‘A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish’ Due in October

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish digitally Oct. 15, and on Blu-ray and DVD Oct. 29.

The fifth installment in the “Cinderella Story” franchise stars Laura Marano of the Disney Channel series “Austin & Ally” as Kat, an aspiring singer-songwriter working as an elf at a local billionaire’s Christmas Tree lot, where she starts to fall for Nick (Gregg Sulkin), the lot’s new Santa. But her efforts to attend a prestigious winter gala with Nick are thwarted by her stepfamily. The cast also includes Isabella Gomez as Kat’s best friend, Barclay Hope as the billionaire, Johannah Newmarch as Kat’s stepmother, and Lillian Doucet-Roche and Chanelle Peloso as the stepsisters.

Extras include the featurettes “The Look and Costumes of A Christmas Wish” and “The Mic and The Stage.”

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The original A Cinderella Story in 2004 starred Hilary Duff, Chad Michael Murray and Regina King; Subsequent installments included Another Cinderella Story (2008), with Selena Gomez and Jane Lynch; A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song (2011), featuring Lucy Hale; and A Cinderella Story: If The Shoe Fits (2016) with Sofia Carson.

‘A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish’ Begins Production

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Blue Ribbon Content have commenced principal photography on A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The fifth installment in the “Cinderella Story” franchise stars Laura Marano of the Disney Channel series “Austin & Ally” as Kat, an aspiring singer-songwriter working as an elf at a local billionaire’s Christmas Tree lot, where she starts to fall for Nick (Gregg Sulkin), the lot’s new Santa. But her efforts to attend a prestigious winter gala with Nick are thwarted by her stepfamily. The cast also includes Isabella Gomez as Kat’s best friend, Barclay Hope as the billionaire, Johannah Newmarch as Kat’s stepmother, and Lillian Doucet-Roche and Chanelle Peloso as the stepsisters.

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The original A Cinderella Story in 2004 starred Hilary Duff, Chad Michael Murray and Regina King; Subsequent installments included Another Cinderella Story (2008), with Selena Gomez and Jane Lynch; A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song (2011), featuring Lucy Hale; and A Cinderella Story: If The Shoe Fits (2016) with Sofia Carson.

A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish is written and directed by Michelle Johnston, who also directed the fourth installment. She also choreographed the first four and served as a producer on the past three. Dylan Sellers returns as producer, a role he has served since the first film.

Fox Releases New ‘Die Hard’ Christmas Trailer

Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?

While the debate over that question continues to rage online, 20th Century Fox is certainly marketing the heck out of the premise that it is.

Using a banner labeling the film “The Greatest Christmas Story Ever Told,” Fox is touting its Die Hard Blu-ray re-releases with a new holiday-themed trailer for the film.

While the action film is set during Christmas and the holiday season is a key element of the film’s plot, its lack of a cheery family atmosphere and ‘R’ rating have left many viewers hesitant to rank it with the likes of It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, Elf and A Christmas Story.

On the other hand, the film’s screenwriter, Steven E. de Souza, has said it should be considered a Christmas movie.

For his part, star Bruce Willis weighed in by saying it was a “Bruce Willis movie” during his recent Comedy Central roast.

Fox, in announcing the new trailer, also released a “Die Hard” Christmas poem:

‘Twas the night before Christmas, at Nakatomi Plaza,
The office party was festive, but soon interrupted by drama.
Hans Gruber and his men, had forced their way in,
And taken everyone hostage, trapping them within.
But how could they know, there was a cop up above,
John McClane had arrived, to win back his wife’s love.
He would take them all out, winning everyone’s praise,
Welcoming Christmas Day, with his favorite catchphrase.
YIPPEE KI YAY!

The trailer ends with the tagline “Christmas Movie? Yippee Ki Yes!”

Fox recently released a Die Hard: Christmas Edition Blu-ray for the film’s 30th anniversary that comes with Christmas sweater box art and four exclusive holiday cards.

In addition, all five “Die Hard” films are now available on 4K digital.

‘Scrooged’ Coming on Disc and Digital Nov. 19 From Paramount for 30th

The Bill Murray Christmas classic Scrooged will be released on Blu-ray, DVD and digital Nov. 19 for its 30th anniversary from Paramount Home Media Distribution.

In the humorous take on Charles Dickens’ classic tale, Murray stars as uncaring and unforgiving TV executive Frank Cross whose live production of A Christmas Carol is more important to him than any true meaning of Christmas. Before the night is over, he takes a journey through his past and into the future to find redemption.

The film also stars Karen Allen, John Forsythe, Bobcat Goldthwait, Carol Kane, Robert Mitchum and Alfre Woodard.

Pat Boone Christmas and Thanksgiving Specials Coming to DVD Nov. 6 From MPI

Pat Boone and Family: Christmas & Thanksgiving Specials will come out on DVD Nov. 6 from MPI Media Group.

Top-selling crooner Boone and his four singing daughters — Debby, Cherry, Lindy and Laurie — as well as his wife Shirley appear in these music and comedy specials that first aired on ABC in 1978 and 1979. The Christmas show includes classic holiday songs, appearances by the Hudson Brothers, Dinah Shore, Rosemary Clooney, and stars from “Three’s Company,” “Happy Days” and “The Love Boat.” The Thanksgiving special features Bob Hope and the Hudson Brothers. Songs performed by the Boones include “Can’t Smile Without You,” “You Needed Me” and “Bless This House.”

Bonus material includes “The Pat Boone Family — Christmas in Bethlehem,” Christmas carols and a Boone family photo album.

Daddy’s Home 2

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street 2/20/18;
Paramount;
Comedy;
Box Office $103.89 million;
$25.99 DVD, $31.99 Blu-ray, $34.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for suggestive material and some language.
Stars Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini, Alessandra Ambrosio, John Cena, John Lithgow, Mel Gibson.

The first Daddy’s Home in 2015 proved to be a pleasant surprise, with the simple premise of a stepdad struggling to escape the shadow of the kids’ real father elevated comedically by the winning duo of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg.

By the end of that movie, Ferrell’s Brad and Wahlberg’s Dusty had largely reached an understanding of how to raise the kids, with Dusty having to deal with a stepfamily of his own. The sequel begins by taking that premise to the next level, touching on the confusion inherent in such criss-crossed families, where situations get repeated so all the parents can get a taste of their children growing up, with results that don’t always satisfy everyone.

In light of these potential tensions, Brad and Dusty decide that all the families should celebrate Christmas together. As if on cue, Brad and Dusty’s own parents show up to join in the holiday fun (which is basically the same premise the recent Bad Moms sequel did). Mel Gibson plays Dusty’s dad, while John Lithgow is Brad’s.

The grandpas inject their own flavor, and soon enough the merged families are off to a cabin in a wooded community where hijinx are free to ensue.

Throwing the elders into the mix is a fine idea in terms of the pairings, and on paper adds an extra layer to the story. But in practice it kind of gets in the way. The film ends up pursuing too many ideas that don’t really coalesce around the central theme, more often than not falling back on the same kinds of physical slapstick that fueled the first film and have been the bread and butter of these kids of comedies since Buster Keaton first allowed a building to fall down around him.

Beyond that, the movie has to get by on the chemistry of its cast and whatever charm they can muster from their performances, and luckily there’s plenty of that to go around. The film is at its most fun when all the comedic actors play off each other, and the premise doesn’t require the big players to stray much from their wheelhouses here: aww-shucks Ferrell, hothead Wahlberg, macho Mel and lovable Lithgow.

It plays for a time, until John Cena shows up for what is basically an extended version of his cameo in the first film, where he represents the threat to Dusty’s fatherhood in the way Dusty was a threat to Brad. That conflict is touched on briefly but kind of makes you wish the movie was more about that from the beginning, rather than the “everybody raising the kids together with the grandpas stirring the pot” thing they went for.

The female side of the equation gets its share of attention too, with a fun little subplot about Brad’s wife (Linda Cardellini) and stepdaughter idolizing Dusty’s new wife (Alessandra Ambrosio) and stepdaughter in different but illuminating ways.

But really, it all might be worth it just for a great riff on Liam Neeson action movies and Hollywood’s penchant for seasonal mayhem.

The Blu-ray includes a half-hour of behind-the-scenes featurettes, grouped by various topics: writing the sequel, reuniting the cast, the pairing of Ferrell and Wahlberg, bringing on Gibson and Lithgow, and some other surprises.

There’s also 11 minutes of deleted, extended and alternate scenes, and a four-minute gag reel.

A Bad Moms Christmas

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street 2/6/18;
Universal;
Comedy;
Box Office $72.11 million;
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for crude sexual content and language throughout, and some drug use.
Stars Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn, Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines, Susan Sarandon, Jay Hernandez, Justin Hartley, Peter Gallagher, Wanda Sykes.

With the popularity of 2016’s Bad Moms ($184 million worldwide box office against a $20 million budget) all but ensuring a sequel, the writer-director team of Jon Lucas and Scott Moore managed to have a follow-up produced and in theaters a bit over a year later. The quick turnaround is something of a throwback to the halcyon days of Hollywood, where quickie sequels were much easier to pull off.

Where the first film dealt with the rigors of balancing work, home and school, the sequel transplants the rowdy moms into a holiday setting, and cranks up the proverbial heat by bringing in their moms for a little added pressure.

I suppose the idea is to inform on what makes the core moms tick and possibly led them to snap in the first movie. While the story is driven by this newfound family angst, it often falls back on a string of sketches tied to family-related Christmas settings. The film offers a smattering of caricature and broad ruminations on the holiday season, with some gags that work better in concept than execution.

Christine Baranski in particular, as mom to Mila Kunis’ Amy, comes across like a less-intense version of Leonard’s mom from “The Big Bang Theory,” which may have been a primary reason they sought her out for this.

The best pairing is Susan Sarandon and Kathryn Hahn, if only because their characters are the ones with the fewest inhibitions — the apple not falling too far from the tree in that regard.

Fans of the raunchiness that set the original film apart need not worry, as the jokes are often as crude as they were in that one, if not more so.

Coincidentally, the same multigenerational premise was used for the guys in the Daddy’s Home sequel around the same time, with similar results.

The Blu-ray is rather sparse in its extras, offering a seven-minute gag reel, four minutes of alternate takes and a two-and-a-half-minute music video featuring the production crew dancing along to an R&B holiday song used in the film.