Extended Edition of ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ Heads to Digital, Disc on Aug. 16

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment on Aug. 9 announced it is preparing a new extended edition of Jurassic World Dominion for release on Aug. 16.

The extended edition, featuring 14 additional minutes of the film and an alternate opening, will be available digitally as well as on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray Disc.

The blockbuster dinosaur epic, the sixth in the “Jurassic Park” franchise and third in the “Jurassic World” trilogy, earned nearly $372 million in North American movie theaters, with a worldwide gross of over $960 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

The film first became available for rent and purchase on digital platforms on July 15. At the time, no disc release date was announced, although Amazon listed a physical media launch date of Dec. 31, 2022. (As of this morning, Amazon still lists the December release date.)

The movie, which co-stars franchise regulars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, along with original Jurassic Park cast members Laura Dern, Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum, was directed by Colin Trevorrow and executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, the director of the first two “Jurassic Park” films. Jurassic World Dominion takes place four years after Isla Nublar’s destruction, when dinosaurs roam the Earth again. 

Laura Dern and Liam Hemsworth to Star in Romance for Netflix

Laura Dern and Liam Hemsworth will star in a romance for Netflix.

Academy Award winner Dern (Jurassic World: Dominion, The Son, Little Women, Marriage Story) and Hemsworth (Poker Face, Isn’t It Romantic, Arkansas, The Hunger Games) will play characters in a love story set in Morocco.

Susannah Grant (Unbelievable, Confirmation, Erin Brockovich, Catch & Release, The Soloist) will write, direct and produce the film.

Liza Chasin for 3dot Productions and Sarah Timberman will also produce.

The production continues Netflix’s creative partnership with Chasin’s 3dot Productions. 

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Apple TV+ Orders Comedy Series ‘Mrs. American Pie’ Starring Kristen Wiig

Apple TV+ has ordered the 10-episode comedy “Mrs. American Pie” starring Kristen Wiig (Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, Bridesmaids).

Laura Dern (“Big Little Lies,” Marriage Story), who is executive producing, is also eyeing a key role, according to the Apple TV+ release.

From creator Abe Sylvia (The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Dead to Me), “Mrs. American Pie,” set in the early 1970s, follows Maxine Simmons (Wiig) as she attempts to secure her seat at America’s most exclusive table, Palm Beach high society, crossing the line between the haves and the have-nots.

Based on a novel by Juliet McDaniel, the project was developed and  executive produced by Dern and her producing partner Jayme Lemons, under their Jaywalker Pictures banner.

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Hailing from Apple Studios, “Mrs. American Pie” will be written, executive produced and showrun by Abe Sylvia, and directed and executive produced by Academy Award nominee Tate Taylor (Breaking News in Yuba County, The Help). Taylor and John Norris also serve as executive producers under their Wyolah Entertainment banner. Katie O’Connell Marsh executive produces for Boat Rocker. 

Little Women (2019)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Sony Pictures;
Drama;
Box Office $108.10 million;
$30.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘PG’ for thematic elements and brief smoking.
Stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet, Meryl Streep, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, James Norton, Louis Garrel, Chris Cooper.

The latest version of Little Women, masterfully directed and adapted by Greta Gerwig, manages to find the modern sensibilities of Luisa May Alcott’s signature work while retaining all the trappings of its mid-19th century period setting.

Gerwig takes Alcott’s semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel that was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869, and expertly translates the classic tome into the language of cinema, eschewing the linear narrative of the book and previous adaptations in favor of a flashback structure that better contrasts the childhood and adult lives of its characters.

The core of the story remains centered on the lives of the March sisters — Jo (Saoirse Ronan), Meg (Emma Watson), Amy (Florence Pugh) and Beth (Eliza Scanlen) — growing up in Massachusetts around the time of the Civil War.

The film is filled with wonderful performances, anchored by Ronan’s confidence as Jo, and Pugh’s radiance as the bright-eyed Amy (both were nominated for Oscars). The exquisite period set design and (Oscar winning) costumes make for a film loaded with delightful visual touches that would make it worth viewing for those reasons alone.

But shifting the narrative back and forth between the two timelines allows Gerwig to focus on how the characters’ adult lives are practically responses to specific events of their childhoods, in a way that no doubt keeps the material fresh even for those who are fans of the novel or have seen the countless other adaptations of it.

Gerwig’s other spin on the material involves layering more elements from Alcott’s real life even more so than the original novel did. Historically, Jo is most often described as the most direct analog for Alcott in the story, as she’s the one who ends up writing about her sisters. And, as such, she remains the primary character of the film. But, according to Gerwig in the Blu-ray bonus materials, all the characters have some element of Alcott in them. In the very good nine-and-a-half-minute “Greta Gerwig: Women Making Art” featurette included with the Blu-ray, Gerwig relates that examining in her lifelong love of the novel in preparing to make the film, she realized that Jo was the hero of her childhood and Alcott is the hero of her adulthood.

Indeed, one of the best elements of the film is an ending that leaves much open to interpretation while honoring what Alcott once said was her original intent for some of the characters.

Gerwig’s script, while faithful to the original dialogue, plays up the artistic interests of its characters, emphasizing the struggles of the creative process, and how artists often face the choice of sacrificing the integrity of their visions for commercial realities (such as when a publisher declares to Jo that a novel with a female protagonist better see her married off by the end. Or dead.)

In crafting a screenplay that spoke to her as a 21st century female filmmaker, she suggests that this new film version becomes somewhat autobiographical for her as well.

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Other featurettes on the Blu-ray include the 13-minute “A New Generation of Little Women,” offering interviews with the cast and several of the filmmakers about the origins of the project, plus the nine-minute “Making a Modern Classic,” about looking at the story with a modern lens. The disc also includes a three-and-a-half-minute “Little Women Behind the Scenes” promotional video, and three minutes of hair and make-up test footage.

The best extra, in addition to the reflections from Gerwig, is undoubtedly “Louisa’s Legacy: Little Women and Orchard House” (labeled as “Orchard House, Home of Louisa May Alcott” in the menu), a 10-minute mini-documentary about Alcott’s real life and family. Hosted by Jan Turnquist, executive director of Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House (the family home where she wrote Little Women), the video discusses what aspects of the book are based on reality, and the impact of the family’s real-life stories on the film.

The video also details the story of Alcott’s house, an old country home from the mid-1600s that has been rescued from destruction at least three times, most recently in 2002 when the walls were shored up and the foundation completely rebuilt to stop the house from sinking into the ground (the pictures of the house being propped up over a giant hole in the ground is rather striking). The real home ended up serving as the basis of the March house in the film.

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Interestingly, while this is the seventh movie adaptation of Little Women, not to mention numerous television and stage productions of it, not as much attention has been heaped on Alcott’s further adventures of the characters. Little Women was the first of what would end up being a March family trilogy, followed by Little Men and Jo’s Boys.

There have been three movie versions of Little Men, two of which were notably made more than 80 years ago, and a handful of television projects. But to date, there hasn’t been a Jo’s Boys movie — only an obscure 1959 BBC miniseries, as well as part of a Japanese anime television adaptation of the trilogy in the 1980s and ’90s.

Oscar-Lauded ‘Little Women’ Coming Home on Digital March 10, Disc April 7

Director Greta Gerwig’s Oscar-nominated film adaptation Little Women is coming out on digital March 10 and Blu-ray and DVD April 7 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film picked up an Academy Award for Best Costume Design and five nominations, including Best Picture, Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay), Best Music (Original Score), Best Actress in a Leading Role for Saoirse Ronan and Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Florence Pugh. The film is only the third Best Picture nominee in history to have been written, directed and produced entirely by female filmmakers.

Gerwig’s modern adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott masterpiece stars Ronan, Emma Watson, Pugh and Eliza Scanlen as Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth March, with Timothée Chalamet as their neighbor Laurie, Laura Dern as Marmee and Meryl Streep as Aunt March. The film draws on both the classic novel and the writings of Alcott, and unfolds as the author’s alter ego, Jo March, reflects back and forth on her fictional life.

Little Women earned $177.2 million at the global box office.

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The Blu-ray, DVD and digital releases include more than 45 minutes of bonus features, exploring how writer-director Gerwig led this modern adaptation of a literary classic and took inspiration from the real-life Orchard House where Alcott lived and wrote Little Women.

Despite Record Noms, Netflix Wins Just Two Oscars

Entering the 92nd Annual Academy Awards, Feb. 9 in Los Angeles, Netflix had a record 24 nominations — more than any Hollywood studio.

In what has become a recurring theme during this year’s industry awards, the SVOD pioneer left the Oscars relatively empty handed. Laura Dern again walked off with a Best Supporting Actress statue for Marriage Story, while American Factory, about a Chinese businessman re-opening a manufacturing facility in Ohio, won for best documentary. The film was produced by former U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama’s production company.

Netflix won best documentary in 2018 with anti-doping cycling-themed Icarus.

But The Irishman, Netflix’s big-budget mobster movie from director Martin Scorsese and starring Oscar winners Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino, failed to win an award despite 10 nominations. Netflix spent a reported $70 million promoting Irishman for the awards season.

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With a major push into original features, Netflix, like Amazon Prime Video, has taken on Hollywood, spending lavishly on productions and securing A-list talent. It has also — unlike Amazon — rebuffed industry norms when it comes to theatrical distribution.

CCO Ted Sarandos has made it a signature ploy releasing original movies in theaters concurrent with global streaming access. The strategy has angered exhibitors and traditionalists — with the former largely shunning Netflix movies.

In 2019, Netflix original movie Roma won an Oscar for best director (Alfonso Cuarón), best foreign film and best cinematography but lost for best picture. The streamer’s first original movie, Beasts of No Nation, was critically hailed, but ignored by the Academy.

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Despite the slights, Sarandos dismisses possible industry blowback toward the streamer’s feature films as speculation.

“A pushback? Nobody can say that with a straight face,” he told the New York Times. “We got 24 nominations, the most of any studio. Our films have been honored across the board.”

Indeed they have. But with South Korea’s Parasite making history as the first foreign-language film to win best picture, Universal Pictures was sure to give the film a traditional theatrical window — generating about $35 million in North America. It has grossed $167.6 million worldwide, becoming South Korea’s biggest box office hit.

Netflix Leaves Globes With a Whimper

Fueled by 34 nominations, including 17 for movies, Netflix entered the Jan. 5 Golden Globes Awards in Los Angeles a heavy favorite to take home the hardware.

In the end, the SVOD behemoth walked off with just two Globes: Laura Dern’s win for Marriage Story and Olivia Colman starring in the third season of “The Crown.”

Hulu picked up awards for “Ramy” and “The Act,” while Amazon Prime Video won for “Fleabag.” Apple TV+’s high-profile “The Morning Show” failed to win despite several nominations.

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Netflix has high hopes for next month’s Academy Awards, notably with Martin Scorsese’s $150 million mobster movie The Irishman, starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.

Yet the movie lost out at the Globes to Sam Mendes’ World War I trench warfare film, 1917, from Universal Pictures.

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‘Big Little Lies’ Second Season on Disc Jan. 7

The second season of HBO’s “Big Little Lies” will be released on DVD Jan. 7 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. A Blu-ray version will be released by Warner Archive.

The returning cast includes Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern and Zoё Kravitz. In season two, the “Monterey Five” bond together to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives after the events of season one, while Perry’s grieving mother (Meryl Streep) comes to town in search of answers about her son’s death.

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The home video release will include all seven episodes, plus the featurette “The Lies Revealed: A Conversation With the Cast.”

Warner is also releasing a DVD two-pack containing both seasons of the series. The show is also available to own through digital retailers.

 

Lionsgate Releasing ‘Trial by Fire’ Digitally July 30, on DVD Aug. 13

Lionsgate will release the drama Trial by Fire through digital retailers July 30, and on DVD Aug. 13.

Directed by Edward Zwick, the film is based on the true story of Cameron Todd Willingham (Jack O’ Connell), a poor, uneducated heavy metal devotee with a violent streak, who was convicted of arson-related triple homicide and put on death row in Texas. The film depicts the unlikely bond that formed between Willingham and Elizabeth Gilbert (Laura Dern), a Houston mother of two, who battled against the state for 12 years to try to save Willingham by exposing suppressed evidence and illogical conclusions.

The DVD will include a photo gallery.

Universal Releasing ‘J.T. LeRoy’ on Disc June 4

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will release J.T. LeRoy on Blu-ray and DVD June 4. The film is currently available on demand and for digital download.

The biopic stars Kristen Stewart as Savannah Knoop, who spends six years pretending to be the celebrated author and cult status character JT LeRoy, the made-up literary persona of her sister-in-law, played by Laura Dern.

The cast also includes Jim Sturgess, Courtney Love and Diane Kruger.

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