Moonfall

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street 4/26/22;
Lionsgate;
Sci-Fi;
Box Office $19.06 million;
$29.96 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $42.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for violence, disaster action, strong language, and some drug use.
Stars Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Charlie Plummer, Kelly Yu, Michael Peña, Carolina Bartczak.

Roland Emmerich has made a career of turning absurd premises into a springboard for zany visual effects. But he’s a long way from the salad days of Stargate and Independence Day.

Emmerich’s latest formulaic sci-fi disaster movie, which he directed, co-wrote and produced, is called Moonfall, because it involves the moon literally falling out of the sky. But since that’s not a problem any off-the-rack action hero can easily solve, Emmerich and his writing team have to contrive a backstory for the moon that the heroes can exploit in order to save Earth from it. And this isn’t any ordinary plot device, it’s nature-of-existence-type stuff — an idea that would usually be the subject of multi-season space operas, condensed into a few minutes of exposition within a half-hour of the end of the movie.

Anyway, the story finds Earth on the brink of destruction as debris and gravity from the approaching moon cause widespread damage. But a pair of former astronauts (Halle Berry and Patrick Wilson), with the help of a conspiracy podcaster (John Bradley) figure out the nature of the moon’s sudden change in orbit, and devise a plan to fix it by hauling a space shuttle out of a museum and sending it back into space.

That makes this the second film in the last few months, Don’t Look Up being the other, that drags a space shuttle out of retirement to lead a mission to save Earth. It’s basically impossible given how much those ships have been disassembled for display purposes, but as far as Moonfall is concerned it’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ridiculousness on display. It’s not as if scientific accuracy or the laws of physics are going to be limiting factors of an Emmerich script.

There’s a point in Moonfall where you just have to tip your cap to the filmmakers for not only embracing the absurdity of their premise, but one-upping the insanity at every turn while taking it completely seriously. And when one of those filmmakers is Emmerich, that’s saying something.

Pretty much every Emmerich movie uses a high-concept premise as an excuse for some splendid visual effects imagery contextually strung together by tropes and melodrama, and Moonfall is no exception. If anything, it’s just proof that Emmerich isn’t really making movies anymore, he’s making drinking games.

The rules are simple enough. Take a drink anytime a disaster-movie cliché pops up involving the down-on-their-luck heroes, their hacky family drama, or the outsider who is thrust into the spotlight. Even better, start chugging when you recognize a plot device from another film. A partial list for Moonfall will include:

  • Independence Day;
  • 2012;
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey;
  • Armageddon;
  • Deep Impact;
  • Mission to Mars;
  • The Core;
  • Interstellar;
  • Greenland;
  • The Matrix;
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon;
  • Crimson Tide;
  • “Superman: The Animated Series”;
  • and several “Star Trek” episodes and movies.

 

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Of course, it’s not as if Emmerich’s better-regarded earlier films are so much better in quality, at least as far as the writing is concerned. After all, even Stargate needed decade’s worth of TV shows produced by someone else to cover up the plot holes in that film.

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The Moonfall Blu-ray includes Emmerich with co-writer/producer/composer Harald Kloser providing a feature-length commentary track, which doesn’t amount to much as the pair spend the bulk of it either describing what’s happening on screen or stating the obvious when it comes to story development. There’s a few good stories here and there about the cast and dealing with COVID quarantines during an efficient 61-day shoot, but not much more in the way of substance.

More insights into the making of the film can be found in “Against Impossible Odds: Making Moonfall,” a series of behind-the-scenes featurettes that run about 59 minutes in total.

A bit better is the 26-minute “Exploring the Moon: Past, Present and Future,” which is more of a conventional documentary about the moon and its history and characteristics.

On the fun side is “KC Houseman Speaks the Truth!,” consisting of four videos of Bradley’s character explaining conspiracy theories about the moon, totaling about eight minutes.

In the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack, the 4K and regular Blu-ray discs each have the same extras on them.

Action Adventure ‘Moonfall’ Arriving on Digital April 1, Disc April 26

Action-adventure director Roland Emmerich’s Moonfall arrives on digital April 1 and on 4K Ultra HD combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital), Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital), DVD, and on demand April 26 from Lionsgate.

Emmerich (Midway, “Independence Day” franchise) and writers Emmerich, Harald Kloser and Spenser Cohen, the film stars Halle Berry (Monsters Ball, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum), Patrick Wilson (Midway, “The Conjuring” franchise), John Bradley (TV’s “Game of Thrones,” Marry Me), Michael Peña (TV’s “Narcos,” Fantasy Island),  Charlie Plummer (Lean on Pete, Spontaneous), Kelly Yu (TV’s “Lost Promise”), Eme Ikwuakor (TV’s “On My Block,” “Inhumans”), Carolina Bartczak (TV’s upcoming “Painkiller”), and Donald Sutherland (“The Hunger Games” franchise, TV’s “The Undoing”).
 
In Moonfall, a mysterious force knocks the moon from its orbit around Earth and sends it hurtling on a collision course with life as we know it. With mere weeks before impact and the world on the brink of annihilation, NASA executive and former astronaut Jo Fowler (Berry) is convinced she has the key to saving the world, but only one astronaut from her past, Brian Harper (Wilson), and conspiracy theorist K.C. Houseman (Bradley) believe her. They mount an impossible last-ditch mission into space. 

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Special features include audio commentary by Emmerich and writer/producer/composer Harald Kloser; “Against Impossible Odds: Making Moonfall“; “Exploring the Moon: Past, Present, and Future,” which covers what we have learned about the moon through the ages; “K.C. Houseman Speaks the Truth!,”  featuring recent viral videos from megastructurist K.C. Houseman; and “Sounds of the Moon,” which covers how the filmmakers utilized sound effects to bring the world inside of the moon to life.

Netflix Slates 68 Movie Releases for 2022, Including ‘Knives Out’ Sequel

Netflix on Feb. 3 announced a record film slate of 68 movies in 2022, starring ‘A’-listers such as Christian Bale, Halle Berry, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx, Judd Apatow, Jordan Peele and Ryan Reynolds.

Highlights include the eagerly awaited sequel to Rian Johnson’s Knives Out, with Daniel Craig; the actioner The Gray Man, with Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans; and the epic sci-fi adventure The Mothership, which stars Halle Berry.

For families, there’s Ryan Reynolds, Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldaña in The Adam Project; The School for Good and Evil, with Charlize Theron and Kerry Washington; and Roald Dahl’s Matilda, with Lashana Lynch and Emma Thompson. 

Also in the pipeline are the comedy You People, with Jonah Hill and Eddie Murphy; the return of Millie Bobby Brown and Henry Cavill as sibling detectives in Enola Holmes 2; and two films each starring Adam Sandler (Hustle and Spaceman) and Jamie Foxx (Day Shift and They Cloned Tyrone).

The new Netflix slate also includes directorial debuts from Kenya Barris, Carrie Cracknell, Dev Patel, JJ  Perry, Matthew Reilly and Millicent Shelton.

Netflix in a three-minute teaser gave previews of several of its upcoming films, including Knives Out 2, Enola Holmes 2, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, and Falling for Christmas with Lindsey Lohan.

The preview features a number of talking up the joys of watching movies at home, including Charlize Theron, who maintains, “Every night is movie night.”

Halle Berry Inks Multi-Picture Deal With Netflix

Halle Berry, whose directorial debut Bruised was Netflix’s No. 1 film of the week in the United States and No. 2 globally, has signed a multi-picture deal with the service.

The partnership will see Berry star in and produce new films.

Bruised was No. 1 in 21 countries in its first five days. In the film, Berry stars in the story of a fighter who reclaims her power, in and out of the ring, when everyone has counted her out.

Outside of the deal, Berry will next be seen in two upcoming Netflix features, the sci-fi film The Mothership from writer/director Matt Charman, which Berry will also executive produce, and the action film Our Man From Jersey alongside Mark Wahlberg.

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“My directorial debut Bruised was a labor of love and I knew that Scott [Stuber] and Ted [Sarandos] would treat it with great care,” Berry said in a statement. “The Netflix team has not only been collaborative and creative, but extremely passionate and a delight to work with. I am beyond grateful for the partnership and look forward to telling more stories together.”

“There are few people with a career like Halle Berry,” Scott Stuber, head of global film, said in a statement. “She’s an award winning actress, producer and as audiences saw this past week, she’s an incredible director. We’re thrilled to be in her corner as she delivers power in front of and behind the camera in Bruised and look forward to telling more stories together.” 

A Third Dimension of John Wick

For John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, director Chad Stahelski (John Wick, John Wick: Chapter 2) confronted the “curse” of doing a sequel.

“You try to do something that’s very original, and by the very nature of doing a sequel, it can’t be as original as the original, so you have a couple of choices,” he said in a featurette for the home video release. “You can blow more… up and have bigger spaceships and bigger monsters — or you expand. That’s what we tried to do with John Wick — just get more in depth to who he is, what his world entails and show that through his personal journey.”

“It’s about John’s journey and his quest to live to remember his wife Helen,” added Keanu Reeves, who stars as master assassin John Wick.

John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum is available now on digital and 4K Ultra HD combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital), Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital), DVD, and on demand from Lionsgate.

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Featurettes explore the mythology and action of the “John Wick” universe; the planning that went into the horse chase sequence and “dog-fu” fight sequences; and the editing.

Chapter 3 features previous franchise stars Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane and Lance Reddick, but it also expands with new faces, including Halle Berry and Anjelica Huston.

Halle Berry in Parabellum

In the film, Wick has a $14 million price tag on his head after killing a member of the High Table, the shadowy international assassins’ guild. With an army of the world’s most ruthless hit men and women on his trail, John must find a way to survive. He seeks out a figure from his past to help him on his journey, the mysterious “Director” (Huston), at an academy in a ballet theater. “It’s basically a school for young assassins,” Huston explained in the extras. The threequel also expands geographically, taking the action to a foreign outpost of the Continental hotel chain in Casablanca. There, Wick meets up with Sofia (Berry), another accomplished assassin who uses her pet dogs to take out enemies. Berry spent long hours building a relationship with her Belgian Malinois companions.

“I could command them like the trainers,” she said in the disc featurette about the canine training.

Parabellum also expands the action.

“It really was one of the hardest physical stories that I’ve had to tell because there is a lot more action in Parabellum than in the other two films,” Reeves said in the extras.

“He’s fearless,” added Berry, who also had to commit to months of physical training.

“Some people say they want to do ‘John Wick’ training — and then it starts,” Reeves noted in the extras. “Halle said, ‘Thank you, sir. Can I please have some more?’”

“If you hurt, so what?” added Berry.

On the Road With John Wick

Aug. 31 through the first half of September, Lionsgate mounted a “John Wick Road Trip,” displaying the vehicles used by the on-the-run hitman in the series, including the Ford Mustang from the first two movies and a Zero DSR motorcycle from John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.

The motorcycle sequence was one of the most elaborate in the film.

“They designed this motorcycle sequence that involved live action in the moment and then working in a computer-generated space,” Reeves said in the extras.

The tour also featured a traveling museum of series memorabilia.

The exhibit traveled across the Midwest and East Coast to visit select Best Buy Stores, NASCAR events, and a Green Bay Packers football game. Fans had the opportunity to take a photo with the Mustang, escape an army of assassins with a “John Wick” motorcycle green screen and check out real props from the films.

Killer Packaging

Lionsgate designed some killer exclusive packaging for top retailers.

Best Buy exclusive steelbook:

Walmart packaging with black coin:

Target exclusive steelbook:

 

‘John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum’ Shoots to Digital Aug. 23, Disc Sept. 10 Including 4K

John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum arrives on digital Aug. 23 and 4K Ultra HD combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital), Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital), DVD, and on demand Sept. 10 from Lionsgate.

The third film in the “John Wick” franchise starring Keanu Reeves earned $169.7 million at the domestic box office.

Chapter 3 also stars Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Marc Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Lance Reddick, Anjelica Huston and Ian McShane. In the film, super assassin John Wick (Reeves) has a $14 million price tag on his head after killing a member of the High Table, the shadowy international assassins’ guild. With an army of the world’s most ruthless hit men and women on his trail, John must find a way to survive.

The 4K UHD includes Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos sound.

The release includes featurettes that explore the mythology and action of the “John Wick” universe; the hidden world of Killer Ballerinas, Shinobi, and the Bowery King; the planning that went into the film’s horse chase sequence and “dog-fu” fight sequences; and the editing with director Chad Stahelski and editor Evan Schiff.

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Special features on the DVD, Blu-ray and digital versions include:

  • “Parabellum: Legacy of the High Table” featurette;
  • “Excommunicado” featurette;
  • two theatrical trailers;
  • John Wick Hex game trailer;
  • “Behind the Scenes of John Wick Hex” featurette.

The digital and Blu-ray versions will also include:

  • “Check Your Sights” featurette;
  • “Saddle Up Wick” featurette;
  • “Bikes, Blades, Bridges, and Bits” featurette;
  • “Continental in the Desert” featurette;
  • “Dog Fu” featurette;
  • “House of Transparency” featurette;
  • “Shot by Shot” featurette.