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.

FilmRise ‘Sprinter’ Screening

Filmmakers and cast members attended a screening for the film Sprinter at the Pacific Theatres at The Grove in Los Angeles April 23. The film, distributed by FilmRise, debuted in theaters April 24. Sprinter tells the story of a Jamaican teen whose rising star in track and field may help reunite him with his mother who is currently living in the United States. The film is executive produced by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. It also features a cameo by Usain Bolt.

FilmRise Partners for Anti-Poverty-Themed On-Demand Theatrical Screening

Distributor FilmRise has partnered with anti-poverty group Global Citizen for a special (April 24) on-demand theatrical screening of Sprinter, from executive producers Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith and Richard Jefferson.

The fictional movie showcases Jamaican teenage runner (Dale Elliott) – burdened by an unstable father and an unruly older brother – who hopes a meteoric rise in track-and-field can reunite him with his mother (Lorraine Toussaint), who has lived illegally in the U.S. for over a decade.

The movie also features David Alan Grier, Shantol Jackason, Bryshere Gray and multiple Olympic champion and world record holder Usain Bolt, among others.

International anti-poverty organization Global Citizen is offering a VIP ticket package to attend the FilmRise and Citi/Grove exclusive premiere screening in Los Angeles.

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Sprinter is an authentic look at a teenager struggling to find his way, fulfill his true potential, and reunite with his family, which has been broken apart by extreme poverty,” Sal Scamardo, VP, distribution strategies, FilmRise, said in a statement.

Since 2012, Global Citizen has grown into one of the largest platforms around the world calling on world leaders to honor their responsibilities in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this film and its campaign to help bring families together, create opportunities and education for all and to help encourage more people to take action in support of a worldwide movement to end extreme poverty,” said Madge Thomas, senior director of global policy and government affairs at Global Citizen.

With over 15,000 titles in a wide range of genres, FilmRise releases include HBO’s multiple Emmy-winning “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief”; “Janis: Little Girl Blue,” produced by Oscar-winner Alex Gibney; two-time Academy Award-nominee Julie Delpy’s “Lolo; and the Sundance hit “White Girl”. Television titles include such classics as “Roseanne” and “3rd Rock from the Sun”, as well as Robert Stack hosted series, “Unsolved Mysteries” and Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Kitchen Nightmares.”

Recent releases include “Manifesto” starring two-time Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett; sci-fi drama “Marjorie Prime” starring Jon Hamm and Lois Smith; the box-office hit “My Friend Dahmer” starring Ross Lynch and Anne Heche; and “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” starring Chloë Grace Moretz.

 

CEO Zuckerberg: Facebook Watch Going ‘Mainstream’ in 2019

Facebook launched its Watch streaming video platform in 2017 as competition to YouTube and other over-the-top platforms.

Despite initial claims of 50 million monthly viewers, and content spend approaching $1 billion, Watch has reportedly failed to connect with its targeted audience: teenagers.

In fact, just 36% of the desired demo used Facebook in Fall 2018 — down from 52% during the same time period in 2016, according to analyst firm Piper Jaffray.

Indeed, 85% of teens are opting for Instagram (which Facebook owns), followed by Snapchat (84%) and Twitter (47%).

As a result, Facebook is looking to expand the Watch audience while also hoping to further engage younger viewers through social interaction, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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Speaking on the Jan. 30 fiscal call, Zuckerberg said 400 million users now engage with Watch monthly, including about 20 minutes of content daily.

Specifically, the founder/CEO said Facebook has directed Watch users interested in longform video to engage in content more easily through the ‘Watch Party’ app that allows them to share live streams among friends.

“These are all things that make it so the video-watching experience isn’t just about passive consumption but about interaction, and that’s going to, I think, help really drive engagement as well,” Zuckerberg said.

In addition, the social media platform is focusing on content that resonates with wider audiences and thereby enhances monetization opportunities for creators — and Facebook.

Watch has scored hits with Jada Pinkett Smith’s talk show, “Red Table Talk,” critically-acclaimed drama series, “Sorry for Your Loss,” and “Sacred Lies”; interactive reality show, “Confetti,” and next year’s reboot of “MTV’s The Real World.”

“That has allowed us to really increase the amount of video that people are watching without getting in the way of the core mission of what we do, which is helping people interact,” Zuckerberg said.

 

 

Facebook: 75 Million People Consume Watch Video Daily

In the three months since Facebook launched ad-supported video streaming service, Facebook Watch, the platform has generated more than 400 million monthly visitors, including 75 million people daily who spend at least 60 seconds on the platform.

The social media platform said that on average, the 75 million daily visitors spend more than 20 minutes with Watch.

“We’re seeing that people are regularly coming back to catch up on the videos they care about and watching for longer periods of time,” Fidji Simo, head of video, wrote in a Dec. 13 blog post.

Watch represents Facebook’s $1 billion attempt to enter the original content market, which includes Jada Pinkett Smith’s talk show “Red Table Talk,” dramas Sorry For Your Loss, starring Elizabeth Olsen and Sacred Lies from showrunner Raelle Tucker, to live LaLiga soccer matches in the Indian subcontinent.

“We also kick-started our slate of global shows with our first interactive game show, “Confetti” expanding to six new markets this year and MTV’s “The Real World,” streaming next year in the U.S., Mexico, and Thailand,” wrote Simo.

Th executive said Facebook is renewing “Huda Boss,” “Five Points,” “Sacred Lies,” and “Sorry for Your Loss,” in 2019.

“These shows all cultivated deeply engaged fan bases who came for the episodes but stayed for the conversations — and are a great example of what can happen when content and community come together seamlessly,” wrote Simo – underscoring Facebook’s strategy linking original content with social media.

Facebook Watch Video Service Expands Globally

Facebook Watch, the social media behemoth’s streaming video platform launched a year ago, is expanding worldwide. The platform will be available to Facebook users globally beginning Aug. 30.

The move comes more than two years after Netflix launched globally, and Amazon followed expanding Prime Video to 200 countries in December 2016.

“This is a really important moment for us,” Fidji Simo, head of video at Facebook, said in a statement. “It’s been a year of real progress for Watch. Every month, more than 50 million people in the U.S. come to Watch, and the total time spent has increased 14 times since the start of 2018.”

Maybe, but according to recent data from The Diffusion Group, more than 50% of Facebook users don’t know what Watch is. And fewer still use it. A noteworthy statistic considering Facebook is spending upwards of $1-2 billion on original content for the platform.

Content includes access to select professional soccer and Major League Baseball games, “SKAM Austin,” an episodic teen drama series, based on the Norwegian Web series “Skam,” and “Red Table Talk,” a talk show starring Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris that premiered on May 7 and reportedly has nearly 3 million viewers.

Matthew Henick, head of content planning and strategy and media partnerships at Facebook, said worldwide access to Watch would help third-party publishers and content creators better monetize their videos and better understand how their content is performing.

“[We’re] excited to bring a new distribution platform to our partners around the world,” he said.