‘The Upside’ to Bow on Digital May 14, Disc May 21 From Universal

The buddy comedy The Upside, starring Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston, will come out on digital May 14 and on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and on demand May 21 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film follows a discouraged out-of-work ex-con (Hart) and a wealthy quadriplegic (Cranston) who unexpectedly come together and help each other bring back their zest for life. The supporting cast includes Nicole Kidman, Golshifteh Farahani, Julianna Margulies, Aja Naomi King and Tate Donovan.

The film earned $106.2 million in theaters.

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Bonus features include deleted scenes; a gag reel; “Onscreen Chemistry: Kevin and Bryan,” in which Hart and Cranston talk about their unique characters and working together; “Creating a Story of Possibility ,” in which Hart and Cranston share insight on how their characters come together; “Bridging Divisions,” in which director Neil Burger and Hart talk about how two very different people find common ground through compassion for each other; “Embracing Positivity,” in which Hart and Cranston open up about positive messages in the film and the power of hope, love, and friendship; “Presenting a Different Side of Kevin Hart,” in which Burger, Hart and Cranston discuss Hart’s role; and the theatrical trailer.

Classic Laurel and Hardy Collection Coming April 1 From Film Detective and Allied Vaughn

Laurel & Hardy: One Fine Collection — a DVD collector’s set featuring more than 10 hours on two discs from the iconic comedy duo — will be available April 1 from The Film Detective via manufacture-on-demand service Allied Vaughn.

The release comes on the heels of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s March 26 digital, Blu-ray and DVD bow of the feature biopic on the duo, Stan & Ollie, starring John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan.

The classic set includes 27 short films from the duo’s formative years (1921-1936) — including some silent films newly restored from the original elements — that capture the performances in which they honed the sight gags and slapstick that propelled them to worldwide fame. The set also includes three bonus shorts, two featuring Laurel & Hardy cameos and one from producer Hal Roach.

On disc one are The Lucky Dog (1921), 45 Minutes From Hollywood (1926), Duck Soup (1927), Duck Soup (1927/French-Dutch title cards), Battle of the Century (1927), Call of the Cuckoo (1927), Slipping Wives (1927), Do Detectives Think (1927), Their Purple Moment (1928), We Faw Down (1928), Habeas Corpus (1928), Flying Elephants (1928), You’re Darn Tootin’ (1928/Long), Stolen Jools (1931/Bonus) and Mixed Nuts (1934/Bonus).

On disc two are You’re Darn Tootin’ (1928/Short), The Finishing Touch (1928), Leave ’em Laughing (1928), That’s My Wife (1929), Liberty (1929), Double Whoopee (1929), Double Whoopee (1929/Talking Version), Angora Love (1929), Big Business (1929), Blotto (1930), Be Big! (1931), Twice Two (1933), The Live Ghost (1934), Tit for Tat (1935) and On the Wrong Trek (1936/Bonus).

The set comes from the archives of Scott Entertainment in conjunction with The Film Detective, from the original film elements courtesy of Richard Feiner & Associates.

Cinedigm Launching Comedy Streaming Video Service

Cinedigm March 12 announced a partnership with Comedy Dynamics to launch and distribute their over-the-top video branded Comedy Dynamics Network.

Cinedigm Digital Networks will provide digital distribution of the channel, including third-party platforms, a-la-carte licensing, and a live linear channel.

The Los Angeles-based home entertainment distributor said its networks platform affords Comedy Dynamics the ability to launch both as an ad-supported VOD and SVOD service across mobile devices, connected TVs, and set-top boxes.

The linear channel is slated to roll-out in the spring showcasing Comedy Dynamics’ library of performers, including Jim Gaffigan, Kevin Hart, Ali Wong, Tiffany Haddish, Bill Hicks, D.L. Hughley and Sam Kinison, among others.

“This is an exciting time for comedy, as people are accessing it and demanding it like never before,” Erick Opeka, president of Cinedigm Digital Networks, said in a statement. “The stand-up medium is the perfect complement to the digital realm, providing incredible opportunities for both short-form and long-form content that viewers can enjoy whether they’re at home or on the go.”

Indeed, while Netflix is spending lavishly on stand-up specials featuring Hart (bowing April 2), Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock, Hasan Minhaj and Amy Schumer, among others, standalone comedy remains a tough sell.

NBC Universal in 2016 shuttered standalone $3.99 monthly comedy streaming service Seeso, while the Lionsgate/Hart OTT collaboration – Laugh Out Loud – tries to get its footing since bowing in 2017.

Regardless, Comedy Dynamics CEO Brian Volk-Weiss contends there exists a global streaming audience for comedy.

“We want to be everywhere the audience is,” he said.

 

Season Two of ‘2 Dope Queens,’ ‘Jane Fonda in Five Acts,’ ‘O.G.’ Among Titles Coming in March From HBO Home Entertainment

Season two of “2 Dope Queens,” Jane Fonda in Five Acts and O.G. are among the titles coming in March from HBO Home Entertainment.

Available for digital download March 11 is Swiped: Hooking Up in the Digital Age, which looks at online dating, offering revelations about the billion-dollar industry. The film features interviews with, among others, Jonathan Badeen, co-founder and CSO of Tinder; Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder and CEO of Hinge; and Mandy Ginsberg, CEO of Match Group, which owns Tinder, OkCupid and other dating sites.

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Available March 25 for digital download is O.G. Filmed in Indiana’s Pendleton Correctional Facility, an active maximum-security prison, O.G. follows Louis (Jeffrey Wright), once the head of a prominent prison gang, in the final weeks of his 24-year sentence. His impending release is upended when he takes new arrival Beecher (Theothus Carter), who is being courted by gang leadership, under his wing. Coming to grips with the indelibility of his crime and the challenge of reentering society, Louis finds his freedom hanging in the balance as he struggles to save Beecher.

Season two of “2 Dope Queens” will also be available for digital download March 25. The two return in four specials with some of their favorite stand-up comedians, including Rory Scovel, Solomon Georgio, Bowen Yang, Jamie Lee and Pat Brown, along with celebrity guests, to talk music, nostalgia and fashion.

Available for digital download March 25 and on DVD March 26 is Jane Fonda in Five Acts, about the Oscar-winning actress who has lived a life marked by controversy, tragedy and transformation in the public eye. Fonda has been vilified as Hanoi Jane, lusted after as Barbarella and heralded as beacon of the women’s movement.

Finally, due on DVD March 26 is Camping, starring Jennifer Garner and David Tennant as Kathryn and Walt, a not-so-happily married couple. A meticulously planned outdoor trip to celebrate Walt’s 45th birthday is derailed by uninvited guests and forces of nature, turning the weekend in a test of marriage and friendships.

Jennifer Lopez Comedy ‘Second Act’ Due on Digital March 12, Disc March 26 From Universal

The Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy Second Act is coming to digital March 12 and Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and on demand March 26 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Lopez plays Maya, a 40-year-old woman struggling with frustrations of not having achieved more in life. She is passed over for a promotion solely because she doesn’t have a college degree, but then she gets the chance to prove that street smarts are as valuable as book smarts. The film features Lopez’s latest single “Limitless” and also stars Leah Remini, Vanessa Hudgens and Milo Ventimiglia.

Special features include “Connecting with Milo Ventimiglia,” which explores how Lopez and  Ventimiglia connected on and off screen; “The Empowering Women of Second Act,” which offers an inside look at how the women of Second Act empowered and supported each other; “Friendship On and Off Screen,” which explores the relationship of real life best friends Lopez and  Remini; and “Working with the Ones You Love,”  a behind-the-scenes look at how the whole cast had fun while filming Second Act.

Netflix Announces Workplace Series Starring Steve Carell

Steve Carell is going back to the office with Netflix.

The streaming giant announced he will star in and executive produce a workplace comedy centered around the people tasked with creating a sixth branch of the armed services — Space Force.

Carell co-created the series with Greg Daniels (“The Office” U.S., “King of the Hill,” “Parks and Recreation”), who will serve as showrunner and executive producer. Howard Klein/3Arts (“The Office” U.S., “The Mindy Project,” “Parks and Recreation”) will also serve as executive producer.

From 2005 to 2013, Carell starred in the U.S. version of “The Office,” a workplace comedy about a group of typical office workers.

‘Goosebumps 2’ Coming to Digital Dec. 25, Disc Jan. 15 From Sony

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will scare up the family comedy Goosebumps 2 on digital (including Movies Anywhere) Dec. 25 and Blu-ray and DVD Jan. 15.

Slappy, the devious ventriloquist dummy, returns to run amuck in this second installment of the film franchise based on R.L. Stine’s book series. The film stars Wendi McLendon-Covey (“The Goldbergs”), Madison Iseman (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), Jeremy Ray Taylor (It), Caleel Harris (“Castle Rock”), Chris Parnell (“Rick and Morty”) and Ken Jeong (Crazy Rich Asians).

Bonus features on disc and digital include a gag reel, three deleted scenes, three sing-alongs and five featurettes: “Thrills & Chills — The Making of Goosebumps 2”; “Meet the Monsters,” which shows viewers how the creatures were brought to life; “Slappy’s Audition,” in which Slappy auditions for the role he was born to play; “Science with Slappy,” in which the film’s stars join Slappy for electrifying experiments; and “Junk Brothers — Call Now.”

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.

‘Hardbodies,’ ‘Krull,’ ‘Last Action Hero’ Among VHS-Era Classics Due on Blu-ray From Mill Creek in January

Recalling the VHS rental era when the video store reigned, Mill Creek Entertainment in January will release on Blu-ray Disc six of the time periods’ classics, featuring such stars as John Candy, Chuck Norris and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Sporting retro art mimicking the VHS release, the Blu-ray collection includes Happy Birthday to Me, Silent Rage, Last Action Hero, Hardbodies, Who’s Harry Crumb? and Krull.

The mystery-shocker Happy Birthday to Me (1981) follows popular high school senior Virginia Wainwright (Melissa Sue Anderson), who survives a freak accident, but suffers from memory loss and traumatic blackouts. As she attempts to resume a normal life, something terrible is happening — her friends are ruthlessly murdered one-by-one. Will she be the next victim or is she the killer? The terrifying truth is finally uncovered at Virginia’s 18th birthday party.

The release is restored with the original soundtrack.

Chuck Norris, six-time World Karate Champion, stars in Silent Rage (1982), his first suspense film, as the tough, street-fighting sheriff of a small Texas town terrorized by a psychotic killer. He is faced with the dilemma of stopping the invincible murderer, made virtually indestructible through genetic engineering. A young group of researchers are responsible for developing the serum, and the head of the research institute is determined to continue the genetic experiments regardless of the consequences. Norris’s sheriff singlehandedly routs a dozen brutal bikers from a truck stop hangout, while rekindling an old romance with Alison Halman (Toni Kalem), a researcher at the institute.

In Last Action Hero (1993), young movie fan Danny Madigan (Austin O’Brien) knows the first three Jack Slater movies by heart, and the fourth one is just about to be released. With the aid of a magical ticket, while watching the opening action sequence during an advance screening, Danny is transported into the movie. On the other side of the silver screen, Danny becomes the sidekick of Slater (Arnold Schwarzenegger), the toughest cop on the police force. Complications arise when one of the bad guys takes Danny’s magic ticket and escapes out of the movie into the real world. Danny and his hero must chase the arch villain in the real world, a world where evil guys can actually win.

The film, which includes the song “Big Gun” written for the film by AC/DC, features a number of cameo appearances by stars inlcuding Chevy Chase, Jim Belushi, Sharon Stone, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Damon Wayans.

In the classic teen comedy Hardbodies (1984), three middle-aged geezers move into a swinging beach house and hire a young stud to teach them how to score with the local beauties. The ‘80s band Vixen and hundreds of Southern California swimsuit models co-star in the cult comedy originally made for broadcast on the Playboy Channel but picked up for theatrical release by Columbia. Stars include Grant Cramer, Teal Roberts, Courtney Gains, Kane Hodder and Gary Wood.

The sci-fi fantasy Krull (1983) explores a mystical time and place that belongs to neither the past nor the present, where extraordinary creatures of myth work their incredible magic, and where a horrific, omnipotent Beast is the ruler. Prince Colwyn sets out on a daring mission to rescue his young bride who is held captive by the Beast, but slayers and alien beings under the command of the Beast oppose him at every turn. Colwyn must first reach a faraway cavern to recover the legendary Glaive, a flying blade capable of phenomenal powers.

Directed by Oscar nominee Peter Yates, the film stars Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony, Liam Neeson and Francesca Annis.

In Who’s Harry Crumb? (1989), John Candy stars as the bumbling private eye Crumb. When Harry, the last of the great sleuthing Crumbs, finally gets a shot at a frontpage kidnapping, it’s only because his boss Eliot Draisen (Jeffrey Jones) doesn’t want the case solved. At stake is the gorgeous daughter of multi-millionaire P.J. Downing, a $10 million ransom, and Draisen’s mistress (Annie Potts). Attired in a bizarre array of goofball disguises, from a Hungarian hairdresser to a hefty housewife, Harry is determined to crack the case.

Sling TV Launches Comedy Dynamics, DOGTV Channels

Sling TV has launched two a la carte channels — Comedy Dynamics and DOGTV — that can be purchased with or without a base subscription at $5 each per month.

Comedy Dynamics features one of the largest independent stand-up comedy libraries in the country, according to Sling TV. It features such comedians as Bob Saget, Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish as well as shows such as “Coming to the Stage” and feature films such as Adventures in Comedy and Chee and T. Current customers can sample promotional titles available for free from Comedy Dynamics by going to “Sling Central” in the channel guide, and former customers can access the promotional titles on Roku devices by reopening their Sling TV app and viewing the “Free Shows from Premium Channels” ribbon on “My TV.”

DOGTV is a TV experience just for dogs. The veterinarian-recommended TV channel features programming designed to stimulate and comfort dogs. “DOGTV has been proven to support a dog’s natural behavior pattern and improve their well-being,” according to Sling TV. Categories are designed around a dog’s  mood, such as “Relaxation,” “Stimulation” and “Exposure.”

Comedy Dynamics and DOGTV join Sling’s library of individual channel offerings, which includes Showtime, CuriosityStream, Grokker, Stingray Karaoke, Docurama and NBA League Pass.