Zombieland: Double Tap

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 1/21/20;
Sony Pictures;
Comedy;
Box Office $73.09 million;
$30.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray, $45.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for bloody violence, language throughout, some drug and sexual content.
Stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Zoey Deutch, Avan Jogia, Rosario Dawson, Luke Wilson, Thomas Middleditch.

The original Zombieland in 2009 was such a delightful surprise that most fans considered a sequel to be an inevitability. Yet the years without one started to pile up, save for a pilot episode in 2013 of a TV adaptation for Amazon Prime Video that wasn’t picked up.

Ruben Fleischer, director of both the original film and this 10-years-later follow up, recalls in his commentary that plans for the sequel stalled because the creative team wasn’t satisfied with the script, so it was put on hold. Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick at least tried to resurrect the concept on Amazon, albeit with a new cast, before moving on to pen the “Deadpool” movies. Fleischer himself went on to direct Venom.

Eventually, though, they found a concept that works, and here we are with the hilarious Double Tap, dropping back in on the post-apocalypse to see how the core quartet of Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) have adjusted to a decade of life fighting zombies.

Pretty well, it turns out. They’ve taken up residence in the abandoned White House, while Columbus and Wichita have graduated to a full-fledged romantic relationship. That leaves the now grown-up Little Rock a bit restless to find a boyfriend of her own, so she hits the road with a pacifist musician named Berkeley (Avan Jogia), who promises to take her to a walled off commune where weapons are banned and the residents hide out from the zombie hordes by getting stoned in a village atop a skyrise.

So the rest of the group sets off to find her, joined by Madison (Zoey Deutch), a ditzy blonde they find living at the mall.

The zombies have also evolved into different sub-groups, some smarter than others, some harder to kill than others, which ups the danger factor of their road trip.

Follow us on Instagram

The joy of the “Zombieland” movies is that they fully embrace the blood, gore and dystopian flavor of the genre, while at the same time spoofing the hell out of it. This time around, the movie even engages in a bit of self-parody, such as when Columbus and Tallahassee encounter another duo (Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch) whose personalities are eerily similar.

The casting of Middleditch as a doppelganger for Eisenberg is but one example of the film’s meta-humor, owing to Eisenberg’s performance as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, and Middleditch as the tech startup CEO on HBO’s “Silicon Valley.” The similarity in their characters is so pronounced that Fleischer even calls Eisenberg “Tom” at one point in his commentary. Oops.

There are quite a few running gags at play in Double Tap, from an expansion of the survival rules introduced in the first film, to the elaborate “Zombie Kill of the Week” cutaways, to the search for the ideal post-apocalyptic vehicle, to reflections of the past 10 years from the point of view of a society frozen in 2009. And the filmmakers have filled the screen with enough clever background details that it may take several viewings to fully appreciate.

At its core, though, as with the first film, Zombieland: Double Tap is anchored by the winning chemistry of its cast and the audience’s eagerness to spend more time with them.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The Blu-ray is loaded with some great bonus materials, starting with the aforementioned director’s commentary, which offers some good behind-the-scenes information.

The making of the film is also the focus of five featurettes totaling nearly 35 minutes, covering the creation of the film’s memorable vehicles and sets, to the new cast members, and a look at making the fantastic mid-credits sequence that calls back to a memorable cameo from the first film.

Another two-minute video gives viewers a director’s-eye view of one of the film’s notable fight scenes.

Fans should be especially thrilled by the nearly 13 minutes of deleted scenes on the disc, which offer some great character moments that didn’t quite work for the film’s pacing but offer some interest tidbits on their own, particularly when it comes to the Columbus/Wichita relationship.

Rounding out the extras are an amusing five-minute blooper reel and a 30-second PSA using the film’s premise to encourage viewers to prepare their own emergency survival kits.

 

 

Sony Pictures Sets Home Release Dates for ‘Zombieland: Double Tap’

Sony Pictures has set home release dates for Zombieland: Double Tap, the zombie comedy sequel that hit the big screen earlier this year — 10 years after the original Zombieland.

The film, which grossed an estimated $72.2 million in North American movie theaters, will be released on digital Dec. 24 and on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Jan. 21, 2020.

Follow us on Instagram!

Bonus materials for the home edition include audio commentary by director Ruben Fleischer, a blooper reel, nine alternate and extended scenes, and several behind-the-scenes featurettes about the making of the film.

Returning cast members include Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin  and Emma Stone. They are joined by newcomers Rosario Dawson (TV’s “The Defenders”), Zoey Deutch (TV’s “The Politician”), Luke Wilson (Old School), Avan Jogia (Shaft), and Thomas Middleditch (TV’s “Silicon Valley”).

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Set one decade after the events of the first film, Zombieland: Double Tap finds Tallahassee (Harrelson), Columbus (Eisenberg), Little Rock (Breslin), and Wichita (Stone) working together to kill zombies from their new home in the now-vacant White House.

A full list of bonus materials:

  • Extended bloopers and outtakes
  • Alternate and extended scenes
      • “The Beast is Gone”: Tragedy falls upon Tallahassee.
      • “Van Rides”: A vehicle says a lot about a person.
      • “Would Have Never Met”: Wichita and Columbus discuss what their lives would have been like if not for the zombie apocalypse.
      • “In Bed”: Tallahassee gets randy
      • “Breakfast at Babylon”: Cruelty-free breakfast and conversation.
      • “Car Ride”: Road trips were made for family bonding.
      • “Melting Gun”: Tallahassee says goodbye to another friend.
      • “There’s a Party Tonight”: Hanging out with a bunch of hippies.
      • “Alternate Proposal”: Love is the perfect mix of cool and uncool.
  • “The Doppelgangers”: From stunts to special effects, this in-depth piece breaks down doppelgangers Flagstaff and Albuquerque through interviews, demonstrations, and multiple cameras.
  • “The Rides of Zombieland”: From the Beast to Big Fat Death (and a hated Pontiac Trans Sport in between) this short focuses on the cars the zombie killers use to get around.
  • “Rules of Making a Zombie Film”: A documentary on the rules of making a zombie film.
  • “Making Babylon”: Explore the climactic third act location in the film. known in Zombieland as Babylon.  Part fortress, part freshman dormitory, Babylon is the safe-place for a generation of misguided peace-loving retro-hippies.
  • “New Blood”: Profiles on new cast members Rosario Dawson, Zoey Deutch, and Avan Jogia.
  • “Single Take Doppelganger Fight”: Director Fleischer shares the camera monitor during the Doppelganger fight sequence.
  • Commentary with Fleischer.
  • “Zombieland Ad Council”

‘Zombieland’ Heading to 4K Ultra HD Oct. 1 From Sony

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Zombieland will come out on 4K Ultra HD Oct. 1 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in time for the theatrical debut of its sequel, Zombieland: Double Tap.

Directed by Ruben Fleischer and starring Academy Award nominees Woody Harrelson (2017, Best Supporting Actor, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, 2017), Jesse Eisenberg (2010, Best Actor, The Social Network) and Abigail Breslin (2006, Best Supporting Actress, Little Miss Sunshine) and Academy Award-winner Emma Stone (2016, Best Actress, La La Land), the film follows a shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, a gun-toting tough guy trying to find the last Twinkie, and a pair of sisters trying to get to an amusement park, who join forces to travel across a zombie-filled America.

Remastered in 4K with High Dynamic Range, the release includes a Dolby Atmos audio track, along with the original theatrical 5.1 audio.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The 4K UHD release features a new special feature with the cast offering a look back at the original film; a behind-the-scenes featurette; and “Shootin’ Zombies with Ruben Fleischer.” Special features on the Blu-ray include “Beyond the Graveyard Picture-in-Picture Track”; audio commentary with filmmakers and cast; the “In Search of Zombieland” featurette; the “ Zombieland is Your Land” featurette; deleted scenes; and visual effects progression scenes.

Oscar Nominated ‘The Favourite’ on Digital Feb. 12, Disc March 5

The critically acclaimed historical comedy The Favourite will be released through digital retailers Feb. 12, and on Blu-ray and DVD March 5 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Set in early 18th century England, the film stars Olivia Colman as Queen Anne, whose ill health and volatile temper is tended to by Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz). But the arrival of new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) sets off a rivalry to become the Queen’s favourite.

The Favourite earned 10 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Colman, Best Supporting Actress for both Weisz and Stone, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

Home video extras include deleted scenes and the featurette “The Favourite: Unstitching the Costume Drama.”

‘Maniac’ Bows at No. 3 on Digital Originals Chart, with ‘Stranger Things’ Still No. 1

With the launch of “Maniac,” the Netflix miniseries debuted at No. 3 on the top 10 digital originals chart for the week ended Sept. 29, according to Parrot Analytics.

The sci-fi comedy drama, which follows two strangers who connect during a pharmaceutical trial, posted a nearly 80% gain in Demand Expressions, a proprietary metric used by Parrot Analytics to measure global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

A “digital original” is described as a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hulu.

“Maniac” stars Emma Stone, Jonah Hill, Justin Theroux, Sonoya Mizuno, Gabriel Byrne, and Sally Field. Critics have praised the 10-episode series for visuals, direction and acting, particularly the performances of Stone and Hill.

“Stranger Things”and “Bojack Horseman” remain in the No. 1 and No. 2 spot on the digital originals chart, while “Ozark,” the dark drama about a family forced to move its money-laundering operation to a resort in the Ozark mountains to placate a violent drug cartel, moved up a notch to No. 4, even though demand was relatively flat. “Ozark” launched its second season on Aug. 31.

Rounding out the top five on the weekly digital originals chart was Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” down from No. 3 the prior week with a decline in Demand Expressions by nearly 11%.

Demand for “Stranger Things” rose 5%, while demand for “Bojack Horseman” is down nearly 20% from the prior week. Demand for “Stranger Things” initially peaked after the July 16 release of its Season 3 teaser,  illustrating the strong fan connection with the series.

“Marvel’s Daredevil” jumped to No. 6 from No. 8 the prior week, with word that Season 3 is launching on Oct. 19. That drove demand up nearly 17%.

“Castle Rock,” from Hulu, suffered the biggest drop in demand  of any of the digital originals in the top 10, with a 27% decline in demand – and a fall on the chart to No. 9 from No. 4 the prior week.

Battle of the Sexes

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street 1/2/18;
Fox;

Comedy-Drama;
Box Office $12.6 million;
$29.98 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for some sexual content and partial nudity.
Stars Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Andrea Riseborough, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue, Austin Stowell, Eric Christian Olsen, Natalie Morales.

The marketing materials for this high-profile sports film positioned it as a comedy, and it has been nominated as such in the corresponding categories for a slew of awards, including the Golden Globes.

But watching it yields one of those classic disconnects between expectations based on the trailers, and the film itself. While the film certainly has moments of levity, centered mostly on the performance of Steve Carell as aging tennis icon Bobby Riggs, whatever comedic elements come through are mostly due to how much of a farce the real-life event at the center of the story was, and how much Riggs acted like a clown trying to promote it.

Otherwise, the movie is mostly a straightforward biopic drama about tennis legend Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) discovering her sexuality while fighting to raise the stature of women’s tennis on the professional circuit

The key event of the title, of course, is the legendary 1973 exhibition match between 30-year-old King, at the time the world’s top female tennis player, and the 55-year-old Riggs, a ruthless self-promoter and gambling addict whose claim to fame was winning the three big titles (singles, doubles and mixed doubles) at Wimbledon in 1939, and who threw himself back into the spotlight by betting that even in his old age he could beat any top woman in the circuit.

And Riggs made good on his word, defeating Australian Margaret Court after King initially refused to play him and then stumbled in the rankings to push the Aussie star into the spotlight. In the aftermath of Court’s defeat and positioned to take on Riggs for the honor of all womanhood, King is portrayed as focused on practically nothing but training for her match with him, to the detriment of her regular tournament play, and relationships with her husband (Austin Stowell) and her lover (Andrea Riseborough).

Riggs, on the other hand, seems barely interested in the match at all, soaking up the publicity and sponsorship money in one long poolside party. It’s not until she starts to pull ahead of him in their match when he finally seems to care about the result, and I suppose it’s up to viewers to decide what lessons can be gleaned from the outcome following such a set-up, or if it does, in fact, support what many would infer as the obvious message of the film.

But these are fairly straightforward re-creations of historical events, and the film has a great look retro look about it, which has become something of a trend recently in period pieces. Where the film really shines is in conveying the idea that people should be true to themselves and accepting of others, and only then can societal barriers be torn down. It is here where the film has bigger fish to fry than the result of a highly publicized stunt.

Emma Stone disappears in the role, making it somewhat jarring to be reminded what the real King looked like when she turns up in archive footage in the bonus materials. She and Carell are captivating in their respective roles whenever they’re on screen pushing forward their separate storylines that eventually converge.

The Blu-ray includes an interesting behind-the-scenes featurette about the level of detail used by the filmmakers in re-creating the 1970s setting. They even brought on an old friend and coach of Riggs to train Carell to emulate Riggs’ playing style. The Blu-ray also includes an interview with the real-life King, plus raw footage of the filming of her entrance into the Astrodome for the big match.