Ford v Ferrari

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 2/11/20;
Fox;
Drama;
Box Office $116.38 million;
$29.99 DVD, $37.99 Blu-ray, $45.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for some language and peril.
Stars Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe, Ray McKinnon.

Director James Mangold’s Ford v Ferrari provides an immensely entertaining look at an international corporate rivalry that changed the face of auto racing in the 1960s.

Matt Damon stars as automotive designer Carroll Shelby, a former race car driver enlisted by the Ford Motor Company to design a car that can break the dominance of Ferrari in France’s prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race. Shelby in turn recruits Ken Miles (Christian Bale) to drive the car, a move that rubs certain Ford bigwigs the wrong way, most notably Leo Beebe (Josh Lucas), the executive in charge of the racing division.

Bales, whose turn as the hotheaded mechanic and driver Miles is essentially a co-lead with Damon, dominates every scene he’s in with an energetic performance that commands attention. In fact, some of his best scenes involve Miles alone on the road in the racecar, commenting to himself about how much he enjoys the ride or doesn’t appreciate the actions of the drivers around him.

The film delivers both in the corporate versus maverick politics of the company’s attempts to constrain Shelby’s efforts, as well as being a thrilling racing movie. Mangold’s racing footage puts viewers on the track and in the cars, and viewers can practically feel the crashes through their high-definition home theaters.

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The scenes involving the design and testing of the new racecars are equally compelling, as Shelby’s team takes on the engineering challenge with the focus and intensity of a NASA mission to the moon.

Though Damon and Bale get the headlines with one of the great screen partnerships of recent years, the supporting cast delivers some noteworthy work as well, particularly Caitriona Balfe and Noah Jupe as Miles’ wife and son, and Ray McKinnon as one of Shelby’s top mechanics.

And the film gets to have its cake and eat it too with the “Batman v Bourne” of it all, when Shelby and Miles have a bit of a spat over how much of Ford’s corporate meddling they’re willing to take.

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The intricacy of detail the filmmakers took in re-creating the racing culture of the 1960s is on display in the hour-long making-of documentary “Bringing the Rivalry to Life” that is included with the Blu-ray and digital copies of the film. The eight-part program offers ample interviews about how much the cast enjoyed making the movie, and how the filmmakers went about making replica cars to use for the racing scenes.

Digital versions include the exclusive “The 24-Hour Le Mans: Re-creating the Course,” a 22-minute featurette that delves into how the filmmakers re-created the Le Mans course, using a mix of replica cars and visual effects to enhance the backgrounds. In some cases, the sons of the original drivers were bought in to play their fathers in the climactic race.

The digital edition also offers a 26-minute highlight reel of pre-vis animation of the race scenes.

Vudu has an additional three-minute featurette edited from clips culled from the other bonus materials.

 

Netflix Pulls Plug on Marvel TV Collaboration

Netflix Feb. 18 confirmed it is canceling the Marvel TV series “The Punisher” and “Jessica Jones” — the last two original shows from a collaboration with the Disney-owned superhero IP unit’s TV arm that began in 2013.

The six-series Marvel lineup exclusive to Netflix also included “Luke Cage,” starring Mike Colter; “Daredevil,” starring Charlie Cox; and “Iron Fist,” starring Finn Jones. All three shows were canceled last October and November. The team-up miniseries “The Defenders” featuring a crossover of the various casts, was not renewed either.

The move underscores ongoing strategic shifts between the erstwhile business partners highlighted by the pending fourth-quarter launch of Disney’s competing SVOD service: Disney+.

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Netflix, which ended its license agreement for original Disney movies beginning with the studio’s 2019 theatrical releases, will stream the third season of “Jones,” starring Krysten Ritter (“Breaking Bad”).

Season three production of “Punisher” starring Jon Bernthal (“The Walking Dead”) has been shelved.

In a media statement, Netflix praised showrunners Steve Lightfoot (“Punisher”) and Melissa Rosenberg (“Jones”), the respective production crews and cast, including Bernthal and Ritter.

“We are proud to showcase their work on Netflix for years to come,” said the SVOD pioneer.

The cancelations also appear strategic considering both “Daredevil” and “Punisher” ranked fifth and sixth, respectively, on Parrot Analytics’ weekly chart of Top 10 original TV shows generating the most online chatter. Indeed, “Punisher” finished first on the chart for the week ended Feb. 2.

“We are grateful to Marvel for five years of our fruitful partnership and thank the passionate fans who have followed these series from the beginning,” said Netflix.

In a statement from Marvel TV’s Jeph Loeb, the executive thanked Netflix  viewers for their interest in the brand, hinting Marvel’s super heroes could re-emerge on TV elsewhere.

“Our network partner may have decided they no longer want to continue telling the tales of these great characters … but you know Marvel better than that,” Loeb wrote.