Tom & Jerry

STREAMING REVIEW:

Warner/HBO Max;
Comedy;
Rated ‘PG’
for cartoon violence, rude humor and brief language.
Stars Chloë Grace Moretz, Michael Peña, Colin Jost, Rob Delaney, Ken Jeong, Pallavi Sharda, Jordan Bolger, Patsy Ferran.

The new movie version of the classic “Tom & Jerry” cartoons is a departure of sorts for live-action adaptations of iconic animated animal franchises.

Instead of trying to render a CGI version of the characters that is more or less supposed to represent how they would look in the “real world,” often with awkward and unsatisfactory results, Tom & Jerry borrows a page from the Who Framed Roger Rabbit school and puts the characters in in their traditional 2D animated glory interacting with a live-action environment.

The end result is a bit goofy but a lot of lighthearted fun, as the famed cat and mouse bring their violent rivalry to a fancy Manhattan hotel looking to host a high-profile wedding.

Caught in the middle is Kayla (Chloë Grace Moretz), a young drifter whose job delivering laundry is hampered when the duo crash into her fighting in Central Park while performing for loose change. Tom (the cat) wants to be a concert pianist, while Jerry (the mouse) just wants to find a place to live.

They all stumble upon the hotel, where Kayla smooth talks them into hiring her for the temp staff brought on to help with the fancy wedding of a couple of social influencers (Colin Jost and Pallavi Sharda). With management not wanting Jerry’s mayhem to give people the impression the hotel is infested with mice, Kayla volunteers to catch him, and brings in Tom to help, much to the chagrin of her stern supervisor (Michael Peña).

Of course, chaos ensues in the form of some typical Tom and Jerry battles.

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To ease in the consistency of its worldbuilding, the film presents every animal as a 2D animated character, from pigeons flying through central park, to other cats harassing Tom, to Spike the bulldog (voiced by Bobby Cannavale), and even a pair of elephants brought in for the wedding.

About the only drawback is that Tom and Jerry are almost side characters in their own movie, serving more as plot devices to the story of Kayla trying to stay out of trouble and pulling off the wedding as her supervisor schemes to undermine her. Still, the film should keep younger family members entertained while remaining just whimsical enough for the older crowd to stay with it.

The Opening Act

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street Date 12/15/20;
RLJE Films;
Comedy;
$27.97 DVD, $28.96 Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Stars Jimmy O. Yang, Alex Moffat, Cedric the Entertainment, Neal Brennan, Debby Ryan, Ken Jeong, Bill Burr, Jermaine Fowler, Russell Peters, Whitney Cummings, Tom Segura, Iliza Shlesinger.

Fans of stand-up comedy should get a kick out of The Opening Act, the story of a young man at the crossroads of whether or not his life’s ambition is worth the pursuit. The cast of The Opening Act features a who’s who of the stand-up world, and only a few are actually playing the comedians.

Written and directed by stand-up comedian Steve Byrne (“Sullivan & Son”), and based in part on his own experiences starting out in stand-up, The Opening Act stars Jimmy O. Yang (“Silicon Valley”) as Will Chu, a claims adjuster who aspires to be a comic because growing up he bonded with his late father watching stand-up comedy together.

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Struggling just to get enough stage time with local open mic nights, Will gets the opportunity of a lifetime when a friend recommends him for a weekend MC gig for the Pittsburgh Improv. The headliner is Billy G (Cedric the Entertainer), who Will idolized growing up.

However, one awkward encounter after another leaves Will questioning if he has what it takes to make it in comedy. The feature comedian, Chris (Alex Moffat of “Saturday Night Live”) constantly wants Will to party, throwing off his concentration. A disastrous promotional appearance on a local radio show puts him on the radar for hecklers, throwing off his game as he tries out new material that just doesn’t land.

He seems more like he’s trying to go through the motions of what he thinks a stand-up comedian should do, without understanding what it takes to connect with the audience, until Billy G takes some pity on him, reminds him that every comedian has to learn to bomb hard, and gives him some advice that might help him turn things around.

All in all, the message of perseverance should resonate with all viewers.

The Blu-ray includes a six-minute making-of featurette, a three-minute featurette in which the cast members discuss the difficulties of getting started in comedy, and 11 minutes of footage of extended stand-up performances from the likes of Yang, Cedric, Whitney Cummings, Ken Jeong and more.

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Tubi Adds New Fox Music Reality Series ‘I Can See Your Voice’

Tubi is going back to the Fox Corp. content well for new music reality series “I Can See Your Voice,” which is now available to stream on the ad-supported VOD platform. Weekly episodes from the debut season, hosted and executive produced by “The Masked Singer” panelist Ken Jeong, will continue to roll out on Tubi shortly after their linear broadcast premiere.

The series is the latest addition from Fox to be added to Tubi’s library of more than 23,000 movies and TV shows. The next new episode of “I Can See Your Voice” premieres on Fox Oct. 28.

The series features Jeong, along with Emmy-nominated actress Cheryl Hines (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and Daytime Emmy Award-winning television host and vocalist Adrienne Bailon-Houghton — in addition to a rotating panel of celebrity detectives and a musical superstar — as they help one contestant tell the difference between good and bad singers, without ever hearing them sing a note.

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With $100,000 on the line, the contestant will attempt to weed out the bad “Secret Voices” from the good, based on a series of clues, interrogation and lip sync challenges. In the end, the singer whom the contestant picks will reveal if they are good or bad in a duet performance with the musical superstar, resulting in a musical collaboration or a totally hilarious train wreck.

Tubi, which Fox acquired earlier this year for $440 million, recently announced record “monthly active users” (MAU) reached 33 million in August, an increase of 65% year-over-year — with total view time surpassing 200 million hours of content streamed each month since April.

‘Scoob!’ Getting Virtual Star-Studded Premiere on Twitter May 15

Warner May 15 is mounting a virtual premiere event for the premium VOD release of the animated feature Scoob! via Twitter.

The Twitter #ScoobMovieNight premiere event, hosted by the big dog himself, starts at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, and features Scoob! moments with stars from the movie, including Will Forte, Gina Rodriguez, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Kiersey Clemons, Ken Jeong, Tracy Morgan, Frank Welker, Iain Armitage, Arianna Greenblatt, Mckenna Grace and Pierce Gagnon, and director Tony Cervone. Lennon Stella will exclusively premiere an acoustic version of lead single “Summer Feelings,” while Thomas Rhett, Kane Brown and Ava Max will be on hand to showcase their newly released single “On Me.” Both are from “Scoob! The Album,” the movie’s official musical companion also arriving May 15 and available to pre-save now here.

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TikTok dance videos from the #ScoobDance challenge have racked up more than 3 billion views, according to a studio release. Other marketing includes Scoob trivia questions and a Scoob-themed PSA from Best Friends Animal Society (bestfriends.org) about helping homeless dogs and cats.

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Following the preshow, fans across the U.S. and Canada can rent or buy the feature and share Tweets about it using #ScoobMovieNight. The feature will be available for a 48-hour rental via PVOD at $19.99, or premium digital ownership at $24.99. Consumers can visit https://www.watchscoob.com to preorder a copy.

A family activity pack is available at https://www.scoob.movie/homepremiere.php

Scoob! reveals the never-before-told story of Scooby-Doo’s origins. It shows how one of history’s most famous friendships began when a homeless puppy met a lonesome young boy named Shaggy, and how the two of them joined forces with aspiring young detectives Fred, Velma and Daphne to become the celebrated Mystery Inc. With hundreds of cases solved and adventures shared, Scooby and the gang face the biggest and most challenging mystery of their careers: a plot that will unleash the legendary ghost dog Cerberus upon the world.

Animated ‘Wonder Park’ Rides to Digital June 4, Disc June 18 From Paramount

The animated adventure Wonder Park will be released on digital June 4 and Blu-ray combo pack and DVD June 18 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

It’s the story of a young girl named June who makes an incredible discovery — the amusement park of her dreams has come to life filled with wild rides operated by fun-loving animals. When trouble hits, June and her misfit team of furry friends begin an unforgettable journey to save the park. Wonder Park features the voices of Jennifer Garner, Mila Kunis, John Oliver, Kenan Thompson and Ken Jeong, among others.

The film made $45.2 million at the box office.

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The Blu-ray combo pack includes access to a digital copy as well as bonus content, including the deleted scene “Gus Yodeling”; “The Wonder Chimp Channel”; “The Pi Song Sing-Along”; “Making Noises (It’s Actually a Job?!!)”; “June’s Guide to Wonderland”; “June’s Welcoming Crew”; “Boardwalk Caricatures”; “Drawing Boomer”; “Drawing the Wonder Chimp Pirate”; and “Drawing the Wonder Chimp Princess.”

‘Community,’ ‘Rescue Me,’ ‘Benji’ on September Disc Slate From Mill Creek

Complete Blu-ray series sets of “Community” and “Rescue Me,” two double features and films about animal friends are among the titles on Mill Creek Entertainment’s September disc slate.

Due Sept. 18 is Community: The Complete Series, featuring all 110 episodes from the TV series, on both Blu-ray ($99.98) and DVD ($69.98). The comedy ensemble series, starring Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie, Ken Jeong, Donald Glover, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Borwn and Jim Rash, centers on a tight-knit group of friends who all meet at Greendale Community College and their hijinks.

All seven seasons are included in Rescue Me: The Complete Series coming out Sept. 11 on Blu-ray ($149.98). Whether pulling survivors from a fiery high-rise or the twisted steel of a subway collision, Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) takes pride in leading the heroic but overwhelmed firefighters of the NYFD. Meanwhile, he’s also drifting between sorrow and anger over a separation from his wife and three kids, and the haunting memories of his fallen comrades.

The lovable mutt Benji returns Sept. 11 in the Benji: Off the Leash Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital) at $19.98. The story, told from the pooch’s point of view, tracks his early days as a pup to his current life in showbiz. Bonus features include a feature-length commentary with director Joe Camp, editor Dava Whisenant, composer Anthony Di Lorenzo and producer Margaret Loesch; a behind-the-scenes featurette; and “Benji Movie Memories,” which covers memorable scenes from five Benji movies starring three different Benjis.

Streeting Sept. 18 are two double features on Blu-ray at $14.98 each. The comedy double feature includes Age of Consent, starring James Mason and Helen Mirren, and Cactus Flower, starring Goldie Hawn, Ingrid Bergman and Walter Matthau. This is the first time either film has been available in high definition.

Also in HD for the first time are Nightwing and Shadow of the Hawk, paired in a double feature of fright. Nightwing follows the investigation of a wave of mysterious deaths on a Native American reservation in New Mexico that turn out to be caused by killer bats. Shadow of the Hawk stars Jan-Michael Vincent in a tale of an old Native American shaman who trains his skeptical grandson as a medicine man to battle enemies and black magic.

Born Free: The Complete Collection comes out on DVD Sept. 11 at $19.98. The franchise collection is based on the 1960 book about raising an orphaned lion cub Elsa and then releasing her back into the wild. The book changed the world’s perception of wild animals. The DVD collection includes the 1966 original film, the 1972 sequel, the 1974 TV series and the 1996 TV movie.

Due Sept. 11 is the Western Buffalo Girls on DVD (plus digital) at $14.98. The film, starring Anjelica Huston, Melanie Griffith and Sam Elliott, celebrates the escapades of tough-talking Calamity Jane Canary. It co-stars Gabriel Byrne, Reba McEntire and Peter Coyote.

The miniseries Family Pictures comes out Sept. 11 on DVD (plus digital) at $14.98. The drama, starring Anjelica Huston, Sam Neill and Kyra Sedgwick, is based on Sue Miller’s best-selling novel. It follows a daughter who comes home to her divorced parents and tells the story of her family, including her younger autistic brother.

Coming Sept. 11 on DVD (plus digital) at $14.98 is Hollywood’s Best and Brightest, featuring more than 12 hours of Hollywood star biographies. Featured legends are Warren Beatty, Sean Connery, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Robert Redford, Burt Reynolds, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, Dick Van Dyke, Robert Wagner, Michael York, Julie Andrews, Kim Basinger, Candice Bergen, Catherine Deneuve, Faye Dunaway, Jane Fonda, Jodie Foster, Goldie Hawn, Lauren Hutton, Angela Lansbury, Shirley MacLaine, Ann-Margret, Barbra Streisand, Kathleen Turner and Raquel Welch.