Keanu Reeves Sports Film ‘Hardball’ Hitting Blu-ray Sept. 21 for Its 20th Anniversary

The sports drama Hardball, starring Keanu Reeves and Diane Lane, will arrive on Blu-ray for the first time Sept. 21 from Paramount Home Entertainment for its 20th anniversary.

Directed by Brian Robbins, the film follows Conor O’Neill (Reeves), a down-on-his-luck gambler in debt to dangerous loan sharks. Desperate for cash, Conor reluctantly takes a job coaching a youth baseball team, a ragtag group of tough-talking kids from Chicago’s inner city. Secretly, Conor plans to desert the team after he wins a big bet. The kids need someone to believe in, and as Conor wrestles with his past, they start to teach him some lessons that will forever change his future — that responsibility and trust must be earned and hope can appear in the most unlikely places.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The cast also include John Hawkes, D.B. Sweeney and Michael B. Jordan in one of his first film roles.

The Blu-ray includes the legacy bonus content, including commentary by Robbins and writer John Gatins; “The Making of Hardball”; deleted scenes; the music video “Hardball” by Lil’ Bow Wow, Lil’ Wayne, Lil’ Zane and Sammie; interstitials; and the theatrical trailer.

Speed

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 5/4/21;
20th Century;
Action;
Rated ‘R’ for violence and language.
Stars Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Dennis Hopper, Joe Morton, Jeff Daniels.

Jan de Bont’s 1994 action thriller Speed is motoring to 4K Ultra HD for the first time, and despite the old tech (ubiquitous cell phones would have changed so much in these films!), it looks like it came out yesterday. Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, whose stars both soared after this fast-paced hit, are restored as fresh-faced ingenues with a makeover by the picture upgrade.

In the film, originally released by Fox, Reeves stars as an L.A.P.D. SWAT team specialist who is sent to diffuse a bomb that a revenge-driven extortionist (Dennis Hopper) has planted on a city bus. But until he does, one of the passengers (Bullock) must keep the bus speeding through the streets of Los Angeles at more than 50 miles per hour — or the bomb will explode.

The plot of Speed is so familiar and satirized that it’s easy for forget that it is a heart-stopping thrill ride. Viewers will relish a return to the kind of pure popcorn-movie fun that existed in the 1990s before 9/11 and other dark events. Speed came out of a time when the biggest threat seemed to be a ruthless terrorist out for money, and the body count could be counted on one or two hands. The aim of this era of films was to send the viewer on a rollercoaster ride with twists and turns and, particularly in the case of Speed, accelerated action.

So, the point of Speed isn’t to think too much — plot holes and physics-defying scenes abound — but to sit back and go along for the ride. And it’s a fun ride that looks better than it has since its theatrical release due to this 4K upgrade.

Special features, which vary by product and retailer, include audio commentary by de Bont; audio commentary by writer Graham Yost and producer Mark Gordon; several making-of featurettes; extended scenes; and a Speed music video by Billy Idol.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The commentaries by de Bont and Yost and Gordon were obviously recorded for the DVD release just after 9/11, as they make reference to the horror that recently occurred in New York City. Despite their vintage origin, the commentaries have a nostalgic feel that still rings true today, as they note that bigger threats are happening in the real world. Poking fun at some of the dialog and effects, they outwardly wonder if films like Speed will be made in the future. Viewers, too, might wax nostalgic for a time when cell phones were the size of bricks, Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves were young up-and-comers, a bunch of American strangers could actually work together, and the biggest threat was one madman, rather than many.

Netflix Developing Live-Action Movie, Anime Series Based on Keanu Reeves Comic Book

Netflix has acquired the rights to the Boom! Studios comic book BRZRKR, and will first adapt the story into a movie followed by an anime spinoff series. The action-fantasy book is created and written by Keanu Reeves and New York Times writer Matt Kindt, and illustrated by Marvel Studios artist Ron Garney, with colors by Bill Crabtree, letters by Clem Robins, and character designs and covers by Rafael Grampá.

Reeves will star in and co-produce the movie for Netflix. The actor recently completed production on Matrix 4, which will be released later this year. He will begin production on John Wick 4 this spring.

The anime series will further expand the BRZRKR universe by exploring different elements of the story. In the series, Reeves will reprise his role and voice his character.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

BRZRKR is the saga about an immortal warrior’s 80,000-year fight through the ages. The man known only as “B” is half-mortal and half-god, , cursed and compelled to violence … even at the sacrifice of his sanity. But after wandering the earth for centuries, B may have finally found a refuge — working for the U.S. government to fight the battles too violent and too dangerous for anyone else. In exchange, B will be granted the one thing he desires — the truth about his endless blood-soaked existence … and how to end it.

Boom! Studios published the first issue of the 12-issue limited series comic book on March 3. The company claims the inaugural issue has already sold over 615,000, making it the highest-selling comic book launch in almost 30 years. Boom! Studios has a first-look deal for live action and animated television series with Netflix.

‘Speed’ Racing to 4K Ultra HD May 4

Jan de Bont’s action thriller Speed will motor to 4K Ultra HD for the first time May 4, including a limited-edition exclusive Best Buy Steelbook, from Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

In the Fox film, Keanu Reeves stars as an L.A.P.D. SWAT team specialist who is sent to diffuse a bomb that a revenge-driven extortionist (Dennis Hopper) has planted on a city bus. But until he does, one of the passengers (Sandra Bullock) must keep the bus speeding through the streets of Los Angeles at more than 50 miles per hour — or the bomb will explode.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Special features, which vary by product and retailer, include audio commentary by de Bont; audio commentary by Graham Yost and Mark Gordon; several making-of featurettes; extended scenes; and a Speed music video by Billy Idol.

The film, released theatrically in 1994, earned more than $350 million at the worldwide box office.

Best Buy’s ‘Speed’ 4K Steelbook

Bill & Ted Face the Music

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street Date 11/10/20;
Warner/MGM;
Sci-Fi Comedy;
Box Office $3.4 million;
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for some language.
Stars Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, Kristen Schaal, Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Anthony Carrigan, Erinn Hayes, Jayma Mays, Holland Taylor, Kid Cudi, William Sadler, Jillian Bell, Hal Landon Jr., Beck Bennett, Amy Stoch.

The third “Bill & Ted” movie, coming 29 years after the second, turns the lengthy gap between sequels into an asset while bringing fans back into the familiar world of the franchise.

The film is something of homage to and an amalgam of the first two, which saw an emissary from the future, Rufus (played by the late George Carlin, who gets a tribute in the new film), travel back in time 700 years to put young slackers Bill and Ted (Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves) on course to bring about universal harmony with the music of their band, Wyld Stallyns.

Follow us on Instagram

In the first film, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Rufus lends them a time machine in the shape of a phone booth to travel into the past to collect historical figures to pass their history report and graduate high school, assuring they can remain together. The second film, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, saw the duo the target of a future warlord who despises that society took inspiration from them. The robots he sends into the past to hunt them down succeed in killing them, but Bill and Ted are able to navigate the afterlife with the help of the Grim Reaper (William Sadler) to return to Earth, stop the robots, and win a battle of the bands on their path to superstardom.

As the third film opens, however, Bill and Ted have yet to write the song that will bring about global unity, and continue their desperate efforts to do so. Their lack of success has begun to tear the fabric of reality apart, leading to another emissary from the future, Rufus’ daughter (Kristen Schaal), to bring them a message from the Great Leader (Holland Taylor) chastising them for not fulfilling the prophecy.

Accordingly, Bill and Ted decide to visit their own future selves to try to find the song they were supposed to have written.

Meanwhile, their grown daughters Billie and Thea (Brigette Lundy-Paine and Samara Weaving), who were introduced as babies at the end of Bogus Journey, come up with a plan to go back in time to gather the greatest musicians in history to form the ultimate band to help their dads.

Meanwhile, the Great Leader re-interprets the prophecy of how Bill and Ted influence future society, and after coming to the conclusion they have to die to restore reality, sends a robot back in time to do the deed.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Even under the direction of Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest), Face the Music can’t match the energy levels of the first two films. This isn’t that surprising, though, since the film is dealing with the central theme of trying to live up to your potential even if the ability to do so seems to have passed you by. It’s a fun adventure that should elicit and lot of warm nostalgia smiles.

The Blu-ray comes with a handful of extras, led by the film’s 43-minute Comic-Con@Home panel. Hosted by Kevin Smith, whose Jay and Silent Bob characters drew obvious inspiration from Bill and Ted, the panel features several of the stars and key filmmakers participating through Zoom to discuss the making of the film and the origins of the franchise. The fact that the physical San Diego Comic-Con had to be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic and replaced by an online one may prove to be something of a boon to Blu-ray and DVD bonus features, as the Virtual panels are yielding a slew of neatly packaged videos ready to plop on a disc or YouTube.

The other extras aren’t so extensive, consisting of four short promotional featurettes ranging from 50 to 80 seconds each.

 

‘Bill & Ted Face the Music’ Due on Disc Nov. 10

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Bill & Ted Face the Music on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Nov. 10. The film, which is currently available for premium VOD rental and purchase from MGM and Orion Pictures, will be released via standard digital sellthrough Oct. 20, and standard VOD Nov. 10.

The third film in the “Bill & Ted” franchise, following 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, finds Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves reprising their roles as the time traveling title duo, who are tasked with emissaries from the future with writing the song that will unite humanity for all time.

The film was slated for a wide theatrical release over the summer that was pushed back as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, it was released via PVOD and in a handful of theaters that opened after quarantine restrictions were lifted, earning $3.3 million at the domestic box office.

Directed by Dean Parisot (“Galaxy Quest”) and written by franchise creators Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon, Bill & Ted Face the Music also stars William Sadler, Kristen Schaal, Samara Weaving, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Anthony Carritan, Erinn Hayes, Jayma Mays, Hal Landon Jr., Beck Bennett, Amy Stoch, Jillian Bell and Holland Taylor.

The Blu-ray and DVD will include a “Be Excellent to Each Other” featurette. The Blu-ray will also include the featurettes “A Most Triumphant Duo,” “Death’s Crib” and “Social Piece (Excellence),” and the Bill & Ted Face the Music Comic-Con@Home panel.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

 

FandangoNow Offers Promo on Preorders of ‘Bill & Ted Face the Music’

Consumers who rent Bill & Ted Face the Music (due Aug. 28) in advance on FandangoNow can get 50% off rentals of more than 100 movies starring big-screen duos like Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter.

The deal includes the pair’s first two epics Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. Other films in the offer include Bad Boys for Life, Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion, House Party, Thelma & Louise, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Booksmart, The Blues Brothers, Wayne’s World, Tommy Boy, The Heat, The Sting, Bonnie & Clyde, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Friday, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, Midnight Run, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Back to the Future, Keanu and Ted.

Consumers will have 30 days to begin watching the titles after they are rented. For more info on the more than 100 discounted titles in the deal, see FandangoNow’s Movie Duos.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

‘Bill & Ted Face the Music’ VOD Release Moving Up to Aug. 28

Bill & Ted Face the Music will come out on VOD and in select theaters Aug. 28, moving up from the Sept. 1 date announced during Comic-Con@Home.

Bill & Ted star Alex Winter revealed the news on Twitter.

In the Orion Pictures film, the stakes are higher than ever for the time-traveling William  “Bill” S. Preston Esq. (Alex Winter) and Theodore  “Ted” Logan (Keanu Reeves). To fulfill their rock and roll destiny, the now middle-aged best friends set out on a new adventure when a visitor from the future warns them that only their song can save life as we know it. Along the way, they will be helped by their daughters, a new batch of historical figures, and a few music legends to seek the song that will set their world right and bring harmony in the universe.

 

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

‘Bill & Ted Face the Music’ Getting Simultaneous VOD and Theatrical Release Sept. 1

Bill & Ted Face the Music, the third installment in the “Bill & Ted” franchise, is heading to VOD Sept. 1 on the same day it hits theaters (that are open).

In the Orion Pictures film, the stakes are higher than ever for the time-traveling William “Bill” S. Preston Esq. (Alex Winter) and Theodore “Ted” Logan (Keanu Reeves). To fulfill their rock and roll destiny, the now middle-aged best friends set out on a new adventure when a visitor from the future warns them that only their song can save life as we know it. Along the way, they will be helped by their daughters, a new batch of historical figures, and a few music legends to seek the song that will set their world right and bring harmony in the universe.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Bill & Ted Face the Music is directed by Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest), from a screenplay by Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon (Bill & Ted’s Excellent AdventureBill & Ted’s Bogus Journey).

The news came as Orion released the official poster and trailer during the online Comic-Con@Home.

HBO Max Meets Troubled Times With ‘A World of Calm’ Series

WarnerMedia’s SVOD service HBO Max has ordered the 10-episode “A World of Calm,” a TV experience that combines mesmeric imagery with narration by stars — including Mahershala Ali, Idris Elba, Oscar Isaac, Nicole Kidman, Zoë Kravitz, Lucy Liu, Cillian Murphy and Keanu Reeves.

HBO Max’s first project in the health and wellness space, “A World of Calm” is the result of a collaboration between the makers of Calm, the app for sleep, meditation and relaxation, and Nutopia, the team behind Nat Geo’s series “One Strange Rock.”

“A timely antidote for our modern lives, each half-hour episode takes audiences on an immersive visual journey into another world,” according to the press release.

“Building on Calm’s Sleep Stories — bedtime stories for grown-ups with more than 250 million listens — each relaxing tale is designed to transform how you feel,” the release states. “Transporting the viewer into tranquility through scientifically-engineered narratives, enchanting music and astounding footage, to naturally calm your body and soothe the mind, each story is brought to life by a different iconic voice.”

“With the considerable amount of stress and chaos we are all experiencing at this particularly challenging time, we could all use a bit of guided relaxation and ‘A World of Calm’ is here to help,” Jennifer O’Connell, EVP of non-fiction and kids programming for HBO Max, said in a statement. “With soothing imagery and tranquil narration, this is one HBO Max original that we hope becomes part of your daily routine.”

“We are thrilled to work with such amazing partners as HBO Max and Calm for this new cutting edge endeavor,” Nutopia CEO and founder Jane Root said in a statement. “Although this collaboration has been in the works for many months, this series has been entirely created during quarantine using Nutopia’s worldwide network of award-winning cinematographers and filmmakers. We hope this series of serene stories will bring a sense of much needed calm to audiences.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Calm started life as a meditation app but the brand has evolved far beyond that,” Calm co-founder and co-CEO Michael Acton Smith said in a statement. “We are delighted to bring the magic behind our audio Sleep Stories to the screen for the first time.  These experiences are visual Valium and will help people relax and unwind during these stressful times.”

The series is co-produced by Calm and Nutopia with Root, Nicola Moody, Smith and Chris Advansun serving as executive producers, and Sara Brailsford and Fiona Caldwell as co-executive producers.

Follow us on Instagram