Greenland

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 2/9/21;
Universal/STX;
Thriller;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of disaster action, some violence, bloody images and brief strong language.
Stars Gerard Butler, Morena Baccarin, Roger Dale Floyd, Scott Glenn, Hope Davis, David Denman, Andrew Bachelor.

The excellent Greenland plays like a cross between Deep Impact and 2012, but manages to be better than both by stripping away the traditional trappings of the disaster film genre. Where most films about a potentially world-ending event would focus on the people trying to prevent it, or how it impacts a wide variety of stock characters, Greenland stands apart by personalizing the doomsday scenario to its effect on a single family and their efforts to survive it.

Gerard Butler (who in 2017 starred in the lousy Geostorm as one of the people trying to stop the global disaster) plays John Garrity, a building engineer who is estranged from his wife, Allison (Morena Baccarin), with whom he has a 7-year-old son, Nate (Roger Dale Floyd).

The news is buzzing with reports of a comet field passing close near Earth, and when a smaller fragment is projected to hit the middle of the Atlantic, several families, including the Garritys, hold parties to watch it.

However, the fragment misses the mark and ends up wiping out Central Florida instead. In the confusion, the Garritys receive a message from the government to head to a military base for transport to a shelter, leading to one of several heartbreaking scenes as they leave the other families of the neighborhood behind.

Soon the news turns much more grim. The comet field is larger than anticipated and will slam into Earth over the next few days, culminating with the impact of a giant comet bigger than the one that wiped out the dinosaurs.

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Those familiar with the general framework of these kinds of disaster films can guess what happens next, as similar depictions of the breakdown of society in the face of extinction have been the subject of many a project, but as noted earlier, the ones that seem most similar to the story of Greenland are 1998’s mostly well-regarded Deep Impact, about society preparing for a comet impact, and 2009’s awful 2012, an action spectacle about various people trying to reach shelters to survive a global disaster.

Director Ric Roman Waugh for the most part eschews the big-budget visual effects sequences these kinds of movies have become known for, instead focusing on the humanity of the situation, reminding us what it means to be a family when times get tough.

John, Allison and Nate make it to an airbase, but their plans to board a plane hit a snag because Nate is diabetic, and the military doesn’t want to take sick people. When the base is overrun by a mob, John is separated from Allison and Nate, and separately they begin to make their way to a fallback meeting place — a ranch in Kentucky owned by her father (Scott Glenn).

Through their journeys we get street-level experiences of the societal impacts of the global disaster, from gun-toting gangs taking over stores, to desperate strangers trying to steal John’s travel credentials or kidnap Nate to further their own survival plans. By keeping the focus on a single family, the audience feels every moment of heartbreak and triumph.

Ultimately, John, who learns he was selected because his profession was deemed desirable to rebuilding the world, gets word of private planes smuggling people to the shelters, which the U.S. military has built in Greenland, and becomes determined to get his family there.

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The film is beautifully shot, from simple shots of the comets haunting the night sky, to the devastating effects their impacts have on the landscape. It’s a bit surprising the film isn’t being made available on a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in its U.S. retail debut.

The Blu-ray includes a smattering of extras, including a simple, one-minute featurette called “Humanity” in which the filmmakers and cast discuss the movie.

A bit more substantial are a couple of deleted scenes and the film’s original ending, which run a total of about five minutes. Each includes an optional introduction with Waugh discussing why they didn’t make the final cut. The original ending is a bit more hopeful, which didn’t sit too well with test audiences, leading to the final version that takes a bit of a cue from 2012, but not in a bad way.

The best extra is the commentary with Waugh and producer Basil Iwanyk, in which they discuss the whole process of making the movie and conveying the motifs they wanted to explore with it.

 

‘Greenland’ Going to PVOD Dec. 18

The action movie Greenland, starring Gerard Butler, is set to launch on premium VOD in the United States beginning Dec. 18 as a $19.99 48-hour rental. Adam Fogelson, chairman of the STXfilms Motion Picture Group, said the movie has been a hit at the box office in 24 territories outside the U.S.

In Greenland, a family fights for survival as a planet-killing comet races to Earth. John Garrity (Butler), his estranged wife, Allison (Morena Baccarin), and young son, Nathan, make a perilous journey to their only hope for sanctuary. Amid terrifying news accounts of cities around the world being leveled by the comet’s fragments, the Garritys experience the best and worst in humanity.

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Greenland has been a hit everywhere in the world, so it’s exciting to bring it to American audiences on PVOD,” Fogelson said.

Butler and director Ric Roman Waugh teamed in 2019 for the actioner Angel Has Fallen, which grossed nearly $147 million worldwide.

Greenland has performed better than Angel Has Fallen in most territories. The film has generated more than $45 million in revenue for STX on a $35 million production budget. Greenland continues to roll out theatrically in international markets where the film opened No. 1 this past weekend in Italy and New Zealand. The movie will be available on HBO and to stream on HBO Max in 2021 after its transactional home entertainment run. HBO reportedly paid $20 million to $30 million for the streaming rights.

Angel Has Fallen

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Lionsgate;
Action;
Box Office $69.03 million;
$29.95 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $42.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for violence and language throughout.
Stars Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lance Reddick, Tim Blake Nelson, Nick Nolte, Danny Huston.

The unassuming “Fallen” action franchise becomes a trilogy in Angel Has Fallen, which continues the adventures of Gerard Butler as Mike Banning, the secret service agent who thwarts a massive conspiracy against the American presidency every few years.

After stopping terrorist takeovers of the White House in 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen, and an attack on world leaders in London in 2016’s London Has Fallen, Banning finds himself framed for an assassination attempt that leaves President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) in a coma and the vice president (Tim Blake Nelson) threatening war with Russia.

Taking on a bit of the flavor of The Fugitive, the plot has Banning under pursuit by a diligent FBI agent (Jada Pinkett Smith), so he goes off the grid and enlists the help of his estranged father, a kooky doomsday prepper living in a rustic cabin in the backwoods of West Virginia. Nick Nolte steals the movie as Mike’s dad, committing full tilt to the role of the crazy-eyed former soldier with no trust of government or technology (Nolte in the bonus materials discusses growing his beard out for a full year to prepare for the part).

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The film offers some decent action sequences in service of a mystery plot that is easy to predict a mile away, despite the film’s efforts to obfuscate the inevitable with the early reveal of an obvious middle-man. The screenplay also sidesteps the 25th Amendment to further its plot mechanics, which could prove to be a minor annoyance to viewers to politically savvy viewers. But there’s really only so much brainpower a movie like this can be expected to deploy.

The Blu-ray includes six behind-the-scenes featurettes that run about 70 total minutes. These cover pretty much all the aspects of the production, from the casting to the stunts to re-creating Washington, D.C., and rural Virginia in England and Bulgaria.

Director Ric Roman Waugh also offers an eight-and-a-half-minute mini-commentary for three scenes in the film, including the drone attack on Trumbull and a lengthy truck chase, plus a humorous post-credits scene.

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Actioner ‘Angel Has Fallen’ Arrives on Digital Nov. 12, Disc — Including 4K— Nov. 26 From Lionsgate

The actioner Angel Has Fallen will come out on digital Nov. 12 and on 4K Ultra HD combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital), Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and digital), DVD, and on demand Nov. 26 from Lionsgate.

The film stars Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lance Reddick, Tim Blake Nelson, Nick Nolte and Danny Huston.

When there is an assassination attempt on U.S. President Allan Trumbull (Freeman), his trusted confidant, Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Butler), is wrongfully accused and taken into custody. After escaping from capture, he becomes a man on the run and must evade his own agency and outsmart the FBI in order to find the real threat to the president. Desperate to uncover the truth, Banning turns to unlikely allies to help clear his name, keep his family from harm, and save the country from imminent danger.

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Special features include six making-of featurettes and a three-part audio commentary with director Ric Roman Waugh.

The 4K release includes Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

Lionsgate Announces ‘Hunter Killer’ Home Release

Lionsgate’s Summit Premiere will release the action-thriller Hunter Killer digitally Jan. 15, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Jan. 29.

Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Linda Cardellini, Common and Toby Stephens star in the story of an American submarine captain (Butler) who gets caught up in an effort to rescue the Russian president from a coup.

The film earned $15.8 million at the domestic box office.

Extras include a “Surface Tension: Declassifying Hunter Killer” featurette and an audio commentary with director Donovan Marsh.

The 4K Ultra HD combo pack will include Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio.

Lionsgate Releasing ‘Vanishing’ on Disc March 5

Lionsgate will release the thriller The Vanishing on Blu-ray and DVD March 5. It is currently available digitally and on demand.

Based on a true story, the movie follows the lives of three lighthouse keepers (Gerard Butler, Peter Mullan, Connor Swindells) whose worlds are turned upside down with paranoia and greed following the discovery of lost treasure.

The disc includes an “Emerging From the Darkness: The Vanishing” featurette.