HBO Max April 5 announced it has ordered 10 episodes of the half-hour comedy “MINX.” Set in 1970s Los Angeles, the series centers on an earnest young feminist (Ophelia Lovibond), who joins forces with a low-rent publisher (Jake Johnson) to create the first erotic magazine for women. The series is from showrunner Ellen Rapoport, Feigco Entertainment and Lionsgate Television.
Other cast members include Jake Johnson (“New Girl,” “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”), who was previously announced as a guest star. Other series regulars include Idara Victor (“Shameless,” “Turn”), Jessica Lowe (“Wrecked,” “Tacoma PD,” “Blended”), Lennon Parham (“Bless this Mess,” “Playing House,” HBO’s “Veep”), Michael Angarano (Emmy-nominated for “This Is Us,” “I’m Dying Up Here,” “The Knick”) and Oscar Montoya (“Reno 911,” “Bless the Harts,” host of “Spanish Aquí Presents” podcast).
Rapoport executive produces the series alongside Paul Feig (“Freaks and Geeks”) and Dan Magnante for Feigco Entertainment. Rachel Lee Goldenberg directed and executive produced the pilot. Lionsgate Television is the studio. Feigco and Lionsgate Television previously partnered with HBO Max on “Love Life,” which was renewed for a second season. Lionsgate is also producing “Santa Inc.” and “Julia” for Max.
“We are so excited about this series, which is fun, feminist and wholly unique,” Sarah Aubrey, head of original content for HBO Max, said in a statement.
Rapoport thanked Feigco, Lionsgate and Max for seeing the potential in this story from the first time “I showed up in their offices with stacks of ’70s porn magazines.”
Feig said he and the production company fell in love with Rapoport’s trunkful of male nudie magazines and her “amazing vision for this funny and liberating” TV series.
“The second we heard it and knew we needed a bold network partner to let us bring it to the screen as honestly as possible … we couldn’t be more thrilled to be back in business with HBO Max,” Feig said.
Street Date 3/19/19; Sony Pictures; Animated; Box Office $189.87 million; $30.99 DVD, $38.99 Blu-ray, $45.99 UHD BD; Rated ‘PG’ for frenetic sequences of animated action violence, thematic elements, and mild language. Voices of Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, Zoë Kravitz, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage, Kathryn Hahn, Liev Schreiber, Chris Pine.
One of the Holy Grails of adapting a comic book to film is the idea of evoking the feeling of reading a comic while watching the story play out. Filmmakers have tried different techniques over the years to achieve this, such as brighter colors or hyper-stylized action, to varying effect, with the best results often focusing on just telling the story in a way that brings the spirit of the work into a different medium.
Animation would seem to be closer to the artistic foundations of comic books, but often present challenges of their own.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is probably the closest a movie has come to finding that sweet spot between telling a comic book story while immersing the viewer in the fantastic art that is often unique to the panel-to-panel format.
Its innovative animation style, layering hand-drawn animation over CGI, combined with a thrilling story of self-discovery are just a few of the reasons Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature at the 91st Academy Awards.
The film is a deft blending of self-parody with an ambitious attempt by Sony Pictures to explore new aspects of the Spider-Man concept while the live-action version of the character is on loan to Marvel Studios.
In particular, the film is an adaptation of the Miles Morales version of the character, a mixed-race teenager who gains the powers of Spider-Man in an alternate reality in which Peter Parker is killed.
In the film, Miles (voiced by Shameik Moore), stumbles upon a plot by the villainous gangster Kingpin (Live Schreiber) to open a portal into alternate dimensions in search of replacement versions of his recently deceased wife and son. The plan goes awry when versions of Spider-Man from a variety of realities began to appear, and they team up to help Miles learn how to control his new powers and figure out how to return home before Kingpin’s machine damages the multiverse.
The alternate versions of Spider-Man really let the creative team shine with the parody aspects of the film by introducing characters in a variety of styles. There’s a late-30s Spider-Man (Jake Johnson) who has become depressed after years of being a hero has left his personal life in shambles; there’s Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), a teenage girl version of Spidey; there’s Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage), a black-and-white private detective from the 1930s; there’s an anime version involving a little girl and her pet robot from the future; and there’s Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), essentially Porky Pig in a Spider-Man costume.
The combination of the various versions offers not only some of the best laughs ever to be had with a superhero movie, but make for a terrific tribute to what has made Spider-Man such an iconic character over the years. There’s also a post-credits sequence that really takes it up a notch in that regard.
It’s enough to thrill longtime fans of the character, particularly the Miles Morales version, while providing enough nods to the aspects of the mythology that most average viewers would already be familiar with so as not to need to be an avid comics reader to follow along.
The Blu-ray is loaded with a ton of bonus material, including the new animated short “Spider-Ham: Caught in a Ham,” which serves as a prequel to the film in showing us a Spider-Ham adventure that was interrupted when he gets pulled into Miles’ reality.
In addition, there’s an “Alternate Universe Mode” for the movie in which some scenes are replaced with storyboards of earlier concepts, as a way for the filmmakers to ponder how the film could have turned out. It runs about 26 minutes longer than the theatrical cut (which comes in at 117 minutes) and even starts with the Spider-Ham short.
The regular version of the film includes a commentary with the filmmakers, which is a nice guide to how the various creative decisions evolved to get to the final movie, including casting decisions and the re-imagining of certain well-known characters.
Many of the topics are covered in specific featurettes as well.
The eight-minute “We Are Spider-Man” examines the key messages of the film, while the five-minute “Spider-Verse: A New Dimension” deals with the animation style and techniques for adapting the comics.
The 15-minute “The Ultimate Comics Cast” showcases the actors involved in the film and what makes them such a good fit for their characters. The two-part “Designing Cinematic Comics Characters” offers an eight-minute look at the design of the heroes, and five-minutes devoted to the creation of the villains.
“The Spider-Verse Super-Fan Easter Egg Challenge” is a five-minute video that points out some of the references hidden throughout the film, while inviting viewers to look for more.
There’s also the eight-and-a-half-minute “A Tribute to Stan Lee & Steve Ditko,” the co-creators of Spider-Man who both passed away in 2018. Stan Lee recorded one of his famous cameos for the film.
Finally, the disc includes music lyric videos for two songs, “Sunflower” and “Familia.”
There are also some digital-exclusive bonus featurettes. The three-minute “Another, Another Times Square” provides a primer on the concept of alternate realities, the minute-and-a-half “Meanwhile, in a Gassy Universe” is a juvenile montage of various clips from the film with dialogue replaced by fart sounds (no doubt the work of Spider-Ham).
Vudu has a minute-long “An All-Star Cast” promotional video, while Movies Anywhere provides videos for how to draw Miles and Gwen, about three minutes for each character.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the action comedy Tag digitally Aug. 17, and on Blu-ray and DVD Aug. 28.
Based on a true story that was the subject of a Wall Street Journal article, the film stars Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress, Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner as five competitive friends who have engaged in a no-holds-barred game of tag for one month every year since the first grade.
The cast also includes Annabelle Wallis, Isla Fisher, Rashida Jones and Leslie Bibb. The film was earned $54 million at the domestic box office.
The DVD and Blu-ray include a “Meet the Real Tag Brothers” featurette. The Blu-ray will also include deleted scenes and bloopers.