Archenemy

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

RLJ;
Thriller;
Box Office $0.12 million;
$27.97 DVD, $28.96 Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Stars Joe Manganiello, Skylan Brooks, Zolee Griggs, Paul Scheer, Amy Seimetz, Glenn Howerton.

The trippy Archenemy tackles the superhero genre with an approach that would definitely not be considered traditional.

Joe Manganiello plays Max Fist, a homeless drunk who trades fantastical stories of his heroic adventures for booze. Max claims to be an enforcer from a city called Chromium that exists in a parallel dimension where he had superpowers. During battle with his arch-nemesis, he used his powers to punch a hole through space-time that took him to Earth, where his powers don’t work. Now he spends most of his time drinking and punching walls hoping to go home.

He is discovered by Hamster (Skylan Brooks), a wannabe social media influencer who starts posting videos of Max hoping to get more hits.

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Flashbacks to Max’s adventures are presented through brightly colored animated segments, which don’t confirm to the audience whether what he’s saying is supposed to be true or not, but they certainly inform on his state of mind.

Hamster’s sister, Indigo (Zolee Griggs) works as a gopher for a local drug kingpin, and finds herself in his crosshairs when a job to collect money from a junkie goes wrong. When she and Hamster are threatened by the drug lord’s goons, Max leaps back into action. However, this attracts the attention of his archenemy, who also is trapped on Earth, but believes the two of them coming together may be the key to unlocking their powers.

The film plays a bit like a low-budget version of Hancock, and works mostly due to Manganiello’s energetic performance. The opening credits offer a definite 1980s vibe with their colorful yet low-key visual effects.

The Blu-ray includes pretty standard a seven-minute behind-the-scenes featurette with interviews from the filmmakers.

Peacock Bows Its First Podcast, for ‘A.P. Bio’

NBCUniversal’s SVOD platform Peacock has begun streaming “A.P. Bio: The Podcast,” a 10-episode companion series in preparation for the eponymous series’ third season, which launches Sept. 3 on Peacock. This marks the first podcast series for the SVOD platform.

The podcast features hosts/castmates Eddie Leavy (“Anthony”) and Sari Arambulo (“Grace”) as they chat with guests, including series creator Mike O’Brien, stars Glenn Howerton (“Jack”) and Patton Oswalt (“Principal Durbin”), and additional cast members and crew who reveal behind-the-scenes anecdotes, audition stories, and character evolutions, among other content.

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“It was really cool of Peacock to agree to do it. And Sari and Eddie are the perfect hosts. They are incredibly positive, enthusiastic and interested in showcasing all aspects of the show,” O’Brien said in a statement.

When disgraced Harvard philosophy scholar Jack Griffin (Howerton) loses out on his dream job, he is forced to return to Toledo, Ohio, and work as a high school Advanced Placement biology teacher. As he comes crashing into Whitlock High School, Jack makes it absolutely clear that he will not be teaching any biology. Realizing he has a room full of honor roll students at his disposal, Jack decides instead to use the kids’ brainpower for his own benefit. But are his students instead helping him to realize his dream job might actually be the one he has right now? Eager to prove that he is still king of the castle, Principal Durbin (Oswalt) struggles to control the force of nature that is Jack Griffin.

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The series also stars Mary Sohn (“Work in Progress”), Lyric Lewis (“Baskets”), Jean Villepique (“Sharp Objects”) and Paula Pell (“Saturday Night Live”).

“A.P. Bio” was created by Mike O’Brien, who writes and executive produces. Lorne Michaels, Seth Meyers, Mike Shoemaker and Andrew Singer also serve as executive producers. The series is produced by Broadway Video, Sethmaker Shoemeyers Productions and Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group.

“A.P. Bio: The Podcast” adds to the catalog of podcasts released by NBC Entertainment Podcast Network, including “The Law & Order SVU: The Squadroom,” “Late Night With Seth Meyers Podcast,” “The Good Place: The Podcast,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The Podcast” and “American Ninja Warrior Podcast.”

The Hunt

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Universal;
Thriller;
Box Office $5.81 million;
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for some strong bloody violence and language throughout.
Stars Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, Ike Barinholtz, Glenn Howerton, Emma Roberts, Ethan Suplee, Amy Madigan, Reed Birney, Justin Hartley.

While conceived as a political allegory, The Hunt works just fine on its own as a straightforward comedic action thriller.

The film, about a group of wealthy left-wing elites who kidnap conservatives to hunt them for sport, is like a modern version of The Most Dangerous Game, meshed with The Purge and The Hunger Games for good measure.

The film uses misdirection to put the audience in the position of those being hunted, constantly guessing about what is really happening. After a brief opening in which a group of friends jokes about looking forward to “The Manor,” an assortment of people awaken in a forest, their mouths gagged. They discover crates in a clearing filled with weapons and the means to free themselves. But the games begin in earnest with a deliciously bloody body count.

One of them, Crystal (Betty Gilpin of Netflix’s “GLOW”) seems to be a step ahead. She wants to find the ringleader, Athena (Hilary Swank) and put an end to these shenanigans once and for all.

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In the primary featurette on the Blu-ray, the five-minute “Crafting The Hunt,” producer and co-writer Damon Lindeloff discusses how the film is meant to satirize how political opponents get locked into assumptions about the other side, threatening to plunge into a never-ending war rather than attempt to get along.

Rounding out the sparse extras on the Blu-ray are two more featurettes running just over two-and-a-half minutes. “Death Scene Breakdowns” is a self-explanatory video about how the filmmakers staged some of the scenes of gory violence. “Athena vs. Crystal: Hunter or Hunted?” details the making of a key fight scene involving Gilpin and Swank.

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