Pedro Almodovar’s ‘Strange Way of Life’ Available on Digital and DVD Feb. 13

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release Strange Way of Life, a short film by director Pedro Almodóvar, on DVD and for digital purchase on Feb. 13.

In the film, after 25 years, Silva (Pedro Pascal) rides a horse across the desert to visit his friend Sheriff Jake (Ethan Hawke). A lifetime after their shared stint as hired gunmen, they celebrate their reunion. However, the next morning, it is revealed the trip is not to revel in the memory of their friendship.

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The film earned a more than $1 million at the box office.

Nicolas Cage Action-Adventure ‘Lord of War’ Due on Best Buy Exclusive 4K Ultra HD Steelbook June 6

The Nicolas Cage action-adventure Lord of War (2005) will arrive in a Best Buy exclusive 4K Ultra HD Steelbook combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital) on June 6 from Lionsgate.

Directed by Andrew Niccol (The Host, Good Kill, Anon), the film follows Yuri Orlov (Cage), an arms dealer whose clients include merciless dictators. With his brother’s help, he reaches the top of his trade, supplying anyone whose check clears. His skills and quick wits bring him everything he’s ever wanted — and help him elude a persistent Interpol agent. But at the peak of his prowess, he discovers his customers might demand more than he can give, and those he’s trying to protect could become deadly liabilities.

The film also stars Ethan Hawke, Jared Leto, Ian Holm and Bridget Moynahan.

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Special features include deleted scenes; “The Making of Lord of War” featurette; “Making a Killing: Inside the International Arms Trade” featurette; and audio commentary with writer-director Andrew Niccol.

Disc and Digital Release Dates Set for Blumhouse Thriller ‘The Black Phone’

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has set home release dates for the psychological thriller The Black Phone.

The film, which earned more than $84 million in North American movie theaters, will be released through digital retailers on Aug. 12, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on Aug. 16.

In The Black Phone, from Blumhouse and director Scott Derrickson, a 13-year-old boy is abducted by a child killer and locked in a soundproof basement, where he starts receiving calls on a disconnected phone from the killer’s previous victims.

The Black Phone, which stars Ethan Hawke, is based on the short story of the same name by Joe Hill. Other cast members include Jeremy Davies, James Ransone, Mason Thames and Madeleine McGraw.

The home releases come with exclusive bonus content, including deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes featurettes with the cast and crew, Derrickson’s short film Shadowprowler, and a feature commentary by Derrickson, whose credits also include producer and co-writer.
 
With the purchase of The Black Phone on disc or digital, fans are eligible to earn points toward digital movies via the Universal All-Access Rewards program. Members can redeem their points for digital movies, swag and more. For registration and details visit www.MyUniversalRewards.com.
 

The Northman

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Universal;
Drama;
Box Office $34.23 million;
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray, $44.98 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for strong bloody violence, some sexual content and nudity.
Stars Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Ethan Hawke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Gustav Lindh, Elliott Rose, Willem Dafoe, Oscar Novak, Björk.

Director Robert Eggers’ The Northman provides him a nice opportunity to deliver a Viking history lesson. Not through the film itself, which is basically Hamlet by way of Conan the Barbarian, but through a commentary track in which he points out where historical research influenced the story and look of the film.

He also spends a surprising amount of time in the commentary picking apart things he doesn’t like about the film that he wishes he could have done in better in hindsight. So, points for honesty.

The Northman is a grimy tale of revenge set in the 10th century, and is based on the Scandinavian legend of Amleth — the same stories that also provided the source material for Shakespeare’s Hamlet (or, as Ethan Hawke helpfully points out in the bonus materials, The Lion King), for those so inclined to notice a few similarities in the plot.

In the film, Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) is a Viking prince who, as a boy, was forced to flee his kingdom after witnessing his father’s murder at the hands of his uncle (Claes Bang), who subsequently also married his mother (Nicole Kidman) in seizing the throne. Growing up as a Viking warrior known as a berserker, Amleth vows revenge against his uncle, participating in raids on isolated villages until he gets a chance to strike.

He eventually learns his uncle was deposed and is living on a farm in Iceland. Amleth makes his way to the island, where he encounters a young sorceress named Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy), who agrees to aid him as part of a prophecy.

Impressively shot with some well-staged action sequences, the film is dark and bloody, though watching it after the commentary will probably take some of the edge off it.

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The Blu-ray includes about 40 minutes of behind-the-scenes featurettes that delve further into the Viking lore that influenced the movie.

The 12-minute “An Ageless Epic” focuses on the film’s story and historic accuracy; the 11-minute “The Faces of Vikings” explores the characters; and the five-minute “A Norse Landscape” shows off the film’s locations and set design.

Getting into more specific aspects of the film, the four-minute “Amleth’s Journey to Manhood” looks at the filming of a ritual early in the story; the four-minute “Shooting the Raid” deals with the film’s approach to action through the shooting of a centerpiece sequence; and the three-minute “Knattleikr Game” discusses an ancient game that is played at a key point in the plot.

Finally, there are nine short deleted scenes that run a total of about 13 minutes, most of which are inconsequential extensions to scenes in the movie.

Viking Saga ‘The Northman’ Headed to Digital June 6, Disc June 7

The Viking saga The Northman will be available on digital with exclusive bonus content June 6, and on 4K Ultra HD Collector’s Edition, Blu-ray Collector’s Edition and DVD June 7 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

From director Robert Eggers (The Witch, The Lighthouse), the film stars Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Willem Dafoe, Claes Bang and Björk.

In the film, after witnessing first-hand the murder of his father, a Viking prince (Skarsgård) devotes his life to avenge his father’s death, save his mother and reclaim his kingdom.

Bonus features include nine deleted and extended scenes and behind-the-scenes featurettes.

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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.”