Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 3/12/24;
Warner;
Action;
Box Office $124.44 million;
$19.99 DVD, $24.99 Blu-ray, $29.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for some language and sci-fi violence.
Stars Jason Momoa, Patrick Wilson, Amber Heard, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Randall Park, Temuera Morrison.

Director James Wan’s Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom represents the end of the road for the so-called DC Extended Universe. Not that you’d know it from the film itself, which makes no references to the larger franchise, even as the world is threatened to such a degree that the Justice League would probably get involved.

The film is a direct sequel to 2018’s Aquaman, and even accounts for the fact that it’s been five years since that film was released. Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa), aka Aquaman, splits his time between saving the world, serving as king of Atlantis, and raising his baby son alongside his wife, Mera (Amber Heard). However, Atlantis is threatened by a revenge-minded Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), who has spent years search for it only to discover a lost kingdom where he finds a powerful trident that infuses him with the essence of an ancient warlord.

When Black Manta seizes control of an ancient power source that destroys Earth’s atmosphere and mutates living creatures, Aquaman seeks help from his half-brother and former rival to the throne, Orm (Patrick Wilson).

What unfolds is essentially a buddy cop movie with Aquaman as the wise-cracking hotshot and Orm as the serious and mannered sidekick. Their relationship is pretty much the best part of a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously and plays pretty fast and loose with the fantastical nature of the Atlantean mythos, which serves as a handy excuse for some flashy and colorful visual effects.

Fans who enjoyed the first Aquaman will no doubt enjoy this continuation the most, as the two films present a nice little duology that isn’t too dependent on the larger context of the now-defunct DCEU.

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The film’s Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD disc presentation includes about an hour of behind-the-scenes material in the form of seven featurettes that are pretty typical for this kind of thing. The primary making-of featurette is the 21-minute “Finding the Lost Kingdom.” The 10-minute “Aquaman: Worlds Above and Below” looks at creating some of the new locations in the film; the six-minute “Necrus: The Lost Black City” focuses specifically on the hidden civilization buried beneath Antarctica, while the eight-minute “Escape From the Deserter World” examines the sequence in which Aquaman frees Orm from his sandy prison, and the four-minute “Brawling at Kingfish’s Lair” showcases an undersea pirate haven. The 10-minute “It’s a Manta World” focuses on the villain, while the two-minute “Oh TOPO!” delves into the expanded role for Aquaman’s octopus sidekick, TOPO, and the four-minute “Atlantean Blood Is Thicker Than Water” spotlights Arthur and Orm’s unique bond.

These extras are also available through most digital platforms, some of which also offer Aquaman Through Fire and Water, a seven-minute motion comic that serves as a loose prequel to the film.

‘Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom’ to Start Streaming on Max Feb. 27

Warner Bros. Pictures’ Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will make its streaming debut on Max on Feb. 27, more than a month after its PVOD bow (Jan. 23) and two weeks before its arrival on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (March 12).

The DC superhero sequel earned $378.3 million at the global box office, making it the highest-grossing DC film of all time.

Once again directed by James Wan, who also helmed the original, Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom features Jason Momoa returning as Arthur Curry/Aquaman. Other returning cast members include Patrick Wilson, Amber Heard, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman.

In the film, Black Manta (Abdul-Mateen II), having failed to defeat Aquaman the first time but still driven by a desire to avenge his father’s death, will stop at nothing to take Aquaman down. This time Black Manta is more formidable than ever before, wielding the power of the mythic Black Trident, which unleashes an ancient and malevolent force. To defeat him, Aquaman will turn to his imprisoned brother Orm (Wilson), the former king of Atlantis, to forge an unlikely alliance. Together, they must set aside their differences in order to protect their kingdom and save Aquaman’s family, and the world, from irreversible destruction.

Jason Momoa Documentary Series ‘On the Roam’ Debuts Jan. 18 on Max

The Max Original documentary series “On the Roam,” starring Jason Momoa, will debut with two episodes Jan. 18 on the Max streaming service. Two new episodes will be available weekly until the season finale on Feb. 8.

The eight-part cinematic docu-series follows Jason Momoa as he travels the country chasing art, adventure and friendship through the lens of craftsmanship.

The show was created by Momoa; co-directed and executive produced by Jason Momoa and Brian Mendoza; executive produced by Kyle Wheeler; produced by Jason Mendoza; co-executive produced by Paris Herbert-Taylor.

Fast X

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 8/8/23;
Universal;
Action;
Box Office $145.96 million;
$24.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray, $34.98 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of violence and action, language and some suggestive material.
Stars Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, John Cena, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jordana Brewster, Sung Kang, Scott Eastwood, Daniela Melchior, Alan Ritchson, Helen Mirren, Brie Larson, Rita Moreno, Leo Abelo Perry, Jason Statham, Jason Momoa, Charlize Theron.

As over the top as Fast X may be, at least they don’t go into space this time. New franchise director Louis Leterrier brings the action back down to Earth a bit while finding new ways to push the audiences’ suspension of disbelief to its limits.

As shown in the bonus material, Leterrier seems excited for the chance to put his stamp on a franchise that has had a tenuous relationship with verisimilitude for a number of films, if only for the excuse to bring to life action concepts ruminating in his head since he was a child.

The story stems from the events of Fast 5, which set the stage for the series’ outlandish change of course with its ridiculous heist climax featuring two muscle cars dragging a multi-ton vault through the streets of Rio de Janeiro. The villain of Fast 5 was killed during that final chase, and 10 years later his son, Dante (Jason Momoa), wants revenge.

Setting out with the flamboyancy of a 1960s Batman villain, Dante must first level-up his resources in order to go toe-to-toe with Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his family, who since that film have morphed from simple street racing hustlers to global secret agents. To demonstrate how dangerous he is, the film has him take over the high-tech operations of Charlize Theron’s Cipher, the villain of the last couple of “Fast” films, and arranges to split Team Toretto apart on different missions. From there Dom and his family are subjected to an elaborate series of death traps around the world designed to make them suffer until he can maneuver them into one final improbable battle.

Almost lost among the spectacle is that the massive cast has managed to bring together two actors who have played Aquaman — in addition to Momoa, there’s Alan Ritchson, who portrayed the master of the sea on “Smallville,” on hand here as an Agency supercop whose skepticism of Team Toretto’s loyalties provides another wrinkle to the plot.

This film was touted is the beginning of the end for the franchise, as the first part of a grand finale for the characters, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the film ends with a series of cliffhangers and teases for more movies to come.

Still, as exhausting as Fast X can be at times, it can at least be admired for the sheer audacity of the stunts we are expected to believe are happening within the realm of a real physical world. The mayhem looks great in 4K, though the vivid explosions and the exploits of Dom’s seemingly indestructible super-car tend to verge on the cartoonish side.

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In addition to a solo commentary from an enthusiastic Leterrier, the Blu-ray also includes a five-minute gag reel, two forgettable music videos, and nearly 75 minutes of informative (but repetitive) behind-the-scenes featurettes.

The general making of the film is covered in the 35-minute “This Is Family.” Additional featurettes include the 13-minute “Xtreme Rides of Fast X” that profiles the vehicles in the film (which are actually described as the superhero suits to the films’ characters); the seven-minute “Belles of the Brawl” that looks at how the women of the film prepared for their action scenes; the five-minute “Tuned Into Rio” looks at the film’s connections to Fast 5; The two-minute “Jason Momoa: Conquering Rome” focuses on the actor’s role in the franchise, his stunts and a key sequence set in Rome; the three-minute “Little B Takes the Wheel” takes a look at Leo Abelo Perry joining the franchise as Dom’s son; and the minute-and-a-half “A Friend in the End” looks at the film’s post-credits sequence.

Finally, there’s a nearly eight-minute segment of Leterrier breaking down specific action scenes.

Action Hit ‘Fast X’ Racing to Regular Digital Aug. 1, Disc Aug. 8

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will release the action hit Fast X (previously available at a premium digital price) on regular digital Aug. 1, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Aug. 8.

The latest installment of the “Fast & Furious” franchise finds Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his family dealing with the son (Jason Momoa) of a former foe who is out for revenge.

In addition to Diesel and Momoa, Fast X stars Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and the Furious), Tyrese Gibson (2 Fast 2 Furious), Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges (2 Fast 2 Furious), John Cena (F9: The Fast Saga), Nathalie Emmanuel (Furious 7), Jordana Brewster (The Fast and the Furious), Sung Kang (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift), Scott Eastwood, Daniela Melchior, Alan Ritchson, Helen Mirren (The Fate of the Furious), Brie Larson (Captain Marvel), Rita Moreno, Jason Statham (Furious 7) and Charlize Theron (The Fate of the Furious). It also features a few surprise cameos from the franchise’s past.

The film has earned $704.7 million at the global box office.

The home release includes a commentary by director Louis Leterrier, a gag reel, two music videos from the original motion picture soundtrack, and more than an hour of behind-the-scenes featurettes detailing the making of the film from the streets of Los Angeles to the Colosseum in Rome, plus scene breakdowns with Leterrier.

Dune: Part One

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Warner;
Sci-Fi;
Box Office $107.35 million;
$34.98 DVD, $39.98 Blu-ray, $49.98 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of strong violence, some disturbing images and suggestive material.
Stars Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem.

Efforts to adapt Frank Herbert’s landmark 1965 sci-fi novel Dune have been met with mixed results over the years.

The 1970s saw Alejandro Jodorowsky envision a 10-hour movie version, and when that fell through, producer Dino De Laurentiis grabbed the rights and hired Ridley Scott to give it a go as a follow-up to Alien, though the scope of the project proved too daunting for him as well.

Then David Lynch came on board, choosing to adapt Dune over, among other projects, directing Return of the Jedi. His version finally arrived in 1984 after a troubled production and massive edits to bring his three-hour initial cut to a bit over two hours for the theatrical release, a running time that so crammed Herbert’s story that it was generally panned by critics for being incomprehensible.

The Sci-Fi Channel in the early 2000s had a bit better luck with a pair of miniseries based on Dune and a few of Herbert’s literary sequels to it, earning ratings success while leaving fans of the books to continue to clamor for a worthy big-screen version.

Director Denis Villeneuve’s interpretation seems to have met those aspirations.

Villeneuve’s Dune presents the narrative as a sweeping epic of galactic politics and feuding families, marked by stunning visual splendor and scope.

Covering roughly half of the first book, Dune: Part One, as it is announced on screen, tells the story of a desert world named Arrakis, thousands of years into the future when humanity has colonized the vast expanses of outer space and formed an empire to control it, led by wealthy and influential families. The planet’s sands provide the only known source of the spice Melange, a substance with mind-altering properties that makes celestial navigation possible.

The Emperor has ordered the House Atreides, led by Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac) to take over administration of Arrakis from Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård). Leto’s son, Paul (Timothée Chalamet), begins having visions of living among the Fremen, remnants of the tribes that originally inhabited the planet.

The Fremen are experts at surviving the harsh desert environment and dealing with the giant native sandworms that roam beneath the surface, both depositing the spice and menacing the efforts to extract it. Paul is rumored to be a prophesized messiah to the Fremen.

The Atreides will not have an easy time of it on Arrakis, however, as it quickly becomes apparent that their appointment to govern the planet is a trap by the Emperor and the Harkonnens to diminish their power, if not eliminate them altogether by a full-scale assault on the planet.

Villeneuve places the emphasis on the human and character aspects of the story, rather than the more bizarre sci-fi elements that seemed to fuel Lynch’s version.

At around two-and-a-half-hours, he also takes 20 more minutes than Lynch to tell half the story, allowing it to breathe by not trying to cram the density of the first book into a single movie, as the 1984 version did.

To make sure viewers who didn’t read the book are not left completely baffled, long early stretches of the film are very heavy in exposition, explaining who the families are, the Fremen and the culture of Arrakis. But this is all necessary worldbuilding endemic to any good sci-fi franchise and should continue to pay off with future installments.

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Savvy viewers may have noticed the influence the original novel had on countless burgeoning sci-fi franchises in the years it took to get a movie adaptation off the ground, with “Star Wars” and its desert world of Tatooine being the most notable example. Because of this, some fans might find a lot of similarities between this latest Dune movie and some recent “Star Wars” shows set on Tatooine, such as “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett.”

The exposition provided in the film is expanded upon in the Blu-ray bonus materials, with an eight minute featurette about the Royal Houses, and 10-and-a-half-minutes of video encyclopedia entries similar to the ones Paul watches in the film in order to learn about Arrakis.

The Blu-ray also includes nearly an hour of behind-the-scenes featurettes as well, with individual videos focused on the usual things like production design, cinematography, costumes and visual effects

Some dig deeper, such as a creating the makeup effects used to create the Baron’s bloated physique. Another looks at the fighting styles used to give the battle scenes a heightened since of verisimilitude. Others show how the visual effects team pulled off the film’s unique vehicles, as well as the giant worm attacks; the longest is an 11-minute examination of the film’s distinctive sound design and Hans Zimmer’s musical score.

Collectively, they demonstrate the precision and craftsmanship that went into constructing the film.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Warner;
Action;
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $44.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for violence and some language.

Stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, J.K. Simmons, Amber Heard, Connie Nielsen, Diane Lane, Harry Lennix, Billy Crudup, Willem Dafoe, Joe Morton, Kiersey Clemons, Jared Leto, Jesse Eisenberg, Joe Manganiello, Peter Guinness, Ray Porter, Ciaran Hinds.

The 2017 theatrical version of Justice League foisted upon audiences was undoubtedly a compromised film, the result of a now infamous clash between creative vision and studio sensibilities.

Warner Bros., having been lapped in the superhero shared universe race several times over by rival Marvel, was looking to catch up quickly with its own DC Comics-based franchise. But the studio lost faith in director Zack Snyder, whose efforts in building the universe from the ground up — 2013’s Man of Steel and 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — were met with mixed reaction at best. The studio brought in Avengers director Joss Whedon to help “guide” Snyder in completing the third installment of his trilogy, Justice League, which would see Batman and Wonder Woman recruit additional superheroes to help fight an alien invasion.

Snyder, wary of the studio’s attempts to rein him in, ultimately left the film following the death of his daughter — to whom the new longer cut is dedicated.

Whedon, under a mandate to deliver a taut, two-hour action film, re-wrote Chris Terrio’s screenplay and oversaw extensive reshoots that it is clear now were intended to bridge story points between the action scenes that Snyder had shot. Whedon, known for infusing his projects with witty banter and offbeat humor, also added levity to Justice League to the point where it was much lighter in tone compared with the world established in Snyder’s earlier films. Whedon’s version ultimately did the job of telling the story it needed to, but didn’t satisfy many viewers who had bigger expectations based on what had come before.

And thus, the “Release the Snyder Cut” movement was born, fueled by rumors that the studio was sitting on a longer version of the film turned in by Snyder before he left. While Snyder had created a rough cut of the film before most of the visual effects were completed, the so-called “Snyder Cut” of Justice League was hardly in a state to be seen by the public, and thus its release was little more than a pipe dream without a studio willing to dedicate the resources to finish an alternate cut of a film it had already wrote off.

Then came the deep pockets of HBO Max, the new streaming service from Warner’s parent company, which had not only the deep pockets to finish the Snyder Cut, but also the desire to cash in on the hype surrounding it. The cost to complete Snyder’s version was reportedly north of $70 million (the 2017 theatrical release earned $657.9 million globally against a budget that ballooned to $300 million).

The obvious parallel here is with the Richard Donner cut of Superman II, but the Snyder Cut make that project seem like a lark.

Snyder’s four-hour director’s cut of Justice League plays like a completely different film, treating the story like the epic the theatrical version showed little interest in being.

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Now, admittedly, it’s unlikely that this version of the film, absent studio meddling, would have seen the inside of theaters back in the day either. For starters, a four-hour superhero movie based on Snyder’s take on the characters would have been a big ask of the audience, and he surely would have trimmed it to something in the range of two-and-a-half to three hours, just like he did with BvS (with the longer, better cut available on home video). Certainly, there are several scenes in Snyder’s Justice League that will give it a reputation for indulgence but could easily be cut for a theatrical release, but play better in a streaming format where binging serialized TV shows for six, seven, eight hours at a time (with breaks here and there) is commonplace.

Indeed, the original plan for Snyder’s Justice League was to present it as several episodes, like a TV show, but vagaries in Hollywood contract law supposedly led to the decision to deliver it as a single movie, albeit segmented into six succinctly labeled chapters and an epilogue.

Regardless, the film flows just fine even at four hours, and there is no confusion about what is happening or why the characters are motivated to do what they do. Snyder’s vision is to present the superheroes of today as the modern extension of the legends of old, drawing a direct line between classic mythology and their comic book counterparts.

The big beneficiary of all this is Ray Fisher’s Cyborg, who is given a fully fleshed out backstory that is barely touched upon in the theatrical cut, as well as a full character arc as he learns to accept and understand his powers.

Of course, if Warner had been patient enough to follow Marvel’s formula, Cyborg likely would have gotten his own origin movie before this, negating the need to devote so much screen time to it here. But that’s neither here nor there at this point.

The Snyder Cut is revelatory when compared with the Whedon Cut, which replaced a number of scenes with reshot versions that were similar but not as good, probably to add more of that Whedonesque humor. Fantastic scenes of endearing character interactions that would have added depth and meaning were removed entirely. Instead, Whedon added scenes showing a family imperiled by Steppenwolf’s plan who had to be saved by the League in the final battle. There’s no distracting family in the Snyder Cut, which instead takes the opportunity to foreshadow storylines that were intended for future sequels.

Another change Snyder made was reverting to the musical score by Tom Holkenborg, who continues the musical style established in Snyder’s previous entries. Whedon had replaced it with a more conventional but still serviceable score by Danny Elfman, who reused a number of more iconic themes for the characters from earlier franchises that played on audience nostalgia for the characters as a way to shortcut any development of them as specific to the Snyderverse.

Also, since he’s using his original footage and ignoring the reshoots, Snyder didn’t have to use digital effects to remove the mustache Henry Cavill couldn’t shave off while filming Mission: Impossible — Fallout, famously leading to his awkward-looking mouth in the 2017 version.

Another advantage Snyder’s cut has is that we’ve gotten to explore the DC universe a bit more since 2017, most notably with the 2018 Aquaman movie that really fleshed out Jason Momoa’s character and backstory, and gels nicely with his development here.

Snyder also took the opportunity to fix his presentation of the films’ villains. The CGI for the primary antagonist, Steppenwolf, has been reworked to be much more menacing and looks a lot better. Snyder also gives the audience a chance to see Darkseid, the legendary DC comics warlord who serves as Steppenwolf’s master and was reduced to just one mention of his name in Whedon’s cut.

Steppenwolf’s plan, as in the theatrical cut, is to collect the three “Mother Boxes” on Earth that when united will allow him to re-create Darkseid’s homeworld of Apokolips on Earth. The Mother Boxes were left behind when Darkseid’s first invasion of Earth was repelled thousands of years earlier, and thought lost until Superman’s death at the end of BvS caused them to reactivate, drawing Steppenwolf to them.

We also get an expansion of the nightmare future hinted at in BvS, in which Batman leads a rebellion against a Superman who has become a tyrant ruling over the wasteland Earth has become as a result of Darkseid’s invasion. This particularly impacts the scene of Superman’s resurrection, which plays very differently now that we have the expanded context behind it. Rather than Superman’s revival serving as another plot device in the battle against Steppenwolf, here it is re-framed as a complex ethical question about whether bringing Superman back to life in order to win the battle of today will ultimately lead to the very dystopia his resurrection is meant to prevent — and whether Batman’s desire to atone for his guilt over Superman’s death in BvS is blinding him to this potential outcome.

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Snyder presents his version in the 4:3 format most viewers will associate with the standard square ratio of classic non-widescreen TVs. That means vertical black bars to the right and left of the movie. While this might look odd to viewers accustomed to widescreen, Snyder’s framing actually presents more of the image as originally filmed. The square frame was chosen with Imax exhibitions in mind, since true Imax screens are higher than a typical theater. A standard “widescreen” print of the film is then made by cropping from the top and bottom of the picture. By eschewing this process, Snyder is instead offering us everything in the frame he shot.

Time will tell if we get any follow-ups to plot points developed in Snyder’s Cut that otherwise fell by the wayside in Warner’s DC universe. But even if we don’t the complete Snyder Cut on its own is a triumph of a filmmaker’s singular vision, and the story surrounding it a fascinating glimpse into the process of the Hollywood machine and the often-conflicting instincts of those in charge of it.

The 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Disc versions offer the film spread over two discs. The first disc of both the 4K and regular Blu-ray versions contains the set’s lone extra: a 24-minute featurette of Snyder reflecting on his experience making his trilogy of superhero movies, and the fan effort to bring it to fruition with his vision of Justice League.

Also, the discs do not include a code for a digital copy of the film, so the digital version remains exclusive to HBO Max. The disc does include an insert with an ad touting HBO Max and the black-and-white version of the movie, Zack Snyder’s Justice League: Justice Is Gray.

Originally published as a streaming review March 18, 2021.

Sweet Girl

STREAMING REVIEW:

Netflix;
Action;
Rated ‘R’ for some strong violence, and langauge.
Stars Jason Momoa, Isabela Merced, Justin Bartha, Amy Brenneman, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Adria Arjona, Lex Scott Davis, Raza Jaffrey.

This Netflix thriller about a big pharma conspiracy turns on a couple of major plot twists: one that’s a bit predictable and one that’s a bit of a cheat.

Jason Momoa stars as Ray, a man whose wife is dying of cancer. When her potential treatment is held up by a pharmaceutical company that prevents an affordable generic drug from reaching the market, he threatens the CEO (Justin Bartha) on a call-in talk show.

After his wife dies, Ray eventually hunts down the CEO, and in the aftermath of his attack he is forced to go on the run with his daughter, Rachel (Isabella Merced), who calls the FBI to plead with them that it was self defense.

Complicating matters is a hitman hired to take out anyone who has witnessed evidence of the pharma company’s corruption in bribing smaller companies to keep cheaper drugs off the market so they can increase their profits.

The underpinnings of the story, while topical, are somewhat devoid of subtlety, and come across as manipulative and heavy handed as a result.

Still, the action sequences are effective, and Momoa and Merced are nicely matched as a father-daughter duo. Merced in particular does a nice job as a character who turns out to be not quite what she seems, and is probably one of the only actresses who could pull off the doozy of a plot twist in the middle of the movie without the core story losing whatever credibility it still has once it turns into a fugitive-out-for-revenge actioner.

Like Fight Club, this is a movie that plays much differently on a rewatch, for those willing to sit through it again.

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HBO Max Orders Rock Climbing Competition Series Starring Jason Momoa

Aquaman is heading to the mountains.

HBO Max July 20 announced it has greenlighted an eight-episode order for a rock-climbing competition series called “The Climb,” with Aquaman star Jason Momoa, through his production company On the Roam, rock climber Chris Sharma, and series creators The Intellectual Property Corporation, an Industrial Media company.

The series is described as a “visually arresting and life-changing” adventure that represents the foundations of rock climbing and the exploration of the human spirit. Amateur climbers are put through a series of mental and physical challenges, utilizing the most intimidating ascents in the world to crown the world’s best amateur climber.

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“We are thrilled to be working with Jason Momoa and IPC on this cinematic approach to a physical competition show with Mother Nature providing the most beautiful and challenging of obstacle courses,” Jennifer O’Connell, EVP of nonfiction and live-action family programming of HBO Max, said in a statement.

Founded in 2016 and acquired by Industrial Media in 2018, Intellectual Property Corporation’s recent productions include “Indian Matchmaking” and “Night Stalker” (Netflix); “Selena + Chef” (HBO Max); “We’re Here” and “The Swamp” (HBO); “This Is Paris” (YouTube Originals); “The Last Narc” (Amazon); “The Substitute” (Nickelodeon); “Empires of New York” (CNBC); and “The Con” (ABC).

Momoa’s On the Roam production company in August will release action/thriller Sweet Girl for Netflix. It is currently in production on an eponymous unscripted series for Discovery+.

Stars Bite on Apple Streaming Service

Stars and filmmakers from Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams to Steve Carell, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Oprah turned out March 25 to help Apple launch it’s new streaming service Apple TV+.