Mel Gibson Noir Thriller ‘Desperation Road’ Due Digitally Oct. 6

Lionsgate will release Desperation Road, based on Michael Farris Smith’s  novel and starring Mel Gibson, in select theaters, on demand and for digital purchase Oct. 6.

In the modern Southern noir thriller from first-time director Nadine Crocker, a small Mississippi town, justice and the law are two very different things as two lost souls are tortured by the mistakes of their past and bound by a secret that keeps them running.

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In addition to Oscar winner Mel Gibson (Braveheart), the film also stars Garrett Hedlund (TRON: Legacy) and Willa Fitzgerald (“Scream: The TV Series”).

 

Mel Gibson Film ‘Attack Force Z’ Due on Blu-ray March 28 From MVD and Severin

The 1981 Australian World War II action film Attack Force Z, starring Mel Gibson, will be released on Blu-ray Disc March 28 from MVD Entertainment Group and Severin Films.

In one of his earliest film roles, Gibson stars with Sam Neill (Jurassic Park) and John Phillip Law (Danger, Diabolik) in the true story of Z Special Force, WWII’s top-secret Pacific commando unit. In the film, when an American fighter jet crashes on an island held by the Japanese, a five-man Z Force assault team launches a daring mission of courage, carnage and desperate jungle warfare to rescue the survivors. Chris Haywood (Razorback), John Waters (Breaker Morant) and Sylvia Chang (“Mad Mission” series) co-star in the complete version of this 1981 Australia/Taiwan co-production directed by Ozploitation veteran Tim Burstall (Alvin Purple), written by Roger Marshall (And Now the Screaming Starts) and edited by David Stiven (The Road Warrior), scanned in 2K from the original negative at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

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Special features include “The Z Men Debriefed,” featuring interviews with executive producer John McCallum and actors John Waters and Chris Haywood; a photo gallery; and the trailer.

Josh Duhamel Crime Drama ‘Bandit’ Available on Demand and in Theaters

The Redbox Original Film Bandit, starring Josh Duhamel, Elisha Cuthbert and Med Gibson, is available now in theaters and on demand from Quiver Distribution.

The crime drama is directed by Allan Ungar and written by Kraig Wenman, and is based on Robert Knuckle’s best-selling novel The Flying Bandit, the real-life story of Gilbert Galvan Jr., who lived under the name Robert Whiteman when he was dubbed the Flying Bandit in 1987.

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In the film it’s 1985, and Gilbert Galvan Jr (Duhamel), a charming career criminal, escapes from a U.S. prison in Michigan and crosses the border into Canada where he assumes the identity Robert Whiteman. After falling in love with Andrea (Elisha Cuthbert), a caring social worker he can’t provide for, he turns to robbing banks and discovers that he’s exceptionally good at it. Under the guise of a security analyst, Robert begins flying around the country robbing multiple cities in a day, eventually catching the attention of national news outlets that dub him The Flying Bandit. Addicted to the rush and money that provides his double life, Robert eventually turns to loanshark and reputed gangster Tommy Kay (Mel Gibson) for bigger opportunities. But with Robert’s notoriety growing in record time, he is put into the direct sights of a ruthless detective (Nestor Carbonell) who will stop at nothing to bring him down.

 

Mark Wahlberg Drama ‘Father Stu’ Headed to Digital May 31, Disc June 14

The Mark Wahlberg drama Father Stu will be released on digital May 31 and on Blu-ray and DVD June 14 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the film based on a true story, after surviving a terrible motorcycle accident, Stuart Long (Wahlberg) wonders if he can use his second chance to help others find their way — and leads this former amateur boxer to the surprising realization that he is meant to be a priest. Despite a devasting health crisis and the skepticism of church officials and his estranged parents (Mel Gibson and Jacki Weaver), Stu pursues his vocation with courage and compassion.

Special features include “You Don’t Know Stu: More About Father Stuart Long” and more than 10 Minutes of deleted scenes.

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Mel Gibson Spy Thriller ‘Agent Game’ Headed to Blu-ray Combo Pack May 24

The Mel Gibson spy thriller Agent Game arrives May 24 on Blu-ray plus DVD plus digital from Lionsgate.

Directed by Grant S. Johnson (Nighthawks), the movie also stars Dermot Mulroney (TV’s “Hanna,” Hard Luck Love Song, TV’s “The Purge”), Annie Ilonzeh (TV’s “Chicago Fire,” TV’s “Person of Interest,” TV’s “Charlie’s Angels”), Jason Isaacs (TV’s “The OA,” “Harry Potter” franchise, Black Hawk Down), Katie Cassidy (TV’s “Arrow,” TV’s “Gossip Girl,” TV’s “Melrose Place”), Academy Award nominee Barkhad Abdi (2013, Actor in a Supporting Role, Captain Phillips), Adan Canto (TV’s “Designated Survivor,” TV’s “Blood & Oil,” TV’s “Mixology”) and Rhys Coiro (TV’s “Entourage,” TV’s “The Walking Dead,” TV’s “A Million Little Things”).

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In the spy thriller, Harris (Mulroney), a CIA interrogator at an Agency black site, finds himself the target of a rendition operation after being scapegoated for an interrogation gone horribly wrong. As the team tasked to bring Harris in begins to question their orders — and each other — Olsen (Gibson), a senior intelligence officer, and his subordinate, Visser (Ilonzeh), raise the stakes. Now, it’s up to Harris and some newfound allies to uncover the truth and turn the tables.

Special features include audio commentary with Johnson and “Subterfuge: Playing the Agent Game.” 

 

Bird on a Wire

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 9/21/21;
Kino Lorber;
Comedy;
$24.95 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘PG-13.’
Stars Mel Gibson, Goldie Hawn, David Carradine, Bill Duke, Joan Severance, Stephen Tobolowsky.

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to advertise a movie. For its 1990 release, the poster for Bird on a Wire was little more than the faces of stars Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn. The pair had such clout at the time that the poster only listed their first names.

It ended up grossing $138.7 million against a budget of around $20 million, and was the top movie upon its release in May 1990 a week before being bumped from the spot by Back to the Future Part III.

The story is little more than an excuse for some madcap fun and romance involving its leads, so it relies mostly on their chemistry, which is plentiful. The plot involves Goldie as a corporate attorney named Marianne who runs into Mel at a gas station, and recognizes him as her former fiancé, Rick, who disappeared 15 years earlier.

He denies it, but it turns out that’s exactly who he is. After testifying against a corrupt DEA agent (David Carradine) named Sorenson, Rick has been bouncing around the witness relocation program. Thinking his cover as a mechanic could be blown, he calls the FBI to ask for a new identity, but his new handler (Stephen Tobolowsky) is on the take and feeds Rick’s location to Sorenson.

Unable to fight her curiosity, Marianne heads back to the garage to confront Rick, only to show up at the same time as Sorenson and his hit squad. As the bullets fly, Rick and Marianne hit the road, hoping to find Rick’s old handler and find a solution to his predicament. Along the way, Rick returns to some of his former identities from his time in hiding, setting up some easy gags as Marianne struggles to reacquaint herself with the man she once loved.

Kino’s new Blu-ray edition of the film uses a new 2K master that looks pretty sharp, but does get a bit splotchy depending on how well the original scene was lit.

The disc includes a pretty good audio commentary with director John Badham, joined by producer/second-unit director Rob Cohen and film historian Daniel Kremer.

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Redbox Expands Original Film Slate Acquiring True-Crime Thriller ‘Bandit’

Redbox Entertainment and Quiver Distribution July 26 announced they have acquired the North American distribution rights to Bandit, starring Josh Duhamel, Elisha Cuthbert, Nestor Carbonell and Mel Gibson. The film will be available in theaters and on demand in 2022.

Directed by Allan Ungar and written by Kraig Wenman, the crime drama is based on Robert Knuckle’s best-selling novel The Flying Bandit, the real-life story of Gilbert Galvan Jr., who lived under the name Robert Whiteman when he was dubbed the Flying Bandit in 1987.

Josh Duhamel in Redbox Original ‘Bandit’

Galvan Jr. successfully got away with 63 bank and jewelry heists during his crime spree. The movie tells the tale of the career criminal (Duhamel), who escapes from a U.S. prison and crosses the border into Canada, assuming a new identity. After falling in love and getting married, he claims to take a job as a traveling security consultant, and his crimes continue. Only when he turns to lifetime gangster Tommy (Gibson) for an investment does his simple career become complicated, and he finds himself at the center of a special forces cross-country manhunt.

“The outstanding ensemble cast along with Kraig’s skillful adaptation and Allan’s remarkable directing brings this riveting story to life,” Redbox CEO Galen Smith said in a statement. “We’re delighted to bring this edge-of-your-seat thriller to audiences next year.”

The deal was negotiated by Marc Danon, head of original content for Redbox Entertainment.

Bandit is the latest in a string of acquisitions from Redbox that includes She Ball (Nick Cannon), The Last Son (Sam Worthington), Capone (Tom Hardy), Shadow in the Cloud (Chloë Grace Moretz and Nick Robinson); SAS: Red Notice (Sam Heughan and Ruby Rose); and American Traitor: The True Story of Axis Sally (Al Pacino and Meadow Williams).

The license agreement comes on the heels of Redbox’s venture with John Wick producer Basil Iwanyk to form Asbury Park Pictures, which is programming a slate of high-concept action and thriller films over the next few years.

Fatman

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 1/26/21;
Paramount;
Action;
Box Office $0.28 million;
$19.99 DVD, $22.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for bloody violence, and language.
Stars Mel Gibson, Walton Goggins, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Chance Hurstfield, Robert Bockstael, Eric Woolfe, Susanne Sutchy, Deborah Grover.

The idea at the center of Fatman hints at a fun deconstruction of a Christmas movie — a kid upset with his gift hires a hitman to kill Santa Claus. However, the premise turns out to be more intriguing than the execution.

Mel Gibson stars as Chris Cringle, who is presented as the gruff, put-upon chairman of the Christmas workshop whose business is declining every year due to children becoming less enthralled by the magic of the holidays. The workshop gets paid by the U.S. government based on the number of presents delivered, but as Cringle explains, more and more children are being naughty every year, and per the rules of his existence are eligible to receive only coal.

One such child is a spoiled rich kid named Billy (Chance Hurstfield) who tortures his classmates into dropping out of the school science fair so he can win. He is so incensed by receiving a lump of coal that he steals $25,000 from his grandmother to send an assassin played by Walton Goggins to kill Cringle.

In a twist, the killer has his own beef with Santa over crappy childhood Christmases, and has been amassing a collection of toys that seem to have come from the workshop.

Meanwhile, to make ends meet, Cringle takes on another contract with the U.S. government, this time outsourcing the workshop’s elves to make military hardware.

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A modernist take on Santa that is somewhere between Elf and Die Hard by way of No Country for Old Men, the film offers some clever takes on the Santa myth, such as when Cringle returns from his Christmas deliveries and reveals a gunshot wound he has to patch up, the result of an increasingly violent society mistaking his sleigh as hostile. Gibson is certainly a non-traditional Santa, eschewing the jolly red suit for antacid tablets and shots of whiskey to get by in the harsh winters, and using his knowledge of the naughty list to shame men into not cheating on their wives.

The film’s absurdist quality makes it passable as a curio, though its leisurely pacing and sparse action make it seem to drag on a lot longer than its 99 minutes.

Among the Blu-ray extras is a nice commentary track with Mel Gibson, directors Eshom and Ian Nelms, producer Michelle Land, and cinematographer Johnny Derango, that gives a good idea of the flavor the filmmakers were after.

Also included are two storyboard-to-film comparisons of key scenes, running a total of 10 minutes.

Finally, the Blu-ray offers six deleted scenes running nine minutes total with optional commentary by the filmmakers.

‘Force of Nature’ Arrives on Disc and Digital June 30

Lionsgate will release the action thriller Force of Nature on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, digital sellthrough and VOD June 30.

The film finds a disgraced cop (Emile Hirsch), a doctor (Kate Bosworth) and a retired detective (Mel Gibson) teaming up to battle a murderous gang of thieves while trying to evacuate an apartment building during a brutal hurricane.

The cast also includes David Zayas, Stephanie Cayo and Will Catlett.

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Paramount Releasing ‘Braveheart,’ ‘Gladiator’ 4K Steelbooks

Paramount Home Entertainment will re-release Best Picture Oscar winners Braveheart and Gladiator as Steelbook 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo packs June 16.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, 1995’s Braveheart stars Mel Gibson, who also directed, as William Wallace, who rallies Scotland to fight for liberation from English rule. The 4K Steelbook includes access to a digital copy of the film and previously released commentary by Mel Gibson on both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray presentations, along with more than two hours of previously released bonus content, including interactive timelines, a making-of documentary, multiple behind-the-scenes featurettes, and more.

Director Ridley Scott’s 2000 film Gladiator celebrates its 20th anniversary. It stars Russell Crowe as a Roman general who is betrayed by a corrupt prince (Joaquin Phoenix) and comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.  The 4K Steelbook includes access to a digital copy of the film and both theatrical and extended versions of the feature on 4K Ultra HD, along with two separate commentaries.  The two Blu-ray Discs included in the set boast over four hours of previously released bonus content, including commentaries on both versions of the film, a comprehensive documentary about the making of the movie, featurettes, deleted scenes, and more.

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Update (4/20/20): The original street date of May 5 was changed to June 16 by Paramount.