‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ Headed to Digital Dec. 13, Disc Dec. 20

Searchlight Pictures’ The Banshees of Inisherin will be released through digital retailers Dec. 13, and on Blu-ray and DVD Dec. 20 from Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

From acclaimed filmmaker Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), the tragicomedy is an immersive tale of friendship and folly starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. 

In the film, although Pádraic (Farrell) and Colm (Gleeson) have been lifelong friends, they find themselves at an impasse when one abruptly ends their relationship, bringing alarming consequences for both of them.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The film made its world premiere in September at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Best Screenplay Award for McDonagh and the Volpi Cup for Best Actor for Farrell. It went on to release theatrically in October, earning the highest opening per screen average of the fall, according to Disney.

Bonus features include the featurette “Creating The Banshees of Inisherin” and deleted scenes.

In Bruges

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Kino Lorber;
Comedy;
$39.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for strong bloody violence, pervasive language and some drug use.
Stars Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell, Ralph Fiennes, Clémence Poésy, Thekla Reuten, Zeljko Ivanek, Ciarán Hinds.

Twenty minutes is generally the make-or-break point. If the first reel fails to sink its claws, chances are nothing that follows will compensate for that initial bad impression. Rarely, as in the case of Robert Mulligan’s Bloodbrothers, does a film purposely start on what appears to be unintentionally slippery footing only to turn things around in reel five by artistically justifying the introductory unevenness. As quick as I am to give up hope after a reel, it is even tougher to go for a film that ultimately falls apart in the last 10 minutes. Such is the case with Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges.

After a particularly grueling assignment, hitmen Ken (Brendan Gleeson) and Ray (Colin Farrell), receive stern warning from their boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes): “Get the f*** out of London.”

Harry sentences the pair to two weeks in a Bruges hotel where they’re ordered to lay low until he calls with further instructions. Infantile Ray instantly starts climbing walls at the mere hint of transforming their room into a jail cell. Playing against his natural dimwitted impulses, Ray uses the threat of culture as inducement and convinces Ken to take an evening constitutional. During their stroll, Ray is instantly smitten by a woman he spies working on a film crew. Chloe (Clémence Poésy) has the most important job on the production: She supplies drugs to the cast and crew.

Films like Midnight Express, Babel and Manda Bala depict nightmare destinations that act as instant deterrents to tourism. It has been a long time since a film gave me the itch to visit the city in which it was filmed. With its canals, cobbled streets and miles of beautifully preserved medieval architecture, the titular locale seems like a perfect storybook destination. What better place for a couple of hoods to hole up in than the picturesque town of Bruges, the capital of West Flanders in northwest Belgium?

Ken is somewhat cultured, as assassins go, and actually enjoys taking in the scenic points of interest. Uncouth boor that he is, Ray gets his kicks by harassing obese tourists. In spite of Harry’s orders to stay in the room and await his orders, Ray refuses to break his first date with Chloe. After the first cocktail together his actions are almost justified. Chloe possesses the perfect blend of mystery, beauty and bad behavior to attract any criminal looking for a down-time diversion.

Even if Ray waited for Harry to call, the results would have been the same. His first contract, a priest in mid-confession, ends with a child accidentally getting caught in the crossfire, a fact that haunts Ray and repulses Harry who has a soft spot for children. Ken’s next assignment is to whack his partner. He trails Ray to a local park where no sooner does he draw a bead on his partner than guilt-racked Ray lifts a gun to his temple. Ken could just as easily let nature take its course, but his fondness for the kid causes Ken to put an “Amen” on both hit and suicide and in doing so, pray that Harry goes easy.

Up until now, much of the comedy flowed naturally from Ray’s ignorant, mean-spirited reaction to his idyllic surroundings. This was playwright Martin McDonagh’s debut, his distinctively cadenced ear for gutter- speak apparent from the get-go. The amount of “c” words strung together in one 30 second scene outnumber most features.

Let’s pause for a few words on the most reviled word in the English language. Peter Bogdanovich’s Saint Jack is the first time I remember hearing a man refer to another man as a “c**t.” Compared to Ken and Ray, Jack sounds like a schoolmarm. The Brits have an affinity for the pejorative that’s unsurpassed. Found on The Tailor of Panama commentary track: director John Boorman professess undying adoration and vows to do whatever he can to keep this “lovely” expletive alive in his dialogue. During an interview with Martin’s younger brother, John Michael McDonagh (The Guard, Cavalry), I ask about his fascination with the word. “You see, this is the thing,” he laughs, “In England people use it as a non-purpose word that doesn’t have the weight that it has in America. You come out of the toilet at a bar to find all your friends have left and you say, ‘Where have all those c**ts gone?’” The McDonaghs (and Scorsese and Mamet, etc.) use curse words as a writer could commas to bring a stylistic rhythm to their dialog.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

If you have yet to see the movie it’s best to stop here. The road ahead is paved with spoilers.

Signs of a faltering narrative first appear when Harry’s weakness for children is used as a justification for Ray’s termination. Just because he likes kids shouldn’t automatically render him childlike. Watching Harry self-destruct and rip apart a phone while his family looked on from the dinner table earned a hearty chuckle. But it’s a bit much when, after Ken covers for Ray by telling Harry that his mate is indisposed, the boss’s first reaction is to ask whether he is “making a pee or poo.”

The Boss should have packed lightly; when Harry hits town his excess baggage includes happenstance, convenience, and an unsatisfying climax. A pair of anti-smokers, awkwardly-placed in Act I, return to enact revenge three reels later. Given what we know of him, a pro like Harry would never be so reckless a shot. And either that bell tower had 147 stories or Harry took the 10-steps-down, five-steps-up staircase. Ray has time to jump to his death and deliver a pavement soliloquy while Harry is still running.

In spite of these few gripes, In Bruges is still worth your time if for no other reason than a chance to watch Brendan Gleeson, one of the last great character actors, strut his stuff. Fiennes and Farrell (basically reprising his role from Cassandra’s Dream) are outstanding, but nothing comes close to matching the scene in the tower where Ray, tired of all the double-crossing, simply gives up. In the company of such over-the-top performances, Gleeson wisely underplays at every turn. His maturity and depth of characterization are what engaged and kept me in In Bruges.

The 4K edition includes four featurettes, deleted and extended scenes, interviews with the cast and filmmakers, a gag reel and the film’s trailer.

Edge of Tomorrow

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 7/5/22;
Warner;
Sci-Fi;
$24.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material.
Stars Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson.

There’s always something fun about seeing characters trapped in a time loop, reliving a day over and over but looking at it each time from a slightly different perspective in an attempt to change the outcome. It’s certainly not a new concept for sci-fi or fantasy, with Groundhog Day being the best-known example (though “Star Trek: The Next Generation” had done a time loop episode a year before that movie came out).

Director Doug Limon’s highly entertaining 2014 film Edge of Tomorrow, based on the Japanese light novel All You Need Is Kill, put a fresh spin on the formula by making it a war movie, forcing its protagonist (Tom Cruise) to relive a bloody battle until he can unlock the secret to saving humanity from an alien invasion.

Follow us on Instagram!

Cruise at the time seemed to be fully entrenched in a Charlton Heston phase, similar to how that legendary actor spent the middle-age portion of his career hammering out a series of science-fiction films. In the decade or so prior, Cruise had appeared in Minority Report and War of the Worlds, and had just come off of Oblivion from director Joseph Kosinski, with whom he would reteam for Top Gun: Maverick.

Thus, it’s quite amusing to watch the progression of Cruise’s character, Maj. William Cage, as he adjusts to his circumstance. In something of a parallel with Cruise’s own career, Cage begins the film as a smooth-talking military PR flunky who gets by on charisma alone, not unlike 1980s Cruise, until a vindictive general forces him into combat. The hapless Cage is quickly killed, but the circumstances of his death cause him to relive the day every time he’s killed. This allows him to hone his combat skills enough to become action hero Tom Cruise.

He finds an ally in Sgt. Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), who once experienced the same thing, and used her power to defeat the aliens in battle before it wore off. Turns out, the aliens are the ones resetting the day, adapting each time they lose so they can eliminate humanity’s defenses.

This gives Cage a clear objective. Find the source of the aliens’ ability to manipulate time, and destroy it. This really gives the film the feeling of a video game, with Cage as the player who has to start the level over each time he loses a life.

For his part, Limon says in the bonus featurettes that the film isn’t as much inspired by video games or alien movies as it is his reaction to what he doesn’t like about them, and his desire not to make a boring film that relies on cliché.

The film stretches its concept as far as logic allows, anticipating plot holes or questions the audience might have and then providing the answer. For example, there comes a point when Cage can’t keep Rita alive past a certain point, which only serves to highlight why he still needs her to carry out his mission. Sure enough, the next time through Cage tries it solo (though this leads to a new set of complications).

The editing is crisp, keeping viewers fully informed about what’s going on without the need for repeating events more than required. The visual effects are a nice mix of practical sets and CGI that look great in HD.

The film also subtly reminds viewers of our own cycle of warfare by linking the alien invasion to some of the famous battlefields of the two World Wars (particularly the beaches at Normandy).

Screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie had worked with Cruise on 2012’s Jack Reacher, and the creative team would align again in 2015 when McQuarrie took over directing duties for the “Mission: Impossible” franchise. He was also one of the co-writers on the Top Gun sequel.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

At the time of its release, the biggest complaint about Edge of Tomorrow seemed to be that the studio saddled it with a sappy title that seemed better suited for a soap opera than a hard-boiled sci-fi actioner (for which the novel’s original title of All You Need Is Kill would have proved sufficiently badass). This might have hampered marketing efforts to built audience awareness, though the film still managed to earned more than $100 million domestically and bring in enough worldwide to double its budget. It enjoyed a second life and became something of a cult hit on home video, where the tag line “Live. Die. Repeat” was given such prominence in the packaging and promotional materials that fans and retailers assumed the studio had re-named it, leading to even more confusion about what the actual name of the film was.

There were rumors of a sequel in development that would have been called Live Die Repeat and Repeat, but the pandemic seems to have delayed production enough that the studio is now pursuing an HBO Max spinoff instead.

The Edge of Tomorrow 4K Ultra HD re-release includes the same bonus materials as earlier releases of the film. The combo pack has no extras on the 4K disc, and the regular Blu-ray is the same as previously released, offering a few inconsequential deleted scenes and about an hour’s worth of behind-the-scenes featurettes that focus mostly on the stunts and special effects.

Showtime’s ‘The Comey Rule’ Arriving on MOD DVD Oct. 27

Showtime’s two-part limited series “The Comey Rule” will be released on DVD Oct. 27 by CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment. The DVD will be manufactured on demand and will available  through Amazon and other online retailers.

Based on former FBI director James Comey’s book A Higher Loyalty, “The Comey Rule” recounts events surrounding the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath, and centers on the turbulent relationship between Comey (Jeff Daniels) and President Donald Trump (Brendan Gleeson), whose strikingly different personalities, ethics and loyalties put them on a collision course.

The cast also includes Holly Hunter, Michael Kelly, Jennifer Ehle, Jonathan

Banks and Oona Chaplin. “The Comey Rule” was adapted for the screen and directed by Billy Ray.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!