Writer Taylor Sheridan’s ‘American Frontier Trilogy’ Headed to Blu-ray Oct. 18

Three action films written by Taylor Sheridan (the writer behind TV’s “Yellowstone”) will be available in one collection in the American Frontier Trilogy, which arrives on Blu-ray plus digital Oct. 18 from Lionsgate.

In this trilogy of films written by Sheridan, an idealistic FBI agent teams up with a shady consultant to bust a drug lord (Sicario), a rookie FBI agent and a game tracker work to solve a girl’s murder on a remote reservation (Wind River), and a desperate father decides to rob the bank that’s trying to take his family’s land (Hell or High Water).

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Stars in the $19.99 three-film collection include Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, Avengers: Endgame), Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski, Crazy Heart), Academy Award  nominee Josh Brolin (Dune, Avengers: Endgame), Golden Globe Winner Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow, The Devil Wears Prada, The Adjustment Bureau), Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro (Traffic, The Usual Suspects, Guardians of the Galaxy), Primetime Emmy Award nominee Elizabeth Olsen (“Avengers” franchise, “WandaVision”), Chris Pine (“Star Trek” franchise, Wonder Woman, A Wrinkle in Time) and Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma, The Messenger).

Edge of Tomorrow

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 7/5/22;
Warner;
Sci-Fi;
$24.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material.
Stars Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson.

There’s always something fun about seeing characters trapped in a time loop, reliving a day over and over but looking at it each time from a slightly different perspective in an attempt to change the outcome. It’s certainly not a new concept for sci-fi or fantasy, with Groundhog Day being the best-known example (though “Star Trek: The Next Generation” had done a time loop episode a year before that movie came out).

Director Doug Limon’s highly entertaining 2014 film Edge of Tomorrow, based on the Japanese light novel All You Need Is Kill, put a fresh spin on the formula by making it a war movie, forcing its protagonist (Tom Cruise) to relive a bloody battle until he can unlock the secret to saving humanity from an alien invasion.

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Cruise at the time seemed to be fully entrenched in a Charlton Heston phase, similar to how that legendary actor spent the middle-age portion of his career hammering out a series of science-fiction films. In the decade or so prior, Cruise had appeared in Minority Report and War of the Worlds, and had just come off of Oblivion from director Joseph Kosinski, with whom he would reteam for Top Gun: Maverick.

Thus, it’s quite amusing to watch the progression of Cruise’s character, Maj. William Cage, as he adjusts to his circumstance. In something of a parallel with Cruise’s own career, Cage begins the film as a smooth-talking military PR flunky who gets by on charisma alone, not unlike 1980s Cruise, until a vindictive general forces him into combat. The hapless Cage is quickly killed, but the circumstances of his death cause him to relive the day every time he’s killed. This allows him to hone his combat skills enough to become action hero Tom Cruise.

He finds an ally in Sgt. Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), who once experienced the same thing, and used her power to defeat the aliens in battle before it wore off. Turns out, the aliens are the ones resetting the day, adapting each time they lose so they can eliminate humanity’s defenses.

This gives Cage a clear objective. Find the source of the aliens’ ability to manipulate time, and destroy it. This really gives the film the feeling of a video game, with Cage as the player who has to start the level over each time he loses a life.

For his part, Limon says in the bonus featurettes that the film isn’t as much inspired by video games or alien movies as it is his reaction to what he doesn’t like about them, and his desire not to make a boring film that relies on cliché.

The film stretches its concept as far as logic allows, anticipating plot holes or questions the audience might have and then providing the answer. For example, there comes a point when Cage can’t keep Rita alive past a certain point, which only serves to highlight why he still needs her to carry out his mission. Sure enough, the next time through Cage tries it solo (though this leads to a new set of complications).

The editing is crisp, keeping viewers fully informed about what’s going on without the need for repeating events more than required. The visual effects are a nice mix of practical sets and CGI that look great in HD.

The film also subtly reminds viewers of our own cycle of warfare by linking the alien invasion to some of the famous battlefields of the two World Wars (particularly the beaches at Normandy).

Screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie had worked with Cruise on 2012’s Jack Reacher, and the creative team would align again in 2015 when McQuarrie took over directing duties for the “Mission: Impossible” franchise. He was also one of the co-writers on the Top Gun sequel.

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At the time of its release, the biggest complaint about Edge of Tomorrow seemed to be that the studio saddled it with a sappy title that seemed better suited for a soap opera than a hard-boiled sci-fi actioner (for which the novel’s original title of All You Need Is Kill would have proved sufficiently badass). This might have hampered marketing efforts to built audience awareness, though the film still managed to earned more than $100 million domestically and bring in enough worldwide to double its budget. It enjoyed a second life and became something of a cult hit on home video, where the tag line “Live. Die. Repeat” was given such prominence in the packaging and promotional materials that fans and retailers assumed the studio had re-named it, leading to even more confusion about what the actual name of the film was.

There were rumors of a sequel in development that would have been called Live Die Repeat and Repeat, but the pandemic seems to have delayed production enough that the studio is now pursuing an HBO Max spinoff instead.

The Edge of Tomorrow 4K Ultra HD re-release includes the same bonus materials as earlier releases of the film. The combo pack has no extras on the 4K disc, and the regular Blu-ray is the same as previously released, offering a few inconsequential deleted scenes and about an hour’s worth of behind-the-scenes featurettes that focus mostly on the stunts and special effects.

Tom Cruise Action Thriller ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ Headed to 4K July 5

The 2014 Tom Cruise action thriller Edge of Tomorrow will be released on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack and digital July 5 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Co-starring Emily Blunt and directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith), the film takes place as an alien race, undefeatable by any existing military unit, has launched a relentless attack on Earth, and Major William Cage (Cruise) finds himself dropped into a suicide mission. Killed within minutes, Cage is thrown into a time loop, forced to live out the same brutal combat over and over, fighting and dying again and again. Training alongside Rita Vrataski (Blunt), his skills slowly evolve, and each battle moves them a step closer to defeating the enemy.  ​

The film also stars Bill Paxton (Aliens, HBO’s “Big Love”), Brendan Gleeson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1), Noah Taylor (Lawless), Kick Gurry (Australian TV’s “Tangle”), Dragomir Mrsic (Snabba Cash II), Charlotte Riley (World Without End), Jonas Armstrong (BBC TV’s “Robin Hood”), Franz Drameh (Attack the Block), Masayoshi Haneda (Emperor) and Tony Way (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

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Special features include “Operation Downfall — Adrenaline Cut,” “Storming the Beach,” “Weapons of the Future,” “Creatures Not of This World,” “On the Edge With Doug Liman” and deleted scenes.

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+.

A Quiet Place Part II

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 7/27/21;
Paramount;
Horror;
$29.99 DVD, $31.99 Blu-ray, $34.99 UHD BD;
Box Office $157.52 million;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for terror, violence and bloody/disturbing images.
Stars Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Djimon Hounsou, John Krasinski, Scoot McNairy.

Director John Krasinski delivers another eerily effective thriller predicated on silence in his follow up to the surprise 2018 hit film A Quiet Place.

The sequel actually begins as a bit of a prequel, showing how the alien creatures that prey on sound first arrived on Earth, giving Krasinski an opportunity to make a brief appearance as Lee Abbott, the father who in the first film sacrificed himself to distract the aliens and save his family.

The film then cuts to the immediate aftermath of the first film, as Lee’s wife, Evelyn (Emily Blunt), is left to fend for survival with their newborn baby, son Marcus (Noah Jupe) and deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds). Regan’s hearing aid proved deadly to the aliens, emitting a frequency that disturbs their super hearing and makes them possible to kill.

The Abbotts set off to seek new shelter after theirs was pretty much destroyed by the alien attacks of the first film. They end up crossing into the booby-trapped land of their neighbor Emmett (Cillian Murphy), who wants them to leave so as not to squander the few resources he has.

However, they pick up a radio signal of someone broadcasting the song “Beyond the Sea,” which Regan intuits is a message to find a conclave of survivors living on an island, since the aliens don’t like water.

With Marcus injured by a bear trap (in a horrifying sequence involving a lot of screaming), and Evelyn forced to tend to him, Regan sets off to find a boat to get to the island, joined by a reluctant Emmett, who slowly starts to realize that perhaps there are still things to hope for in this otherwise dangerous world.

Naturally, the sound parasites are a constant threat to all the characters.

While the 4K disc includes just the film in Ultra HD, the Blu-ray edition includes several behind-the-scenes featurettes.

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‘A Quiet Place Part II’ Coming to Digital July 13, Disc July 27

The thriller sequel A Quiet Place Part II will debut on digital July 13 and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray and DVD July 27 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

In the sequel, written and directed by John Krasinski, following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family (Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe) must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.

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Special features include Krasinski on the set of the new film as he details the cast and crew’s work in a video director’s diary; information about the secrets of the monstrous invaders; an explanation of the two-film character arc of daughter Regan; a breakdown of the marina scene; and exploration of the visual effects and sound design.

The 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Discs also include a Dolby Atmos soundtrack, and the 4K Ultra HD disc features Dolby Vision.

The  two-movie collection will also be available to buy exclusively on digital or Blu-ray with bonus content on both films.

A ‘Quiet Place’ No More: Memorial Day Weekend Box Office Soars Past $100 Million

It’s business as usual for the summer blockbuster. Paramount Pictures’ A Quiet Place Part II outdid the original, opening at an estimated $48.3 million across 3,726 screens over the three-day Memorial Day weekend, according to the studio. Adding Thursday’s record sneak peak, and the tally tops $58.5 million, which would surpass the original’s $54.3 million in 2018.

The post-apocalyptic sequel from director John Krasinski, and starring his wife Emily Blunt, was the biggest opening domestic weekend since Warner Bros. Pictures’ Godzilla vs. Kong, which tracked $34.1 million over four days in March, and was available concurrently for free on HBO Max. A Quiet Place Part II is available exclusively in theaters for 45 days, before streaming concurrently on Paramount+.

In No. 2 is Disney’s Cruella, with an estimated $26.5 million across 3,892 screens over four days. The title is also available for $29.99 purchase on Premier Access to Disney+ subscribers. The movie, starring Emma Stone, tracked another $16.1 million internationally for global haul of $43 million.

When combined, the two movies helped the domestic box office surpass $100 million — the highest tally since the pandemic began, shuttering movie theaters for much of 2020 and into this year. The figure still pales in comparison to the 2019 Memorial Day gross of $232 million.

Meanwhile, Universal Pictures’ F9 topped the $229 million globally, despite a 85% drop in theatrical revenue in China. The long-running actioner opens in the United States June 24.

 

‘Breach,’ ‘Love, Weddings & Other Disasters’ and ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’ Top Feb. 2 Slate of New Disc, Digital Releases

The Bruce Willis sci-fi thriller Breach, the Lionsgate romantic comedy Love, Weddings & Other Disasters and the Emily Blunt romance Wild Mountain Thyme top the slate of new disc and digital releases available for home viewing beginning Feb. 2.

Breach, which is making its DVD debut from Paramount Home Entertainment, opened in December in select theaters and became available at the same time through digital retailers and on VOD. Fleeing a devastating plague on Earth, an interstellar ark comes under attack from a new threat — a shape-shifting alien force intent on slaughtering what is left of humanity. Joining Willis in the cast are Cody Kearsley,  Johnny Messner, Thomas Jane, Rachel Nichols, Corey Large, Alexander Kane and Kassandra Clementi.

After a brief theatrical run, Love, Weddings & Other Disasters is now available on Blu-ray Disc (with digital copy) and DVD. The film is the first independent feature from Dennis Dugan, whose directing credits include Happy Gilmore and Big Daddy. Against a backdrop of a couple’s impending wedding, the film weaves together multiple storylines as it follows the search for love by a colorful group of characters. The ensemble cast includes Diane Keaton, Jeremy Irons, Maggie Grace and Andrew Bachelor. Extras include an audio commentary with co-screenwriter and director Dennis Dugan; descriptive audio commentary for the blind; and the featurette “A Celebration: Making Love, Weddings, & Other Disasters.”

Wild Mountain Thyme becomes available Feb. 2 on DVD and through digital retailers from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The film, directed by John Patrick Shanley (Moonstruck), follows headstrong farmer Rosemary Muldoon (Blunt), who has her heart set on winning her neighbor Anthony Reilly’s love. The problem is Anthony (Jamie Dornan) seems to have inherited a family curse and remains oblivious to his beautiful admirer. Stung by his father Tony Reilly’s (Christopher Walken) plans to sell the family farm to his American nephew (Jon Hamm), Anthony is jolted into pursuing his dreams in this comedic romantic tale.

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Universal on Feb. 2 is also releasing the drama Let Him Go on Blu-ray Disc and DVD, two weeks after the film became available for digital sellthrough. The film stars Diane Lane and Kevin Costner as a husband and wife who, after the death of their son, leave their Montana ranch to journey through North Dakota to rescue their young grandson from the clutches of a ruthless family. Let Him Go is based on the novel of the same name by Larry Watson.

Also from Universal are two older movies timed to Black History Month, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and Spike Lee’s iconic Do the Right Thing.

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, making its Blu-ray Disc debut Feb. 2, is a highly acclaimed 1974 TV drama starring the late Cicely Tyson, who died Jan. 28 at the age of 96. Based on the novel by Ernest J. Gaines, the film chronicles the period of American history from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, based on the memories of a fictional 110-year-old former slave, portrayed by Tyson. The film won nine Emmy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress and Actress of the Year honors for Tyson.

Do the Right Thing is being issued on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray for the first time. In the 1989 film, a hot summer day in the inner city brings racial tensions to a boiling point in a tough Brooklyn neighborhood. The cast includes Lee, Danny Aiello, Rosie Perez, John Turturro and Samuel L. Jackson. The film earned two Oscar nominations, including one for Best Original Screenplay and a Best Supporting Actor nod for Aiello. Extras in the combo pack include a new introduction by Lee; deleted and extended scenes; feature commentary by Lee; and a documentary featuring cast and crew.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

Emily Blunt Romance ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’ Available on DVD and Digital Feb. 2

The Emily Blunt romance Wild Mountain Thyme will come out on DVD and digital Feb. 2 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

From John Patrick Shanley (Moonstruck), the film follows headstrong farmer Rosemary Muldoon (Blunt), who has her heart set on winning her neighbor Anthony Reilly’s love. The problem is Anthony (Jamie Dornan) seems to have inherited a family curse and remains oblivious to his beautiful admirer.

Stung by his father Tony Reilly’s (Christopher Walken) plans to sell the family farm to his American nephew (Jon Hamm), Anthony is jolted into pursuing his dreams in this comedic romantic tale.

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