‘Apocalypse Now: Final Cut’ Due in Exclusive Steelbook at Best Buy Oct. 19

Francis Ford Coppola’s definitive cut of his Vietnam masterpiece Apocalypse Now: Final Cut will come out Oct. 19 on 4K Ultra HD Steelbook from Lionsgate, exclusively at Best Buy.

The film is fully restored from the original 1979 film and enhanced with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, as well as Meyer Sound’s Sensual Sound.

Starring Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando and Dennis Hopper, the war epic, in­spired by Joseph Conrad’s story Heart of Darkness, follows Army Capt. Willard (Sheen), a trou­bled man sent on a dangerous odyssey into Cambodia to assassi­nate a renegade American colonel named Kurtz (Brando), who has succumbed to the horrors of war and barricaded himself in a remote outpost.

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The Steelbook features all new artwork from artist Ken Taylor and an intro by Coppola.

Sports Film ’12 Mighty Orphans’ Due on Digital, DVD and Blu-ray Aug. 31 From Sony

The historical sports film 12 Mighty Orphans will come out on digital, DVD and Blu-ray Aug. 31 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

An official selection at the Tribeca Film Festival, the film stars Luke Wilson, Vinessa Shaw, Wayne Knight, Jake Austin Walker, with Robert Duvall and Martin Sheen.

It tells the true story of the Mighty Mites, the football team of a Fort Worth, Texas, orphanage who, during the Great Depression, went from playing without shoes — or even a football — to playing for the Texas state championships. Over the course of their winning season these underdogs and their resilient spirit became an inspiration to their city, state and an entire nation in need of a rebound, even catching the attention of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The architect of their success was Rusty Russell, a legendary high school coach who shocked his colleagues by giving up a privileged position so he could teach and coach at an orphanage. Few knew Rusty’s secret: that he himself was an orphan. Recognizing that his scrawny players couldn’t beat the other teams with brawn, Rusty developed innovative strategies that would come to define modern football.

Special features include deleted scenes.

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The Final Countdown

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 5/25/21;
Blue Underground;
Sci-Fi Action;
$59.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG.’
Stars Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, James Farentino, Katherine Ross, Charles Durning, Ron O’Neal.

The premise of The Final Countdown teases an irresistible bit of speculative fiction: What if a single modern U.S. aircraft carrier was available to defend Pearl Harbor against the Japanese fleet?

While modern in this scenario refers to 1980, when the movie first came out, and military tech has evolved a bit since then, those advancements aren’t as much of a radical change as the difference between pre-World War II hardware and what was available during filming. In fact, the aircraft carrier at the center of the story, the U.S.S. Nimitz, is still in service as of 2021.

To put the time gap into perspective, it would be the temporal equivalent of a newer carrier such as the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan going back in time from now to 1982, when Reagan was actually president. But the foundational shift from analog to digital makes the 1980s to today feel much closer than the 1940s feels to the ’80s. Which is all a way of saying the central hook of the story still holds up as an intriguing plot twist more than 40 years later.

Despite a plot involving time travel and naval warfare, The Final Countdown really isn’t that complicated of a movie. In essence, the aircraft carrier Nimitz, while engaged in training exercises, encounters a rift in space-time that sends it back to 1941. The crew investigates their situation, figures out what happened, and decides that no matter the time, their duty is to defend the United States, so they prepare to ambush the Japanese fleet with modern jet fighters before it can attack Pearl Harbor.

The primary fun in the film is watching the characters try to grasp the implications of the premise. The main debate is between the ship’s captain, played by Kirk Douglas, who must decide what the crew’s duty is despite being displaced by time, and a civilian observer played by Martin Sheen, who wonders if it’s possible to change history, and if so, what the ramifications would be. James Farentino plays the ship’s air wing commander, who also happens to be an amateur historian and expert on the Pearl Harbor attack.

The captain’s assessments hit a bit of a wrinkle when a fighter patrol encounters a couple of Japanese scout planes firing on a yacht in order to wipe out any potential witnesses. The boat’s main passenger turns out to be a U.S. senator (played Charles Durning) who could have become president had history not recorded him having disappeared just before the Pearl Harbor attack. Instead, he’s very much alive and sitting in the infirmary of a ship decades more advanced than the technology he’s familiar with, and he has a lot of questions.

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Aside from its place in time travel lore, the film is also mostly known for its authentic depiction of the operations on board a U.S. aircraft carrier, so much so that long stretches of the film are dedicated solely to depicting the processes for launching and maintaining fighter planes, which doesn’t do much to service the story but is catnip for military hardware junkies.

The reason for the authenticity is that the production crew was allowed to film on the actual U.S.S. Nimitz and record real military planes in action. In fact, some of the real naval aviators who worked on the film speculate in a bonus featurette that the Navy agreed to participate because they could use the final film as a recruitment video.

The primary fighter on display here is the F-14 Tomcat, six years before they were similarly featured in Top Gun. The appearance of the F-14 in both films is a primary reason the craft is among the greatest fighter planes from a pop culture perspective, and watching a couple of them dogfight with Japanese Zeros is a pure delight.

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The Final Countdown has enjoyed a few notable home video releases before, arriving on DVD in 2004 and on Blu-ray in 2008. But Blue Underground’s new 4K edition is the ultimate edition of the film, offering a nice-looking new restoration from the original 35mm camera negative, plus all previously available bonus material and then some.

First up is a commentary track carried over from 2004 with the film’s cinematographer, Victor J. Kemper, who discusses the process of shooting the film on board an active aircraft carrier with Blue Underground representative David Gregory.

There are also two featurettes, also from 2004, both of which are upscaled to 4K. “Lloyd Kaufman Goes Hollywood” is a 14-minute interview with Kaufman, the legendary Troma Entertainment founder who worked as a producer on the film, while the 31-minute “Starring the Jolly Rogers” is a fascinating retrospective featuring some of the real pilots who flew the planes in the film.

There are also galleries for the film’s promotional artwork, trailers and TV spots, the latter narrated by the voice of Optimus Prime himself, Peter Cullen.

The 4K combo pack includes the film on both a 4K disc and a regular Blu-ray, and the extras are fully available on both. In addition, the set doesn’t just repack the old 2008 Blu-ray, but a newly engineered one using the same restoration of the film as the 4K disc.

The set also includes the D-Box motion control from the original Blu-ray, and the “Zero Pilot Journal” essay that was available as text on the DVD release has been reprinted as a physical booklet insert.

Another added treat is a CD soundtrack of the film’s musical score by John Scott. This is the same CD that is available on its own through Screen Archives, and consists of 23 tracks running 54 minutes total.

Rounding out the set is reversable box art and a slipcase with a lenticular cover depicting the Nimitz disappearing into the rift.

All in all, this is a must have for fans of the film, the U.S. Navy and time travel stories in general.

 

Blue Underground Releasing ‘The Final Countdown’ on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray May 25

Indie distributor Blue Underground will release the 1980 time travel classic The Final Countdown on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc May 25 through  MVD Entertainment Group.

The film stars Kirk Douglas as the captain of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Nimitz, which is in the middle of a training exercise when it is transported via a mysterious vortex back in time four decades to just before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Joined by his first officer (Ron O’Neal), a defense department expert (Martin Sheen), and an air wing commander (James Farentino) who is also an amateur historian, the captain must decide whether or not to commit the advanced technology of his fighter planes to taking out the Japanese fleet prior to the sneak attack.

The Final Countdown

The cast also includes Charles Durning as a 1940s senator who encounters the future ship, and Katharine Ross as his assistant.

The film is presented with a new restoration, scanned in 4K 16-bit from the original 35mm camera negative, with Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio. The exclusive limited collector’s edition set will include the film on 4K and regular Blu-ray discs, a soundtrack CD and a collectible booklet. The first run of the 4K edition will also include a lenticular slipcover.

Extras include audio commentary with director of photography Victor J. Kemper; an interview with associate producer Lloyd Kaufman; interviews with The Jolly Rogers F-14 Fighter Squadron; theatrical trailers; TV spots; and poster and still galleries.

The Final Countdown 4K collector’s edition carries a list price of $59.95. Fans can save $10 by preordering the set at MVDshop.com.

‘Apocalypse Now Final Cut’ Screening

Lionsgate held a screening for Apocalypse Now Final Cut to mark the 40th anniversary of the war film at ArcLight Cinemas Cinerama Dome in Hollywood Aug. 12. Apocalypse Now Final Cut will be released in select Imax theaters Aug. 15 and 18, followed by region­al theaters Aug. 23 from NAGRA myCinema, and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (two 4K discs, four Blu-ray discs and a digital copy) and digital 4K Ultra HD (for the first time ever) Aug. 27 featuring new special features from Li­onsgate.

(L-R): Glenn Morten, VP of strategy and solutions at Nagra myCinema; actor Martin Sheen; director Francis Ford Coppola; and Lionsgate president of worldwide home entertainment Ron Schwartz. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images)

‘Apocalypse Now’ 40 Years Later

The acclaimed Vietnam War epic Apocalypse Now has been a saga in more ways than one, plagued by a change of lead ac­tors from Harvey Keitel to Mar­tin Sheen, a typhoon in the Phil­ippines and Sheen’s heart attack during filming, critical and skeptical press, and multiple edits.

But this month for its 40th anniversary director Francis Ford Coppola re­leases what he considers his “final cut.”

Apocalypse Now Final Cut will be released in select Imax theaters Aug. 15 and 18, followed by region­al theaters Aug. 23 from NAGRA myCinema, and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (two 4K discs, four Blu-ray discs and a digital copy) and digital 4K Ultra HD (for the first time ever) Aug. 27 featuring new special features from Li­onsgate. The release includes Dolby Vision HDR and Dol­by Atmos audio. In addition, the film has been enhanced with Meyer Sound Labo­ratories’ newly developed Sensual Sound, a technology engineered to output audio below the limits of human hearing. It’s all to realize the best version of the film. “A lot of the things that we did to truncate the movie I put back in this version,” said Coppola in a Q&A shot at the Tribeca Film Festival in April with director Steven Soder­bergh that is part of the extras.

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As for the problems that beset the production, doc­umented in the award-winning Hearts of Darkness (also included in the extras with footage shot during filming by Coppola’s wife, Eleanor), Coppola told So­derbergh, “In filmmaking and in life, extraordinary things happen to you, and it’s up to you to make them be positive.”

Brando

Restored from the original negative for the first time ever, Apocalypse Now Fi­nal Cut is Coppola’s most realized version of the film, which was nominated for eight Academy Awards, won three Golden Globes and is one of AFI’s top 100 films. Starring Sheen, Marlon Bran­do, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hop­per, Laurence Fishburne and Harrison Ford, the war epic, in­spired by Joseph Conrad’s story Heart of Darkness, follows Army Capt. Willard (Sheen), a trou­bled man sent on a dangerous odyssey into Cambodia to assassi­nate a renegade American colonel named Kurtz (Brando), who has succumbed to the horrors of war and barricaded himself in a remote outpost.

Duvall

“I had this idea to do it like The Guns of Navarone, some extraor­dinary, big World War II movie,” Coppola told Soderbergh. “The irony is that the movie took on its own life, became stranger and more surreal, and in a sense, I think it went in a direction correct for that issue — because the Viet­nam War was very strange.”

The very innovative nature of the film made Coppola cautious and worried. He decided to release a “work in progress” of the film at the Cannes Film Festival to allay critics who were calling it a disas­ter. It ended up winning the Palme d’Or triumph at the festival in 1979 (shared with The Tin Drum).

His caution resulted in a truncated cut of the film that he later expanded in the 2001 release Apocalypse Now Redux. But this is his ultimate cut.

“I realized that I wanted to make a version that I like,” Coppola said in the introduction to Final Cut included in the extras. “It was longer than the 1979 version but shorter than Apocalypse Now Redux, and it’s the one that I recommend to you and it’s the one that is my favorite.”

The 40th anniversary release features multiple archival and new special features, including the film’s theatrical cut and extended cut (Redux), as well as the acclaimed Hearts of Darkness documentary:

 

4K UHD SPECIAL FEATURES

DISC ONE

  • NEW: Introduction to Final Cut by Francis Ford Coppola

 

DISC TWO

  • Audio Commentary by Director Francis Ford Coppola (Apocalypse Now Redux)

 

DISC THREE

  • An Interview with screenwriter John Milius
  • A Conversation with Martin Sheen and Francis Ford Coppola
  • “Fred Roos: Casting Apocalypse” Featurette
  • The Mercury Theatre on the Air: Heart of Darkness – November 6, 1938
  • “The Hollow Men” Featurette
  • Monkey Sampan “Lost Scene”
  • Additional Scenes
  • “Destruction of the Kurtz Compound” End Credits (with Non-Optional Audio Commentary by Francis Ford Coppola)
  • “The Birth of 5.1 Sound” Featurette
  • “Ghost Helicopter Flyover” Sound Effects Demonstration
  • “The Synthesizer Soundtrack” Article by Bob Moog
  • “A Million Feet of Film: The Editing of Apocalypse Now” Featurette
  • “Heard Any Good Movies Lately? The Sound Design of Apocalypse Now” Featurette
  • “The Final Mix” Featurette
  • “2001 Cannes Film Festival: Francis Ford Coppola” Featurette
  • “PBR Streetgang” Featurette
  • “The Color Palette of Apocalypse Now” Featurette
  • Disc Credits

 

DISC FOUR

  • Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (with Optional Audio Commentary by Francis and Eleanor Coppola)
  • NEW: Tribeca Film Festival Q&A with Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Soderbergh
  • NEW: Super 8mm Behind-the-Scenes Footage
  • NEW: “Dutch Angle: Chas Gerresten & Apocalypse Now” Featurette
  • NEW: “Apocalypse Now: A Forty Year Journey” Featurette
  • NEW: “Sensual Sound Technology from Meyer Sound” Featurette
  • John Milius Script Excerpt with Francis Coppola Notes (Still Gallery)
  • Storyboard Collection
  • Photo Archive

–            Unit Photography

–            Mary Ellen Mark Photography

  • Marketing Archive

–            1979 Teaser Trailer

–            1979 Theatrical Trailer

–            1979 Radio Spots

–            1979 Theatrical Program

–            Lobby Card and Press Kit Photos

–            Poster Gallery

–            Apocalypse Now Redux Trailer

 

DIGITAL SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Audio Commentary by Director Francis Ford Coppola (Apocalypse Now Redux)

‘Hillary’ Miniseries, Third Installment of ‘Anne of Green Gables’ Due on Digital and Disc from PBS

Anne of Green Gables — Fire and Dew, the third installment in the series based on the classic book, and the miniseries Hillary, about the famous explorer, are coming on disc and digital from PBS Distribution.

The continuing Lucy Maud Montgomery story of a free-spirited teenager on Prince Edward Island, Anne of Green Gables — Fire and Dew, will be available on DVD and digital Sept. 18. The first two installments will also be available in a two-set DVD collection. The third in the series, which airs Sept. 23, follows Anne Shirley (Ella Ballentine) as she moves to Charlottetown and is overwhelmed by her new surroundings, difficult classes at the teacher’s college and a deepening romance with Gilbert. At the same time, Matthew (Martin Sheen) and Marilla deal with health and financial difficulties that jeopardize their lives at Green Gables. After Anne graduates, she must make an important decision, whether to move back home or continue on to university.

The six-part miniseries Hillary (available now for digital download) debuts on DVD Aug. 21. The program, from New Zealand, is based on the life of mountaineer and philanthropist Sir Edmund Hillary. Based on thousands of hours of exclusive interviews, it tells the story of the first man to conquer Mt. Everest. The program recounts his beekeeping days in South Auckland, to his ascent of the world’s highest mountain with climbing partner Tenzing Norgay, to the plane crash that killed his wife and daughter. When he summited Everest in May 1953, Hillary put his small home country, New Zealand, on the map. He was so beloved in there that his likeness is featured on the five-dollar note, and he was given a state funeral after his 2008 death. Andrew Munro (The Kick) stars as Hillary, while Dean O’Gorman (The Hobbit) plays George Lowe, his longtime friend and climbing partner, and Amy Usherwood (“Shortland Street”) plays his wife, Lady Louise Hillary.

Animated Film ‘The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island’ Due on Disc From Shout! Factory Aug. 7

The animated feature film The Boxcar Children — Surprise Island will come out on Blu-ray and DVD Aug. 7 from Legacy Classics and Shout! Factory’s Shout! Kids.

A movie adaption of the popular children’s book of the same name, The Boxcar Children — Surprise Island follows the adventures of the orphaned Boxcar Children as they spend a summer living on their grandfather’s small, nearly uninhabited island. There they meet the mysterious Joe, who is inexplicably living on their island. The film features the voices of Martin Sheen (“The West Wing”) as James Alden, J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) as Dr. Moore, Dane DeHaan (Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets) as Joe, Joey King (Independence Day: Resurgence) as Jesse Alden, Carter Sand (Frozen) as Benny Alden, Gil Birmingham (Twilight) as Lonan Browning, Griffin Gluck (Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life) as Henry Alden, Stephen Stanton (Star Wars Rebels) as Capt. Daniel and Talitha Bateman (Love, Simon) as Violet.

The title is available for pre-order at Amazon.com or shoutfactory.com and is Dove approved for all ages.

The Boxcar Children — Surprise Island is the first of three new animated features to be adapted from the “The Boxcar Children” book series as part of a partnership between Shout! Kids and Legacy Classics.

“The Boxcar Children” series from author Gertrude Chandler Warner is one of the best-selling children’s book series of all time, which having just marked its 75th anniversary, has sold more than 70 million books worldwide.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, Legacy Classics has animation and visual effects studios in Seoul, Jakarta and Bali. Founded by Dan Chuba and Mark Dippé, the company is dedicated to creating family entertainment and educational tools based on classic and award-winning children’s literature.