‘Ocean’s’ Trilogy Arrives on 4K Ultra HD April 30

Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s” trilogy of crime heist films — Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen — will be available for purchase on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc and digitally for the first time April 30 from Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment.

Inspired by and based on the 1960 heist film Ocean’s 11, the three films are directed by Academy Award winner Soderbergh and feature ensemble casts including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Elliott Gould, Bernie Mac, Carl Reiner, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Ellen Barkin, Al Pacino, Scott Caan, Eddie Jemison and Shaobo Qin.

The 4K remasters of Ocean’s Eleven (2001), Ocean’s Twelve (2004) and Ocean’s Thirteen (2007) were completed at Warner Bros. Discovery’s Motion Picture Imaging (MPI) with the participation of Soderbergh. The restored 5.1 digital audio mix was overseen by original re-recording sound mixer and sound editor Larry Blake.

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The “Ocean’s” trilogy Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and digital contains the following previously released special features:

Ocean’s Eleven

  • Commentary by Steven Soderbergh and Ted Griffin
  • Commentary by Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Andy Garcia
  • “Are You In or Out? The Making of Ocean’s Eleven”
  • “Pros & Cons: Inside Ocean’s Outfit”
  • “The Style of Steal”
  • “The Look of the Con”
  • “Original Ocean’s, Original Cool”

 

Ocean’s Twelve

  • Commentary by Steven Soderbergh and George Nolfi
  • “Ready, Jet Set, Go: The Making of Ocean’s Twelve”
  • “HBO First Look: Twelve Is the New Eleven: The Making of Ocean’s Twelve”
  • deleted scenes

 

Ocean’s Thirteen

  • Commentary by Steven Soderbergh, Brian Koppelman and David Levien
  • “Third’s a Charm: The Making of Ocean’s Thirteen
  • “Ahab with a Piggyback: The Means & Machines of Ocean’s”
  • “Jerry Weintraub Walk and Talk”
  • “Masters of the Heist”
  • deleted scenes

1989 Brad Pitt Horror Flick ‘Cutting Class’ Headed to Disc in MVD Rewind Collection

The 1989 horror flick Cutting Class will be released on DVD Jan. 16 and on Blu-ray special edition and 4K Ultra HD (plus Blu-ray) combo pack Jan. 30 in the MVD Rewind Collection from MVD Entertainment Group and Moonstone 8.

In the film, for Paula (Jill Schoelen, The Stepfather), high school is murder. Her overprotective father disappears during a weekend hunting trip. She’s being romantically pursued by Brian Woods (Donovan Leitch, The Blob), a creepy classmate who recently graduated from a mental institution. Her jealous jock boyfriend Dwight (Brad Pitt, Moneyball) is looking for any reason to release his juvenile rage. The lecherous school principle Mr. Dante (Roddy McDowall, Fright Night) is after her student body, and her friends and teachers are rapidly falling victim to a silent, shadowy mass murder. As the body count rises, Paula begins to suspect that any one of her reckless suitors could be the twisted killer. But unless she learns his identity soon, her high school education will quickly come to a nasty end.

Extras on the Blu-ray (also included with the 4K release) include the original theatrical trailer; the ‘R’-Rated/edited version of the film; the “Kill Comparisons” featurette; an interview with star Jill Schoelen; an interview with star Donovan Leitch; a collectible mini-poster; and a limited edition slipcover (first pressing only).

Extras on DVD include the original theatrical trailer.

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Babylon

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 3/21/23;
Paramount;
Drama;
Box Office $15.35 million;
$25.99 DVD, $31.99 Blu-ray, $35.99 UHD BD, $44.99 4K Steelbook;
Rated ‘R’ for strong and crude sexual content, graphic nudity, bloody violence, drug use, and pervasive language.
Stars Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Diego Calva, Jean Smart, Jovan Adepo, Li Jun Li, P.J. Byrne, Lukas Haas, Olivia Hamilton, Max Minghella, Rory Scovel, Katherine Waterston, Tobey Maguire, Flea, Jeff Garlin, Eric Roberts, Ethan Suplee, Samara Weaving, Olivia Wilde, Spike Jonze.

Just in case the trailers hadn’t fully prepared viewers for what they are in for with Babylon, writer-director Damien Chazelle’s lavish tale of Hollywood excess in the silent-movie era, the film’s opening moments will set a tone that is not for the faint of heart.

In the first scene, a day laborer is sprayed with dung by an elephant he’s helping transport to a fancy party. A minute later, a corpulent attendee of said rave is shown being urinated on during a dalliance with a flapper (a clear reference to the Fatty Arbuckle scandal).

And that’s just the first five minutes of a film whose three-hour runtime will test viewers’ patience as much as its fluidic humor will test their gag reflexes. Babylon is a beautiful paradox of a film in which the glitz and glamour of grand villas, magnificent costumes and epic setpieces are counterbalanced by grotesque orgies, mind-numbing narcotics and underground freak shows.

A former jazz drummer, Chazelle seemed to have a found a nice filmmaking niche at the intersection of music and cinema with films such as Whiplash and La La Land. But then he made First Man, turning the inherently patriotic journey of America’s first voyage to the moon into a depressing treatise on grief. So, who can blame him for going for broke with Babylon?

The film is an Altman-esque portrait of a handful of archetypal characters navigating their way through Hollywood in the late 1920s, when the advent of talkies revolutionized the motion-picture industry. Brad Pitt plays Jack Conrad, an aging star rejected by audiences once they hear him recite the insipid dialogue he’s asked to perform. Margot Robbie is the stereotypical “It” girl who seeks nothing but superstardom and a perpetual party. Jovan Adepo plays a black jazz musician whose career is transformed by shorts of him playing the trumpet, and just as easily curtailed by racist attitudes. The list goes on.

The central thread weaving these stories together is Manny Torres (Diego Calva), as close as a stand-in for the audience there could be for this picture. He’s a Mexican migrant who dreams of working for the studios, and gets his chance thanks to being in the right place at the right time. He quickly rises through the ranks until he learns the quintessential lesson of Hollywood: There is no dream that can’t be shattered by bad timing and loving the wrong person.

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The transition from silents to sound was also the focus of 1952 musical Singin’ in the Rain, a film that has had a rather obvious influence on Chazelle’s creative perspectives. He made his grand love story musical with La La Land, and now covers the Hollywood history aspects of Singin’ in the Rain with Babylon. Given there are several direct references to Singin’ in the Rain within Babylon, Chazelle isn’t being subtle with the parallels.

Chazelle’s opus is certainly not lacking for ideas, and as muddled as it is at times, Babylon is long enough to indulge most of them (there’s another nine minutes of deleted scenes on the Blu-ray). The production values are impeccable, the boisterous jazz-infused score by Justin Hurwitz is fantastic, and the character journeys themselves are not altogether uncompelling (one of the film’s better running jokes is that Conrad seems to have a different new wife in every scene).

But these characters aren’t singing in rain. They usually end up dancing in poop and piss and vomit, a visual metaphor for how Hollywood will shit on anyone for the sake of meaningless profligacy.

Dramatizing the days before workplace protections and safety regulations, Babylon depicts people literally dying on sets for the sake of art, an uncontrolled chaos that seems less concerning to the filmmakers of the day than getting the perfect shot before the sun goes down. Characters are less interested in their future well being than in maintaining the delusion that the good times will continue forever. Even when confronted with the reality that all things must end, they are offered the comfort of film itself being the source of immortality, its stars the ghosts of a bygone era.

Of course, there’s a question unspoken by the film that lingers above the overindulgence: Was it worth it? Around 90% of the films shot during the silent era are now considered lost — ghosts with no one left to haunt.

Chazelle skirts this issue with a thesis that the silent era and its response to the advent of sound in films served as an important foundation for the industry to come, and its countless technological leaps forward. And in that regard, he becomes yet another filmmaker presenting an ode to the magic of going to the movies — even the ones that symbolically spray feces on the audience.

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In addition to six deleted and extended scenes, the Blu-ray offers three informative behind-the-scenes featurettes. The 31-minute “A Panoramic Canvas Called Babylon” is a comprehensive look at the production as a whole, supplemented by the three minute “The Costumes of Babylon,” which is self-explanatory, and the two-minute “Scoring Babylon,” about Hurwitz’s Oscar-nominated music.

Bullet Train

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 10/18/22;
Sony Pictures;
Action;
Box Office $103.1 million;
$30.99 DVD, $38.99 Blu-ray, $45.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for strong and bloody violence, pervasive language, and brief sexuality.
Stars Brad Pitt, Joey King, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Michael Shannon, Benito A Martínez Ocasio, Sandra Bullock.

Director David Leitch’s latest hyperkinetic actioner is an amusing bit of fluff about a thief who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Brad Pitt plays said thief, code name Ladybug, who is tasked with stealing a briefcase full of cash being transported on one of Japan’s famed bullet trains. However, Ladybug is filling in for a criminal colleague who thought the assignment was beneath him, and quickly discovers the train is filled with mercenaries and assassins who take turns trying to kill each other with a wide array of weapons of choice, including a snake.

Caught up in the mayhem, Ladybug quickly realizes he’ll have to overcome more than a streak of bad luck in order to survive the trip.

As with former stuntman Leitch’s other directorial efforts, such as John Wick, Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2, Bullet Train is loaded with colorful characters and even more colorful sets, punctuated by bright bursts of neon.

Based on a 2010 Japanese novel, Bullet Train should prove an entertaining-enough diversion for action fans.

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The primary extra on the Blu-ray is an audio commentary with Leitch, producer (and also Leitch’s wife) Kelly McCormick, and screenwriter Zak Olkewicz. It’s a good commentary about the challenges of filming an intense action movie during COVID, though the biggest insights are provided by the writer when he points out how much the final product either expanded upon or ignored what was actually written in the script.

The commentary is the only extra offered on the 4K disc in the combo pack. The rest of the extras are on the regular Blu-ray Disc, including three minutes of outtakes and bloopers, plus five short behind-the-scenes featurettes.

The six-minute “Mission Accomplished: Making of Bullet Train” details the origins of the film and the production in general; the five-minute “All Aboard the Pain Train: Stunts” is about staging action in a small space; the seven-minute “Trained Professionals: The Cast” delves into the performances, from the all-star cast to several cameos; the four-minute “Catch What You Missed: Easter Eggs,” which highlights some of the pop culture references and influences in the film; and four minutes of stunt pre-vis sequences.

Rounding out the disc is “Bullet Train Goes Off the Rails,” a four-and-a-half-minute montage of promotional spots featuring NBA players made to air during the NBA playoffs.

 

Brad Pitt’s ‘Bullet Train’ Tops Slow Weekend Box Office With $13.1 Million in Ticket Sales

Sony Pictures’ action-comedy Bullet Train generated another $13.1 million in projected revenue to easily top a slow weekend box office through Aug. 14. The Brad Pitt-starrer has now generated more than $54 million across almost 4,400 North American screens over the past two weekends.

The movie was the only theatrical release to top $10 million in revenue as the summer box office grinds to a halt. It was the slowest theatrical result since the Feb. 11-13 weekend when 20th Century Studios’ Death on the Nile generated less than $13 million in ticket sales as the No. 1 release.

In the No. 2 spot was Paramount Pictures’ enduring Top Gun: Maverick, which generated another $7.1 million in ticket sales in its 12th weekend of release. The Tom Cruise sequel has now generated more than $673 million at the North American box office — and approaching No. 6 on the all-time North American box office gross list.

Rounding out the podium was Warner Bros. Animation’s DC League of Super-Pets, which generated about $7 million to bring its three-week tally to $58.3 million, $100 million worldwide.

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Sole newcomer at the box office: Lionsgate’s Fall took in an estimated $2.5 million this weekend at 1,548 locations. The opening weekend audience was 54% male and 61% over 25, according to PostTrak.  The film took in an estimated $925,000 on Friday (with previews), $888,000 on Saturday and a projected $692,000 for Sunday.

The drama finds best friends Becky (Grace Caroline Currey) and Hunter (Virginia Gardner) attempting to conquer fears and push limits. But after they climb 2,000 feet to the top of a remote, abandoned radio tower, they find themselves stranded with no way down. Now Becky and Hunter’s expert climbing skills are put to the ultimate test as they desperately fight to survive the elements, a lack of supplies, and vertigo-inducing heights. The film is directed by Scott Mann, written by Scott Mann & Jonathan Frank, and produced by Christian Mercuri, James Harris, Mark Lane, Scott Mann and David Haring.

Sony Pictures’ ‘Bullet Train’ Seeks to Halt Summer Movie Slowdown

As the summer box office approaches the mid-August slowdown, Sony Pictures’ action-comedy Bullet Train, headlined by Brad Pitt, seeks to avoid the lull with a projected $13 million in second-weekend ticket sales through Aug. 14. The movie topped the previous weekend’s box office with more than $30 million in ticket sales.

The tally should be enough to hold off a slate of returning studio titles and first-time smaller features. Warner Bros. Animation’s DC League of Super-Pets is expected to generate $8.3 million in its third weekend of release — just ahead of Paramount Pictures enduring Top Gun: Maverick, which is set to add a projected $6.8 million in revenue from a return to Imax and other high-definition projection screens.

The Tom Cruise actioner continues to defy norms, extending its theatrical window indefinitely en route to a $674 million North American box office, and $1.35 billion globally.

Weekend newcomers include A24’s Bodies, Bodies, Bodies, which is projected to generate about $4 million in revenue following last weekend’s soft launch.

Remaining holdovers include Universal Pictures’ Nope with $6.2 million in projected ticket sales ($103.8 million domestically), Disney/Marvel Studios’ Thor: Love and Thunder with $5.7 million ($326 million domestically), Universal’s Minions: The Rise of Gru ($5.6 million/$345 million), Sony 3000 Pictures’ Where the Crawdads Sing ($3.9 million/$72 million), Universal’s Easter Sunday ($3 million/$10 million), and Warner Bros. Pictures’ Elvis with $2.7 million and $141.5 million in North America.

Notably, Elvis is also available for PVOD rental and digital purchase across online platforms — underscoring parent Warner Bros. Discovery’s new business mandate extending the theatrical window concurrent with any digital retail offering.

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Sony Pictures’ ‘Bullet Train’ Speeds to $30.1 Million Opening Weekend Box Office

Sony Pictures’ Bullet Train is projected to reach $30.1 million in revenue in its opening weekend box office through Aug. 7. With a reported $90 million production budget, the Brad Pitt actioner has miles of rails to cover to make profit. No small task considering the movie’s relatively low 41% Rotten Tomatoes ratings score.

Regardless, the tally appears good enough to hold off Warner Bros. Animation’s DC League of Super-Pets, which generated an estimated $10.9 million in ticket sales in its second weekend, to top $45 million across North American screens.

Universal Pictures’ sci-fi drama Nope rounded out the podium with an additional $8.5 million in projected ticket sales. The revenue moves director Jordan Peele’s thriller near the $100 million in North American ticket sales.

Disney/Marvel Studios’ Thor: Love and Thunder generated an estimated $7.6 million to bring the superhero actioner past $315 million in domestic ticket sales. Universal/Illumination’s Minions: Rise of Gru sold an estimated $7.1 million worth of tickets to bring its North American gross near $335 million. A significant sum considering the movie has been available on digital retail channels for $19.99 rental and $29.99 purchase since Aug. 2.

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Brad Pitt’s ‘Bullet Train’ Eyeing Weekend Box Office Win

Sony Pictures’ comedy action-thriller Bullet Train features an ensemble cast of assassins, headlined by Brad Pitt, who has been tasked with retrieving a suitcase on a high-speed train heading from Tokyo to Morioka.

The movie, based on the 2010 novel by Japanese author Kotaro Isaka, also stars Sandra Bullock, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Zazie Beetz, among others.

Bullet Train is projected to generate upwards of $30 million across about 4,300 North American screens through Aug. 7 in its debut box office weekend. The tally should be enough to hold off the second weekend of Warner Bros. Animation’s DC League of Super-Pets.

The remaining box office contenders include returning releases such as Universal Pictures’ sci-fi drama Nope, which should top the $100 million mark with another $9.9 million in North American ticket sales since its July 22 theatrical debut.

Disney/Marvel Studios’ Thor: Love and Thunder is projected to add $8.2 million and push its domestic tally past $317 million. Universal’s Minions: The Rise of Gru may be headed to retail channels, but the Despicable Me spin-off is projected to sell another $7.7 million in tickets, bring its domestic tally past $335 million since its July 1 release.

Paramount Pictures’ unflappable Top Gun: Maverick looks to continue its amazing theatrical run with an estimated $6.8 million in ticket sales, pushing its North American tally past $662 million. The movie has already topped $1.3 billion worldwide.

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Other box office holdovers include Sony 3000 Pictures’ Where the Crawdads Sing, Warner Bros. Pictures’ Elvis, Universal Pictures’ The Black Phone and the studio’s newcomer comedy Easter Sunday, featuring a Filipino American cast.

The Lost City

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Paramount;
Comedy;
Box Office $105.34 million;
$27.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray, $38.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for violence and some bloody images, suggestive material, partial nudity and language.
Stars Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Bowen Yang, Joan Pringle, Brad Pitt.

Deftly blending comedy and action, The Lost City is a charming adventure that coasts on the charisma of its cast.

The story comes across like an update of Romancing the Stone with a bit of The Three Amigos thrown in. Sandra Bullock plays reclusive romance novelist Loretta Sage, whose latest novel catches the attention of a billionaire named Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe), who is searching for the treasure that served as the basis for her book. He kidnaps her and puts her to the task of finding the treasure by deciphering clues from the ruins of an ancient city that he dug up on a remote island.

Her disappearance prompts Alan (Channing Tatum), the dimwitted cover model for her book series, to try to rescue her by hiring a mercenary (Brad Pitt). When the rescue goes awry, Loretta finds herself stuck with Alan running through the jungle hoping to find a way home, while Fairfax continues to pursue her, intent on fining the treasure before a nearby volcano wipes everything out.

The plot takes some unexpected twists and turns as it plays with the tropes of treasure hunt movies. The film looks great as well, with its jungle vistas, volcano backdrop and a snappy color palette centered on Loretta’s shiny purple sequined jumpsuit.

The Blu-ray includes nine minutes of deleted scenes, the bulk of which involve a whole subplot for one of the film’s minor characters.

Also included are nearly 40 minutes of solid behind-the-scenes featurettes, and a five-and-a-half-minute blooper reel.

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Apple Lands Formula One Feature Starring Brad Pitt

Apple Studios has landed a Formula One racing feature from Joseph Kosinski, Plan B Entertainment and Jerry Bruckheimer Films, starring Brad Pitt.

Kosinski (Top Gun: Maverick) is set to direct and will produce the feature alongside seven-time Formula One champion Sir Lewis Hamilton, Plan B Entertainment (World War Z), Jerry Bruckheimer and Chad Oman of Jerry Bruckheimer Films (Top Gun: Maverick, “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise).

In the film, Pitt stars as a driver who comes out of retirement to compete alongside a rookie driver against the titans of the sport.

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This marks Apple Studios’ second feature with Pitt and Plan B Entertainment, who are partnering, along with George Clooney’s Smokehouse, on the Jon Watts-directed untitled film starring Pitt and Clooney.