‘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

Oppenheimer

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Universal;
Drama;
Box Office $325.37 million;
$34.98 DVD, $39.98 Blu-ray, $49.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for some sexuality, nudity and language.
Stars Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Josh Hartnett, Casey Affleck, Rami Malek, Kenneth Branagh, Benny Safdie, Jason Clarke, Dylan Arnold, Tom Conti, James D’Arcy, David Dastmalchian, Dane DeHaan, Alden Ehrenreich, Tony Goldwyn, Jefferson Hall, David Krumholtz, Matthew Modine, Scott Grimes, Jack Quaid, Christopher Denham, Olivia Thirlby, Gary Oldman.

Director Christopher Nolan’s meticulously crafted Oppenheimer is a bit of a throwback to the kinds of epics stocked with all-star casts Hollywood used to pump out in the 1950s and ’60s.

Yet this biopic of J. Robert Oppenheimer, labeled by history as the “father of the atomic bomb,” is also distinctly Nolan, marked by his penchant for nonlinear storytelling and pushing the boundaries of traditional filmmaking. It’s a testament to Nolan’s skill as a director that he’s able to craft a riveting character drama from what is essentially three hours of people just talking to each other.

Based on the book American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, Oppenheimer frames the story of its title subject through the proceedings of two political hearings. One, set in 1954, finds Oppenheimer (longtime Nolan collaborator Cillian Murphy) attempting to restore his security clearance in the face of efforts to silence him from influencing nuclear policy. The other, set in 1959, focuses on the Senate confirmation hearing of Lewis Strauss (Robert Downey Jr.), a former member of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission who sheds light on Oppenheimer’s ouster.

Nolan uses similar points of discussion from the testimony given at both events to explore Oppenheimer’s life through flashbacks depicting the young scientist’s study of physics in Europe and his efforts to expand the field of quantum mechanics research in the United States.

Oppenheimer is poised to pioneer the study of black holes when World War II breaks out, and he is recruited by Gen. Leslie Groves (Matt Damon) to head the Manhattan Project to create an atomic bomb before Nazi Germany.

Scenes stemming from Strauss’ point of view are presented in black and white and meant to convey a more objective reality, while scenes in color represent Oppenheimer’s perspective and a more subjective interpretation of events.

The highlight of the three-hour film is obviously the middle section depicting the creation of the atomic bomb, with Oppenheimer and Groves bringing many of America’s top minds to a makeshift town in the New Mexico desert in order to turn theory into reality, culminating in the Trinity test.

Oppenheimer, however, is constantly dogged by earlier associations with left-wing causes, and friendships with a number of Communist Party members and Soviet sympathizers, that will ultimately be used as a sledgehammer against him.

Nolan in the Blu-ray bonus features describes the film’s structure as moving from the beginning of the hero’s journey, to a heist movie (the recruiting of a team for a caper of sorts), to a courtroom drama.

Through Murphy’s transformative performance, Oppenheimer comes to life as a man constantly struggling to balance the accolades of his historic achievements with the moral weight of their implications.

The last hour of the film depicts this sort of tug-of-war between America’s efforts to maintain nuclear superiority in the face of Russia developing the technology, and Oppenheimer’s desire to pursue international policies to contain the genie he helped escape from the bottle.

Nolan famously shot the film using large-format Imax cameras, and the results are evident in a pristine 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation. The 4K and Blu-ray disc versions of the film take advantage of this with a variable aspect ratio that shifts between a letterboxed 2.20:1 image and an immersive 1.78:1 that occupies the entirety of a big-screen TV. The DVD and digital presentations are locked at a consistent 2.20:1 ratio.

Sound is booming but dialogue is easy to understand despite most scenes taking place in a conversational tone.

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The 4K and Blu-ray combo packs include a bonus disc containing nearly three-and-a-half hours of supplemental material, led by the seven-part “The Story of Our Time: The Making of Oppenheimer” behind-the-scenes documentary.

Clocking in at more than 72 minutes, the program offers a comprehensive look at the making of the film and the exquisite level of detail employed by Nolan in re-creating the period settings, for the most part. Of note, the set of Oppenheimer’s office includes the actual clock he had in his real office, and scenes taking place at the Oppenheimers’ home were filmed at their actual house in Los Alamos. Nolan was also keen on using practical in-camera effects as opposed to CGI, which lends to the film’s air of authenticity.

The seven featurettes are also available with digital copies of the film. The remaining extras are exclusive to the Blu-ray.

The eight-minute “Innovations in Film” focuses on the use of 65mm to shoot the picture, delving into the cinematography and editing challenges presented. Of note, the production had to invent black-and-white 65mm film stock to achieve the film’s visual style. There’s also a segment on how the film was prepared for digital projection and home video, with the digital version of the film being carefully rendered to match the look and feel of the 70mm Imax presentation.

For some comparisons of the different presentation styles of the film, there’s a full package of the film’s trailers, including an Imax trailer that displays footage from the film in the square Imax ratio, plus the five-minute promo video that played during the early summer. The footage in these trailers isn’t as refined as the film presentation, which demonstrates how much care went into making the film look the best it can be.

A 35-minute “Meet the Press” episode features a Q&A from July 15, 2023, featuring Nolan, author Bird, physicist and Nolan science advisor Dr. Kip Thorne, current Los Alamos director Dr. Thom Mason, and physicist Dr. Carlo Rovelli. It’s an interesting discussion about the relationship between science and policy, and includes some tidbits about how Nolan the screenwriter went a bit deeper than the book in depicting the Strauss confirmation hearing by digging up the actual transcripts.

Rounding out the extras is the hour-and-a-half To End All War: Oppenheimer & the Atomic Bomb, a great biographical documentary about the real Oppenheimer that gives a better context to the events depicted in the film. Seeing the copious footage of the soft-spoken Oppenheimer — he comes across as a bit of a professorial Mr. Rogers — really crystalizes how much Murphy was able to embody him in his performance. This is the kind of bonus feature more movies about real events should include on home video but just don’t anymore.

Musical Biopic ‘Dreamin’ Wild’ Available Digitally Sept. 26

Lionsgate will release the musical biography Dreamin’ Wild for digital purchase and on demand rental Sept. 26.

The movie features Academy Award recipient Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Noah Jupe (Honey Boy), and Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Zooey Deschanel (“New Girl,” 500 Days of Summer). Oscar and Primetime Emmy-nominated writer-director Bill Pohlad once again delves into the challenges faced by a musical group in his latest screenplay.

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In the film based on a true story, Dreamin´ Wild is an album that the brothers Donnie (Casey Affleck) and Joe (Walton Goggins) Emerson recorded as teenagers in 1979 without much commercial success. Almost 30 years later, the brothers are surprised to learn from music executive Matt Sullivan (Chris Messina) that the album has been embraced by a new generation of fans, and that critics are calling it a masterpiece of teenage artistic expression. But Matt’s passion for the brothers’ music crashes into the ghosts of musical prodigy Donnie’s past and the complexities of his present life as a father and struggling business owner with his wife, Nancy (Deschanel). Music, love, family, guilt, and the unforeseen burden of resurfaced dreams intertwine in this captivating true story.  

LGBTQ+ Specialist Wolfe Video Cuts DVD, Blu-ray Disc Deal for Two Bleecker Street Films

Wolfe Video on April 15 announced that it has entered a home entertainment partnership with DECAL for two Bleecker Street films, Harry Macqueen’s Supernova and Mona Fastvold’s The World to Come.

Wolfe Video has already announced a DVD and Blu-ray Disc release date for Supernova on May 18; The World to Come will follow on June 1.

In The World to Come, a 19th century romance set in the American Northeast, Abigail (Katherine Waterston, “Fantastic Beasts” franchise), a farmer’s wife, and her new neighbor Tallie (Academy Award nominee Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman) find themselves irrevocably drawn to each other. A grieving Abigail tends to her withdrawn husband Dyer (Casey Affleck) as free spirit Tallie bristles at the jealous control of her husband Finney (Christopher Abbott). Together, their intimacy beings to fill a void in each other’s lives they never knew existed.

The World to Come had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, where it was awarded the prestigious Queer Lion award, before its domestic premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Bleecker Street released the film theatrically on Feb. 12 and digitally on March 2.

The World to Come was directed by Mona Fastvold (The Sleepwalker) from a screenplay by Ron Hansen and Jim Shepard, and is based on an original story by Shepard. The film was produced by Sea Change Media, Killer Films, and M.Y.R.A. Entertainment, in association with Hype Film, Charades, Yellow Bear Films, Panasper Films Ltd. and Ingenious Media.

The deal was negotiated by Kathy Wolfe and Evan Schwartz from Wolfe Video and Kent Sanderson from Bleecker Street.

“We are excited to partner with the team at DECAL and Bleecker Street for these two special films in the LGBTQ+ genre,” said Schwartz, VP of content at Wolfe Video. “With Wolfe’s home video expertise and long-time presence in the LGBTQ+ community, we believe LGBTQ+ and mainstream audiences will hold a place for Supernova and The World to Come in their physical media collections.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Wolfe on these two beautiful films,” said Kent Sanderson, president of acquisitions and ancillary distribution at Bleecker Street. “They have proven themselves to be leaders in the space and we know that they will help us continue to find new audiences to enjoy Harry and Mona’s work.”

Each DVD and Blu-ray Disc will include behind-the-scenes featurettes, English closed captions, English audio descriptions and Spanish subtitles.

Founded in 1985, Wolfe Video says it is the largest exclusive distributor of lesbian, gay, bi and transgender (LGBT) films.

Gravitas Ventures Drama ‘Our Friend’ Due on Digital March 23, DVD March 30 From Universal

The Gravitas Ventures drama Our Friend will come out on digital March 23 and on DVD March 30 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film tells the true story of the Teague family — journalist Matt (Casey Affleck), his wife Nicole (Dakota Johnson) and their two young daughters — and how their lives are upended by Nicole’s diagnosis of terminal cancer. As Matt’s responsibilities as a caretaker and parent become increasingly overwhelming, the couple’s best friend Dane Faucheux (Jason Segel) offers to come and help out. As Dane puts his life on hold to stay with his friends, the impact of this life-altering decision proves greater and more profound than anyone could have imagined.

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The release includes a behind-the-scenes bonus feature in which filmmakers and cast, including Segel, Johnson and Affleck, discuss why they were drawn to this true story and how they worked together to honestly portray the real people at its center.

Affleck’s Indie Drama ‘Light of My Life’ Arrives on DVD, Blu-ray Disc Oct. 8

Paramount Home Entertainment has announced DVD and Blu-ray Disc release dates for Light of My Life, a survivalist thriller directed by Casey Affleck that is currently in theaters and also available digitally and on demand.

The movie will arrive on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on Oct. 8. The film takes place a decade after a plague has wiped out nearly all of the world’s female population. A father (Affleck) and daughter (newcomer Anna Pniowsky) live on the outskirts of what’s left of civilization. Disguising his daughter as a boy, the father struggles to protect her from newfound threats as they are driven from their home into dangerous territory.

Robert Redford Comedy ‘The Old Man & the Gun’ Due on Digital Jan. 1, Disc Jan. 15

Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek star in the comedy The Old Man & the Gun, coming to digital (including Movies Anywhere) Jan. 1 and Blu-ray and DVD Jan. 15 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The film follows the mostly true story of Forrest Tucker (Redford) — from his daring prison escape at age 70 to an unprecedented string of bank heists that confounded authorities and enchanted the public. Wrapped up in the pursuit are detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck) and Jewel (Spacek), the woman loves him despite his criminal ways.

Special features on disc include:

  • “Everything Else We Shot”;
  • “Prison Cats”;
  • “On Filmmaking”;
  • “31 Wake-Ups”;
  • “Joining the Hunt”;
  • audio commentary by writer/director David Lowery; and
  • a photo gallery.