‘Red Notice’ Is Netflix’s Top-Streamed Movie Ever

The Netflix movie Red Notice has become the streamer’s most-viewed original movie in its history with nearly 278 million hours across its global subscriber footprint. That tops Netflix’s previous record holder Bird Box, the 2018 dystopian drama starring Sandra Bullock.

Red Notice, which stars Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot, had received middling reviews (35%) on social media platform Rotten Tomatoes. But that didn’t stop subs from streaming 129.1 million hours during the first seven days since the film’s Nov. 12 debut.

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“In just 11 days you’ve officially made RED NOTICE the BIGGEST @Netflix FILM EVER. Shattering all records across the board!!!” Johnson posted on his social media blog.

Red Notice

STREAMING REVIEW:

Netflix;
Action;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for violence and action, some sexual references, and strong language.
Stars Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, Ritu Arya, Chris Diamantopoulos.

Netflix’s Red Notice is a glitzy heist movie that mixes action and comedy well enough, but mostly coasts on the charisma of its stars.

Ryan Reynolds plays Booth, who wants to earn the reputation as the world’s greatest thief. Gal Gadot is his rival, The Bishop. Dwayne Johnson plays FBI agent Hartley, who is on the hunt for them and tracks Booth to a scheme to steal a bejeweled egg from thousands of years ago.

The egg is one of a set of three presented to Cleopatra by Mark Antony. An Egyptian billionaire has offered $300 million to anyone who can deliver all three, but only two have been uncovered in modern times; the whereabouts of the third remain a mystery.

Hartley manages to capture Booth and recover the egg, but is himself framed when it is stolen again and sent to prison. Hoping to clear his name, Hartley decides to recover the remaining eggs by teaming with Booth, who may have the only clue as to the location of the missing third one.

But, alas, The Bishop is also after the eggs, and always appears to be one step ahead of them.

The team of Booth and Hartley plays like a buddy comedy mixed with Ocean’s Eleven and the treasure hunting sensibilities of Indiana Jones. The film isn’t exactly trying to hide its inspirations, either. Reynolds even whistles the Indiana Jones theme at one point as the trail leads the plot into an expedition deep in the South American jungle.

The film intermingles plot twists with over-the-top action to create an entertaining if overblown spectacle, though its clear the cast had a lot of fun making it.

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Jungle Cruise

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 11/16/21;
Disney;
Adventure;
Box Office $116.97 million;
$29.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $43.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of adventure violence.
Stars Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, Paul Giamatti, Edgar Ramírez, Veronica Falcón.

In the spirit of a classic ride known for its jokes, here’s another one: Have you heard Disney’s remaking the Pirates of the Caribbean movie? It’s called Jungle Cruise.

Based on one of the original rides at Disneyland, Jungle Cruise owes a lot to its theme park companion, and not just the idea of turning a Disney parks boat ride into a big-budget adventure movie. As with 2003’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Jungle Cruise features a legendary treasure of sorts, and a cadre of immortal warriors cursed by it.

In this case, the primary plot device is a mythical tree in the middle of the Amazon jungle whose pedals can cure any disease. An expedition of conquistadors disappeared searching for the tree hundreds of years earlier, but were claimed by the jungle. The story picks up in 1916, with explorers Lily Houghton and her brother, MacGregor, setting off to Brazil in search of the tree. To travel down the Amazon river, they charter a boat from Frank (Dwayne Johnson), a cruise skipper desperate for money to pay off local kingpin Nilo (Paul Giamatti).

Also after the treasure is a German prince named Joachim (Jesse Plemons), who is based on the actual son of Kaiser Wilhelm II. To spice things up he brings a submarine to sail down the river.

The slapstick action sequences also bring to mind films such as The Mummy (the campy 1999 version, not the awful 2017 remake). According to the bonus materials, the filmmakers themselves drew inspiration from The African Queen, Romancing the Stone and Raiders of the Lost Ark, and it shows (1951’s African Queen being a primary inspiration for the original ride as well).

Though derivative, Jungle Cruise manages to deliver a fun adventure that takes advantage of its charismatic leads. It also pays a lot of homage to the original ride that fans should appreciate, particularly in regards to the famous puns that ride skippers are known for reciting.

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The primary bonus feature on the Blu-ray (also available with digital versions and on Disney+) is the film’s “Expedition Mode,” which is basically a pop-up trivia track that plays with the film. Aside from a few facts about the production, the original ride and some of the jungle animals encountered on the voyage, it’s a rather lackluster offering in terms of taking a deep dive into the material. Why not delve more into the biography into the character of Prince Joachim, a real person whose history the filmmakers have coopted in order to make him the mustache-twirling villain of the piece? Instead, the pop-up text just offers more bad Jungle Cruise-style puns.

The other extras are more-standard fare, highlighted by nearly 17 minutes of deleted scenes that fill in more aspects to the world of the film.

The general making of the film is covered in a 13-minute featurette, further supplemented by a five-minute video about the performances of Johnson and Blunt, and a 15-minute “Creating the Amazon” delves into the visual effects, production design and crafting the impressive set of the Brazilian port town.

Then there’s a 14-minute “Once a Skip, Always a Skip,” which profiles the ride and features actual ride skippers discussing their experiences with the attraction.

Rounding out the extras is a two-and-a-half-minute gag reel.

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Disney Making ‘Jungle Cruise’ Available for Digital Ownership Aug. 31, on Disc Nov. 16

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution will make Jungle Cruise available for early digital ownership Aug. 31, followed by a Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release Nov. 16.

Based on the classic Disneyland ride, the film stars Dwayne Johnson as Frank, the skipper of an Amazon River tour boat, who is recruited by explorer Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) who seeks an ancient tree with mythical healing abilities.

The cast also includes Edgar Ramírez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, Paul Giamatti and Veronica Falcón.

Extras include 11 deleted scenes, outtakes, an optional “Jungle Cruise Expedition Mode” that displays information about the movie such as Easter eggs and pop-up trivia during the movie, and four behind-the-scenes featurettes:

    • “It’s A Jungle Out There: Making Jungle Cruise” — Director Jaume Collet-Serra, the cast and other filmmakers working on the movie discuss creating the world that honors one of Disneyland’s most beloved rides.
    • “Dwayne and Emily: Undoubtedly Funny” — on set with the two stars.
    • “Creating the Amazon” — A look at re-creating the jungle with elaborate sets.
    • “Once a Skip, Always a Skip” — Several “Skippers” from the Disneyland ride reminisce about the rewards, challenges and surprises they’ve experienced while helming the attraction.

 

The film earned $82.1 million during a domestic box office run while it was simultaneously available as a $29.99 “Premier Access” add-on to streaming service Disney+.

Disney+ Bowing Series Exploring Disney Parks Attractions

The Disney+ streaming service July 21 will premiere “Behind the Attraction,” a 10-part original series that gives viewers a peek behind the curtain of some of the most popular attractions at Disney Parks and Resorts around the world.

The series is timed to coincide with the release of Disney’s Jungle Cruise movie based on the classic ride that debuted with the opening of Disneyland in 1955. As such, a look at the Jungle Cruise ride is among the first batch of “Behind the Attraction” episodes.

Other episodes bowing July 21 include “Haunted Mansion,” “Star Tours,” “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror” and “Space Mountain.”

Five additional episodes — “The Castles,” “Disneyland Hotel,” “it’s a small world,” “Trains, Trams, and Monorails” and “Hall of Presidents” — will bow later this year.

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“Behind the Attraction” explores the history of the Disney parks with archival and never-before-seen footage and photographs to unveil how the attractions came to be and how they’ve been refined over the years as new ideas surface and technology evolves. Including rare interviews with Walt Disney, each episode also features exclusive interviews with Disney Legends and dozens of past and present Imagineers, including Bob Weis, Jeanette Lomboy, Kim Irvine, Scott Trowbridge, Tom Fitzgerald, Scot Drake, Carmen Smith, Joe Rohde and others who divulge insider secrets of the parks and how iconic Disney attractions were brought to life.

Topics of discussion include the unique story behind how each Disney park castle was designed and built; details about the creation of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge; the intricacies of the transportation systems at each park; how the Disneyland Hotel came to be; how the Haunted Mansion was filled with 999 happy haunts; how the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror transformed into Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!; and why Space Mountain took so long to launch.

All 10 episodes of the series, which is narrated by Paget Brewster, will be available at once, rather than week-to-week as with most Disney+ shows.

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“Behind the Attraction” is executive produced by Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia, Brian Gewirtz and Kevin Hill from Seven Bucks Productions, and Brian Volk-Weiss, Robin Henry, and Cisco Henson from The Nacelle Company. Volk-Weiss (“The Toys That Made Us”) directs the series.

The Jungle Cruise movie, starring Johnson, bows July 30 in theaters and as a $29.99 Disney+ Premier Access add-on.

Updated 7/13/21 to reflect newly announced premiere date and splitting of the season into two halves.

‘JSA: Joint Security Area,’ ‘Southland Tales’ on Blu-ray in January From MVD and Arrow

JSA: Joint Security Area and Southland Tales are coming to Blu-ray in January from MVD Entertainment Group and Arrow Video.

On Jan. 19 comes JSA: Joint Security Area (2000), a thriller from Park Chan-wook. It follows a Swiss-Korean major as she leads an investigation into a shooting incident at the North/South Korean border that results in two Korean soldiers’ death. The film became the highest-grossing Korean film when it was released and won multiple awards for best film. In 2009, director Quentin Tarantino placed JSA among his top 20 films since 1992. Special features include new audio commentary by writer and critic Simon Ward; an isolated music and effects track; a newly recorded video interview with Asian cinema expert Jasper Sharp; two archival featurettes on the film’s production; a series of archival introductions to the film by members of the cast; a behind-the-scenes montage; opening ceremony footage; two music videos, “Letter from a Private” and “Take the Power Back”; the theatrical trailer; a TV spot; an image gallery; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Colin Murdoch; and for the first pressing only, an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Kieran Fisher.

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On Jan. 26, Arrow will release Richard Kelly’s Southland Tales, starring Dwayne Johnson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mandy Moore and Seann William Scott, among others. The story about a conspiracy involving an action film star stricken with amnesia, a porn star with reality TV dreams and a police officer was panned during its 2006 release. Yet, over the years, the film has maintained a strong, loyal fanbase that continues to grow, with many admiring the film’s attempt at doing something grand. Arrow gives the film a new lease on life with new 2K presentations of the film, approved by Kelly, in both the 145-minute theatrical cut and the 160-minute “Cannes cut.” Special features include audio commentary on the theatrical cut by Kelly; “It’s a Madcap World: The Making of an Unfinished Film,” a new in-depth retrospective documentary on the film, featuring contributions by Kelly and members of the original crew; an archival featurette on the making of the film, featuring interviews with the cast and crew; “This is the Way the World Ends,” an archival animated short set in the Southland Tales universe; the theatrical trailer; an image gallery; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jacey; and a limited edition collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Peter Tonguette and Simon Ward.

Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt to Star in Feature ‘Ball and Chain’ for Netflix

Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt will star in the feature Ball and Chain for Netflix.

Loosely based on the 1990s comic book, the film follows a troubled married couple that receives superpowers that only work when they are together.

“Netflix is the perfect partner to deliver this epic superhero/romantic comedy experience alongside us, and we’re excited to be back in business with the Netflix team,” Dwayne Johnson, star, producer, and co-founder of Seven Bucks Productions, said in a statement. “I’m also excited to not only reunite with dear friend Emily Blunt in front of the camera, but to also collaborate as producing partners as we bring Emily V. Gordon’s script to life.”

Johnson and Blunt co-star in Disney’s Jungle Cruise, which will be released next summer.

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“We’re thrilled to continue the evolution of our partnership with Netflix and welcome Ball and Chain into the Seven Bucks universe,” Dany Garcia, producer on the film and co-founder of Seven Bucks Productions, said in a statement. “Our Netflix partnership is rooted in our mutual understanding that investing in the right stories with universal appeal is our number one priority. The incomparable chemistry of our leads and powerful storytelling elements will ignite fans across the globe. We can’t wait to bring this electric story to life.”

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“Dwayne and Emily have a chemistry together that is unmatched in our business right now,” Scott Stuber, head of Netflix film, said in a statement. “They are the perfect duo to bring Emily V. Gordon’s electric superhero story to life, and take the world of Ball and Chain to new heights. We couldn’t be happier to be in business with Emily Blunt, as well as continue our relationship with Dwayne, Seven Bucks and Kevin Misher.”

Jumanji: The Next Level

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Sony Pictures;
Adventure Comedy;
Box Office $316.83 million;
$30.99 DVD, $38.99 Blu-ray, $45.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for adventure action, suggestive content and some language.
Stars Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Awkwafina, Alex Wolff, Morgan Turner, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Danny Glover, Danny DeVito, Colin Hanks, Rhys Darby, Rory McCann.

The creative team behind 2017’s surprise blockbuster Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle returns to deliver a worthy sequel that is just as entertaining as its predecessor.

The new story provides a mostly familiar setting with enough new elements to freshen up the formula a bit without straying too far from what audiences came to love about the previous film.

In the new film, the teenagers who beat the game before have drifted apart a bit as they head off to college, where Spencer (AlexWolff) begins to feel out of place in the world. When he returns home for the holidays to find his grandfather (Danny DeVito) staying in his old room, he yearns to once again become the hero of the video game, which, it turns out, he salvaged from the garbage heap the group left it in at the end of the previous movie.

When his friends come looking for him and discover he re-entered the game, they follow him in to help bring him out, thinking it should be too hard considering they already beat the game and will know what to expect. This time, though, they inadvertently bring bystanders into the game, resulting in many of the players not having the same avatars they had the last time, giving the actors plenty of chances to play each other. As an added complication, the game’s story has changed, with the characters’ abilities shifting to match.

As a result, the audience knows just enough about the rules of the game to have fun anticipating what will come next, while the particulars are just different enough to keep viewers guessing. Like before, a huge part of the film’s charm is the way it spoofs both video games and Indiana Jones-type adventure serials, only this time around the audience’s pre-existing affection for the characters makes watching them take advantage of their experience of having played before all the more satisfying.

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The film also smartly takes the adventure out of the jungle for the most part, changing the scenery to deserts and frozen mountains, which at least gives the film a new visual flair to play with. And there’s also a nice little lesson about friendship and teamwork.

In pushing out two movies, though, the filmmakers have probably milked as much from the concept as they can, which is why the film sets up another sequel that promises to mix things up a bit and take the franchise back to the roots of the original 1995 film.

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The home video editions of the film come with a ton of extras that play on the winning chemistry of the cast. Many of these come in the form of promotional videos, such as the minute-long “Grow Up,” in which Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart learn how to impersonate Dannys DeVito and Glover. “Trick or Treat” features Hart arriving at Johnson’s house at Halloween dressed in The Rock’s sweater and fanny pack from an infamous 1990s photo. Other videos put the cast in a telenovela and tease Awkwafina’s thieving skills. But the most intriguing might be the three-minute “NPC Confessions: Jurgen the Brutal,” an in-depth analysis with candid insights of the film’s new villain, played by Rory McCann of “Game of Thrones” fame.

These are accompanied by a five-and-a-half-minute gag reel.

In a throwback to the extras of the previous movie, “Rhys Darby Wants to Jingle” is a two-and-a-half-minute video in which Darby, who plays the game’s narrator and guide, wants to do his own music video to match the one the cast, sans him, did for the previous film.

Three behind-the-scenes featurettes total about 23 minutes and cover the basics from the story creation to the cast dynamics and the visual effects. The Blu-ray and digital editions also include lengthy breakdowns of the ostrich chase and monkey attack sequences, plus VFX pre-vis reels of the zeppelin battle and ostrich chase compared with the final versions of the scenes. These are about five minutes each.

The Blu-ray includes a fold-out map of Jumanji with an interactive AR game.

Digital versions on Vudu also include a “Get in the Game Mode,” which uses on-screen graphics that pop up as the movie plays to offer such information as trivia, statistics and character power levels during fights. This provides an added bit of fun to the video game spoof aspect of the film.

‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ Ready to Play on Digital March 3, Disc Including 4K March 17

The actioner Jumanji: The Next Level will come out on digital March 3 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD March 17 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

It has earned $768.5 million at the global box office.

Stars Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillanreturn for another game-based adventure, along with Jumanji newcomers Awkwafina, Rory McCann, Danny Glover and Danny DeVito.

The story catches up with Spencer (Alex Wolff), Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), Martha (Morgan Turner) and Bethany (Madison Iseman) three years after their first adventure in Jumanji’s mystical video game world. When Spencer goes missing inside the game ahead of the group’s planned reunion from college, his friends, along with his grandfather (DeVito) and his grandfather’s friend (Glover), once again inhabit the avatars of Dr. Bravestone (Johnson), “Mouse” Finbar (Hart), Professor Sheldon Oberon (Black) and Ruby Roundhouse (Gillan) to rescue him. As they return to Jumanji, the players have to brave parts unknown and unexplored, from the arid deserts to the snowy mountains, in order to escape.

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Bonus materials include a gag reel, several behind-the-scenes featurettes, in-depth scene breakdowns and a new jingle. The 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD also include an interactive collectible map that employs augmented reality to bring Jumanji to life via smart phone. The experience provides up to 10 minutes of game play and allows users to create their own 8-bit avatar, navigate a series of mini games and more.

Actioner ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ Speeds to Digital Oct. 15, Disc Nov. 5 Including 4K

The actioner Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw will come out on digital Oct. 15 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and on demand Nov. 5 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Franchise favorites Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson, Skyscraper, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham, The Meg, Spy) forge an unlikely partnership that provides fresh insight into their backstories with action across the globe, from Los Angeles to London and from the toxic wasteland of Chernobyl to Samoa. For years, hulking lawman Hobbs and lawless outcast Shaw have traded smack talk and body blows. But when cyber-genetically enhanced anarchist Brixton Lorr (Idris Elba, Thor: Ragnarok, The Dark Tower) gains control of an insidious bio-threat that could alter humanity forever, Hobbs and Shaw must partner up to bring him down.

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Joining the cast as Shaw’s sister Hattie is Vanessa Kirby (Mission: Impossible-Fallout, “The Crown”).

Directed by David Leitch from a story by longtime “Fast & Furious” franchise narrative architect Chris Morgan and a screenplay by Morgan and Drew Pearce (Mission: Impossible – Rogue NationIron Man 3), Hobbs & Shaw is produced by Johnson, Statham, Morgan and Hiram Garcia (SkyscraperRampage).

The film has earned more than $680 million at the global box office.

Hobbs & Shaw features more than 80 minutes (on digital, 4K UHD, Blu-ray) of bonus content, including an alternate opening; deleted, extended and alternate scenes; several featurettes with the filmmakers and cast that take fans further into the story; and an audio commentary by Leitch.

The 4K UHD version includes dynamic metadata feature HDR10+. The digital version is available on Movies Anywhere.