Gattaca

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Sony Pictures;
Sci-Fi;
$24.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for brief violent images, language and some sexuality.
Stars Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Alan Arkin, Jude Law, Loren Dean.

In revisiting Gattaca, it’s easy to see why the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction and for a Golden Globe for Best Original Score. The retro-futuristic look of the film and its haunting score are truly extraordinary and still impress more than two decades after its initial 1997 release.

Written and directed by Andrew Niccol (The Truman Show), Gattaca’s story, set in an indefinite future time period, also hold ups well. The issues the sci-fi thriller explores are perhaps even more relevant today. Ultimately, it poses the question: What makes us, genes or guts?

The film centers on Vincent (Ethan Hawke), an “in-valid,” or genetically inferior “God child,” whose parents chose not to use genetic means to make a baby. Saddled with a heart condition, among other “defects,” Vincent decides to take a “borrowed ladder” by assuming the identity of a member of the genetic elite to pursue his goal of traveling into space with the Gattaca Aerospace Corp. (The name “Gattaca” cleverly features the letters in the genome sequence.) Thus, through a financial arrangement, he uses the name and genetic material of Jerome Morrow (Jude Law), who is confined to a wheelchair. All seems to be going well until a week before his mission, a murder marks Vincent as a suspect. With investigators in pursuit and a love interest (Uma Thurman) beginning to suspect his deception, Vincent sees his dream beginning to unravel.

The 4K edition has been remastered from the original camera negative, and the crisp picture nicely renders the effect of the small skin cells and strands of hair falling onto surfaces, littering the workspace and threatening to give Vincent away. It also makes more vivid the graphic lines of the concrete and glass architecture. (The film was shot in part at Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1960 Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael, Calif.) The 4K treatment does justice to the lasting, timeless beauty of this film.

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Sony is releasing the title in a Steelbook combo pack that includes a regular Blu-ray and digital copies of the film in addition to the 4K disc, which does not include extras. Extras on the Blu-ray include deleted scenes, a blooper reel and the featurette “Welcome to Gattaca.”

1985’s ‘Explorers’ to Make Blu-ray Disc Debut May 25 From Shout! Factory

Shout! Select has set a May 25 release date for a Blu-ray Disc collector’s edition of Explorers, the 1985 film that marked the movie debut of both the late River Phoenix and Ethan Hawke.

The film has never before been released on Blu-ray Disc. It was released on VHS videocassette in 1985 and again in 1997, and was subsequently issued on DVD multiple times, most recently as a manufactured-on-demand selection from Paramount in November 2019.

From acclaimed director Joe Dante (Gremlins), Explorers is an action-fantasy that follows the dreams of three curious and adventuresome boys as they become a reality. In their makeshift laboratory, the boys use an amazing discovery and their own ingenuity to build their own spaceship and manage to launch themselves on a fantastic interplanetary journey.

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The film was  box office flop, opening in theaters just nine days after Back to the Future. But over the years it has attracted a cult following.

Bonus features on the Explorers collector’s edition Blu-ray Disc include the original home video and theatrical cuts of the film; “A Science Fiction Fairy Tale: The Story of Explorers,” featuring new interviews with director Dante, screenwriter Eric Luke, Hawke, and more; deleted scenes with optional commentary by Dante; new interviews with cinematographer John Hora and editor Tina Hirsch; and the original theatrical trailer.

Fans who order the Blu-ray Disc from ShoutFactory.com will receive an exclusive 18×24 rolled poster featuring brand-new artwork, available while supplies last.

Drama ‘Cut Throat City’ Due on Digital Oct. 6, Disc Oct. 20

The drama Cut Throat City will come out on digital Oct. 6 and Blu-ray combo pack and DVD Oct. 20 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

In the film, after Hurricane Katrina, four boyhood friends return to New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward and find decimated homes, no jobs and no help from FEMA. They reluctantly turn to a local gangster who offers them one shot at turning their situations around — by pulling off a dangerous heist in the heart of the city. When the job goes bad, the friends find themselves on the run, hunted by two relentless detectives and a neighborhood warlord who thinks they stole the heist money.

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Directed by RZA (The Man with the Iron Fists) and written by P.G. Cuschieri (“The Undercovers”), Cut Throat City stars Shameik Moore (DopeSpider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), Tip “T.I.” Harris (Ant-Man franchise), Demetrius Shipp Jr. (All American) and Kat Graham (“The Vampire Diaries”), along with Wesley Snipes (BladeNew Jack City), Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard (Best Actor, Hustle & Flow, 2005), Eiza Gonzalez (Baby Driver) and four-time Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke (Best Supporting Actor: Training Day, 2001, Boyhood, 2014; Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay: Before Sunset, 2004, Before Midnight, 2013). Denzel Whitaker (Black Panther), Keean Johnson (Midway) and Isaiah Washington (“The 100”) also play supporting roles.

Bonus content includes behind-the-scenes footage and deleted scenes.

‘The Kid’ Shoots to Disc and Digital June 4 From Lionsgate

The Western The Kid rides to Blu-ray (plus digital), DVD, digital and on demand June 4 from Lionsgate.

The new take on the infamous American Old West story of Billy the Kid and Sheriff Pat Garrett stars Ethan Hawke (Training DayBoyhoodThe Magnificent Seven), Dane DeHaan (LincolnThe Place Beyond the PinesLawless), Jake Schur, Leila George and Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, “The Avengers” franchise, Jurassic WorldThe Magnificent Seven). Directed by Vincent D’Onofrio (TV’s “Daredevil,” The Magnificent SevenJurassic World) The Kid reunites D’Onofrio and Hawke for the first time since their performance in The Magnificent Seven.

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In the Western, a young boy, Rio (Schur), is forced to go on the run across the American Southwest in a desperate attempt to save his sister (George) from his villainous uncle (Pratt). Along the way, he encounters Sheriff Pat Garrett (Hawke), on the hunt for the infamous outlaw Billy the Kid (DeHaan). Rio finds himself increasingly entwined in the lives of these two legendary figures as the cat-and-mouse game of Billy the Kid’s final year of life plays out.

Bonus features include a making-of featurette.

Comedy ‘Juliet, Naked’ Due on Digital Oct. 30, Disc Nov. 13 From Lionsgate

Juliet, Naked, a comedy starring Rose Byrne and Ethan Hawke, will come out on digital Oct. 30 and Blu-ray (plus digital), DVD, and on demand Nov. 13 from Lionsgate.

Based on the novel by best-selling author Nick Hornby (High FidelityAbout a Boy) and from producer Judd Apatow (TV’s “Girls,” This is 40), the film follows Annie (Byrne), the long-suffering girlfriend of Duncan (O’Dowd), who develops an unlikely transatlantic romance with the once-admired, now washed-up singer-songwriter Tucker Crowe, who also happens to be the subject of Duncan’s musical obsession.

Special features include the making-of featurette “Making Juliet, Naked.”

Ethan Hawke Film ‘First Reformed’ Due Aug. 21 on Disc From Lionsgate

First Reformed, starring Ethan Hawke, arrives on Blu-ray (plus digital) and DVD Aug. 21 from Lionsgate.

Writer-director Paul Schrader (Raging BullTaxi Driver) helms the story of Reverend Ernst Toller (Hawke), a solitary, middle-aged parish pastor at a struggling church who is conflicted when a pregnant parishioner (Amanda Seyfried) asks the reverend to counsel her husband. The film also stars Cedric the Entertainer.

The Blu-ray ($24.99) and DVD ($19.98) releases include a featurette and audio commentary with director Schrader.