‘Bombshell’ Strikes Home

The dynamic trio of Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie powers Bombshell.

The three acclaimed actresses are at the center of the Oscar-lauded film based on the real story of ambitious, strong women who anchored one of America’s most powerful news networks, Fox News, becoming headlines themselves when they risked everything to stand up to the man who made them famous, Roger Ailes.

Available now on digital, Blu-ray combo pack and DVD from Lionsgate, Bombshell earned Academy Award nominations for Best Actress (Charlize Theron) and Best Supporting Actress (Margot Robbie), and won the Oscar for Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling.

Theron, who also produced the film, notes in the disc extras it was “a great opportunity for a lot of talented women to come together and tell an important story.”

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“It was lovely to be able to join forces with these women and hopefully inspire people to say, ‘I don’t need to put up with this,’” adds Kidman.

Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly

Bombshell is a candid exploration of the sexual harassment scandal that brought down the powerful Ailes. Theron plays Megyn Kelly, an anchor at the height of her power. Kidman is Gretchen Carlson, the former anchor who sues Ailes, bringing the harassment to light. Robbie plays up-and-comer Kayla Pospisil, a fictional, composite character based on other individuals.

The three women appear in only one scene together, which proved to be one of the most striking in the movie. A scene in which they ride in the same elevator with little dialog was not originally in the script, but it turned out to be so impactful that it provided a key image for the film’s teaser.

Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson

“It was great to be able to have a scene with almost no dialog that still says a lot,” Kidman says in the extras.

“We don’t say anything to each other, and I think that’s the whole point of the scene, that we do not reach out and in a way our problems are unresolved because we have isolated ourselves,” adds Robbie.

“Charlize, Nicole and Margo are, well, a dream team,” says John Lithgow in the disc extras. Lithgow plays Ailes and made a point of telling the women in the film he was going to have to be nasty to them in the role.

John Lithgow as Roger Ailes

Despite playing the villain, Lithgow brought complexity to the character.

“He never shied away from the fact that this guy Roger Ailes was incredibly charismatic and that people loved him,” Theron notes.

“What I look for always in playing a bad guy is a sort of core of insecurity, what in the world makes them that way, how do you show the fact that he may do bad things, but he hates doing them,” Lithgow explains in the extras.

One of the most emotionally wrenching scenes in the film takes place between Lithgow as Ailes and Robbie’s Kayla as she slowly becomes aware of his abusive intentions.

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“The man is in the grips of his own compulsions, and he hates himself for it,” Lithgow says in the extras.

While the actors had a firm grip on the inner life of their characters, transforming them to resemble their real-life counterparts also added to the drama, winning makeup and hairstyling creators Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker an Academy Award.

Detailed in the disc extras are the hours of work with prosthetics and makeup that it took to turn the actors into well-known personalities. Kidman wore chin and body enhancements as Carlson, and Lithgow wore six prosthetics and a body suit as Ailes. Theron, who listened to hours of interviews to mimic Kelly’s voice, wore nose plugs and cheek, eyelid, chin and nose prosthetics to replicate Kelly’s look.

“The look match was really important to her,” says director Jay Roach in the extras, adding she wanted to see herself in the mirror and not recognize herself.

“We ended up so close to Megan’s features,” Theron adds, crediting Hiro’s artistry.

An ensemble of accomplished actors, including Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Malcolm McDowell (as media tycoon Rupert Murdoch) and Allison Janney also joined in crafting a complicated but sharply told story that filmmakers hope will start a conversation — without preaching.

“I personally don’t want to go and watch a movie that I feel is preaching to me,” says Theron, who credits Roach’s comedy background in helping to bring realism to the film.

“You feel like you’re really there in the room with those people,” she says.

Blu-ray/DVD/Digital special features include the “No Easy Truths: The Making of Bombshell” seven-part documentary:

  • “Convergence: Genesis of the Film” Featurette
  • “Quid Pro Quo: Charlize, Nicole, Margot, John” Featurette
  • “Human Dynamics: The Ensemble Cast” Featurette
  • “Breaking the Fourth Wall: Visual Design” Featurette
  • “Layer by Layer: Makeup, Hair & Clothing” Featurette
  • “A Unique Skill Set: Jay Roach” Featurette
  • “Catalyst for Change: Parting Thoughts” Featurette

Oscar-Nominated ‘Bombshell’ Due on Digital Feb. 25, Disc March 10 From Lionsgate

The Oscar-nominated Bombshell is coming home on digital Feb. 25 and on Blu-ray combo pack and DVD March 10 from Lionsgate.

The film has been nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Actress (Charlize Theron), Best Supporting Actress (Margot Robbie), and Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling (Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker).

Theron, Nicole Kidman, Robbie and John Lithgow (as Roger Ailes) star in the film based on the real story of three ambitious, strong women who anchored one of America’s most powerful news networks, Fox News, becoming headlines themselves when they risked everything to stand up to the man who made them famous.

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The film also stars Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Malcolm McDowell and Allison Janney.

Disc bonus features include a seven-part making-of documentary featuring interviews with the cast and crew.

Daddy’s Home 2

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street 2/20/18;
Paramount;
Comedy;
Box Office $103.89 million;
$25.99 DVD, $31.99 Blu-ray, $34.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for suggestive material and some language.
Stars Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini, Alessandra Ambrosio, John Cena, John Lithgow, Mel Gibson.

The first Daddy’s Home in 2015 proved to be a pleasant surprise, with the simple premise of a stepdad struggling to escape the shadow of the kids’ real father elevated comedically by the winning duo of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg.

By the end of that movie, Ferrell’s Brad and Wahlberg’s Dusty had largely reached an understanding of how to raise the kids, with Dusty having to deal with a stepfamily of his own. The sequel begins by taking that premise to the next level, touching on the confusion inherent in such criss-crossed families, where situations get repeated so all the parents can get a taste of their children growing up, with results that don’t always satisfy everyone.

In light of these potential tensions, Brad and Dusty decide that all the families should celebrate Christmas together. As if on cue, Brad and Dusty’s own parents show up to join in the holiday fun (which is basically the same premise the recent Bad Moms sequel did). Mel Gibson plays Dusty’s dad, while John Lithgow is Brad’s.

The grandpas inject their own flavor, and soon enough the merged families are off to a cabin in a wooded community where hijinx are free to ensue.

Throwing the elders into the mix is a fine idea in terms of the pairings, and on paper adds an extra layer to the story. But in practice it kind of gets in the way. The film ends up pursuing too many ideas that don’t really coalesce around the central theme, more often than not falling back on the same kinds of physical slapstick that fueled the first film and have been the bread and butter of these kids of comedies since Buster Keaton first allowed a building to fall down around him.

Beyond that, the movie has to get by on the chemistry of its cast and whatever charm they can muster from their performances, and luckily there’s plenty of that to go around. The film is at its most fun when all the comedic actors play off each other, and the premise doesn’t require the big players to stray much from their wheelhouses here: aww-shucks Ferrell, hothead Wahlberg, macho Mel and lovable Lithgow.

It plays for a time, until John Cena shows up for what is basically an extended version of his cameo in the first film, where he represents the threat to Dusty’s fatherhood in the way Dusty was a threat to Brad. That conflict is touched on briefly but kind of makes you wish the movie was more about that from the beginning, rather than the “everybody raising the kids together with the grandpas stirring the pot” thing they went for.

The female side of the equation gets its share of attention too, with a fun little subplot about Brad’s wife (Linda Cardellini) and stepdaughter idolizing Dusty’s new wife (Alessandra Ambrosio) and stepdaughter in different but illuminating ways.

But really, it all might be worth it just for a great riff on Liam Neeson action movies and Hollywood’s penchant for seasonal mayhem.

The Blu-ray includes a half-hour of behind-the-scenes featurettes, grouped by various topics: writing the sequel, reuniting the cast, the pairing of Ferrell and Wahlberg, bringing on Gibson and Lithgow, and some other surprises.

There’s also 11 minutes of deleted, extended and alternate scenes, and a four-minute gag reel.