‘Elysium,’ with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, to Make 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Debut on Feb. 9

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced the Feb. 9, 2021 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray debut of Elysium, a 2013 dystopian science-fiction film written, directed, and co-produced by Neill Blomkamp.

The film stars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. It was released in both conventional and Imax digital theaters. Set in the year 2154, the film explores the lives of two classes of people: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and standard Blu-ray Disc combo package includes hours of bonus content, including an extended scene and the following featurettes: “Collaboration: Crafting the Performances in Elysium”; “Engineering Utopia: Creating a Society in the Sky”; “Visions of 2154 — An Interactive Exploration of the Art and Design of Elysium”; “In Support of the Story: The Visual Effects of Elysium”; “The Technology of 2154”; and the three-part documentary “The Journey to Elysium.”

A 4K Ultra HD bonus disc includes more extras, including “Exoskeletons, Explosions and the Action Choreography of Elysium”; “The Hero, The Psychopath and the Characters of Elysium”; “The Art of the Elysium Miniatures”; “Bugatti 2154”; and theatrical trailers.

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.

 

Growing Up With Jay and Silent Bob

It’s been more than 25 years since audiences first met Jay and Silent Bob in Kevin Smith’s Clerks, and they’ve remained the same carefree stoners despite their adventures in a slew of the director’s View Askewniverse films, including Chasing Amy, Mallrats and Dogma.

Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Extras Include:
• Cast Interviews
• Kevin & Jay Interview Cast & Crew
• Bloopers
• Hair Reel

In Jay & Silent Bob Reboot — available on Blu-ray (plus digital), DVD, digital and on demand from Lionsgate — the duo confronts their past, as does the film’s director.

“Jay and Silent Bob have given me so much — 25 years of earning off the backs of Jay and Silent Bob in one way or another,” says Smith in the disc extras.

“I get to make a movie where Jay gets to grow up,” he says.

In Reboot, Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith) confront old friends and foes as they discover that Hollywood is rebooting Bluntman and Chronic, a movie based on them. Thus, they embark on another cross-country mission to stop the madness. The journey includes all-star cameos and appearances from Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Chris Hemsworth, Rosario Dawson, Melissa Benoist, Joe Manganiello, Molly Shannon, Shannon Elizabeth, Jason Lee, Justin Long and more.

“We follow up on the story of Clerks and see where Dante is in his life,” Smith says in the extras. “We follow up on Mallrats and see where Brody is in his life. We follow up on Chasing Amy and see where Holden and Alissa are in their lives.”

“My character is the same character that I played in Chasing Amy many, many, many years ago,” Ben Affleck (Holden McNeil) says in the extras.

“This is like my little franchise, my Kevin Smith franchise. It’s just like being in another kind of franchise, except they don’t pay you any money,” he joked.

Matt Damon, who played Loki in Dogma, says in the extras the duo of Jay and Silent Bob “just struck a chord.”

“They’re funny,” he says. “You buy into their relationship. They’re two guys you want to go on an adventure with.”

(L-R): Co-stars Treshelle Edmond, Harley Quinn Smith, Alice Wen and Aparna Brielle

For Smith, it’s now a family affair, with his daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, playing a central part in Reboot, and other family members making appearances.

“It just became more than I thought it was going to be, and now it’s just this weird statement film,” Smith said. “It turned into this testimony of my life, both personally and professionally. It’s filled with the people I’ve spent my life making pretend beside. It’s filled with my family. At one point, I’m behind my mother and she’s dressed like Silent Bob.”

 

 

JAY AND SILENT BOB IN THE VIEW ASKEWNIVERSE

(Titles available now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital from Lionsgate)

 

Clerks (1994)

The laid-back stoners make their film debut as supporting characters in this story of a day in the life of convenience store employees Dante and Randal.

Chasing Amy (1997)

The supporting player stoners offer inspiration to comic book artist Holden, who falls for fellow comic artist Alyssa, a lesbian.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)

The comic Bluntman and Chronic is based on Jay and Silent Bob, so when they get no profit from the film adaptation they try to wreck it.

Jay & Silent Bob Reboot

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street 1/21/20;
Lionsgate;
Comedy;
Box Office $3.41 million;
$19.98 DVD, $21.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for pervasive strong crude sexual content, language throughout, drug use and some nudity.
Stars Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Harley Quinn Smith, Shannon Elizabeth, Jason Lee, Fred Armisen.

The latest addition to Kevin Smith’s View-Askewniverse is an unexpected treat for longtime fans of the filmmaker’s work. That it even exists is somewhat of a miracle.

Smith had been trying to make Clerks 3, but when one of the key actors dropped out, he shelved the project. With progress on a Mallrats sequel also stalled, Smith instead wrote another “Jay & Silent Bob” movie, with the urging of his long-time friend and co-star Jason Mewes, who plays the stoner Jay in the films alongside Smith’s Silent Bob. But before production began, Smith suffered a heart attack in early 2018, though he eventually recovered.

As a result, Jay & Silent Bob Reboot might be Smith’s most personal film since 1997’s Chasing Amy, though in a completely different way. Where that film, his third, was an introspective rumination on the fleeting nature of young love, his latest romp is a comedic reflection of his entire career, and more often than not a parody of it, while also taking aim at Hollywood’s penchant for remakes, reboots and an endless string of comic book movies.

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Chasing Amy also happens to be an apropos starting point for dissecting Reboot, since that’s the film that gave birth to the idea of the Jay and Silent Bob drug dealer characters being the inspiration for the fictional “Bluntman and Chronic” comic book featured at the heart of that film’s story.

Reboot unabashedly tells the same story, albeit updated, as 2001’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, in which the duo, fearing damage to their reputations, trekked from New Jersey to Hollywood in an attempt to stop a film version of “Bluntman and Chronic” from being made.

Jay and Silent Bob end up profiting from that film (see Clerks II), but after 18 years the studio wants to reboot it, and through some legal maneuvers manage gain copyright control over the duo’s actual identities, preventing them from using their own names. As a result, they scheme to return to Hollywood to disrupt production of the reboot, too. The twist now is that the reboot’s director is Kevin Smith, playing a fictional version of himself.

Along the way, Jay and Silent Bob join forces with a rebellious teen (played by Smith’s real-life daughter, Harley Quinn Smith) and her friends, as they make their way to “Chronic-Con,” a blatant spoof of Comic-Con. Smith manages to work references to nearly all his previous movies into the adventure, including updating the audience on what happened to a few of the main characters from the shared universe (and even answering a 25-year-old question that lingered back to his original film, 1994’s Clerks).

This is all catnip for Smith’s fans, who can easily forgive the juvenile humor and crude behavior surrounding the central antagonists, even as the story veers off the rails in its final act. Such are the trademark selling points of Smith’s works, not drawbacks, in a way only someone such as Smith could get away with. These are at their core stoner comedies, after all.

Sophistication isn’t the goal here, just the boundless energy and sense of fun of a pop-culture-obsessed filmmaker embracing what he loves. Smith even manages to sneak in a few heartfelt moments of character, paying off decades of the audience’s investment in their stories.

And, seemingly as a result of the goodwill generated by the film’s roadshow tour, the departed Clerks III cast member decided to sign up after all, and it looks like that film is now a go, too.

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The film’s home video editions offer a few interesting, if somewhat unstructured, behind the scenes material. Primary among them is nearly an hour of cast interviews that have been cobbled together as some sort of ersatz making-of documentary. Presenting their thoughts without the framework of an interviewer, they mostly talk about their characters and the wackiness of the story.

Then, there’s a separate half hour of Smith and Mewes interviewing their co-stars.

Rounding out the extras are a 10-minute blooper reel and two minutes of Smith and Mewes fixing their Jay and Silent Bob hair.

 

‘Ford v Ferrari’ Driving to Home Video

The racing drama Ford v Ferrari will be released through digital retailers Jan. 28, and on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and DVD Feb. 11 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Based on the true story about Ford Motor Company’s attempt to create the world’s fastest car, the film stars Matt Damon as American car designer Carroll Shelby, and Christian Bale as the fearless British-born driver Ken Miles, who joined forces to battle corporate interference and the laws of physics to build a revolutionary race car and take on Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966.

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Directed by James Mangold, the film earned $110.1 million at the domestic box office.

The Blu-ray and digital editions will include the eight-part, 60-minute behind-the-scenes documentary “Bringing the Rivalry to Life.”

Digital bonus materials include the featurette “The 24 Hour Le Mans: Recreating the Course,” and animated pre-visualizations of the Daytona and Le Mans racing sequences.

A “Matt and Christian: The Conversation” featurette with reflections on the film from Damon and Bale will be available exclusively through iTunes.

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Downsizing

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Paramount;
Sci-Fi Comedy;
Box Office $24.45 million;
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $34.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for language including sexual references, some graphic nudity and drug use.
Stars Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Udo Kier, Rolf Lassgård, Jason Sudeikis.

Director Alexander Payne’s Downsizing is a premise in search of a story, and the one they ultimately came up with could leave viewers wondering, as the film’s main character does, what the point of it all was.

Downsizing is essentially a two-hour thought experiment about what the world would be like if people could shrink themselves to be five inches tall.

The procedure is discovered by Scandinavian scientists looking to reduce the impacts of overpopulation on the environment — since smaller humans use fewer resources. Years later, the process is touted in America as a way to retire in luxury, since the equivalent needs of smaller people would cost so much less, and people could live in mansions that are essentially just large dollhouses.

Contemplating the transition are Paul and Audrey Safranek (Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig), who find themselves stifled by their modest but stable middle class lifestyle. After learning that as small people they’d be the equivalent of millionaires, they sign up to move to a downsized community. But at the last moment Audrey panics at the prospect of leaving her old life behind (and after seeing what it takes to shrink, I can’t say I blame her). But her decision comes too late for Paul, who gets reduced and finds his new life plan derailed without his wife.

A year later and he’s divorced, forced to scale back even in downsize-land, and again living a mediocre life, until he runs across a refugee from Vietnam (Hong Chau), who begins to open his eyes to a more meaningful world around him.

So, what we end up with is a message that people are still people no matter what size they are.

The film’s presentation of the shrinking process is the kind of plot element that falls apart after thinking about it for any length of time, since there’s no attempt to address things like how a scaled-down body would react to the normal gravity it originally evolved in, or where all a person’s extra mass ends up. The film also doesn’t address which parts of the body know how to shrink aside from the vague description of “cellular reduction” (as if every chemical in the body were a cell), but at least it remembers that things like dental fillings, prosthetic implants and anything artificial would have to be removed first.

Of course, aside from the incentives for shrinking, the film also doesn’t really make it seem pleasant, since it would subject you to new dangers you wouldn’t have thought twice about before, such as insects, birds, cats and dogs. It’s even mentioned that sunlight is more dangerous to small people, and the tiny communities are covered in nets or domes to try to keep these realities at bay.

So, best not to think too hard about it. The main reason for the sci-fi element is to allow for some social commentary (as sci-fi tends to do). Many of the character elements are played for satire, but the film has trouble finding a consistent tone amid all the plot points Payne is trying to explore.

The first third of the film deals with the shrinking process, how it evolved, and how and why people would undergo it. While for most people it’s a choice, there’s also some subversive suggestions that corrupt governments are forcing it upon people, or terrorists are using it to circumvent security plans. The film shows what it would be like for people about to downsize, and questions arise about the political and economic impacts downsizing has on society.

Then we get Paul coming to terms with his decision to get small and adjusting to his life and dealing with the regrets than ensue.

This is all more or less straightforward before the film turns toward an environmental disaster subplot and how small people can survive it if they can’t prevent it.

Unlike Ant-Man, the film isn’t overtly trying to have fun with the idea of shrinking. It takes it seriously, as if it’s just another way of life for the characters. That’s why the film’s structure seems so odd, since it’s devoting so much time to establishing how downsizing came to be and became a relatively common thing before focusing on a story that pushes it all to the background. A lot of scenes are presented as pretty standard character beats, when the camera catches a glimpse of an oversized prop from time to time to remind everyone about the premise (of course, such a mundane approach is likely the point).

All the while the film teases us with suggestions of things we might rather have seen, such as the bodies actually shrinking. Or what happens when a filling isn’t fully removed from a tooth beforehand.

As a result, the film is more interesting for individual scenes that present its concepts, rather than its muddled attempts to unify it as a whole. As with most movies that deal with shrinking tech, the best scenes involve seeing the small people interacting with normal-sized things (even though, many of the everyday items in the small community are just scaled-down versions of things — which only raises more questions).

There are a lot of clever touches in the shifting perspectives (such as a dollar bill used as giant wall art), and the design of the small communities are a treat to behold. People always seem to be fascinated by the idea of seeing the real world reduced into a scale miniature, and the colonies in the film also seem set up as tourist destinations for regular-sized people who just want to gawk at a world in miniature (there’s a reason why Storybookland is such a popular ride at Disneyland).

The Blu-ray offers an hour’s worth of featurettes about the making of the film, many of which expose little details about the set designs and the presentation of the miniature world. There are also a couple of additional featurettes with the iTunes version (available with the UltraViolet code included with the disc).

‘Downsizing’ at UltraViolet?

As studio home entertainment divisions trumpet the Disney-spawned and re-jiggered Movies Anywhere, Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate remain on the sidelines.

Paramount recently announced the digital (March 6) and 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Disc (March 20) street dates for the comedy Downsizing, starring Oscar-winners Matt Damon and director Alexander Payne.

Notable to the packaged-media release: cloud-based access via UltraViolet — not Movies Anywhere. UV users are directed to ParamountMovies.com to enter the redemption code for UV access, in addition to iTunes for Digital Copy.

Movies Anywhere touted nearly 80 million movies in user accounts earlier this year — about half the 165 million UltraViolet titles in 2015, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. The platform had more than 30 million registered accounts in July 2017.

There’s no doubt a unified Movies Anywhere platform with one-click access to cloud-based digital movie acquisitions is a good thing. UltraViolet attempted to meld physical media with the cloud — a strategy that required burdensome input.

It would be a shame if all that effort was lost in the cloud.

‘Downsizing’ Coming to Disc, Digital March 20

Paramount Home Media Distribution will release director Alexander Payne’s Downsizing Digital HD, Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray March 20.

The futuristic comedy stars Matt Damon as Paul Safranek, who with his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to ditch their stressed-out lives in favor of shrinking down in size and moving to a luxurious miniature community, Leisureland.

Downsizing, which earned $24.4 million in U.S. theaters also stars Christoph Waltz and Hong Chau, the latter in a breakthrough performance that earned her Golden Globe and SAG nominations.

The Downsizing 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Disc Combo Packs include nearly an hour of bonus content, including six behind-the-scenes featurettes on the making of the film, the production design, and the visual effects, among others.

The Downsizing Blu-ray Disc is presented in 1080p high definition with English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, and English Audio Description and English, English SDH, French, Portuguese and Spanish subtitles.  The DVD in the Combo Pack is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions with English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description and English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.

The 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack includes the Blu-ray Disc as well as an Ultra HD Disc presented in 4K Ultra HD and English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Czech 5.1 Dolby Digital, French – Canadian 5.1 Dolby Digital, French – Parisian 5.1 Dolby Digital, German 5.1 Dolby Digital, Italian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Polish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese – Brazilian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Russian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish – Castilian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish – Latin American 5.1 Dolby Digital, and English Audio Description with English, English SDH, Arabic, Bahasa – Malaysian, Cantonese, Simplified Chinese, Mandarin, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French – Canadian, French – Parisian, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Icelandic, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese – Brazilian, Portuguese – European, Romanian, Russian, Slovakian, Spanish – Castilian, Spanish – Latin American, Swedish, Thai and Turkish subtitles. The Combo Pack also includes access to a Digital HD copy of the film.