Universal Sets ‘House With a Clock in Its Walls’ for Home Release

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will release The House With a Clock in Its Walls digitally Nov. 27, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Dec. 18.

Director Eli Roth’s adaptation of the children’s book stars Owen Vaccaro as a boy who goes to live in a creepy mansion with his Uncle (Jack Black), who practices magic with his neighbor (Cate Blanchett).

The film earned $66.5 million at the domestic box office.

Bonus materials include a feature commentary with Roth and Black; an alternate opening and ending, and nine deleted scenes, with commentary by Roth and Black; a gag reel; several behind-the-scenes featurettes; Roth’s “Director’s Journals”; a tour of the production with Vaccaro; a “Theme Song Challenge” as Roth and the cast are challenged to come up with a theme song for the film; a “Do You Know Jack Black?” competition among the cast; pranks and magic with Roth and Vaccaro; and a look at the film’s music.

Imax’s ‘A Beautiful Planet’ and ‘Journey to the South Pacific’ in 4K and Complete ‘The Shield’ Series on Blu-ray Coming Dec. 11 from Mill Creek

Mill Creek Entertainment will release two Imax-film 4K Combo Packs and the complete series of “The Shield” on Blu-ray Dec. 11.

Narrated by Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence and coming in a 4K Combo Pack, A Beautiful Planet is an Imax portrait of Earth from space, providing a unique perspective and increased understanding of our planet and galaxy as never seen before. Made in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the film features stunning footage of the blue planet — and the effects humanity has had on it over time — captured by the astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Narrated by Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett and also coming in a 4K Combo Pack, Journey to the South Pacific takes moviegoers on an Imax adventure to the lush tropical islands of remote West Papua, where life flourishes above and below the sea. Viewers join Jawi, a young island boy as he takes us on a journey of discovery, encountering whale sharks, sea turtles, manta rays and other iconic creatures of the sea. Home to more than 2,000 species of sea life, this exotic locale features the most diverse marine ecosystem on Earth.

Newly remastered in 4K and available for the first time on Blu-ray comes the complete series of the controversial and critically acclaimed “The Shield.” The series reinvented the police genre and featured an iconic television antihero, Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis), a corrupt cop who runs his elite Strike Team under his own set of rules. New special features include a 2018 cast reunion with creator Shawn Ryan; a writers panel from the ATX Festival featuring Ryan, Kurt Sutter, Glen Mazzara, Scott Rosenbaum and Charles Eglee; and the “Beyond the Badge” retrospective. The set also includes previously released extras, including more than 10 hours of behind-the-scenes featurettes; cast and crew commentary on select episodes; and deleted scenes.

Ocean’s Eight

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Warner;
Comedy;
Box Office $139.32 million;
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $44.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for language, drug use, and some suggestive content.
Stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Mindy Kaling, Richard Armitage. 

Ocean’s Eight is pretty much exactly the movie one might expect from the premise of making a female-centric version of an “Ocean’s” heist movie.

Sandra Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, sister of George Clooney’s character from the “Ocean’s” trilogy, who gets out of prison and gathers her former cohorts for a scheme to steal an expensive necklace during the Met Gala.

Their plan is to convince a famous actress (Anne Hathaway) to wear the jewels, and through the franchise’s usual series of complicated maneuvers find a way to swap it for a fake and sneak off with the goods. Debbie also might want some revenge against a former boyfriend who got her sent to prison in the first place.

So, naturally, the plan seems to get more out of control with every detail while the twists and turns become more far-fetched. It’s best not to think too much about the logic of all of it.

True to the franchise, the film is mostly just an excuse to spend some time with the quirky and likable personalities of the all-star assembly of talent involved. There are even a few cameos from some of the characters from the earlier trilogy (but, alas, Matt Damon’s rumored cameo is nowhere to be found, not even the deleted scenes).

The Blu-ray offers a couple of short deleted scenes totaling less than two minutes.

There are also three behind-the-scenes featurettes that run about 38 minutes in total. One focuses on the cast, one focuses on the caper, and one focuses on how the filmmakers re-created the Met Gala for the story.

‘Oceans 8’ Due on Digital Aug. 21, Disc Sept. 11 From Warner

The caper flick Ocean’s 8 will come out on digital Aug. 21 and 4K UHD combo pack, Blu-ray combo pack and DVD special edition Sept. 11 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The film stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna and Helena Bonham Carter as a group of thieves targeting $150 million in diamonds to be worn at the Met Gala.

Ocean’s 8 earned $136.5 million at the box office.

The 4K UHD combo pack ($44.95) features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the film in 4K with Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos sound, a Blu-ray disc of the film and special features, and a digital version of the movie. The Blu-ray combo pack ($35.99) features a Blu-ray disc of the film and special features in hi-definition, a DVD with the film in standard definition, and a digital version of the movie. The DVD special edition ($28.98) features a DVD with the film in standard definition and a second DVD with special features in standard definition. The film will also be available on Movies Anywhere.

Special features include deleted scenes and the featurettes “A Heist in Heels,” “Ocean’s Team 3.0” and “Reimagining the Met Gala.”

Thor: Ragnarok

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street 3/6/18;
Disney/Marvel;
Action;
Box Office $314.97 million;
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive material.
Stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins, Benedict Cumberbatch.

As with any movie franchise, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become adept and finding formulas that work and sticking to them.

As a case in point, the first two standalone “Thor” movies are generally regarded as among the weaker of the Marvel films. It’s not that they’re bad per se, it’s just that they really didn’t establish themselves much beyond a general space-fantasy epic that connected to elements of the larger Marvel films. As a character, Thor worked better in the “Avengers” films, when he had other heroes to play off of and the films could take advantage of his other-worldly nature for moments of levity and comic relief.

Over the course of 10 years, the MCU as a whole has tended to take itself less seriously, embracing the sense of fun that a comic book movie franchise should have without sacrificing the emotional connection the audience needs to have with its characters.

One of the major contributors to this change in attitude since the second “Thor” movie landed in 2013 was the arrival of two “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, which are not only the most comedy-driven of the Marvel films, but they also tread in the cosmic setting that should have been Thor’s bread and butter. Ant-Man and Spider-Man: Homecoming further demonstrated that the MCU could embrace a lighter tone while still remaining true to the source material and the overarching storylines being established for the crossover films.

So, it should really come as no surprise to see Thor: Ragnarok really deconstruct the elements of the MCU’s success, what has worked for Thor in the past, and let director Taika Waititi throw them into a blender to whip up his own unique cocktail for a hilarious big screen comic book thrill ride.

The secret ingredient, as far as Waititi is concerned, it seems, is a healthy pinch of 1970s and 1980s nostalgia, as Thor is essentially re-imagined as a Saturday morning cartoon hero akin to “He-Man” accompanied by a rockin’ techno-synth soundtrack, (from Mark Mothersbaugh, whose name popping up in the credits as the composer certainly elicits a “yeah, that makes sense” reaction).

Waititi does a masterful job of re-focusing the efforts of the “Thor” films while both wrapping up previous storylines (without much fuss) and positioning the characters for the next big crossover, Avengers: Infinity War, which arrives April 27.

Thor himself is now much more irreverent, with the script playing to Chris Hemsworth’s natural comedic talents. As for finding others for Thor to play with, this film offers a brief encounter with Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange, but really hits a home run by pairing Thor with Hulk, taking advantage of a long-running rivalry between the two characters. A battle between Thor and Hulk in the gladiator pit of an alien world (inspired by the popular “Planet Hulk” comic book storyline) perfectly positions this film as a counterpoint to Captain America: Civil War, in which neither character appeared (as they were off conducting adventures in space, it would appear).

Thor’s only fighting Hulk, though, in order to escape from confinement and recruit a team to take back Asgard from his sister, Hela, the goddess of death. Hela (Cate Blanchett in a juicy performance that borders between menacing and sexy) had been imprisoned by Odin (Anthony Hopkins) for being too cruel, but manages to escape to claim her father’s throne.

The setting of the gladiator planet lets the filmmakers indulge themselves in the colorful renderings of legendary comic book artist Jack Kirby’s designs, and also provide an excuse to just insert Jeff Goldblum into the film (as the Grandmaster of the games) and allow him to just be his zany self, much to the delight of the audience.

The film is a visual spectacle, reminiscent of cult favorites such as Flash Gordon or Heavy Metal, and would be a spectacular showcase for home theater 3D effects were the format not being phased out (at least in the United States. All-region 3D Blu-rays are available from overseas markets such as Europe and Australia).

The home video offers extensive bonus materials, with some exclusive to the digital versions.

The highlight of the presentation on all platforms is probably the six-minute “Team Darryl” short film, the third installment in a spoof series about Thor’s roommate on Earth. This time, with Thor off the planet, Darryl’s new roommate is the Grandmaster, and any excuse for more Goldblum in any setting is a good one.

Also included are about 40 minutes of behind the scenes featurettes, with a three-minute video about the Thor-Hulk relationship presented as a digital exclusive. Other featurettes profile the new female characters, and look at many of the new elements this film brings to the franchise. There’s also a five-minute appreciation of the 10th anniversary of the MCU.

Offering digital exclusives is fine in this case, since the disc comes with access to the digital copies, but the extras are structured differently depending on where you try to watch them, particularly where the deleted scenes are concerned.

On disc, the deleted scenes are pretty straightforward, offered one at a time. Many of them are extended sequences from an earlier conception of the film before story elements were streamlined. So the glimpse of that alternate version is fascinating on its own. The deleted scenes run about 15 minutes, compared with less than six minutes on the disc.

Note that Vudu presents the deleted scenes as a single featurette with them strung together, ending with the fun Easter Egg reference to another Marvel movie that has created some online buzz.

Lastly, there’s an introduction and solo commentary by Waititi, in which he offers a few insights about the making of the film, but mostly maintains the jokey nature he often displays in public. He describes many scenes with tongue-in-cheek hyperbole, hypes up his own skills as both a director and actor, and spends considerable time allowing his young daughter onto the microphone and reacting to her rather than what’s on the screen. No doubt fans of Waititi’s brand of performance art will eat this up, but for general MCU fans, it seems like a missed opportunity to offer a good, in depth discussion about the film.