‘The Natural’ Swinging to 4K Ultra HD From Sony

For its 35th Anniversary, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is releasing the baseball film classic The Natural on 4K Ultra HD disc and in 4K via participating digital platforms June 4.

In the film, Robert Redford stars as Roy Hobbs, who seemingly comes out of nowhere to become a legendary baseball player with almost divine talent. But on his way to stardom in the big leagues, Hobbs’s dreams are shattered when a mysterious woman and a silver bullet end his career prematurely. Sixteen years later, Hobbs finds himself coming back to baseball, seeking to overcome physical pain — and nefarious forces — to lead his team to the pennant.

Nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Cinematography, Best Original Score and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, the film also stars Robert Duvall, Glenn Close in an Academy Award-nominated performance, and Kim Basinger.

The 4K Ultra HD disc includes two versions of the film in 4K with HDR: the original theatrical version and the directors’ cut, each restored from the original camera negative, supervised and approved by director of photography Caleb Deschanel and director Barry Levinson. Both versions of the film also include newly remixed Dolby Atmos audio, along with the original stereo and 5.1 tracks for the theatrical version.

Bonus materials on the 4K UHD include Levinson’s intro to the director’s cut and the theatrical trailer. The blu-ray disc includes the theatrical cut and several featurettes.

‘The Wife’ Taps Into the Times, Say Filmmakers

Watching Glenn Close in The Wife is like waiting for a long-simmering teapot to explode.

The film is available now on digital, DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Close — who plays the wife of an acclaimed author who’s had more influence on his success than anyone knows — has cleaned up during awards season, garnering Screen Actors Guild, Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe awards, among other plaudits.

It’s a performance that also happens to capture the zeitgeist.

“We just happen to have gotten the movie made right on the cusp of the Times Up movement, so finally, the magical slot where pissed off women are the new black,” noted screenwriter Jane Anderson, who adapted the novel by Meg Wolitzer.

The story follows Joan and Joe Castleman, married for nearly 40 years, as they experience the pinnacle of Joe’s success as a novelist when he wins the Nobel Prize. Through flashbacks with a young Joe and Joan, the audience is privy to just how much of that success is attributable to Joan, who makes a pact with the man she loves to achieve their respective desires.

Close’s daughter Annie Starke plays the young Joan, a part she wasn’t initially keen on playing.

“Honestly, when I was first approached about it, I was like no, no, no, no, no,” Starke said.

But as a fan of Anderson’s and after reading the book, her two grandmothers came to mind.

“They were both married quite young, and they took a back seat to my grandfathers,” she said. “My dad’s mom in particular had an extraordinary career. She was a chemist in the 1940s. She actually worked on the Manhattan Project and when she got pregnant, she got fired, and she also worked for GE and was part of the team that literally invented fluorescent lighting.”

Her other grandmother, her mother’s mom, had regrets.

“She never went to college,” Starke said. “She was truly one of the most brilliant women that I’ve ever had the honor of knowing.

“When she was older and unfortunately about to pass she told my mom, she told me, ‘I haven’t done anything with my life.’ And still to this day I get heart pangs when I think about it. And so honestly it was a project that made me think about the incredible women that I have the honor of saying that I am related to and for this to be, at least for me, an homage to who they were. I think I would have been an absolute idiot to have passed that up, and I’m so glad that I didn’t.”

Close and her daughter collaborated on the character.

“We had hours of conversations,” Starke said, including “a lot of deep conversations about who Joan is, what makes her tick.”

Playing the younger version of a woman played by your actual mother involved seeing her parent in a new way, Starke added.

“I would just straight up observe my mom,” Starke said. “I tried to get her mannerisms a little bit, like her way of walking. We kind of sized each other up in ways we never sized each other up before.”

Novelist Wolitzer noticed the way the actors and filmmakers changed things to translate the book to film.

“The quiet in the film was so amazing to me because the book, if you read the book, is not a quiet book. It’s kind of loud. She’s kind of letting loose. She’s letting it rip for the first time, and you’re present for it,” Wolitzer said. “It was so interesting how so much was in this quiet space.”

She said she found herself searching over the actors’ faces because the “actors really kind of convey [the emotions in the book] through the face.”

Close, in particular, added her own touch to the screenplay.

“I rewrote that final scene about three times,” Anderson said, incorporating notes from Close about how a long-married couple might shift from intimacy to anger.

“Writing for Glenn is a really exciting process, because she doesn’t give up,” Anderson said.

“As the writer of a novel, to have your book made into a film by such major talent in every major part is a true honor,” Wolitzer said.

The Shield: The Complete Series

Fans of “The Shield” won’t want to miss this new Blu-ray edition of the gritty cop drama, featuring all 88 episodes remastered into a nice-looking high-definition presentation that maintains the raw, textured look that helped give the series its unique flavor. Michael Chiklis shines as corrupt cop Vic Mackey, who set the stage for the arrival of some of television’s great antiheroes in the years to come. 

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Mill Creek;
Drama;
$229.98 Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Stars Michael Chiklis, Catherine Dent, Reed Diamond, Walton Goggins, Michael Jace, Kenny Johnson, Jay Karnes, Benito Martinez, CCH Pounder, Glenn Close, Cathy Cahlin Ryan, David Rees Snell, Paula Garcés, David Marciano, Forest Whitaker.

Before “Mad Men.” Before “Breaking Bad.” Before “Fargo.” There was “The Shield.”

The gritty 2002-08 cop drama put FX on the map for original content and helped turn basic cable into a hub of prestige television, before Netflix and other streaming services would come along to further blur the lines of distribution.

The show focused on an LAPD precinct in a fictional, gang-ridden neighborhood of Los Angeles. The division serves as the headquarters for an anti-crime strike team led by Det. Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis), a corrupt cop whose thuggish methods draw the ire of his captain and internal affairs. However, his ends-justify-the-means approach to law enforcement earned him a reputation as an antihero among viewers who resented the characters tasked with bringing him down in the name of doing things by the book. This made him somewhat of a precursor to complicated but morally ambiguous characters such as Don Draper and Walter White who would become icons of the new Golden Age of Television that emerged in the early 21st century.

Mill Creek’s new Blu-ray edition of the show features all 88 episodes remastered in 4K from the original 16mm film elements, preserving the grainy texture that reinforces the series’ gritty flavor.

The 18-disc set includes all seven seasons and two bonus discs, carrying over bonus materials from previous DVD releases from Fox and Sony Pictures. The discs come in sturdy digibook packaging with a slipcover containing a magnetic clasp to hold everything in nice and snug.

The episodes aren’t offered with a “play all” mode, which might annoy some binge-minded viewers. Episodes can be viewed with an optional commentary and many include deleted scenes.

The final disc includes three new extras that take a look back at the show 10 years after its finale.

First up is a 2018 cast reunion with series creator Shawn Ryan that runs about 56 minutes and gives most of the actors a chance to reflect on what drew them to the show and what made it connect with fans.

The hour-long “ATX Festival Panel: The Shield Writers Room” features a 2016 gathering of many of the show’s writers, who discuss how it redefined what basic cable was able to achieve in terms of providing an avenue for storytelling akin to what HBO was doing at the time.

Finally, the 19-minute “Beyond the Badge” retrospective offers more of a typical look-back of interviews mixed with series highlights.

“The Shield”

Sony Pictures Sets January Home Release for ‘The Wife’

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release the critically acclaimed drama The Wife digitally Jan. 22, and on Blu-ray and DVD Jan. 29.

Based on the novel by Meg Wolitzer, the story provides a revealing look into the 40-year relationship of Joan and Joe Castleman, (Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce) and the world of literature for female writers. As Joe is about to be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature, the win threatens to expose the details and arrangements that define their marriage.

The cast also includes Christian Slater, Max Irons and newcomer Annie Starke, the daughter of Close, who plays the younger Joan Castleman.

Close has earned a number of awards plaudits for her role, including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama.

The digital, Blu-ray and DVD releases of The Wife include the featurette “Keeping Secrets:  Glenn Close on The Wife,” plus two Q&As: “In Conversation With Cast of The Wife: Q&A featuring Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, Annie Starke, Christian Slater and Björn Runge” and “Q&A with author Meg Wolitzer and Glenn Close.”

Musical Films ‘A Star Is Born,’ ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ ‘Mama Mia’ Top Fandango Fan Picks of Films That Should Get Golden Globes Noms

Musical performances were the top picks of Fandango fans in a survey if they were to choose the Golden Globe nominations, to be announced Dec. 6.

In a Fandango survey of more than 1,000 film fans, who chose their top choices for the actors and films to be nominated, respondents picked A Star Is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody and other musically focused films for their favorite Globe noms.

The actual nominations, picked by the roughly 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, will be announced at 5 a.m. PST Dec. 6.  The Golden Globe Awards will air on NBC on Jan. 6.

“Based on these results, it’s clear that moviegoers are loving those films fueled by their music, which is why we’re seeing a spike in popularity for titles like A Star Is Born, Crazy Rich Asians, Bohemian Rhapsody, Mary Poppins Returns and Mama Mia: Here We Go Again,” said Fandango managing editor Erik Davis in a statement. “Additionally, films like Black Panther and A Quiet Place were huge unexpected hits with general audiences, and are among those movies fans are hoping to see honored at one of Hollywood’s most engaging awards shows.”

The top fan picks for actors in a drama were the musical performances of Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born) and Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), while the top fan picks for actors in a comedy or musical were Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns) and Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool 2).

FandangoNow, Fandango’s streaming service, will have all the nominated films available in the home entertainment window the morning of Dec. 6 at www.fandangonow.com. Fandango is offering its Awards Season gift cards for film fans to help them catch up with films they may have missed on the big screen, via the Fandango theatrical ticketing service, or at home, via Fandango’s digital delivery service, FandangoNow. Also, fans can stream the top nominees available on FandangoNOW for 50% off this weekend only using the promo code GLOBES19.

Survey results for potential Golden Globe nominations are:

Fan picks for Best Picture/Drama:

  1. A Star is Born
  2. Black Panther
  3. Bohemian Rhapsody
  4. A Quiet Place
  5. First Man

 

Fan picks for Best Actress/Drama:

  1. Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
  2. Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place)
  3. Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
  4. Amandla Stenberg (The Hate U Give)
  5. Glenn Close (The Wife)

 

Fan picks for Best Actor/Drama:

  1. Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
  2. Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born)
  3. Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther)
  4. Hugh Jackman (The Front Runner)
  5. John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman)

 

Fan picks for Best Picture/Musical or Comedy:

  1. Crazy Rich Asians
  2. Mary Poppins Returns
  3. Green Book
  4. Mama Mia! Here We Go Again
  5. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

 

Fan picks for Best Actress/Musical or Comedy:

  1. Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns)
  2. Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians)
  3. Lily James (Mama Mia! Here We Go Again)
  4. Charlize Theron (Tully)
  5. Olivia Colman (The Favourite)

 

Fan picks for Best Actor/Musical or Comedy:

  1. Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool 2)
  2. Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)
  3. Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns)
  4. Steve Carell (Welcome to Marwen)
  5. Christian Bale (Vice)

 

Fan picks for Best Director:

  1. Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
  2. John Krasinski (A Quiet Place)
  3. Ryan Coogler (Black Panther)
  4. Peter Farrelly (Green Book)
  5. Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)

 

Fan picks for Best Supporting Actor:

  1. Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther)
  2. Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born)
  3. Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
  4. Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman)
  5. Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy)

 

Fan picks for Best Supporting Actress:

  1. Michelle Yeoh (Crazy Rich Asians)
  2. Nicole Kidman (Boy Erased)
  3. Emma Stone (The Favourite)
  4. Claire Foy (First Man)
  5. Sissy Spacek (The Old Man and the Gun)

 

Fan picks for Best Animated Feature:

  1. Incredibles 2
  2. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  3. Isle of Dogs
  4. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  5. Seuss’ The Grinch

 

Fan picks for Best Original Song:

  1. “Shallow”(A Star Is Born)
  2. “All the Stars”(Black Panther)
  3. “I’ll Never Love Again” (A Star Is Born)
  4. “Always Remember Us This Way” (A Star Is Born)
  5. “The Place Where Lost Things Go” (Mary Poppins Returns)