darkness, if only he can figure out how to end the toxic relationship.

Bonus content includes:

  • Deleted and extended scenes;
  • Alternate takes;
  • “Dracula Uncaged,” with Cage revealing the secrets behind turning a classic character into a memorable monster;
  • “Monsters & Men: Behind the Scenes of Renfield,” an in-depth look at Renfield’s cast, sets, costumes and more as the actors and filmmakers reveal how they modernized a famous terror tale;
  • “Stages of Rejuvenation,” a documentary on the special makeup effects through the four stages of Dracula’s transformation;
  • “Flesh & Blood,” another documentary on the making of the film;
  • “Fighting Dirty,” in which stunt coordinator Christopher Brewster leads a look at the training, choreography, and execution that went into the film’s stunts and fight scenes; 
  • “The Making of a Deleted Scene: Renfield’s Dance!,” in which  Hoult and choreographer Kathryn Burns pull back the curtain on constructing an elaborate musical number for a fantasy dance sequence; and
  • Commentaries with producer Samantha Nisenboim, screenwriter Ridley, and crew.

 

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Disney/Marvel;
Action;
Box Office $224.54 million;
$29.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $43.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences o violence and action, and language.
Stars Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Tony Leung, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Michelle Yeoh, Florian Munteanu, Andy Le, Ben Kingsley, Benedict Wong.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe meets Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, a sweeping fantasy epic with bold action and breathtaking visual flair.

For some perspective, the film centers on a character whose primary comic book was called Master of Kung Fu and was created to cash in on the martial arts movie craze of the 1970s. As the particulars of his origin and portrayal would be seen as highly problematic today, Shang-Chi’s backstory has been modified to better fit within the MCU, bringing together a few story threads introduced in earlier films to shine a light on a new corner of the franchise.

In the film, Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) is the son of Xu Wenwu (Leung), leader of a global criminal empire called the Ten Rings, an organization that appeared in 2008’s Iron Man, the very first MCU movie (Shang-Chi is the 25th).

Wenwu has survived for centuries thanks to 10 mysterious bracelets that imbue him with great power and aided him in building his fortune. In his journeys he learns of a mythical land called Ta Lo that supposedly houses magical beasts. In attempting to enter the village, he is bested in combat by its guardian, Ying Li (Fala Chen), and falls in love with her.

Years later, following his mother’s death, Shang-Li has turned his back on his father’s criminal ambitions and is living in San Francisco, where he goes by the name Shaun and tries to live a normal life with his best friend, Katy (Awkwafina). Those efforts are shattered when he and his sister, Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), are attacked by his father’s thugs and summoned back to the Ten Rings. Wenwu believes their mother’s soul is trapped in Ta Lo, and he wants their help accessing the village so he can save her.

The film also serves as a sequel of sorts to Iron Man 3 and the short film All Hail the King in continuing the story of Ben Kingsley’s Trevor Slattery character, the actor who posed as the terrorist leader The Mandarin and in doing so inadvertently appropriated Wenwu’s identity. Kingsley is a great source of comic relief and a welcome addition to the festivities.

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The Blu-ray includes a nice audio commentary with director Director Destin Daniel Cretton and writer Dave Callaham, who discuss developing and making the film. There are also two featurettes, the nine-minute “Building a Legacy” about the making of the film, and the seven-and-a-half-minute “Family Ties” about the characters and their role in the MCU.

The disc also includes 15 minutes of interesting deleted scenes, including an explicit tie-in to the original Iron Man movie, plus some additional moments of character depth.

Rounding out the package is a two-minute gag reel.

In the combo pack that includes both the regular and 4K Blu-rays, there are no extras on the 4K disc.

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Disney Launching ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ in Theaters and Disney+ Next March

Disney will launch the feature film Raya and the Last Dragon in theaters and on the Disney+ SVOD platform in March 2021. It marks the first time Disney is launching a new theatrical release on its branded streaming platform and in theaters concurrently.

It will be available on Disney+ as a Premier Access add-on for $29.99.

The company previously moved the live-action Mulan remake from its theatrical slate and into the home via premium VOD over the Labor Day weekend. Pending theatrical release Soul is now bowing on Disney+ on Christmas Day.

Raya and the Last Dragon is a computer-animated adventure fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Walt Disney Animation Studios. Directed by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, the film is produced by Osnat Shurer and Peter Del Vecho and was written by Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim. The film features the voices of Kelly Marie Tran as the lead character, Raya, and Awkwafina as Sisu, the last dragon.

According to the Disney website, “Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But when sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the last dragon in order to finally stop the Druun for good. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than dragon magic to save the world — it’s going to take trust as well.”

Awkwafina and Sandra Oh to Star in Sister Comedy for Netflix

Awkwafina and Sandra Oh will star in an untitled sister comedy for Netflix.

Golden Globe winners Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians, The Farewell) and Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” Over the Moon) will star in the movie, which will deal with a lonely recluse whose life is upended when her trainwreck of a sister vows to mend their relationship by helping her fulfill her lifelong dream: to be a contestant on her favorite game show.

The writer is Jen D’Angelo, who wrote the upcoming sequel to Hocus Pocus for Disney+ and is a co-executive producer on the NBC series “The Young Rock” starring Dwayne Johnson. She was recently the on-set writer for Skydance’s sci-fi feature The Tomorrow War. Additional credits include “Solar Opposites” (Hulu), “Workaholics,” “The Millers” and “Cougar Town.”

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HBO Max to Stream Comedy Central’s ‘The Other Two,’ ‘South Side’ and ‘Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens’

The upcoming seasons of the comedies “The Other Two” and “South Side” from Comedy Central Productions are joining HBO Max as new Max Original series, while the channel’s “Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens” will also find a home on the streaming service.

The first seasons of “The Other Two” and “South Side” will land on the platform in 2021 followed by new seasons to stream exclusively as Max Original series.

“The Other Two,” created by former “Saturday Night Live” co-head writers, follows two millennial siblings as they navigate their teenage brother’s rise to internet fame and “South Side,” shot on location in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, is a comedic look at two friends, ready to take one world, once they stop working at the local rent-to-own.

As part of the deal, HBO Max has become the exclusive streaming home to the semi-autobiographical comedy “Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens,” from Awkwafina. Season one is available to stream now on HBO Max. Season two will premiere and air in its entirety on Comedy Central next summer before becoming available on HBO Max.

“These ground-breaking and hilarious programs are cultural touchstones and we are excited about the diverse group of comedic voices they will bring to HBO Max. We know our audiences will want to watch again and again,” Michael Quigley, EVP of content acquisitions at WarnerMedia, said in a statement. “We are strategically thinking of the fans first, and adding these exceptional series to our portfolio allows us to introduce these standout comedies to new viewers on HBO Max.”

“Comedy Central Productions’ deal with HBO Max is emblematic of our studio production strategy to maximize the value of our content by selectively working with third parties while prioritizing franchise IP for our own platforms,” Keyes Hill-Edgar, chief operating officer of ViacomCBS Entertainment and Youth Brands, said in a statement. “As we shift our strategy and double down on adult animation, topical shows and scripted movies — we are excited to supercharge our studio sales business and continue these great series with HBO Max.”

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“The Other Two” features Cary, an aspiring actor and his sister Brooke, a former professional dancer, who try to find their place in the world while wrestling with their feelings about their 13-year-old brother Chase’s sudden rise to internet fame. Created by former “Saturday Night Live” co-head writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, the series stars Drew Tarver, Helene Yorke, Case Walker, Ken Marino and Molly Shannon. Executive producers are Lorne Michaels, Kelly, Schneider, Andrew Singer and Tony Hernandez. The series is produced by Comedy Central Productions, Jax Media and Broadway Video.

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“South Side” follows two friends who just graduated from community college and are ready to take over the world. But until they do, they’re stuck working at Rent-T-Own. Shot on location in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, the show offers an authentic look into what life on the South Side is all about. Created by Diallo Riddle, Bashir Salahuddin and Sultan Salahuddin, the comedy stars Sultan Salahuddin, Kareme Young, Chandra Russell and Lil Rel Howery. Executive producers are Michael Blieden, Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin. The series is produced by Comedy Central Productions.

“Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens” features Awkwafina (Nora Lum) as Nora Lin in a scripted series based on her real-life beginnings in Queens, N.Y. Raised alongside her cousin by her dad and grandma, Nora leans on her family as she navigates young adulthood in outer borough New York City. Created by Awkwafina and Teresa Hsiao, the series also stars Lori Tan Chinn and BD Wong.  The series is executive produced by Nora Lum, Karey Dornetto, Lucia Aniello, Teresa Hsiao, and Peter Principato and Itay Reiss of Artists First.

Jumanji: The Next Level

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Sony Pictures;
Adventure Comedy;
Box Office $316.83 million;
$30.99 DVD, $38.99 Blu-ray, $45.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for adventure action, suggestive content and some language.
Stars Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Awkwafina, Alex Wolff, Morgan Turner, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Danny Glover, Danny DeVito, Colin Hanks, Rhys Darby, Rory McCann.

The creative team behind 2017’s surprise blockbuster Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle returns to deliver a worthy sequel that is just as entertaining as its predecessor.

The new story provides a mostly familiar setting with enough new elements to freshen up the formula a bit without straying too far from what audiences came to love about the previous film.

In the new film, the teenagers who beat the game before have drifted apart a bit as they head off to college, where Spencer (AlexWolff) begins to feel out of place in the world. When he returns home for the holidays to find his grandfather (Danny DeVito) staying in his old room, he yearns to once again become the hero of the video game, which, it turns out, he salvaged from the garbage heap the group left it in at the end of the previous movie.

When his friends come looking for him and discover he re-entered the game, they follow him in to help bring him out, thinking it should be too hard considering they already beat the game and will know what to expect. This time, though, they inadvertently bring bystanders into the game, resulting in many of the players not having the same avatars they had the last time, giving the actors plenty of chances to play each other. As an added complication, the game’s story has changed, with the characters’ abilities shifting to match.

As a result, the audience knows just enough about the rules of the game to have fun anticipating what will come next, while the particulars are just different enough to keep viewers guessing. Like before, a huge part of the film’s charm is the way it spoofs both video games and Indiana Jones-type adventure serials, only this time around the audience’s pre-existing affection for the characters makes watching them take advantage of their experience of having played before all the more satisfying.

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The film also smartly takes the adventure out of the jungle for the most part, changing the scenery to deserts and frozen mountains, which at least gives the film a new visual flair to play with. And there’s also a nice little lesson about friendship and teamwork.

In pushing out two movies, though, the filmmakers have probably milked as much from the concept as they can, which is why the film sets up another sequel that promises to mix things up a bit and take the franchise back to the roots of the original 1995 film.

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The home video editions of the film come with a ton of extras that play on the winning chemistry of the cast. Many of these come in the form of promotional videos, such as the minute-long “Grow Up,” in which Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart learn how to impersonate Dannys DeVito and Glover. “Trick or Treat” features Hart arriving at Johnson’s house at Halloween dressed in The Rock’s sweater and fanny pack from an infamous 1990s photo. Other videos put the cast in a telenovela and tease Awkwafina’s thieving skills. But the most intriguing might be the three-minute “NPC Confessions: Jurgen the Brutal,” an in-depth analysis with candid insights of the film’s new villain, played by Rory McCann of “Game of Thrones” fame.

These are accompanied by a five-and-a-half-minute gag reel.

In a throwback to the extras of the previous movie, “Rhys Darby Wants to Jingle” is a two-and-a-half-minute video in which Darby, who plays the game’s narrator and guide, wants to do his own music video to match the one the cast, sans him, did for the previous film.

Three behind-the-scenes featurettes total about 23 minutes and cover the basics from the story creation to the cast dynamics and the visual effects. The Blu-ray and digital editions also include lengthy breakdowns of the ostrich chase and monkey attack sequences, plus VFX pre-vis reels of the zeppelin battle and ostrich chase compared with the final versions of the scenes. These are about five minutes each.

The Blu-ray includes a fold-out map of Jumanji with an interactive AR game.

Digital versions on Vudu also include a “Get in the Game Mode,” which uses on-screen graphics that pop up as the movie plays to offer such information as trivia, statistics and character power levels during fights. This provides an added bit of fun to the video game spoof aspect of the film.

‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ Ready to Play on Digital March 3, Disc Including 4K March 17

The actioner Jumanji: The Next Level will come out on digital March 3 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD March 17 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

It has earned $768.5 million at the global box office.

Stars Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillanreturn for another game-based adventure, along with Jumanji newcomers Awkwafina, Rory McCann, Danny Glover and Danny DeVito.

The story catches up with Spencer (Alex Wolff), Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), Martha (Morgan Turner) and Bethany (Madison Iseman) three years after their first adventure in Jumanji’s mystical video game world. When Spencer goes missing inside the game ahead of the group’s planned reunion from college, his friends, along with his grandfather (DeVito) and his grandfather’s friend (Glover), once again inhabit the avatars of Dr. Bravestone (Johnson), “Mouse” Finbar (Hart), Professor Sheldon Oberon (Black) and Ruby Roundhouse (Gillan) to rescue him. As they return to Jumanji, the players have to brave parts unknown and unexplored, from the arid deserts to the snowy mountains, in order to escape.

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Bonus materials include a gag reel, several behind-the-scenes featurettes, in-depth scene breakdowns and a new jingle. The 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD also include an interactive collectible map that employs augmented reality to bring Jumanji to life via smart phone. The experience provides up to 10 minutes of game play and allows users to create their own 8-bit avatar, navigate a series of mini games and more.

‘The Farewell’ Due on Digital Oct. 29, Disc Nov. 12

The drama The Farewell arrives on digital Oct. 29 from A24, and on Blu-ray (plus digital) and DVD from Lionsgate and on demand from A24 Nov. 12.

Written and directed by Lulu Wang (Posthumous), based on her real-life experiences, the film stars Awkwafina (Crazy Rich AsiansOcean’s Eight, “Tawk”), Tzi Ma ( “Silicon Valley,” “Veep,” Skyscraper), and Diana Lin (“The Family Law,” Australia Day).

After learning that her family’s beloved matriarch, Nai Nai, has been given mere weeks to live, Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi returns to Changchun to find that her family has decided to keep the news from Nai Nai. While the family gathers under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding, Billi rediscovers the country she left as a child, and is forever changed by her grandmother’s spirit, in this story of how family can unite and strengthen us — often in spite of ourselves.

The film made $17.5 million in domestic theaters.

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Extras include two featurettes, deleted scenes, and an audio commentary with writer-director Wang and cinematographer Anna Franquesa-Solano.