Elysium

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 2/9/21;
Sony Pictures;

Sci-Fi;
$30.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for strong bloody violence and language.
Stars Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura, William Fichtner.

This 2013 dystopian science-fiction film — written, directed, and co-produced by Neill Blomkamp (District 9) — crafts a world that seems a bit more ominous in our current circumstances.

The film is set in the year 2154, when there are two classes of people living in different worlds: the ultra-wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. The rich have access to all the luxuries money can buy, including top-notch healthcare delivered by a pod that can detect and cure illness in minutes.

Max (Matt Damon) — after a childhood yearning to reach Elysium — is now resigned to his fate as a lowly factory worker on Earth after serving a prison sentence for stealing cars. A twist of fate forces him to revisit his mission to go to the idyllic world in the sky, and he enlists the help of criminal friends to get there. Along the way, he reencounters a childhood friend whose daughter has cancer, and she, too, wishes to go to Elysium.

Out to thwart Max’s efforts and keep all undesirables out is Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster in an icily evil turn). A conservative and ruthless defense leader at the space station, she enlists the help of a psychopathic mercenary (Sharlto Copley, who gleefully portrays his character’s relish for violence and delivers snappy, menacing one liners) to keep Max and others from breaching the sky fortress.

The haves and the have nots, exclusive access to healthcare for the wealthy, a coup attempt, environmental degradation — all of this seems to be a bit more conceivable future in 2021 than when this film first came out, giving it a new relevance.

The film is chockfull of action, from gun fights to explosions to blood splattering gore — all of which look (sometimes ickily) realistic in 4K.

“I’m interested in dudes exploding,” Blomkamp says in one of the extras.

Yep, anyone who watches Elysium can attest to that.

The director is enthusiastic about in-camera, on-set effects without the use of computers, making the extras more interesting that usual. It’s always more intriguing to watch special effects teams create actual explosions and blood splatters, and miniatures are more visually interesting than a world created on a computer screen.

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Extras on the 4K Ultra HD disc include “Exoskeletons, Explosions and the Action Choreography of Elysium,” about the special effects; “The Hero, The Psychopath and the Characters of Elysium,” about the storyline and characters; “The Art of the Elysium Miniatures,” about a crucial crash scene; “Bugatti 2154,” about how a spaceship version of the luxury car brand made it into the film; and theatrical trailers.

For those interested in delving deeper, the standard Blu-ray Disc in the combo pack includes more hours of bonus content, including an extended scene and several additional featurettes: “Collaboration: Crafting the Performances in Elysium”; “Engineering Utopia: Creating a Society in the Sky”; “Visions of 2154 — An Interactive Exploration of the Art and Design of Elysium”; “In Support of the Story: The Visual Effects of Elysium”; “The Technology of 2154”; and the three-part documentary “The Journey to Elysium.”

Woody Allen’s ‘A Rainy Day in New York’ Due on Digital and Disc Nov. 10

Woody Allen’s A Rainy Day in New York will come out on VOD, digital, DVD and Blu-ray Nov. 10 from MPI Media Group and Signature Entertainment.

The film stars Timothee Chalamet, Elle Fanning, Selena Gomez, Jude Law, Diego Luna and Liev Schreiber.

The film tells the story of college sweethearts, Gatsby (Chalamet) and Ashleigh (Fanning), whose plans for a romantic weekend together in New York City are dashed as quickly as the sunlight turns into showers. The two are soon parted, and each has a series of chance meetings and comical adventures while on their own. Over the course of a day in New York, Ashleigh discovers she might not be who she thought she was and Gatsby learns that while you only live once, once is enough if you find the right person.

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Season One of ‘Narcos: Mexico’ Due on DVD May 12 From Lionsgate

Season one of “Narcos: Mexico” arrives on DVD May 12 from Lionsgate.

Set in 1980s Mexico during the rise of the Guadalajara Cartel, “Narcos: Mexico” is the follow-up to the “Narcos” series (both of which stream on Netflix), with new characters and a new storyline that shifts the action from 1970s Colombia. The series explores the origin of the modern war on drugs and the violent reality of marijuana in Mexico.

Co-created by Chris Brancato (TV’s “Godfather of Harlem”), Carlo Bernard, and Doug Miro (The Great Wall, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, The Uninvited), “Narcos: Mexico” season one stars Michael Peña, Diego Luna, Tenoch Huerta Mejía, Alyssa Diaz, Matt Letscher, Joaquín Cosío, and Alejandro Edda.

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In the series, in his quest to build a drug empire in the 1980s, Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo (Luna) takes the helm of the Guadalajara Cartel, unifying traffickers. Meanwhile, DEA Agent Kiki Camarena (Peña) moves his wife and young son from California to Guadalajara to take on a new post. As Camarena gathers intelligence on Félix and becomes more entangled in his mission, a tragic chain of events unfolds, affecting the drug trade — and the war against it — for years to come.

Disney Creating Star Wars, Marvel Series for Streaming Video Service

Disney’s Lucasfilm unit is in development on a second “Star Wars” live-action series for Disney+, the over-the-top subscription streaming video service launching in 2019.

The series will follow the adventures of Rebel spy Cassian Andor during the formative years of the Rebellion and prior to the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Diego Luna will reprise the role of Andor, which he originated in the 2016 movie.

The spy thriller will explore tales filled with espionage and daring missions to restore hope to a galaxy in the grip of a ruthless Empire. A release date has yet to be announced.

Disney+ is also creating (through Marvel Studios) a live-action series based on Loki, the god of mischief, to star Tom Hiddleston.

The new projects join a slate of movies and series planned for Disney+ that includes new stories set in the worlds of Pixar’s Monsters Inc., Disney Channel’s “High School Musical” and “Star Wars.”

Earlier this year, Lucasfilm revealed that Emmy-nominated producer/actor Jon Favreau would write and executive produce “The Mandalorian” for Disney+.

The live-action series, which is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order, is currently in production with a lineup of directors that include Deborah Chow (Marvel’s “Jessica Jones”), Rick Famuyiwa (Dope), Dave Filoni (“Star Wars: The Clone Wars,”Star Wars Rebels”), Bryce Dallas Howard (Solemates) and Taika Waititi (Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok).