Director Touts First Feature ‘Spy Intervention’ as a Light-Hearted Fable to Counter Difficult Times

Director Drew Mylrea says his first feature Spy Intervention is a nice diversion from the economic and COVID-19 woes plaguing the world.

“Considering everything that’s going on, our movie is a romp,” he says. “It’s a total romp, and if you just want to kick back and relax and not think about the world and what’s going on in the world for an hour and a half, this is a great way to do it.”

Spy Intervention, available now on VOD and digital, comes out on DVD March 31 from Cinedigm.

It follows Corey Gage (Drew Van Acker), the world’s greatest spy, who suddenly meets the woman of his dreams (Poppy Delevingne) and decides to abandon his adventurous life and settle for the security of suburbia — a quaint existence he’s never known. When an evil plot to ruin the world pushes his former spy friend (Blake Anderson) to enact a “spy intervention,” he returns to his old life of adventure, deceiving the wife he loves.

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“We wanted to do something different,” Mylrea says. “Spy intervention isn’t a Hollywood spy film, and it’s also not a parody. It’s a modern fairytale.”

To accentuate the artificiality of the spy world versus the suburban reality, Mylrea employed shifting aspect ratios and music, among other things.

“We used a lot of the same techniques that you’d see in the really old Batman show with Adam West [for the spy scenes], and we had these models that look obviously fake and we used the same aspect ratio as a lot of those old TV shows to kind of tell the audience that this world is artificial, a silly fantasy and no place that a real person can live,” he says.

The aspect ratio shifted to a wider screen for the hero’s life with this wife.

“We filmed that in the more conventional aspect ratio, more conventional framing that you would see in a modern movie or a movie about modern relationships,” Mylrea says.

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Like any fable, Spy Intervention has a moral lesson, Mylrea says, even if it’s just to question how one navigates a life of security versus adventure.

“I think the best movies present questions, so they don’t tell you what to think,” Mylrea says. “I think the moral of the movie is kind of a question to the audience asking where do you fall on this spectrum of security versus adventure and how did you get there? Are you happy with the ratio that you have in your life?”

‘Buffaloed,’ ‘Strike’ Due on Disc and Digital This Spring From Magnolia

The comedy Buffaloed and the animated film Strike are coming to disc and digital from Magnolia Home Entertainment this spring.

The comedy Buffaloed, due May 19 on Blu-ray, DVD and digital, follows Peg Dahl (Zoey Deutch), a young girl obsessed with making enough cash to get out of her blue-collar existence. She’s betting on her sharp mind — and even sharper mouth — to get her into an Ivy League university. But when an acceptance letter to the school of her dreams arrives, she quickly realizes the impossibility of paying tuition. One scalping scheme, stint in prison and chance phone conversation with a debt collector changes everything. Directed by Tanya Wexler (Finding North, Hysteria) and also starring Judy Greer, Jai Courtney and Jermaine Fowler, the film is as much of an ode to the city of Buffalo, N.Y., as it is to the millions of Americans struggling with a seemingly dead-end economic existence.

Extras include the featurettes “Getting Buffaloed,” “Welcome Home” and “Friends & Relations.”

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Strike, coming April 7 on DVD and digital from Indican Pictures, is an animated coming-of-age story from one of the executive producers of “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends.” It follows Mungo Morrison (voice of Lizzie Waterworth, “Bob the Builder”) as he struggles to save his family and community, while also trying to achieve his dream of representing his country in soccer during the Wild Cup in Russia. Mungo is a young mole who is due to begin work by his proud father’s side in their hometown’s legendary gold mine. While his best friends are excited to be in the mine, Mungo secretly dreams of becoming a professional soccer player. However, desperate not to upset his father and facing the challenge of being a small mole unable to play soccer in bright light, Mungo sadly resigns himself to life as a miner. But, when the mine is forced to shut down after a mysterious accident, an evil and gold-obsessed supervillain, known only as “The Boss” (voice of Ken Stott, “The Hobbit” franchise) attempts to bully the townsfolk into selling him the mine. Against all odds and with a little help from his crazy friends, Mungo begins an epic adventure of thrills, laughs, action and danger as he hurtles towards the Wild Cup finals in Russia and has a final showdown with “The Boss.”

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Special features include “Behind-the-Scenes of Strike.”

Comedy ‘Like a Boss’ Due on Digital April 7, Disc April 21

The comedy Like a Boss will come out on digital April 7 and Blu-ray, DVD and on demand April 21 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

In the film, best friends Mia and Mel (Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne) are living their best lives, running their own cosmetics company until a villainous beauty mogul (Salma Hayek) conspires to steal it. When her devious plan drives the besties apart, Mia and Mel learn that sticking together is the only way to turn the tables and take their company back.

The film also stars Jennifer Coolidge and Billy Porter.

Bonus features on Blu-ray combo pack and digital (depending on retailer) include the featurettes “With Coworkers Like These, Who Needs Friends?” and “’Get Some’ with Ron and Greg and deleted scenes.

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The DVD includes the feature film in standard-definition.

‘Guns Akimbo’ Shoots to Digital and Disc April 28

The actioner Guns Akimbo arrives on digital, Blu-ray (plus digital) and DVD April 28 from Lionsgate.

It is available now on demand.

Starring Daniel Radcliffe and Samara Weaving, the movie follows a video game developer who is forced to play a game of survival being broadcast online for others’ amusement. Miles’s (Radcliffe) nerdy existence as a video game developer takes a dramatic turn when he inadvertently gets caught up as the next contestant with SKIZM, an underground gang live-streaming real-life death matches. While Miles excels at running away from everything, that won’t help him outlast Nix (Weaving), a killer at the top of her game.

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The film premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.

Special features include audio commentary with writer-director Jason Lei Howden; the “Welcome to SKIZM” featurette; and the “Nix vs. Dane Stunt Sequence Exploration” featurette.

Sketch Comedy Show ‘Kids in the Hall’ Making Comeback on Amazon Prime

The sketch comedy series “The Kids in the Hall” will be making a comeback on Prime Video.

With the return of all of the original stars, the eight-episode Amazon Original series, which will be a continuation of the original show, will be available to Prime members in Canada and around the world in more than 200 countries and territories.

First premiering in 1989, the original Emmy Award-nominated “The Kids in the Hall” starred Canadian comedians Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson, who will be reprising fan-favorite characters (and assuming some new ones) for the series’ next iteration. The original series earned multiple Gemini Awards along with the cast being honored with the Canadian Screen Awards Icon Award in 2019.

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The series will be executive produced by “Saturday Night Live” creator Lorne Michaels.

“Even after 30 years, ‘The Kids in the Hall’ has retained its brilliance and originality,” Michaels said in a statement. “We are happy to be bringing back all of the original ‘Kids’ for the new series.”

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“We’ve been investing in Canada for several years and are excited to add to that momentum by making ‘The Kids in the Hall’ the first Canadian Amazon Original series,” said James Farrell, VP of international originals for Amazon Studios, in a statement. “‘The Kids in the Hall’ is an iconic show with a deep-rooted fan base. Several of our global hits, including ‘The Boys,’ ‘Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan’ and ‘The Expanse’ have been filmed in Canada, and we are looking forward to continuing our work with talented producers and crew teams across the country to bring this series to our Prime members around the world.”

 

‘Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations’ Coming on Disc June 16 From MVD

Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations will come out on Blu-ray and DVD June 16 from MVD Entertainment Group.

The comedy films of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy have been beloved around the world since they were first released between 1927 and 1940. Unfortunately, many of the available copies are blurred dupes printed from worn-out negatives. The best of their short comedies and two of their features have been fully restored for the MVD release.

The release includes new 2K and 4K transfers from the best original 35mm materials. The release also includes the 1927 silent “pie fight” film The Battle of the Century, making its video debut after being “lost” for 90 years; the only reel of the duo’s bloopers and outtakes, “That’s That!”; shorts “Berth Marks,” “Brats,” “Hog Wild,” “Come Clean,” “One Good Turn,” “Helpmates,” “The Music Box” (the legendary Academy Award winning “piano moving” short), “The Chimp,” “County Hospital,” “Scram!,” “Their First Mistake,” “Towed in a Hole,” “Twice Two,” “Me and My Pal,” “The Midnight Patrol” and “Busy Bodies”; and the feature films Sons of the Desert and Way Out West (which includes the team’s famous soft shoe dance routine).

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Extras include 2,500 rare photos and studio documents, audio and film interviews with the duo’s co-workers, original music tracks and trailers, and a full restoration of their one surviving color film The Tree in a Test Tube. Also included are commentaries by Laurel & Hardy historians Randy Skretvedt and Richard W. Bann.

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The restorations are provided by Jeff Joseph/SabuCat in conjunction with the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Library of Congress.

 

Netflix Launching Live Comedy Festival in Los Angeles

Netflix reportedly is planning a major live comedy festival event in Los Angeles this spring from April 27 to May 3 in partnership with Live Nation.

Dubbed “Netflix Is a Joke Fest,” the seven-day event will feature more than 100 comics across 20 venues, including a tribute to late comedians George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Joan Rivers and Robin Williams, according to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the event.

Among the 130 comics slated to appear: Dave Chappelle, David Letterman, Amy Schumer, Ali Wong, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, Jamie Foxx, Sarah Silverman, Kevin Hart, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Ken Jeong, and Martin Lawrence, among others.

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Ticket prices range from $15 to $500 depending on the line-up. Netflix is projecting about 80,000 attendees across all venues.

Netflix, which has produced and streamed myriad standup comedy specials, will stream 11 of the bigger-name acts at a later date. Venues include the Wiltern Theater, The Paladium, the Hollywood Bowl, the Fonda Theater hosted by David Letterman.

“Stand Out: An LGBTQ+ Celebration,” a gay-themed comedy format will showcase at the Greek Theatre, featuring Sandra Bernhard, Alan Carr, Margaret Cho, Hannah Gadsby, Rosie O’Donnell and Wanda Sykes, among others.

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Other comics appearing include Bill Burr, Pete Davidson, Chelsea Handler, Jenny Slate, Whitney Cummings, Marlon Wayans, Iliza Shlesinger and Michelle Wolf.

“This festival is a unique celebration of the art of comedy, and the role it plays in reflecting our lives and defining culture,” Ted Sarandos, chief content officer, said in a statement. “It’s a chance for comedy lovers to come together and see their favorite artists as well as discover new ones, and for us to be able to share the electricity and excitement of the festival in Los Angeles with Netflix members around the world.”

 

Animated ‘Spies in Disguise’ to Be Unveiled on Digital and Disc — Including 4K — March 10

The animated comedy Spies in Disguise will come out on digital, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD March 10 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

In the film, super spy Lance Sterling (Will Smith) and scientist Walter Beckett (Tom Holland) are almost exact opposites. Lance is smooth, suave and debonair. Walter is none of the above. But this unlikely duo must team up for the ultimate mission to save the world when a “biodynamic concealment” experiment transforms Lance into a pigeon.

The film earned $163.5 million at the global box office.

Blu-ray bonus features include multiple making-of featurettes and two music videos as well as “Super Secret Spy Mode,” an immersive, in-movie experience that takes you deeper into the story with Easter eggs, facts and behind-the-scenes insights into the making of the film.

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Comedy ‘Ernesto’s Manifesto’ Due on Disc and Digital From Random Media Jan. 14

The comedy Ernesto’s Manifesto will come out on DVD, Blu-ray, on demand and digital from Random Media Jan. 14.

The film stars Cuban-born American Fernando Hidalgo (“The Fernando Hidalgo Show”), Amy Davidson (“8 Simple Rules”), Adam Huss (“Power”), Lisandra Tena (“The Good Place”), Randy J. Goodwin (“The Rookie”) and newcomer Tabitha Caulfield.

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Written and directed by David M. Matthews, it follows Ernesto, a sweet, simple and gentle man, who is doing the best he can to get by in Los Angeles. A series of bad breaks, however, cause him to lose his job, his girlfriend, and his home. Then, just when all seems hopeless, he finds employment, which leads to housing, an important friendship, and unexpectedly, a new and improved career trajectory.

Matthews and actor-executive producer Hidalgo met through a U.S.-based online advertising outlet, Craigslist, and the production was completely funded by Hidalgo’s Bitcoin profits.

The film was released theatrically Dec. 13.

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Comedy Dynamics Stand-Up Channel Now Streaming on Samsung TV Plus

Cinedigm Jan. 7 announced that the fully-curated linear version of the ad-supported video-on-demand Comedy Dynamics service is now available on Samsung TV Plus. The linear channel offers 24/7 stand-up comedy specials carefully curated by Comedy Dynamics’ staff.

Samsung TV Plus is Samsung’s free ad-supported video service. Pre-installed on all 2016-2019 Samsung Smart TVs, users can watch TV for free with just an Internet connection.

Founded in 2008, Comedy Dynamics is an independent producer of stand-up comedy content. With this new linear network, Samsung TV Plus users have access to Comedy Dynamic’s specials, both classic and modern, starring some of stand-up’s biggest performers. Cinedigm is the distributor of the channel.

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Performers include Jim Gaffigan, Whitney Cummings, Kevin Hart, Tom Segura, Iliza Shlesinger, Tiffany Haddish, Jeff Dunham, Maria Bamford, Bob Saget, Tim Allen, Nick DiPaolo, Eddie Griffin, Bill Hicks, and more.

“Comedy Dynamics gives viewers the best seat in the house every night, delivering an unprecedented library of classic and modern specials from comedy’s biggest names and brightest stars,” Tony Huidor, GM of Cinedigm Digital Networks, said in a statement.

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Comedy Dynamics is behind the reboot of “Mad About You” featuring Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt, and has produced Netflix’s “Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History,” Netflix’s “The Toys That Made Us,” “The Movies That Made Us,” “Jim Gaffigan: Noble Ape,” The CW’s “Discontinued,” Animal Planet’s “Animal Nation with Anthony Anderson,” the scripted comedy on Hulu “There’s… Johnny!,” History’s “Join Or Die with Craig Ferguson,” MTV2’s “Wild ’N On Tour,” Hulu’s “Coming To The Stage,” and unannounced projects for Disney+, BET+ and more.

Comedy Dynamics began releasing original films in theaters and released the acclaimed independent film Slut in a Good Way in Spring of 2019. In 2017, the Comedy Dynamics Network (CDN) launched and currently distributes specials, television shows and films to all major transactional platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, Google, PlayStation, Xbox and most major telco & satellite providers, including AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Dish, and Verizon.

Comedy Dynamics’ 17 releases have been Grammy-nominated (with three wins), including all five in the Comedy Album category for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards in 2019.